TL, Experia TL. Does this phone have the looks and the substance to match the legendary master spy himself?

Prologue
This review is going to be very James Bond centric, so if you haven’t seen them…well go watch them, they are decent flicks I suppose.

Hardware
This is what James Bond would look like if he was a phone. Sleek, stylish, classy. Something that you would feel no sense of self doubt if you pulled it out of your pocket. It is simply just a classy phone. All black with an amazing curve and feel, it is just a cool phone. Phew, now that that is out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. This phone has the standard buttons. Sleep button, volume rocker, and dedicated camera button. YES! THAT IS A STANDARD BUTTON AND DON’T TRY AND CONVINCE ME IT IS NOT BECAUSE IT IS! Anyways, the buttons feel good, and have a good click to them. The odd thing though is that every single button is crammed onto the bottom left side. It isn’t necessarily bad more just annoying. You forget about it after a while but it does take some time to get used to this. You also tend to not click the unlock button on the first time, instead you click the volume button accidentally. There are no buttons on the front, it uses the ICS format where the home, back, and menu buttons are on the screen. There is a 3.5m headphone jack on the top and it sticks out slightly. Basically all the buttons are pretty good, other than the odd placement. There is one little nitpick that I don’t like, and it is the logo on the front of the phone. Put the stuff on the back of the phone where I can’t see it. The ATT logo takes up about a half inch of the bottom of the screen that could have been used better. That is just a small nitpick of mine though. The phone’s form is just gorgeous, and I really really do think Sony has the right idea with their phone design….even if the software leaves a lot to be desired.

IMG_0058[1] IMG_0059[1] IMG_0060[1] IMG_0057[2] IMG_0061[1]
 

Size and Screen
This phone is a good fit for sure, not too large and not too small. With a 4.6 inch screen and the phone measuring in at 129.4 x 67.3 x 9.4 mm (5.09 x 2.65 x 0.37 in), the phoen feels good in the hand. It is a little chunky, which I have gone on record and have defended heavy phones because they feel like tehy have substance. Weighing in at 148 g (5.22 oz), you will definitely not say this phone is too light.

Internals
The phone comes up with some decent specs, isnide you’ll find a Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chip which helps the phone speed along….when it isn’t being dragged down by the weight of its garbage OS. The battery is a Standard battery, Li-Ion 1850 mAh. It claims that you can get up to 7 hours of talk time, but I can barely get 7 hours of texting time, so I am going to say that it probably has closer to four hours of talk time. The phones battery leaves a lot to be desires that is for sure, barely lasting me half a day with mild usage, I don’t think I have ever been able to get through a full day.

Camera
This camera is very very nice, and is definitely good for the spy who wants plenty of details in their picture. The software is actually some of the nicest I have seen, with minimalism at the core, with the most basic of button layouts and a dedicated camera button it really is how a camera should be. It is too bad that the OS didn’t follow suit. The camera is a 13 MP camera with 1080 P video capture ability and it really shows how much Sony wanted this to be a wonderful camera phone. The front camera leaves a bit to be desires with 1.3 MP shooter. It does okay for Skyping and front facing pictures, but I wish it could have been better.

IMG_20130105_115739[1] IMG_20130105_115747[1] IMG_20130105_115754[1] IMG_20130105_115800[1] IMG_20130105_115810[1] IMG_20130105_115817[1] IMG_20130105_115825[1] IMG_20130105_115835[1] IMG_20130105_115841[1]
 

Software
It was so close…so..close. Unfortunately this phone’s software just isn’t as sexy as a Bond Girl and never will be. People seem to have this fixation with tinkering with a great thing. Take the OS on this phone for example. They took Ice Cream Sandwich, a beautiful OS that had no problems with it, and threw up all over it. They messed with the icons, they added their own crap, and in the end they got a nasty mess of an OS that makes me wish Google would at least take that from Apple and be strict with who can tinker with their OS. Alas, what comes with being open is that you have to deal with a lot of crap people want to make. My suggestion is that if you get this phone; root it. Root it as soon as you can and put on a vanilla build of Jellybean or Ice Cream Sandwich even and forget that this horrible OS ever existed. Their is so so so much bloatware and so much other crap on this phone that the companies thought would be wonderful to shove into it. I counted 21 pieces of bloatware they just shoveled onto the phone that are impossible to remove. Along with this, the phone was often rampant with little bugs that don’t seem like that big of a deal but hinder it greatly. The biggest one I noticed was the call glitch. If you were on a phone call and looked at the phone, it would turn on because of the sensors. This is fine, but when it goes back to black and won’t turn back on, that is reason for complaint. So like I said, root this phone as quick as possible so you can get rid of this awful awful crap.

Two Things I Love
-The form factor of this phone is beautiful and I have no complaints about it at all.
-The camera is one of the best I have seen on a phone in a while.

Two Things I Hate
-Custom OS.
-Custom OS.

Overall and Final Impressions
This is not James Bond phone for sure. The form of the phone is awesome, and I really like it, but for everything else it is unlike the fabled super spy, and it is more like the mediocre spy. This is a phone for James Bond’s sidekick, not the spy himself. It’s too bad, because the phone looks so cool. Bad OS, horrid battery life, and bloatware to weigh down any spy makes this phone something that is worth avoiding if you can get better.