Sony might be pitching the Xperia M as a fully-featured smartphone at an affordable price, but this entry-level effort doesn't hit the mark convincingly on either count.
Its 4-inch display isn't quite large or sharp enough for the modern Android OS, and the phone suffers from a critical lack of storage space. With the vastly superior Motorola Moto G available for less money, I just don't see where the £175 (around $200, AU$220) Xperia M fits in.
It's oddly refreshing to have an 'iPhone-sized' 4-inch smartphone running the Android OS, and the Sony Xperia M is a lot lighter and more compact than most of its peers.
The Xperia M is a solidly built phone with a well though-out set of physical controls - including an all-too-rare camera shutter button.
There's also no denying that the Xperia M is extremely affordable, making it the ideal entry point to those particularly enamoured with Sony's design work, or those who want an Android phone with iPhone dimensions.
The Sony Xperia M would probably have felt like reasonably good value had it been launched at the end of 2012, though even back then its specs would have been underwhelming.
With the staggeringly good value Moto G now on the scene, low-end smartphone standards have been raised to an extremely high level, and the Xperia M just cannot compete.
Regardless of this, the Xperia M's compact display is simply not sharp or vibrant enough in this day and age, and its lack of storage means that you'll need a substantial microSD card just to be able to use the phone as intended.
What's more, unlike the rest of the Xperia range, the M can't fall back on a decent camera as a stand-out feature.
You have to feel a little sorry for Sony. It produces a perfectly solid Android smartphone with a handful of neat features, all for a low price tag, only to see it completely undermined by the Moto G.
Even taking such an exceptional competitor out of the reckoning, though, the Xperia M finds itself flanked by high quality low-end rivals like the Nokia Lumia 520 and the Huawei Ascend P6. In such company, the Sony Xperia M simply doesn't provide enough distinctive bangs for your bucks.
Unless you're specifically looking for a cheap Android phone that matches the iPhone's dimensions, we can't see why you'd choose the Xperia M over its rivals.
First reviewed: January 2014