Let's start with the insides since that's where all the magic happens. The phone is sporting a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and an Adreno 205 GPU. Neither of these chips by themselves is terrible but if you look at the summer line up that the Play has to stack against (Droid Bionic, LG Optimus 2X, Samsung Galaxy S II and HTC's EVO 3D) it seems this phone might have waited a bit too long, all of the aforementioned phones are sporting dual core processors of varying speeds. The phone has a 1500mAh battery packed in and is stuffed full of 512 MB of ram for your apps and games to access. Hit the break to read the rest of the run down.
On the outside, you have to start with the slider obviously. Push the phone open half way and the screen will snap into place and expose it's sexy gaming internals to your thumbs and fingers. The phone has the Playstation branded triangle, square, circle and X buttons on the left and a D-pad on the right with two analog pads stuffed in between. No telling how these will react when compared to real analog sticks and it seems to be something that should be tested for one's self. There are right and a left shoulder buttons situated on top of the phone when you have the slider out. But there are a few drawbacks that have been pointed out on the phone. The screen is noticeably dimmer, to the point where Engadget called it "one of the worst screens we've seen on a review phone, hell, review hardware of any kind." And the phone's casing as a whole is made from plastic and one can get creaks and groans from phone without too much pressure. Plastic is not unheard of from smartphones but this just doesn't seem up to snuff on this handset.
Moving onto the software portion of the phone, there is lots of Android goodness underneath all of this phone. It is one of the first phones to ship with Android 2.3.2, or Gingerbread, loaded stock on the phone. This brings lots of upgrades to the OS and fortunately Sony hasn't skinned the phone too heavily to draw it's performance down too much. There seems to be a slight battery drain to the point of being noticeable to all reviewers but nothing too huge.
But let us move onto what makes the Play really play, the application called Playstation Pocket. Upon sliding the phone out this application will automatically launch and bring you to your games. Unfortunately the only game that the Play will launch with is Crash Bandicoot and it seems that they have taken a page out of the Nintendo launch book and only one game at launch. The rest of the PS One games are "en route" apparently but they will be good games, when they arrive. The Sims 3, Star Battalion HD, Bruce Lee and Fifa 10 are all promised to be here soon. If one will remember, the PS One games were coded for 4:3 display ratio and the Play doesn't automatically stretch them to fit the screen, you can activate it in the menus but the games are already a little taxed before you do so. No problem with load times either from reviews around the internet.
So bottom line: should you get this phone? Preliminary reports would say to wait a little while. Coming from Verizon you're going to be locking yourself into a 2 year long relationship with this phone and with only one game at the line-up I would wait to see and what else Sony has to offer. There are promises of Play-optimized games that will come to the Android Market but those are still MIA as well. This has the chance to be the start of something big here but as of right now wait it out and see how the phone fares the competition.