Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review

The mid-range waterproof marvel

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review

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Sony has a decent track record of putting very good cameras in its smartphones, so it's little surprise that the M4 Aqua packs a pretty nice snapper in the form of a 13MP Exmor RS sensor main camera and a 5MP front-facing one.

Xperia M4 Aqua

The camera app can be launched either through the dedicated camera button on the side of the M4 Aqua's body, from the lock screen or through your home screen. The app is similar to the one found on other Xperia devices, which means there's a host of features to help you compose and take shots.

Xperia M4 Aqua

The camera app is straightforward to use, but full of features

Superior auto mode does a good job of figuring out what sort of photo you're trying to take and in what sort of conditions, and then selecting the appropriate settings.

As with other Sony handsets that use this app, Superior auto mode worked rather well, but if you'd like to select your own settings the app also comes with a manual mode and a wealth of other tools.

Panoramas, multi camera and augmented reality are all included, though the M4 Aqua does struggle a fair bit with the demands of augmented reality.

Xperia M4 Aqua

The Xperia M4 Aqua struggles with AR sometimes

The weaker specs of the M4 Aqua also mean that taking photos is a bit laborious, with the Snapdragon 615 that powers this phone unable to take photos at full speed, so you can end up waiting a few seconds for the snaps to take.

The photos themselves from the main camera are of decent quality, with both indoor and outdoor shots showing natural colour reproduction. Detail is good, though not spectacular, but most of the time photos come out clear and sharp.

However the slight delay in taking photos does mean you can sometimes miss out on the perfect shot, so if the camera is a particularly important aspect of your smartphone, then you'll want to go for something that has enough power to take snaps quickly.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

Outdoor shots are vibrant and feature a decent level of detail

Sony's bid to please the selfie generation with a 5MP front facing snapper seems to have paid off though, as the photos I took using that camera were some of the better ones I've seen coming from the oft neglected front camera.

If you're a keen taker of photos of yourself and friends – or perhaps use it to make Skype video calls – then you'll be very pleased with the M4 Aqua's performance in this regard.

Xperia M4 Aqua

Photos with the front-facing camera are high quality

On the subject of video, the M4 Aqua doesn't attempt 4K footage – which is just as well as I found even the more powerful and expensive Xperia Z3 Compact struggled with that resolution – but the 1080p footage it does take (at 30 frames per second), is again pretty decent.

Overall if you take the odd shot using your smartphone, the M4 Aqua will be fine, but if you're after something that can rival a compact camera, you're much better off going for something like the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom or Nokia Lumia 1020 at around this price range.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.