When it comes to using the Sony Xperia M2 in day-to-day use, there are certain things that you just want to know work properly.
Like many I have found that the phone function of smartphones now seems to have taken a back seat, meaning that I consider the keyboard to be one of the most important features. It runs throughout the entire phone being used in every single app that requires even the most basic of text input.
This is one area that Sony really excels in, with one of the best pre-installed keyboards that I have come across.
Turning the device on from the beginning and firing up the keyboard immediately gives decent results, although take a second to hit the little magic wand key and you'll be presented with the ability to personalise how you want the keyboard to operate.
Of all the options my favourite is the ability to long press to get symbols up, as it makes typing a lot faster and a lot easier.
You can also personalise your corrections by connecting the Xperia keyboard to your Gmail, Facebook and Twitter accounts so it can learn your writing style. Swype style messaging is also supported.
This keyboard is likely to be used most prominently within the SMS and email apps, the latter of which is handled ably by both the Gmail app and a native email app. Both email apps come well stocked with every feature that you can expect, providing nothing extra of note.
The SMS app is slightly different though. I'm a big fan of the SMS app as it makes the most of your contact's pictures, putting them beside the messages. This makes the app very visually appealing and is a big step up over the stock offering.
Of course the Xperia M2 still doubles up as a more traditional phone. The main things to make the phone a success are call quality, signal holding and contact integration.
The former was very good; I was able to hear what was being said and vice versa.
The nifty feature of being able to text or recall a contact after hanging up if you've forgotten something if unfortunately not present here, but there is nothing that ultimately lets the M2 down.
Signal holding was also equally impressive, picking up signal in every area that it was expected although still suffered from the same network black spots that I am used to.
In terms of contact integration I was also pleased with Sony's efforts. Smart dialling is available through the phone app, the main way that Sony wants you to locate contacts. To access the contacts app you have to navigate to the app drawer.
Here you're presented with a list of contacts in much the same way as HTC Sense, with the same alphabet on the right as found on TouchWiz. Integration with social media is handled well, pulling in contacts from WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and combining them well, although I feel HTC handles this slightly better.
The other major area that needs to be looked at while checking out a modern smartphone is the browser. This is an area where I must applaud Sony as the Japanese firm offers only one app; Google Chrome.
This not only makes the most of the 4G speeds, but also doesn't suffer thanks to the quad-core CPU underneath making sure that even the TechRadar site fully loaded in 6 seconds, having been visible after only 3.
In all the Xperia M2 handles everything that you would expect from a smartphone very well, not leaving you wanting for something any more powerful.