Not surprisingly, Sony put its visual expertise to good use and came up with a pretty good camera for the Xperia P. Although it is a mid-range device, the 8-megapixel snapper is capable of delivering some pretty good shots in daylight, but it struggles indoors and in poor lighting. The camera UI can appear a bit too cluttered from time to time, but it also offers a wide range of options. There are plenty of predefined scenes to choose from, along with a myriad of additional settings, two panorama modes, including a 3D sweep panorama and a sweep multiangle mode.
Of course, if you don’t want to waste time or just can’t be bothered, you can simply squeeze the hardware shutter key straight from the lock screen and snap a quick one. Speaking of speed, although the dedicated shutter key comes in handy, the Xperia P lacks the muscle for fast continuous shooting, but you probably guessed that by looking at the spec.
Image quality is pretty good, although indoor shots tend to suffer from a bit too much noise. Video is another matter. Although the Xperia P supports 1080p video, it is unimpressive. The framerate does not seem to be the issue, but there is just too much compression, resulting in quite a few artifacts. The same issues are present in 720p.
Although the Xperia P can’t match the performance of quad-core or Snapdragon S4 based phones, it still packs a decent punch for a mid range device. The numbers aren’t spectacular, the Xperia P is roughly on par with LG’s old Optimus 2X and in some tests it even comes close the Galaxy Nexus. Graphics performance in some benchmarks is rather disappointing, so if you are into mobile gaming, you should probably look elsewhere.
Overall it’s a decent showing for the Xperia P, but it could have been better. For a fashionable mid-range phone it does well, but here’s the problem - Sony uses the exact same 1GHz U8500 chip in the dirt cheap Xperia U and Xperia Sola. This basically means that consumers can get similar performance from a €200 or €250 device.
Although the U8500 leaves much to be desired in terms of performance, it seems to be a very power efficient chip. Coupled with the innovative and equally power efficient WhiteMagic display, the U8500 helps the Xperia P get decent battery life out of its 1350mAh power pack. However, battery life is still rather limited and you will be looking for a socket by the end of the day. Luckily, Sony claims that just 10 minutes of charging will provide the phone with enough juice for an hour of talk time.