The Sony Xperia S was updated last quarter, and the new version, the Xperia SL is now available at local retailers. The Xperia SL is a minor upgrade of the Xperia S which was released in Quarter 1 of 2012. The Xperia S was not a cutting edge phone when it was released and the SL falls even further behind the curve, but with its price going down to the mid-level, it might be an interesting option.
The Sony Xperia SL gets a bump in processor speed to 1.7 GHz, from 1.5 GHz, but the chip is still the same old circa 2011 Qualcomm S3, which we first saw in HTC's Sensation. The Xperia SL now also comes with Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich, out of the box, rather than Gingerbread. The OS update also available for the Xperia S. Even the case was only been revised slightly, with three capacitative buttons, instead of four, and has a new color option: pink. But it does come at a much lower price, being available for as low as Php17,600, with an official warranty.
Overall, the phone is current enough with a nice sharp 4.3-inch HD display (720 x 1280) and 32 GB of internal storage. It comes with interesting features like USB-on-the-go and HDMI out. However, it does find itself priced in between two more powerful quad core phones. The ZTE Grand Era U895 is priced about Php2K cheaper. The Huawei Ascend D quad XL costs just a few hundred more.
This refreshed version of an old dual core phone could have a place at the mid-level. Boasting a 12 MP camera with a dedicated camera button, and photo oriented connectivity options, the 12 MP credentials, at a low price, it will attract some buyers.
The problem is the camera. Sony Xperia SL has a decent camera. Not as good as the excellent 8MP shooters on the new Samsung Galaxy phones or the Apple iPhone 4S and 5. Ironically, the 12 MP camera on the Xperia SL does not perform as well as the 8 MP camera on the lower end Xperia P. Disappointingly, it is also not as good as Huawei's 8 MP camera. Check out the GSMArena camera comparison tool.
Ultimately, the Sony Xperia SL is a hard phone to recommend. With a better camera, it could be a contender. It biggest contribution to the Sony line-up is to make the price of the Sony Xperia P cheaper, and that is a good thing.