Thursday

Sony Xperia E4 Review

Review               Specification                                                      

Design

Sony and Motorola are two of the stronger designers in the Android smartphone business, and that even extends to their respective low-end offerings.



The Moto E 2 looks as if it will be much similar to last year’s Moto E, which we called “a very simple-looking, non-showy little phone” that “cares much more about feeling comfortable in-hand than being super-thin” in our full review.


As for the Sony Xperia E4, it bears slightly less of a similarity to last year’s Sony Xperia E3 - which given that phone's somewhat underwhelming nature is no bad thing. The new device has a more rounded plastic design that actually puts us more in mind of Microsoft's (formerly Nokia's) budget Lumia range.

Still, Sony inevitably makes even its cheap phones feel solid. In the blurb for the E4, the company speaks of its “OmniBalance design,” which should make it feel good in the hand through the use of symmetry and balance.

It’s even got some premium flourishes, such as a diamond-cut aluminium power button and a stainless steel camera ring.

Display

Both of these phones have relatively low tech displays, as befits their rock-bottom pricing. The pack the same 960 x 530 ‘qHD’ (not to be confused with QHD) resolution, though the Moto E 2’s will be sharper.

That’s because the Moto E 2 display is smaller at 4.5-inches, meaning that it packs its pixels in tighter than the 5-inch Sony Xperia E4.

Neither is particularly impressive, then, but the Moto E 2's smaller display seems better suited to this resolution.




Camera

Sony has always created decent cameraphones. After all, it provides the core imaging technology for many modern phones, Android and otherwise.

While the Sony Xperia E4 won’t be one of its better efforts, for obvious reasons, it looks to have a slight edge over the Moto E 2 nonetheless.

While both phones have 5-megapixel rear camera, Sony's effort has the benefit of a flash for night time shots. It also has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for competent selfies, while the Moto E 2 has a pitiful VGA equivalent.



Storage

It's all square on the storage front, with both phones having a modest 8GB of internal storage as standard.

Thankfully, both also come with microSD slots, so you’ll be able to expand that meagre allowance. And believe us, if you want to install any number of apps, videos, or music tracks, you'll want to.

Software

While Sony’s own custom UI isn’t the most obnoxious Android skin around, it still doesn’t hold a candle to stock Android for attractiveness or usability. And that’s precisely what the Moto E 2 has, with a few subtle custom additions.

In fact, this area is even more of a white wash for the Moto E 2, because it ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop as standard, while the Sony Xperia E4 is stuck on Android 4.4 KitKat for now.

That will change before too long, we suspect, but even then you’ll get a version of Lollipop that's been tweaked and messed with unnecessarily.


Key features
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and -band UMTS support
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 3.5" 256K-color capacitive TFT touchscreen of HVGA resolution (320 x 480)
  • Android OS v4.1.1 Jelly Bean
  • 1 GHz Cortex-A5 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227A chipset
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 2GB of user-accessible built-in storage (4GB total)
  • microSD slot (32GB supported)
  • 3.15 MP fixed-focus camera, geo-tagging
  • VGA video @ 30fps
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • User-accessible battery, Li-Ion 1530 mAh
Verdict

It’s early days, and we are still waiting for Motorola to confirm the leaked specs are the real deal. As it stands, these two budget phones both look like decent bets with solid build quality and roughly equivalent specs.

The Sony appears to have a slight edge on the camera front, and many will prefer its larger screen. However, the Moto E 2 has the benefit of a slightly sharper picture and the huge plus that is a near-stock version of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

For that, as well as the company’s recent low-end pedigree (both the Moto E and the Moto G 2 are great), we’ll give the edge to the Moto E 2 right now. But it’s quite possible that will change once we’ve gone hands-on with them both.