Sony Xperia M2 Aqua review
Like the M2, but it'll fare better in the bath

Adding waterproofing to a solid, not-that-expensive, phone like the Xperia M2 sounds like a good idea, and it is.

However, the Xperia M2 Aqua has exactly the kind of waterproofing I'm keen to see phased-out – the kind that relies entirely on irritating rubber seals. The phone also doesn't really address any of the M2's camera and screen issues, which seems a shame.

We liked

Hardcore water resistance means you can happily drop the phone in the bath without worrying about its safety. As long as you remember to keep those flaps in place, that is.

The Sony interface is among the clearest and most attractive custom interfaces around. Aside from having a few too many apps, it's easy to use and fast.

With a design not all that far removed from the more expensive Sony Xperia Z2, the Xperia M2 Aqua makes a good first impression, sure to raise a few eyebrows among your friends.

We disliked

Waterproof phones are great for peace of mind, but the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua's water resistance is awkward. It's all about rubber-sealed flaps rather than properly treated ports, making it pretty fiddly.

At the price you can get much better screens elsewhere. The IPS display isn't bad, but resolution is a little low and the screen architecture doesn't do quite enough to reduce reflections.

The camera struggles in too many kinds of conditions. Give it high light variance or a strong light source and it falls on its face.

Final verdict

The Sony Xperia M2 Aqua adds water resistance to the solid Xperia M2. It's a great idea but the execution is clumsy.

Waterproofing is great, but having to make sure your seals are in place isn't. What if you are unexpectedly thrown into a swimming pool? Or leave a seal slightly open in a heavy downpour? Until waterproofing comes without the seals it'll be far from the perfect solution.

There are a few other lingering problems on the phone. The camera, for instance, struggles if it isn't given the perfect lighting conditions (although it can be used underwater which is a nice touch) and for around this price you can get a phone with a better screen.

However, when it comes to design the M2 Aqua does stand out. The sleek body and slimmed down UI make this a very attractive, fast and easy to use phone.

And as much as the waterproofing isn't perfect, you aren't likely to find it elsewhere for a cheaper price, making the Xperia M2 Aqua decent value for money. If you're considering the Xperia M2 it might be worth looking at its aquatic sibling for that extra versatility.

First reviewed August 2014