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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 7

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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review

The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a stylish and affordable phone sitting right in the mid-range segment, but borrowing design clues from Sony’s top-tier products. Its signature feature is water-resistance and full-on IP68 rating, so you can submerge it in water and have fun shooting videos in the swimming pool without worrying that the phone would get damaged.

The Xperia M4 Aqua features a 5-inch display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels, runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with a modern, 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 system chip, and has a 13-megapixel camera.

Sony has cut some corners, though, equipping the M4 Aqua with only 8GB of internal storage, and a lower-capacity battery than the top-tier Xperia Z series. Are those deal breakers, or is the Xperia M4 Aqua still a good deal? Let’s find out.

In the box:

  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
  • 0.85A - 5V wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • User manual


The Xperia M4 Aqua is thin and stylish, borrowing the design language of the Xperia Z series, but using plastic on the back and the sides rather than a sturdy combination of metal and glass.

The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua looks so similar to the flagship Sony phone - the Xperia Z3 - that it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. And that’s a great thing as both are slim and stylish devices that impress with their looks. Despite having a slightly smaller, 5-inch display (the Z3 features a 5.2-inch screen), the dimensions of the two are actually nearly identical.

Given that the M4 Aqua is sold for half the price of the Xperia Z3, though, one does expect to see some differences, and they are indeed present, but rather than being in the outwards appearance, the difference is in the feel and materials used in the Xperia M4 Aqua. The mid-ranger is an all-plastic affair - with a plastic frame and a reflective plastic back made to resemble glass, while the Xperia Z3 is made of sturdy aluminum and real glass on the back. The M4 Aqua’s plastic build feels a bit cheaper and not as sturdy as the rock solid construction of the Z3, but it is still solidly put together, with no moving parts.

Up front, it’s all about the display and the two front-firing speakers - there are no physical buttons, instead the M4 Aqua relies on on-screen keys for navigation. All the physical keys are on the right: a small, but fairly well defined and easy to find without looking lock/power key, a smallish volume rocker without much of a clicky response below and a two-way camera shutter key further down below.

As its name implies, the Xperia M4 Aqua is protected from the elements - both from dust and water - and it’s officially certified with the IP65/68 rating. That rating guarantees that you can submerge your phone as deep as 5 feet (1.5 meters) for as long as 30 minutes without it suffering any damage. First, though, make sure that all the protective flaps are closed and keep in mind that you can only submerge it in fresh water as in a swimming pool (and not salty sea/ocean water).

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
5.73 x 2.86 x 0.29 inches
145.5 x 72.6 x 7.3 mm
4.80 oz (136 g)

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

Sony Xperia Z3
5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Sony Xperia Z3

Huawei P8 lite
5.63 x 2.78 x 0.3 inches
143 x 70.6 x 7.7 mm
4.62 oz (131 g)

Huawei P8 lite

Samsung Galaxy A5
5.48 x 2.74 x 0.26 inches
139.3 x 69.7 x 6.7 mm
4.34 oz (123 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


A 5” 720p IPS LCD display means a picture that is not as sharp as on other phones, but colors look good with a lot of vibrancy and life to them. Brightness is also more than enough for comfortable use outdoors.

The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua features a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. This translates into a fairly decent pixel density of 294ppi - sharp enough not to notice much pixelization at regular viewing distances, but still, jagged pixel edges are noticeable when you look at the phone from up close.

In terms of colors, the display of the M4 Aqua looks pretty good: it’s not perfectly calibrated and tends to be a bit on the cold side with lower-than-standard gamma giving a slightly lighter, a bit washed-out look, but while these issues deter it from being perfect, colors on the whole appear pleasantly lively without being unnaturally oversaturated. For its class, this is one good looking display. We’re happy to see that Sony adheres to the sRGB color space, the color standard that everything on the web is tailor-made for. For color perfectionists with their own color calibration gear, Sony includes manual control over the red, green, and blue channels in Settings -> Display -> White temperature. You can safely add a bit of reds to compensate for the cold-ish tonality (white temperature on the phone is set to ~7400K, above our reference 6500K value), and easily get an even better-looking display.

Outdoors, the display is not hard to read at all as it gets very bright, reaching a maximum brightness of 551 nits. It is a bit more reflective than average, but the high brightness makes up for that and outdoor viewing is not an issue. Viewing angles are also very decent, with colors retaining a lot of their vibrancy even at an angle.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 551
Sony Xperia Z3 713
Huawei P8 lite 380
View all

  • Options

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 07:50

1. Scarambay (Posts: 94; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)

Has a Sony phone ever had a track record of being a dependable shooter? Every Sony phone I have come across is piss poor in taking quality pictures. What a joke of a company!

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 09:26 3

8. waddup121 (unregistered)

Damn this phone is a disappointment. Only good phone that was a decent mid-ranger was the SP. And that was waaay back in 2013.

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 11:46

12. MuddyCow (Posts: 75; Member since: 09 Oct 2014)

My T2 is kinda good, except for Sony's crap software and bugs, the T2 gave highhopes for upcoming Sony's mid and low end, but then they went to hell again, they always mess things up.

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 10:58 5

11. josephnero (Posts: 590; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

Check Z3 plus vs S6 heat and lowlight test then speak about Sony shooters.lolwhat a weak troll

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 16:34

14. pt020 (Posts: 99; Member since: 08 Apr 2014)

Your iPhone has a camera made by Sony.
But there it is wonderful ;-)

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 07:54 5

2. SirYar (Posts: 351; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)

ANOTHER overpriced and sub par midranger. I would rather just get a OnePlus One, Nexus 5 or a LG G2 for that price range.

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 10:53 2

10. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1237; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)

Midrange phones are stupid. Yesterday's flagships always offer so more for the same price.

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 20:49

16. mafiaprinc3 (Posts: 575; Member since: 07 May 2012)

oneplus one or Lg g2, if you like windows phone hen lumia 930 for about $330 on amazon

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 08:20 1

3. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Only 8GB... not done for that price, so no surprises for those sales.

Lots of options for this phone, Mi 4, Honor 6/6 Plus, OnePlus One, Vibe Shot, etc.

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 08:26 1

4. Djz89 (Posts: 364; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)

In my country it's price is right for once. Probably gonna buy this while I wait for z5. I think it's a decent midrange phone,ph

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 08:40

5. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)

A meh phone.
Now I still wonder why Sony products in Asia are cheaper than outside of Asia? What strategy Sony going here?

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 09:03

6. iphonexus (Posts: 130; Member since: 04 Jan 2015)

i will get z1 compact or z1 or s5 or z2 instead of this

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 09:09 1

7. ryq24 (Posts: 771; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

I have high hopes for this phone when it was announced but so far all the reviews I have read have not been good. Another disappointment from Sony.

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 09:29 1

9. Planterz (Posts: 2110; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)

This phone is crap. Get yourself an Z2 or even a Z1. My Nexus 4 benchmarks as well as this and it's 2.5 years old.

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 16:34 1

13. buccob (Posts: 2714; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

The best midrange phone is an old flagship

posted on 29 Jun 2015, 17:50

15. khelgar_i (Posts: 15; Member since: 06 Apr 2015)

Also wonder why every Sony phone have really puny headphone audio output.

posted on 30 Jun 2015, 03:06 2

17. superkuiken (Posts: 167; Member since: 24 Mar 2013)

Oh please, phonearena, get it together and use a proper charger. You are always using the 5v/.85A, and that's the reason you always complain about Sony's charging time. The fact is, you are the only one that uses a charger like that, and every sony user I know, gets a proper charger with his sony phone.

posted on 01 Jul 2015, 20:27 1

18. ninja_master (Posts: 306; Member since: 27 Feb 2015)

They just hate sony

posted on 02 Jul 2015, 02:22

19. giacintamiuccia (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Jun 2015)

man that sucks, i love sony.
i really want this phone, i've been waiting for months
when i found out the review here is not that good im really sad now

posted on 19 Oct 2015, 08:34

22. arad.bt (Posts: 7; Member since: 16 Sep 2015)

Didn't use to be affraid and don't listen to others opinion it is very good i love it

posted on 07 Aug 2015, 00:46

20. jay2541 (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Aug 2015)

very poor build quality, camera not good, over hitting

posted on 19 Oct 2015, 08:32

21. arad.bt (Posts: 7; Member since: 16 Sep 2015)

Shot it up it is one of the best mobile phone in the world

posted on 18 Feb 2016, 18:49

23. saopofmarseille (Posts: 2; Member since: 29 Jan 2016)

That phone is cool enough for girls with money. Yes I said that.

posted on 16 Apr 2016, 12:28

24. coolkamal18m (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Apr 2016)

Among Xperia m4 aqua dual 16GB and OnePlus X overall which one you would suggest and which in terms of sound and camera quality ?
I am getting Xperia m4 aqua @15900 and OnePlus X @15000

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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

OS: Android 6.0 5.0
view full specs
Display5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (294 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera13 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, Octa-core, 1500 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.73 x 2.86 x 0.29 inches
(145.5 x 72.6 x 7.3 mm)
4.80 oz  (136 g)
Battery2400 mAh, 12.7 hours talk time

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