Among the plethora of budget devices, now and then few devices which have a special feature do come visit us in an attempt to attract customers. Among them, once such device is the Sony Xperia E1 dual which has its own dedicated Walkman button and boasts to offer good music experience. This one falls under sub 10k segment; comes with a 3MP camera and a dual core processor. Let us find out if this device is really special and where it stands in the segment.
Design & Display:
The phone looks funky and follows the same design aspects of other Xperia devices. Most of the body is made of plastic and build quality is good. The phone is quite thicker at 12 mm and weighs around 122 gms but due to the smaller size, it feels compact and comfortable to hold. However, due to the plastic build, the phone looks a bit cheaper and the backpanel too isn't so pleasant to look at. The phone sports a 4 inch TFT display with 480x800 pixels resolution and 233 ppi. Viewing angles are not that good and colors look a bit washed out. Brightness levels are good, but again the front glass is reflective and spoils sunlight legibility.
The device comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Sony’s own custom UI on top of it. The UI looks similar to what we have seen in the other Xperia devices. The lockscreen has shortcuts for accessing the camera which opens up for a left swipe and a right side swipe gets you music player controls. The Walkman player is optimized to work with the dedicated button. The notification panel has few toggles. There are some themes where it changes wallpapers and icon colors correspondingly. The onscreen keyboard is good and convenient to type. Overall the UI feels lighter but sometimes you can observe few hiccups as well.
Camera & Audio:
The device is equipped with a 3.15MP camera. There is no auto focus, front cam or at least an LED flash. This is too bad for a phone in this price segment. The interface is neat, with few controls on the screen. This device too has Superior Auto mode which works well to get good pictures. The image quality is pretty average. There is no proper detail in the images captured but colors come out good. In low light the images look quite dull and grainy. Video capture too is quite average. Coming to audio, the output is quite louder but clarity is not that great. The quality with headphones is decent but take note that the bundled headphones aren't that great when it comes to bass, so better invest in a good pair of headphones.
Connectivity & Additional Features:
This phone comes in dual sim version; supports two mini sim cards which can be placed at the back. The phone also offers dual standby and dual call feature. Network reception is good and we didn't face any call drops. Call quality is a decent and voice during calls is louder and clear with minimal distortion. The phone also supports Wifi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0, FM Radio, 3G and A-GPS. Internal memory is only 4GB out of which you get somewhere around 2GB is available for storage. The device also supports micro SD cards upto 32GB.
Processor & Battery:
The device runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Chipset with a Dual core 1.2 GHz processor. RAM is limited to 512MB and it has Adreno 302 GPU. Though the device runs smoother in UI for general operation, occasional hiccups can be observed. When it comes to multi-tasking or using heavy apps, lags are quite noticeable. But the benchmark score is good considering the present scenario, with around 13K in Antutu and 5.6k in Quadrant. Some of the heavy games are playable with hiccups but once you have any background apps or any call comes during the game play, it’s quite sluggish. Sony could have gone for KitKat instead of Jelly Bean, as KitKat is well optimized for devices with 512MB RAM. The phone features a 1750mAh capacity battery which is removable. The battery life is just above average and the phone lasts till evening of the day under moderate usage.
Dedicated Walkman button
Feels compact and easier to handle
No LED flash, auto focus, front cam
Feels a bit cheaper
Doesn't come with KitKat
Camera performance is average
Display isn't that good
So far, the Xperia E1 dual has its own share of good number of cons to consider. Even though they say it’s a music centric phone, the loudspeaker quality isn't that great. You might think of a good music experience with Walkman player and dedicated button which is quite true, but consider that you would get an average display and poor camera without atleast LED flash. So it is highly unlikely that one would feel okay for these cons and make sure to consider the rivals like Moto E, Asus Zenfone 4, Lumia 520 etc. which are way better than this one.
Sony Xperia E1 Dual Rivals:
Nokia X Plus
Motorola Moto E
HTC Desire 210
Micromax Unite A092
Samsung Galaxy Star Advance
Karbonn Smart A12 Star
BQ S37 Plus
Asus Zenfone 4