The new Sony Xperia M smartphone tested to the limit!
August has seen the release of several great new entry level smartphones from the big names in technology. Perhaps the most attractive of these devices is the Sony Xperia M. Like other Sony phones the Xperia M runs on Google’s Android smartphone platform, and despite being about a third of the price of some high end smartphones, it runs most apps from the Google Play store just as well. While there are some downsides to the device – the camera isn’t great and internal storage is tiny – those on a budget who need a smartphone should seriously consider this phone.
The phone is available in both single and dual-SIM options, meaning that those who regularly use their phones in more than one country can save on network fees by using two local SIMs with the latter option. It’s also got features that are becoming less common in Android phones but are really great for keeping a phone usable for longer: a removable battery and a microSD card slot. The microSD card slot really is essential on this phone though as there’s only 4GB of internal storage, half of which is used by the operating system. If you plan to download many apps or take photos then you should invest in a microSD card at the same time as you buy the phone. You’ll be able to pick one up at the maximum 32GB for less than 10% of the price of the phone.
Other technical specifications are more reasonable than the sadly lacking internal storage thankfully. 1GB of RAM is only half what the best phones currently get, and quite good for a phone in the Xperia M’s price range. The dual-core 1GHz processor might sound slow compared with the latest octa-core options, but is speedy enough for most tasks – and there’s also a respectable graphics processor in the form of an Adreno 305 to help it out.
The 4″ screen is as large as an iPhone 5, although the resolution (480 x 854) means the screen isn’t quite up to Retina standards at just 245 ppi. The quality is good for the price bracket of this phone though, and the main problem is viewing angles being somewhat poor rather than resolution.
The phone’s camera is where it is somewhat let down. Five megapixels doesn’t necessarily sound bad, but this really is an example of where you can’t just go on megapixels to judge quality. The dynamic range of the photos is quite low and there’s colour reproduction issues too. The HDR mode helps somewhat but the colours are less natural. Comparing the camera to other options in this price range it really under performs – the Nokia Lumia 620 is far superior to any Android phone, while other recent budget Android such as the Samsung Galaxy Core also perform better. Despite being only 3 megapixels the now quite old iPhone 3GS produces similar quality photos to the brand new Sony Xperia M. Video suffers from the same problem and saves the files without using adequate compression meaning your limited storage gets eaten up faster than necessary.
Despite some major issues with the camera, overall this is perhaps the best budget Android phone available. While other phones in the price range can compete on technical specifications, the Sony Xperia M offers the best all-round experience. The built quality of the device is excellent – as we’d expect from Sony – and the design makes it feel like a high-end smartphone rather than a bargin-bin device. The device feels quite snappy too and you’ll have no problem browsing the web, sending emails and making calls. We’d only not recommend the device to those regularly use their phones as cameras – in this price range you’d better opting for a Nokia Lumia for camera quality.