Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review

The mid-range waterproof marvel

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review

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The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a decent midrange smartphone that provides some good features – and an excellent flagship-inspired deign – for the price.

The large and vibrant screen and good battery life are particular highlights, but it is also let down with some performance issues that readily remind you that despite its looks, this is a smartphone built on budget hardware.

We liked

The overall design of the Xperia M4 Aqua is an obvious highlight, and unless you work in Sony's mobile division you'd be pretty hard pressed to tell the difference between the M4 Aqua and the flagship Xperia Z3 – from a distance at least.

The water and dust-proof design is also a welcome addition that's not often found on handsets at this price range. Despite being 720p, the screen also looks very good, and does a great job of displaying media and websites.

The battery life is also impressive, and if you're careful with how much you use the device, you'll be able to eke out at least two days of juice between charges.

We disliked

Despite looking the part, the Xperia M4 didn't provide a particularly smooth experience with apps sometimes taking a while to load, and photos taking a few (sometimes crucial) seconds to process. This means the M4 Aqua often feels like a low-end handset, and although it's not expensive it's also certainly not that cheap either.

The paltry amount of internal storage space is also a concern, and you'll soon find yourself having to invest in a microSD card to store photos and media. Android 5.0 doesn't like installing apps to SD cards however, so you'll still be stuck if you like loading up your smartphone with those.


The M4 Aqua is a decently priced smartphone that does a lot of things well, and a lot of things not so well. This can sometimes mean it's hard to decide whether or not a phone would be particularly suitable for certain people, but in this case the stars have aligned and it actually makes the decision a bit easier.

Do you want a phone that covers the basics well, throws in some nice features like 4G and NFC and also looks nice? Do you only use your phone occasionally but when you do, you need to know that it will have kept its battery?

Then the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is definitely worth considering, and if you bought it for those reasons you wouldn't be disappointed at all.

Xperia M4 Aqua

A decent smartphone with some performance issues

However if you're constantly on the phone, playing games, browsing the internet and downloading the latest and greatest apps, then the Xperia M4 Aqua really won't be for you.

The pitiful storage space will limit your app aspirations, and the constant use – especially when browsing the internet – eliminates and battery benefit the handset brings.

On top of that you'll be bothered by the speed of the handset, and if you like taking photos you might be initially pleased with the results, but you'll soon be hankering for a snappier snapper.

If you still lust after Sony's aesthetics then I would strongly recommend the Xperia Z3 Compact which does pretty much everything better and comes with a host of additional features such as PS4 Remote Play as well.

It's a bit more expensive, but once the Xperia Z4 comes out we should hopefully see some decent price cuts there as well.

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.