Sony Xperia M Review
Interface and Functionality
The Xperia M runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Sony’s own skin on top. Our experience is very positive with this Android skin, and we love the work Sony has done on enriching the stock look, feel and even functionality. Still, it feels like Sony could have released this with at least the newer Android 4.2.
The lock screen features shortcuts to the camera and music apps. A quick and intuitive up or down swipe gesture unlocks it with a neat shade-like animation. This kind of animations appear throughout. Sony’s UI comes with a selection of great high-resolution wallpapers and colorful themes so you don’t have to go far to start customizing the looks of a handset. The overall looks with silvery gray accents strike the right balance - not too serious, but nor are they childish and cartoony like the ones in say Samsung and LG devices.
Once you’ve unlocked the device, you get a multi-panel home screen. Swipe down for a notification shade with five toggles for quick access to settings like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. We wish there was a brightness slider, but it’s missing. Adding shortcuts and changing wallpapers happens as you long press an empty space on the home screen. From there you get a convenient card-like live preview of the changes you make to appearance.
Sony’s skin is all about the little things. Having the option to arrange your app drawer by most used items is great, the transition animations are neat, and Sony has bundled in a bunch of ‘Small Apps’ that work on top of your existing applications. These include a calculator, voice recorder, timer, and a notes app, so you can jot down notes while you’re watching a video for instance.
The phonebook is also custom made and it comes with four tabs that you can conveniently swipe between. When receiving a call, you can also reject it with a custom text message, useful when you’re say in a meeting and cannot reply right away.
The Sony Xperia M is not the perfect device for texters. Sony’s messaging application is a fairly simple and well done app, but the on-screen keyboard will make you break a sweat as it’s hard to hit the right letters in portrait mode - we mistyped way too often, and could not get used to it even after a week of daily use. Typing in landscape mode is a bit easier as the keys are larger, but still not perfect.
Processor and Memory
The Xperia M works like a charm with no lag and a buttery smooth performance throughout. And that’s no surprise - it features a fairly snappy for its class Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus chip, the same that you’d find on Windows Phone rivals like the Lumia 720 for instance. It is the Qualcomm MSM8227 system chip with a 1GHz dual-core Krait processor. The chip is manufactured on 28nm LP process, and features Adreno 305 graphics. Additionally, there’s 1GB of RAM, more than the average for this class, and this vast amount of memory allows for quick multitasking.
The handset might not have the largest display out there, but it handles most games and even the latest graphical masterpieces like Real Racing 3. It’s a fairly good performer for its class, here’s how it did in benchmarks.
|Quadrant Standard||AnTuTu||GFXBench||Vellamo |
(HTML5 / Metal)
|Sony Xperia M||4254||11629||2918 / 26 fps||1772 / 427|
|Samsung Galaxy Core||3054||7470||1028 / 9.1 fps||1328 / 421|
|LG Optimus L7 II||2823||6674|
One of Xperia M’s bigger flaws is the fact that it comes with merely 4GB of internal storage, of which only 2GB are available to the end user. Luckily, that storage allowance is expandable via microSD cards of up to 32GB.
Internet and Connectivity
You can easily access the web via browsers like the built-in mobile Chrome, or any of other alternatives like say Firefox and Opera from the Play Store. Browsing is zippy on Chrome, and scrolling around and zooming in and out happens almost without a stutter. The handset supports 3G connectivity with downlink speeds of up to 21.1Mbps.
It also comes with dual-channel Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, GPS and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Xperia M features NFC connectivity that is well integrated with other Sony products like its TVs for instance. You can easily share images wirelessly by just tapping a Sony TV remote to send the images to the large screen. Similarly, you can share music, photos and other media by simply tapping the phone and another NFC enabled handset or notebook. Screen mirroring to a TV is also very easy with DLNA support and the built-in “Throw” app.