UPDATE!! AT&T has just recently released an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. If it isn't already installed you can check for updates by heading into Settings > About phone > Software update to manually check for Android 4.1. This update improves general speed and performance while adding Google Now features.(which you can access by holding the home key and swiping upwards).
For those of you who are upgrading or are starting a new line this phone is most likely priced lower than some of the top android phones currently out there, namely the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X+. Despite it's lower price point the Xperia TL is a very good phone capable of doing all the things other premium android phones can.
Whats in the box: 1 Xperia TL handset, 1 NFC Tag, USB Charging cable, power adapter, instruction manual.
Performance: The Xperia TL is powered by a 1500 MHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, the same as the one used in the Samsung Galaxy S III. It also has around 1 GB of RAM with 16 GB of built in storage that is expandable via a Micro SD slot that can hold a maximum 32 GB. Despite not being a quad core like some of the newer phones out there, the Xperia TL performs well with little to no stutter or noticeable lag with general use. Flipping though home screens and menus are smooth, internet browser is responsive and pages load quickly with both 4G and wifi. The camera is mostly excellent and takes nice detailed photos in the usual 4:3 ratio as well as widescreen 16:9. The only problem is taking photos in low light situations which results in grainy photos with a moderate amount of noise. Videos can also be recorded in 1080p HD though I have yet to test their quality. Another thing to note while viewing photos is Sony's Mobile BRAVIA engine, which basically enhances photos to make colors look more saturated. you can turn this off, but I suggest you leave it on as it generally makes photos look better.
Interface: Sony has used it's own Timescape UI over Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and it does a good job without being overly intrusive with long animations that can slow down performance. The user interface is very light, modern and the Xperia widgets are the standard affair with an email widget, clock, picture gallery, internet bookmarks, and a pretty cool weather bar. With this phone Sony has decided to ditch the old capacitive buttons and uses the bottom row of the screen like some other phones running Ice Cream Sandwich. This system bar has three virtual buttons Back, Home, and Recent Apps and do exactly as their names suggest. Another new feature in current android phones is Near Field Communication or NFC for short. Basically this allows NFC capable phone to transfer files, music, etc by simply holding them together similar to the "bump" app on iphone. One of the best programs pre-installed is Sony's Walkman app which is basically a music player that I think looks very nice and professional. Album art is displayed nicely with matching ambient back lighting that adds a cool effect.
Hardware: The Xperia TL is a very sturdy phone that gives it a solid and premium feel unlike the glossy plastic used in the Galaxy S III but it's still not as sturdy as the unibody One X. The front face is a typical black glass slab with slightly rounded corners, the top contains an ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, notification led, and a 1 mega pixel front facing camera. Around the back the phone has soft touch plastic on the top and bottom sections, a metal back with a plastic circle in the center for NFC capabilities, led flash and a 13 megapixel camera that slightly protrudes, though the lens is safely recessed. The TL is different than most phones in that all of its physical buttons are located on the right side including the volume rocker, along with the power and camera button. Holding down the camera button while locked will start the camera app which comes to life within 2-3 seconds. Finally the head phone jack is located on the top right corner and the speaker is near the bottom right under the Xperia logo. Speaker is loud and good for notifications and ringtones but for music you would be better off using your favorite pair of head phones. Another thing to know is that the battery is non removable but has a solid life that can last a full day with moderate use.
Screen: The screen I think deserves a separate section since it's the thing you'll be looking at 99 percent of the time you use your phone and the TL's is no slouch. It is a 4.55 inch TFT LCD multitouch display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels with a ppi of 323. The resolution is well into retina territory and matches most competitors, text is clear and sharp, colors are bright and not oversaturated like super amoled displays, but blacks are not as dark. The display is NOT PenTile so there isn't much pixelation in text. The one flaw is the viewing angles are bad. When looking directly at the screen everything is fine, but if you turn it 30 degrees to the left or right colors begin to get washed out. This isn't a major problem seeing as how most of us use our phones while looking straight at it but this can be a problem when multiple people are watching from the sides like while watching movie clips.
Conclusion: At the discounted price the Xperia TL is a very good phone that performs just as well as phones twice it's price. If you're looking for a phone for general use including web browsing, email, texting, playing music, playing games, and taking pictures this phone will not disappoint. The timescape UI is light and unobtrusive, performance is smooth and Sony has promised an update to Android Jellybean in the near future which will only enhance fluidity and responsiveness. If you're looking to upgrade and can't get yourself to shell out $200 plus activation fees, the Xperia TL is a great alternative.