Sony Xperia SP Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Review: User Interface, Xperia Themes, Light Effects and Other Changes
By Ryan Inoyori | February 15, 2014 9:52 AM EST
New camera apps aren't the only changes included on the official Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for Sony Xperia SP. Sony did improve the user interface, themes and even loading icon for most functions. Here is the sneak peek of Xperia SP owners should check on their smartphones running Android 4.3.
With Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, Xperia SP can now customise themes further on top of stock ones installed. By default, owners would see installed themes such as air, earth, heat, silk, sunny, vintage, Xperia and Xperia Light. Wallpapers have been changed as well similar to what Xperia Z1 features but you won't see any new live wallpapers with the update.
If you exhausted all stock themes, use the Xperia Themes feature to get more online. Hold and press on an empty space on the home screen > Select Themes > Tap "+" on the upper right to get more themes via Sony Select.
Widgets are now enabled on the lock screen for Xperia SP with Android 4.3 firmware. Close the screen then press the power key and tap the left icon beside the time. You will see another "+" screen which opens various lock screen widgets. You can add calendar, email, Gmail, digital clock, Google Now, Google Plus and TrackID on the lock screen.
In addition, if you swipe right after tapping on the lock screen widget shortcuts, a camera lock screen widget have been added as well which you can use in case the dedicated camera key is faulty.
STAMINA mode also got its own widget for the home screen which shows you the estimated length of the battery life. You can also tap on it to enable and disable STAMINA mode.
On the latest Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update released by Sony Mobile, Quick Settings menu have been added for Xperia SP to fill in the feeling of Android 4.2.2. In Android 4.3, Xperia SP gained more selections for the Quick Settings such as STAMINA mode, LTE and Throw.
However, Quick Settings are still capable of holding up to ten shortcuts only that aren't enough for all selections. You can use the Tools widget to separate shortcuts that you cannot put on the Quick Settings.
Illumination Notification Bar app from the Play Store is famous among Xperia smartphones with LED or illumination bar for customised notifications. But if you update your Xperia SP to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, Light Effects on the Settings menu now acts as if the app itself. The illumination bar now glows in full under STAMINA mode however, if you disable STAMINA mode the light only glows at the centre of the illumination bar.
Before the Xperia SP received an Android 4.3 firmware, music beat is kind of killjoy whenever you play your favourite music while the lock screen is closed for you won't see the beating illumination bar. Now with the latest firmware, you can make the music beat play longer even if the lock screen is active. Launch the WALKMAN app > Play a song > Tap the home soft key > Close the screen.
Sony Mobile updated the loading screen too and replaced the circular motion for loading and streaming to striped lines. You can also see this new loading scheme whenever you send a message using Sony's native messaging app.
Other UI Changes
Some apps on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean have been updated and optimised that brings new user experience.
1. Email app client now similar with Gmail
2. Sony native media apps
3. Alarm and clock app
4. Camera now as Smart Social camera
5. File Commander comes in dark theme
6. App Menu now with swipe to right gesture like in Play Store
7. New Messaging app wallpaper background
8. Updated Small Apps with Favourites
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