Sony Xperia Miro review

Sony's second budget handset in as many months - does it do enough to stand out?

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The Sony Xperia Miro is oddly positioned. At first glance it seems like a low- to mid-end phone that should slot into the gap between the Sony Xperia Tipo and the Sony Xperia U. Take a closer look, though, and it's not that simple.

While it has a bigger screen, better camera and higher price tag than the Xperia Tipo, the screen is also more resistive and the phone chugs more when navigating home screens.

On the other hand, while the Xperia U has a faster processor and better video, it doesn't have a microSD card slot, which the Sony Xperia Miro does.

Things don't become any clearer when you consider the name and form factor. The name aligns it with the Sony Xperia Tipo but its body is styled similarly to Sony's higher end range of single letter handsets such as the Sony Xperia U and the Sony Xperia P.

In short, it seems to be a phone with an identity crisis, which is a dangerous position to be in when entering an overcrowded market.

We liked

The Sony Xperia Miro handles media and especially music really well. It has a comprehensive player, full of options for sorting and sharing your music.

Plus there's the ability to tweak the way it sounds in various ways, and Sony's xLoud technology ensuring that it sounds good even through the handset's tiny speakers.

Battery life is pretty good too. Unless you're on the phone non-stop you'll easily get a day's use out of it, and it will often stretch to two days.

There's a bunch of connectivity options including DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot and even Wi-Fi direct. It also takes a decent stab at messaging and calls, with smart dialling and speed dial options plus a snazzy notification light for missed calls and texts.

We disliked

The screen on the Sony Xperia Miro is a huge let down. It's low resolution, and even worse it feels resistive and sluggish to the touch. This is a real disappointment given that the lower-end Sony Xperia Tipo had no such problems.

The handset also struggles a bit with even basic operations, often noticeably lagging during home screen transitions. The video camera is basically a write off, and the build quality is underwhelming, leaving it feeling cheap and entirely too much like a toy.

Final verdict

The Sony Xperia Miro is an underwhelming and uninspired handset. It also doesn't seem to know what it wants to be.

It's substantially more expensive than the Xperia Tipo, yet in some ways it's a worse performer. Equally, for only a little more you could pick up a Sony Xperia U, and if you can live with its tiny hard drive it's undoubtedly a better handset.

Or don't get a Sony phone at all. The HTC Wildfire S is similarly priced and slightly better, while for a little more you could pick up a Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and get substantially more bang for your buck.

However you look at it, the Sony Xperia Miro becomes hard to justify. With a better screen or a lower price tag it might be able to carve itself a niche in the market, but as things stand we just can't recommend it.

It's not a total disaster - it's got a lot of juice, media is handled well and it does a good job of the basic acts of calling and messaging people. But plenty of other phones tick those boxes too, without stumbling in quite as many other areas as the Sony Xperia Miro.

The Sony Xperia Miro was always going to struggle to stand out. The budget phone market has become incredibly crowded, and even Sony itself has a couple of other handsets that aren't dramatically different.

Thanks to a weak screen and generally underwhelming performance, the Sony Xperia Miro is pretty much dead in the water. It has an impressive battery life and good media options, but they're not enough to save it from mediocrity.