Back in Connery’s days, Bond was lucky to have a giant phone in his car, but these days, he’s using a different kind of mobile phone. In the new film, Skyfall, Bond will again be touting a Sony smartphone: the Xperia TL. However, for the first time, the things he does with it might not appear so out of character. The TL is as fast and capable as almost any spy could hope for these days, and with a nearly limitless number of crazy apps that can be installed, Bond’s only limit is Q’s imagination … and programming skills. We haven’t yet written a full review of the Xperia TL, but we did get the chance to spend some time with it. Here’s how we think it might benefit Bond in his 23rd adventure.
Good thing Bond waited for Skyfall
Skyfall may have been released years ago if not for the troubles at MGM. But Bond benefits from the holdup. The Xperia TL solves a lot of the problems of its predecessors. Many had high hopes for the Xperia Ion when it came to AT&T earlier this year. It was the first handset to lose the “Sony Ericsson” branding and be released as a true Sony product, and one of Sony’s first to get a decent push from a major U.S. carrier in some time. Sony has struggled to get the attention of wireless carriers in the U.S. since the days of feature phones and Walkman-branded handsets. With a $100 price on AT&T, it appeared that the carrier was finally giving a top Sony smartphone a real push. Unfortunately, like some ions, it was ultimately unstable. The Ion was running an old version of Android (2.3 Gingerbread), had some construction issues, ran on an older processor, and didn’t produce the quality photos its 12-megapixel camera promised. Fortunately, Sony has addressed these issues with the Xperia TL. Good thing, too. I don’t think Bond would be happy if his phone had trouble focusing or locked up when he needed to call M.
Comfortable for Daniel Craig’s man hands
James Bond is all about business, but he’s also about style and comfort. Those fancy suits don’t press themselves. With the Xperia TL, he’s got a top-notch Android smartphone, but also one that’s pretty comfortable to hold. To me, the Xperia TL felt more comfortable than previous Sony handsets by a good margin. Sony has replaced the sharp edges on previous Xperia phones with a smooth, curved edge that just fits better in the hand. Whether you’re a secret agent or a twenty-something phone reviewer choking down a cocktail that’s shaken, not stirred, your hands will thank Sony for smoothing out its edges. The 4.55-inch screen is large, but still manageable for even the most petite of spy hands. Bond likes his phones big.
Instagram those super secret photos
Thanks to the 13-megapixel camera on the TL, 007 can now take some detailed shots of all the ladies and locales in Skyfall. Though we imagine Bond already has Instagram (I mean, why not?), he doesn’t really need it. The Xperia TL’s built-in photo app has a myriad of crazy filters, letting you ruin all of your favorite photos in more ways than ever. If James Bond is feeling a little Connery, he could make all his photos black and white, like the Cold War days. Or he could get modern and turn his shots of evil Javier Bardem into hipster gold, with washed-out, Polaroid-style filters abound. He could even take a picture of Goldfinger and color it yellow. Snap a picture of each Bond girl on his Facebook page and remove red eye? Easy to do on a TL.
Calculate while you spy
If you’re an international secret agent, you don’t have the luxury of performing just one task at a time. That’s why Bond was likely super stoked when Q told him that the Xperia TL has a modified Recent Apps menu. Like all Android 4.0 and higher handsets, you can quickly re-enter recently used apps, but Sony has now added the concept of mini apps. Now, you or Mr. Bond can open up something like a miniature calculator and drag it around the screen, crunching numbers while you furiously browse Google News for signs of international peril. Maybe Bond needs to calculate a tip for one of his expensive lunches? It can now be done while he checks his Twitter feed. This is the freedom he’s always fought to defend. Any widget installed on the TL can also be used as a mini app.
With the TL, James Bond isn’t using the most powerful phone on the market, which is a shame, but it’s up there. A 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor puts his phone on par with most top-notch phones like the Galaxy S3, as does the 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, expandable microSD slot, and 1280 x 720 pixel LCD screen. But I hope Bond has a secret Micro USB cable hidden in his watch, because the 1,850mAh battery on the TL may leave him needing a recharge before a heavy day of spying is up, especially if he downloads or streams a lot of his own theme songs.
Fit for a secret agent?
We’re looking forward to spending more time with the Xperia TL. Is it fit for a secret agent? We can imagine some cooler phones, but the Xperia TL is one of the best Android phones available on AT&T this holiday season. And the $100 price probably helps with government budget cuts around the world. At the very least, it’s a lot nicer than the Sony Ericsson JB988 flip phone that Pierce Brosnan used in Tomorrow Never Dies or even Daniel Craig’s Sony Ericsson K800i from Casino Royale. For the first time, Bond is on Android. Hopefully Q labs has some cool apps in development.