Sony Xperia J review

Can the Sony Ericsson inspired J jump in and make a splash?

Sony Xperia J review
Mid- to low-end device brings curvy Ice Cream Sandwich at a low price

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The Sony Xperia J makes a decent attempt at providing a multimedia experience at a reasonable price, with its 4-inch touchscreen and Google innards providing solid foundations.

Sadly we found the Xperia J lacking when it came to internal storage, with Sony only sticking in 4GB, with just over 2GB of that actually available to use – the rest is filled by the firmware.

Luckily there is a microSD card slot behind the Xperia J's plastic rear cover, allowing you to expand the storage by another 32GB – which should be plenty for the majority of you out there.

You'll have to remove the battery to access it which is a bit of a pain, as it means switching the handset on and off if you want to swap the card out.

Getting media on and off the Sony Xperia J is easy enough: plug into your computer, allow the drivers to automatically install and you'll be dragging and dropping your content in no time.

There's also Sony's PC Companion desktop software which you can download and install on your machine, allowing you to sync content between phone and computer, as well as back up and restore the Xperia J.


Sony Xperia J review

Music fans should feel at home with a Sony phone, as the company pioneered the portable solution back in 80s with the original Walkman – technology has come on a long way from them, but we still expect Sony to deliver on one of its iconic traits.

The Japanese firm has dropped the Walkman brand which adorned phones such as the W995 and Mix Walkman, but the namesake app remains on the Xperia J.

Fire up the Walkman app and it's all pretty straightforward; there's a 'my music' panel allowing you view your tunes by tracks, album or artist, and there's a playlist function allowing you to group certain songs together.

The now playing tab provides you will all the typical music controls, play/pause, skip, and scrub, while repeat and shuffle are hidden away slightly in the menu panel – accessed by hitting the menu soft key below the screen.

You can access the graphic equaliser from the same menu, allowing you to fine-tune your listening experience to best suit your style of music, and with a decent set of headphones plugged in, the Xperia J provides pleasing playback.

Sony Xperia J review

Sony's xLoud technology has also been stuffed into the Xperia J, which boosts the volume of the internal speaker, without the same insufferable level of distortion we've become accustomed to.

There's a link to Sony's Music Unlimited app from within the Walkman application, and the app has its own icon in the app list as well.

Music Unlimited is Sony's answer to streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, charging you £9.99 a month for unlimited listening, with the option to save your tunes offline, so you're not without your favourite beats when away from the internet.

It's up to you whether you plump for Music Unlimited over the other services available, but it will sync nicely if you own a PlayStation 3 or Sony Smart TV.

If you fancy purchasing and downloading music so you actually own a physical copy then Google now was its own service, available through Google Play.

Play Music is similar to the likes of iTunes and 7Digital, offering up a wide catalogue of songs, with singles setting you back between 79p and £1.29, while albums can cost anything from £3.99 to £12.99.

Prices are in keeping with rival music stores, and the Play Music store works in very much the same way as the rest of Google Play, which means you'll easily be able to navigate around.

There's an FM radio app on board the Xperia J too, providing you with a simple way to listen to radio stations. You can favourite a station allowing you to jump straight to it.

A handy shortcut to the TrackID app also features, which will tell you the name of the song which is currently playing – rather useful if you ask us.


With that 4-inch display the Sony Xperia J is a portable media player contender and don't let the 480x854 resolution put you off.

Video playback is smooth, colours bright and lines pretty well defined. It's not as impressive as the HD displays we're treated to on the high-end phones these days, but you could happily watch a movie on the Xperia J.

The player itself is a very basic affair, offering you a play/pause button and scrub controls and that's about it – which at least makes it idiot proof.

Sony Xperia J review

While Sony claims the Xperia J will happily play MP4, WMV, H.263 and .264 formats, we were unable to get any of our clips to play from our microSD card.

The My Movies app gives you access to all the films stored on the handset which weren't recorded with the on board camera, which makes it a lot easier to find the video you want without having to trawl through the Album app.

If like us you can't get your files to play, you can always head over to Google Play where you can rent and purchase movies, with rental prices ranging from £1.49 to £3.49.

If you want to rent an HD version then you'll need to add a quid on top of the price, and you'll need to shell out at least £7.99 if you want to purchase a film to keep.


All your lovely photos are stored in the Album app, and Sony has implemented its own design within this application, doing away with the folders we're used to seeing in Android.

Sony Xperia J review

Instead the default view is a vertical list of image thumbnails in order of the date and time they were taken.

Using the pinch and zoom technique you can adjust the size of the thumbnails – and thus the number which appear on screen at any one time. There is a short delay while the Xperia J catches up with the new magnification level, but it's not a slow as some other areas of the handset.

Sony Xperia J review

There's a basic photo editor built into the album, which lets you crop, rotate, remove red eye and add various effects and corrections to your images.

It's not as fully featured as some third party offerings, but for the casual snapper it's an easy to use tool which can improve your pictures.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.