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Sony Xperia L1 review

A big screen budget blower that falls short elsewhere

When you're shopping on a tight budget you can't afford to be choosy when it comes to smartphones, and the Sony Xperia L1 certainly cuts plenty of corners to hit its modest price point.

A 720p screen, weak CPU and plastic body all count against it, and the lack of a fingerprint scanner is hard to swallow when so many other budget phones have them.

For all of its faults there are some positives though, as the design isn't terrible and Sony's tweaks to Android are generally favorable.

Who's this for?

Despite lacking some key features when compared to the competition, the Xperia L1 does have the cachet of the Sony brand in its favor, as while the Japanese giant isn't quite as successful in the smartphone arena as it perhaps should be, it still carries some weight with tech fans.

So if you want a handset which has premium aspirations (despite a less than premium build and spec sheet) it might be a good bet, at least in the budget end of the market.

Should you buy it?

A Sony phone for around £160/$180/AU$240 is nothing to be sniffed at, and the Xperia L1 does have a lot on offer for such a modest price – a roomy 5.5-inch screen being perhaps the most appealing aspect.

In this price bracket it has some stiff competition, but most of its closest rivals are similarly lacking in other key areas, leaving little to choose between them.

If you still can't decide – and you don't mind doing a little extra legwork when it comes to ordering and getting things working properly – then you might be better off looking to one of Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi's handsets, like the Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus.

First reviewed: January 2018