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The budget mobile market is now a seriously competitive one, and the Sony Xperia E1 really has its work cut out even before it's out of the box.
Sadly Sony has made a few too many cuts to a dinky dialler which does the basics, but little more.
Buying the Sony Xperia E1 is a non-scary prospect, which may matter a lot for people looking for a second phone they can lose or break, or one to give to a younger person
You also get to sidestep some of the software wonkiness here that you might see if you went for a phone from a company like Huawei or ZTE. The interface is pretty good, even if the version of Android behind it is currently out of date.
While going with Sony has positives, there are knock-on effects too. The brand seems to be used as a way to side step having to provide quite the baseline quality of hardware you get with something like the Motorola Moto E. There are a lot of cuts you need to live with.
The body doesn't feel too great, the screen quality is fairly low and with just 512MB of RAM, day-to-day performance really isn't too hot.
At the price I can live with a bad camera, and limited storage is to be expected but the Xperia E1 loses out in a few too many areas.
The Sony Xperia E1 is a cheap phone, and it both looks and feels like one. Unlike some rivals it hasn't quite made enough right moves to ensure it brings a solid core experience to the table, while still including some fluffier elements like a dedicated music button.
Thanks to the decent interface it's a reasonable low-cost option, but it's solidly beaten by the Motorola Moto E, which costs as little as £10 more.
First reviewed: July 2014
Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.