Sony’s formula for Xperia series worked quite well and got Sony back its reputation and a considerable market growth. The higher end device Xperia Z, Z1, Z Ultra garnered huge fanfare and critical acclaim, but having only higher end devices wouldn't help any company to have a great market. The budget devices have always been the game changers for most of the companies like Samsung, Nokia. Sony too wanted a better place in the competition and this time they have come up with few budget and mid-rangers among which the Xperia M comes under sub15k segment. Let us see what this device offers and where it stands in the segment.
Design & Display:
The design looks similar to the Xperia gang and is quite beautiful as well. There is no glass surface design but the backpanel is made of good plastic. The phone is quite thin at 9.3 mm and lighter at 115 gms. The build quality is solid and the matte surface on the back gives a good feel when held in hand. The phone has a 4 inch TFT display with 480x854 pixels resolution and nearly 245 ppi. The front glass is reflective which spoils sunlight legibility. Viewing angles are okay and colors look decent enough. Overall for a budget phone, the display should be okay but rivals offer much better resolution.
The device comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and users can upgrade to 4.3 Jelly Bean. 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 notification panel has few toggles and Sony has added some of its own custom widgets. There are some themes where it changes wallpapers and icon colors correspondingly. Small apps are also present where you can open an app in a small re-sizable window which can float around the screen. Overall the UI feels lighter but sometimes you can observe few hiccups as well.
Camera & Audio:
The device is equipped with a 5MP auto focus camera with LED flash at the back and a VGA cam at the front. Considering the price, the front cam could have been of a better mega pixel. The camera UI is almost similar to that of the latest Xperia phones. There are a bunch of scene modes, options and tweaks to experiment on the picture. Image quality is above average. Color reproduction is not so good but still the images captured have a good amount of detail. The camera can also record videos of 720p at 30fps and the quality here is also pretty average. Coming to audio, the loudspeaker produces very clear sound but loudness levels could have been better. But once you plug in headphones, the experience is quite better and Walkman music player does a great job.
Connectivity & Additional Features:
This phone comes in supports only one sim card and you need to use micro sim card for this phone. Network reception is good and we didn't face any call drops. Call quality is a decent and very clear but again loudness levels aren't that great. 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 2.5GB available for storage. The device also supports micro SD cards upto 32GB. One appreciable thing is, it supports NFC too, which is quite a welcome feature for a budget device.
Processor & Battery:
The device runs on Snapdragon S4 Plus Chipset with Dual core 1 GHz Krait processor, 1GB RAM and . The device runs smoother in UI, occasional hiccups can be observed during multi tasking or using heavy apps. ThAdreno 305 GPUe benchmark score is pretty average considering the present scenario, with around 9K in Antutu and 4k in Quadrant. Some of the heavy games are playable well but sometimes you can feel the lag but it doesn't happen all the time. The phone features a 1750mAh capacity battery which is user replaceable. The battery life is just above average and the phone lasts till evening of the day but Stamina mode should get you for one full day easily.
Beautiful design and rigid build
Thinner and lighter
Image quality is average
Low internal memory
Low resolution screen compared to rivals.
The Xperia M feels quite a decent device with its own share of strengths and weak points. When you compare to the rivals, the performance and image quality on those mobiles is quite better. But what Xperia M offers is a beautiful design along with NFC support. Even though, image quality and performance levels are quite considerable when buying a phone, and if you're okay with these aspects, the Xperia M is a good choice, but you should also consider the rivals like Moto G, Lumia 630 etc.
Sony Xperia M Dual Rivals:
Nokia X2 Dual SIM
Motorola Moto E
Micromax Unite A092
Karbonn Titanium S1 Plus
Lava Iris 406Q
Xiaomi Redmi 1s
Asus ZenFone 4 A450CG
Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM