By Patrick Avenell

An 8.1-megapixel camera and display technology are the standout features of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray, which will be available exclusively from Vodafone at the end of September.

This Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) has an Exmor R mobile CMOS sensor and 16x digital zoom, as well as HD video recording at 720p. The screen is a smallish 3.3 inches capacitive multitouch (854×480), with scratch-resistant mineral glass.

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According to Sony Ericsson Oceania MD John Featherstone, having a smaller screen is part of the Ray’s appeal.

“We believe the smaller size of this device, combined with Sony’s world-renowned camera and screen technology, will make it exceptionally appealing to users who are looking for a smartphone that stands out from the rest.”

Additional features include access to the Sony Entertainment Network, an FM radio, Wi-Fi hotspot functionality and expandable memory up to 32GB via MicroSD (in-built memory is 300MB with a 4GB MicroSD card included in the box).

There’s also all the expected Google functionality, such as Mail, Talk, Calender and Voice Search.

Battery life is up to 7 hours talk time or 440 hours on standby. The quoted dimensions are 111 x 53 x 9.44 millimetres; weighing 100 grams.

Vodafone hasn’t revealed pricing for this handset.

Sony Ericsson has the most low key releases for its smartphones.