A decent phone with a powerful battery and plenty of features to keep you entertained
On first look, the Sony Xperia E4 appears to be a distant cousin of Moto Defy which was released in 2010. The back cover seems like a protective covering made of Styrofoam to prevent toddlers from cutting themselves. Moto Defy had used the same bulky design, with a back cover that looked a Hummer car’s bumper, to make it water resistant.
Sony, on the other hand, might have declared war on Lumia devices with its own arsenal of bright, colourful shells because it makes no sense for a company known for its light-weight designs to use the kill-switch on its pizzazz. After using the Sony Xperia for a couple of weeks, we learnt that there is a lot more to it than what it seemed like at first.
Design: The Sony Xperia has a strong, sturdy back shell that seems to reassure the user that it is OK to drop the phone on any terrain. However, the shell does not fully wrap around its edges leaving the sides partly naked. The power button juts out on the right edge in the middle making it easy to lock, unlock the phone. But the positioning of the volume rocker below the power button proves to be inconvenient.
Screen: Smartphone makers are nowadays offering phones in three standard screen sizes like an up-market coffee chain: Tall (4.5 inches and below), Grande (4.7-5 inches), and Venti (5.5 inches) and above. The Sony Xperia comes in size Grande with no sugar. We say no sugar because it says it’s equipped with scratch resistant glass but doesn’t mention if it is Gorilla glass. However, the phone’s qHD display with a screen resolution of 960 x 540 pixels is like a free topping of vanilla-flavoured whipped cream. The phone is all about its 5-inch display. The colours are sharp even at the most acute angle.
Camera: The 5 MP back camera on the Xperia is best put to use for close-up shots. Long shots, even after using HDR, tend to go out of focus and throw details out the window. It is however packed with features like the option to broadcast yourself Live on YouTube and capturing photos with sound clips.
Performance, battery and verdict: There was no noticeable lag in the phone’s performance despite pushing the envelope by constantly switching between memory draining apps. At full charge and moderate use, the battery seems to hang in there between 6 and 8 hours. Well, there is always the option to flick the “stamina mode” switch to save battery.
Overall, the Xperia is a decent phone but not worth buying at this price. There are many under-R10,000-smartphones that come with a killer spec sheet than this one.
* Display: 5-inch IPS display (960 x 540 pixels)
* Processor: 1.3 GHz Mediatek (MT6582) quad-core processor
* Operating system: Android 4.4 KitKat OS
* Memory & storage: 1GB RAM, 8 GB ROM (expandable up to 32 GB)
* Camera: 5 MP (rear); 2 MP front camera
* SIM type: Dual SIM (GSM + UMTS)
* Battery: 2,300 mAh
** Estimated street price: R11,719
By Leela Prasad