There are buckets of mid-range phones out there and increasingly they all are beginning to look same. The features and specs might vary but there is an underlying common design trait.
Sony is never shy of experimenting new designs, to keep their flock look a bit different from the crowd.
In our Sony Xperia L review, we uncover the mid-range smartphone that imbibes a strong design cue from some of the Sony’s previous models.
Xperia L: Build, design and display
Xperia L takes its design cue from the Xperia J launched last year and Xperia T made famous by James Bond in the last 007 movie, Skyfall. Again the concave design was earlier made famous with Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.
The Xperia L brandishes a 4.3-inch FWVGA LCD display with an 854 x 480 resolution numbering a 228 PPI which is underwhelming but comparable with most members of the mid-range segment. There is no Bravia Mobile Engine 2 technology to fire the display which made the Xperia Z a delight to watch videos. Still, Xperia L does not disappoint us when it comes to clarity, brightness and contrast. In outdoors especially under sunlight, it’s bit constrained viewing experience.
Overall, the display is decent enough for the segment. There is also a scratch-resistant coating over the screen.
The distinct feature of the phone is its curved back. Xperia L weighs in at 137g and at 9.7 mm thick, it cannot claim to be the thinnest block around.
The curved rear looks good with a matted finish. I am not a big fan of arched back but many does feel it is comfortable on hand. The sharp corners does not excite much on the design front.
On top off-center is a 8 MP camera flanked by a LED flash. The camera is protected by a nice looking metal ring which gives the protection when the camera is placed down. Talking about camera, the front shooter disappoints with a meager 0.3-Megapixel VGA camera.
The right side of the Xperia L is crowded with all the buttons. The volume rocker is perched at the top while the conspicuous metal screw power button finds its place a little down, almost in the middle. At the bottom half of the right side is the physical camera button which is a good addition.
The left side is bare except for a lonely USB port while the 3.5mm headphone jack sits on the top middle of the device.
Xperia L: The hardware internals
Dual-core is almost a standard now, even though quad-core are increasingly making their way in. Xperia L features a Dual-core 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8230 Snapdragon processor and 1 GB RAM mated to a Adreno 305 GPU. The specs are on expected line for this segment and Xperia L makes good use of it.
There is a 8 GB internal storage out of which 5.8 GB is free to use, you also get to expand the memory upto 32 GB via microSD card.
Xperia L: Software
Running on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Xperia L is laced with Sony’s own user interface. The OS should be upgradable to 4.2 whenever Sony updates. The UI is not heavily skimmed like Samsung’s TouchWiz UI or HTC Sense. Alongside the expected Google Apps, one also find Sony’s own apps like Walkman for music and own apps for photo albums and videos.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G connectivity, NFC, DLNA and Bluetooth 4.0. So Xperia L is capable of connecting with many devices including compatible speakers and Sony TVs.
Xperia L : Battery
Rip the back cover off and you will find the removable 1,700mAh battery which Sony claims to give up to 8 hours and 30 min in 2G and up to 9 hours in 3G
In our tests involving phone calls, 3G and WiFi and media playback and few games thrown in between, we came out impressed with the company’s claims. On a normal usage, the phone should see you through the day.
Xperia L: Camera
With 13 MP camera making into all the top rung smartphones, 8 megapixels has become the de facto shooter for the mid-rung devices.
Adorned by a raised metallic ring to protect the camera when placed with the camera side down, the shooter is boosted with a Exmor RS sensor for enhanced low-light functionality. It also has a 4x digital zoom with auto focus and HDR, which works for both video and still images.
Though the specs are impressive, the actual images are not up to the mark. The images are bit warmer. Also noticeable is the shutter lag.
Video recording yields just 720p HD compared with the Xperia SP which is 1080p.
The VGA front camera is nothing to write about. Just a bare basic for your video chatting.
On the final note Xperia L camera is decent stuff though not the best shooter even in it’s league.
Xperia L: The verdict
Sony Xperia L is a good phone but not a great phone even in the category it fights it out. It has a solid build quality and fleshes out decent performance. Pitted in a segment that is as crowded as the by-lanes of Indian cities and cut-throat competition with almost comparable variables, the differentiating factor for Xperia L narrows down to its design which is highly opinionated.