Sony Xperia M review

We can't see why you'd choose the Xperia M over its rivals

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Snappy features

Sony is marketing the Sony Xperia M as an affordable smartphone that provides high-end features. But is that necessarily the case?

It's certainly true that features such as NFC for quick connectivity to speaker docks and easy 'one touch' local data transfers is a relatively advanced feature. Neither the Motorola Moto G nor the Nokia Lumia 520 have the feature, for example.

It's also true that most low-end smartphones fail to include an HDR camera mode (the quality of which we'll discuss in the appropriate section).

Sony Xperia M

However, in general terms the Xperia M is far from high-end. Most noticeably, its 4-inch display is well below what most non-Apple smartphone users have come to expect in terms of size.

Indeed, with Android phones specifically the bare minimum screen size seems to have been accepted as 4.3 inches.

There's no doubt that the Sony Xperia M feels small in a way that even the iPhone doesn't.

While iOS has been built with Apple's gorgeous 4-inch display firmly in mind, resulting in a thoroughly pleasant experience throughout, the Xperia M's Android OS feels somewhat cramped.

Part of that could be to do with the implementation of those virtual controls we mentioned earlier, which take up a small-but-noticeable portion of the screen.

With a 5-inch display like that found on the Nexus 5, it's not a problem. Here, it makes things like games and websites feel all the more squished.

Sony Xperia M

There's also the unavoidable issue of sharpness. The Sony Xperia M only has an 854 x 480 resolution, which produces 244ppi.

That's not bad, exactly, but trails behind new entry level devices like the Moto G (326ppi) or even older mid-range phones like the Nexus 4 (318ppi) by a little under 100ppi.

This means that text and images on the Xperia M look, if not exactly fuzzy, then certainly not quite as sharp or detailed as on other recent Android phones.

It's also noticeable that the Xperia M's display is positioned a fair bit below the external touchscreen surface, which leaves a slightly disconcerting gap and leads to a picture that doesn't pop as much as it should. That's probably not helped by the fact that there's no Bravia technology to be found here.

One key feature of the Sony Xperia M that we're fully behind, though, is its dedicated camera shutter button.

Not only does its offer a two-stage capturing system, negating the need for an unnatural and unsteady grip as with most touchscreen-activated phones, but it also offers a quick shortcut to the camera app.

Sony Xperia M
The dedicated camera button

Hold the shutter button all the way down and the Xperia M will jump you straight to the camera. Response times aren't lightning quick, but they're certainly swifter and more reliable than any touchscreen-only camera phone - particularly when you're fumbling to capture that fleeting moment.

We've been big fans of this approach for some time, so it's a shame that only Sony and Nokia seem interested in perpetuating it.

But the primary key feature of the Sony Xperia M has already been mentioned - its price. At £175 (around $195, AU$220) it's currently the cheapest phone in the Xperia range, but it still feels overpriced to us when you can get sharper, faster, more desirable phones for the same or less.


Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory4 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
SAR Value0.86 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia M
Cellular Generation3.9G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time10.30 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 854
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)115 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density245 ppi
Front Camera Resolution300 Kilopixel
Height124 mm
Width62 mm
Depth9.3 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time552 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXpeira M Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon S4
Product LineXperia M
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part Number1274-3060
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationDiscover the magic touch to share

Love connecting with the people around you? Then say hi to Xperia M. With NFC-based one-touch functions, this magical smartphone lets you easily share everything from photos to movies, all with the help of a simple touch. Xperia M comes with a large 4" high-quality display that gives you an incredible viewing experience. What else makes this smartphone stand out? Well, how about its carefully selected design details, that are held together by an innovative slim and sleek skeleton frame. Customisable illuminations make this smartphone even more unique, notifying you of incoming calls, Facebook updates and more.

Package Contents
  • Xperia M Smartphone
  • Charger
  • Media Cable
  • Screen Protector
Standard Memory1 GB