Sony has made some great entry-level Android phones, but it’s been a while since we saw a new model. The Xperia M injects new blood into the segment with both single and dual-SIM options. Based on the trademark Xperia design, the M scores high on looks and build quality.
The Sony Xperia M shares many of the design features that made its Xperia Z sibling such a looker, including the signature power key. It also has a hardware shutter key along with a couple of other features that are becoming quite rare in the smartphone world – a removable battery and a microSD card slot.
The Xperia M also offers a relatively big and sharp screen, 4″ FWVGA of 245ppi, and a dual-core Krait processor, plus 720p video capture with its 5MP camera. These are specs that can be hard to find in the Xperia M’s price bracket. Most entry-level Androids either have Cortex-A9 CPUs (or A5/A7), or record only VGA video or have sub-WVGA screens, which is why entry-level Windows Phone handsets are such an enticing alternative in the price range.
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual or quad-band HSPA support
- Also available in a dual-SIM variant, called Xperia M dual
- 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
- 4″ 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen of FWVGA resolution (480 x 854 pixels) at 245ppi
- Android OS v4.1.2 Jelly Bean
- Dual-core 1 GHz Krait CPU, Adreno 305 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8227 Snapdragon chipset
- 1 GB of RAM
- 4 GB of built-in storage (2 GB user available)
- microSD slot (cards up to 32GB supported)
- 5 MP autofocus camera, single LED flashlight, geo-tagging, touch focus, HDR, hardware shutter key; VGA front-facing camera
- 720p @ 30fps video capture
- Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP
- NFC support
- ANT+ support for connecting low-power wireless sports accessories
- GPS with A-GPS; GLONASS
- PlayStation certified
- Accelerometer, ambient light and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack; Walkman music player with many audio enhancements
- Stereo FM radio with RDS
- microUSB port (charging)
- Built-in LED strip provides a breathing light and notification light
- 1,750mAh Li-Ion battery, user-replaceable
- Still and video camera quality not great
- No Mobile BRAVIA engine for the screen
- Screen has sub-par viewing angles
- Poor video codec support out of the box
- Limited internal storage for installing apps
Sony may have hit a spot that Samsung, LG and HTC haven’t thoroughly covered, which bodes well for the young Xperia M. The optional dual-SIM is great too, since a good smartphone with a second SIM slot can prove harder to find than you would expect (with screen, camera and chipset considerations in mind).
The Sony Xperia M runs Android 4.1 with Sony’s magic sprinkled over many of the apps, including a Walkman music player with a dazzling array of sound enhancement options, plus the Album and Movies apps, which have some unique media management skills.