Sony Xperia E dual Review

Introduction and Design

The Sony Xperia E dual is the thrifty Scotsman's dream phone come true – cheap, versatile, and able to work with two SIM cards simultaneously. That latter feature allows one to take advantage of two carriers' deals from a single device, or have two separate phone numbers – one for business and one for personal matters. At the same time, the Xperia E dual provides access to Google Play's vast library of Android applications. It also has acceptable hardware specs, such as a 3.5-inch screen, 1GHz processor, and a 3.2MP camera, so all the basic necessities seem to be covered. But is it any good for what it costs? Well, let's find out!

The box contains:

  • Wired stereo earphones (model MH401C)
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Quick start guide and FCC statement


We have to give credit to Sony for making the Xperia E dual visually appealing. Okay, it surely isn't going to win any design contests, especially when it's made out of squeaky plastic, but for an entry-level smartphone, the device actually looks quite nice. The handset's back side is curved inwards, which makes it easy to handle and operate, while the texture adds character and additional grip. The unit itself is 11 millimeters thick, which is within the acceptable norms.

You can compare the Sony Xperia E dual with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

A nice addition to the Sony Xperia E dual is the embedded notification light on the bottom. It is of the RGB kind so it glows in a different color depending on the type of pending notification.

Underneath the smartphone's screen we see three capacitive Android buttons – well spaced so that one can't press them by accident. On the right side of the device reside all its physical buttons – a volume rocker, lock key in the middle, and a camera shutter. Our only complaint about them is that the volume rocker is likely to be too small for some users.


Sony has outfitted the Xperia E dual with a small, low-quality screen that may be passable, but fails to impress us in any way. It measures 3.5 inches in diagonal and has a resolution of 320 by 480 pixels. Punching these numbers into a calculator gives us a poor figure of only 165ppi, which explains why graphics are rough around the edges and why text looks jagged. The color depth and viewing angles are also mediocre.

When using the Sony Xperia E dual outdoors, you'll want to have its screen brightness turned up to the maximum. Otherwise, it is simply unusable as its surface reflects too much light. Too bad that a light sensor isn't present so you'll have to adjust the screen brightness manually.


The Sony Xperia E dual runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, but an update to Andorid 4.1 Jelly Bean is in the works. Layered on top of it is the Sony Timescape user interface with its broad selection of useful widgets and integration of social networking features. In addition, Sony has added widgets that leverage the smartphone's dual-SIM functionality. Among them are ones that let you pick favorite contacts associated with either of the two SIM cards. An SMS counter comes loaded as well. Overall, the user interface is more practical than pleasant to the eye, and will surely meet the needs of customers interested in the Sony Xperia E dual.

The on-screen keyboard, however, requires time and patience to get used to. Since the smartphone's screen is relatively small, its virtual keys feel tiny and that's why typos are common. Fortunately, the auto-correct feature takes care of that, and you can always flip the keyboard sideways to its landscape orientation.

Dual SIM functionality:

Behind the back cover of the Sony Xperia E dual reside the two slots for regular-sized SIM cards. Both are on stand-by at all times and can be set to handle different tasks. For example, outgoing calls can be handled by SIM number one and the second SIM may be responsible for 3G data connectivity. Or vice versa, it is up to the user.

The toggle switch on the drop-down menu selects which SIM card takes care of outgoing voice calls and text messages by default. If one uses both cards for calling, a dedicated widget can be used to assign a list of contacts to a respective SIM. Both SIM slots can take advantage of 7.2Mbps HSPA. .

Processor and memory:

There's a low-end Snapdragon system-on-a-chip powering the Sony Xperia E dual – MSM7227A, with a single-core CPU topping out at 1GHz and enhanced Adreno 200 graphics. There are 512MB of RAM present on board, which is the bare minimum a smartphone should have today. Yet overall, the device is usable and responsive enough for its class. Unless a live wallpaper is loaded, lags whine navigating through menus and home screens are rare. Of course, advanced 3D games can't be played on the Xperia E dual, but some less complex ones, such as Jetpack Joyride, Angry Birds Star Wars and Temple Run 2 run just fine.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Sony Xperia E dual2424555227,4
Samsung Galaxy S Duos 2032343919,9
HTC Desire V1807286619,7
LG Optimus L31271255913,2

Since the Sony Xperia E dual has only 4GB of on-board storage, chances are you'll have to supply a microSD card of your own. Still, those who prefer using the device as it is will have 780MB available for their applications and 2.2GB for photos, documents, music, and other media.

Web Browser:

The built-in web browser on the Sony Xperia E dual struggles with heavy, content-rich web pages. Still, it gets the job done if it isn't being pushed too hard, as long as you're comfortable with viewing pages on a relatively smallish, low quality display. Sony has not altered the app itself from its stock form so you get only the bare necessities, such as bookmarks, multiple tabs, and pinch to zoom. Features like saving pages for offline reading and requesting desktop versions of web sites are accessible as well. Embedded YouTube videos are playable, but we don't recommend running them as that renders the browser unresponsive.


The decision to include a dedicated camera button on the Sony Xperia E dual is rather odd since the phone only has a mediocre 3.2-megapixel camera. With a snapper that modest, the resulting images are of poor quality even when taken in broad daylight – seriously lacking in detail, color saturation, and dynamics.

Videos – taken in VGA resolution (640 by 480 pixels), are usable, but don't shine with anything either.

Sony Xperia E dual Sample Video:

Video Thumbnail


Like all of Sony's recent Android smartphones, the Xperia E dual comes with the Walkman music player, which is among the better ones we've come across on any handset out of the box. It comes with plenty of handy features, such as the lock screen controls, home screen widget, and the ability to search and download missing song information, in case your collection isn't too organized. The built-in loudspeaker is strong enough for comfortable listening to music, as long as the xLOUD feature is enabled.

Photos and videos can be viewed from a single Album application, where they are conveniently organized in chronological order. Alternatively, there is the Movies app, which lists only stored video files and can search the internet for information about them. Not that you really want to watch an entire movie or TV show episode on a screen so poor, but it is nice to have the feature handy nonetheless. Only videos of resolution no higher than 480p are playable, so don't even bother loading any 720p video on the Sony Xperia E dual. Most popular video file formats are suppoted, but QuickTime (MOV) and MKV videos are a no go.

Call quality:

If there's anything that the Sony Xperia E dual excels at, that would be handling calls. We were genuinely pleased by the loud and clear voice tones emitted by its earpiece, and the call quality was equally great on the other side of the line. Note that our testing was done on a carrier that doesn't offer “HD voice” on its network – a feature that the smartphone boasts.

Battery life:

With a removable battery of 1,500mAh, the Sony Xperia E dual should deliver a tad over 6 hours of continuous talk time. Also, it is rated for 8 hours of video playback or 33 hours of listening to music. These are all pretty average figures, so don't expect any miracles out of the handset in terms of battery life. You can, however, bring down its power consumption by enabling the Extended Standby mode, which turns off unneeded connectivity features when the handset isn't in use. That can extend the smartphone's stand-by time to well over 3 weeks, at least in theory.


The Sony Xperia E dual was born to be used for voice calls. It offers outstanding call quality and can handle two SIM cards simultaneously, meaning that those who own it can take advantage of two carriers' deals, thus saving some cash along the way. Besides, its performance isn't too bad, so it can be a decent entry-level handset for users on a tight budget.

We can't omit mentioning that its camera and display are of very low quality, but considering what the Sony Xperia E dual costs, we can't view them as too big of drawbacks. As a matter of fact, you'll have a hard time finding a better dual-SIM phone offered at this price point.

Still, if your budget can handle it, there are dual-SIM smartphones far superior to the Sony Xperia E dual. The Samsung Galaxy S Duos and HTC Desire V, for example, both come with much better screens and can take better photos. In case you don't insist on having dual-SIM support, the Sony Xperia U costs about the same as an Xperia E dual.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android 4.0.4
Build: 11.1.A.0.64

Sony Xperia E dual Video Review:

Video Thumbnail


  • Dual SIM phone
  • Great call quality


  • Low quality display
  • Mediocre camera

PhoneArena Rating:


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