Coming from a long line of successful handsets, the lightweight Xperia has a lot to live up to.
- 3.5-inch TFT display
- 3.2 megapixel camera
- Android Jelly Bean
- microSD card slot (32GB)
- Wi-Fi capable
The Xperia E is available in black, white and red as pictured. It’s weighs in at just 115g and hosts a removable plastic back casing, housing the detachable battery, SIM input and 32GB microSD slot. The right hand side of the handset plays host to the camera shutter button, the volume rocker and the miniature power button which grows out of the removable frame. On the opposing side you’ll find the charging port and on top the 3.5mm headphone input.
The 3.5-inch TFT display is very responsive but does jump a bit when scrolling through social media channels – it could also do with being a bit brighter. There is an option to activate a backlight, but unless you’re looking directly at the display, you’ll find it difficult to make everything out.
The VGA camera can be accessed via the app tray, recording video and capturing images using the independent shutter button, and zooming using the volume controls. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t deal well with shake and doesn’t have a flash, but it does offer scene choice options to better suit your environment. It’s okay for well lit shots and uploading to social media, but for an entry level handset this is exactly what you should expect.
Software & Multimedia
Despite the Xperia E’s squat stature, it runs one of the most up-to-date versions of Google’s operating system, Android Jelly Bean. With a whole host of in-built apps including Sony’s Walkman, Google Maps, TrackID and many more practicalities, it’s ready to go as soon as you are. Social network channels like Facebook and Google+ offer you the immediate chance to engage with friends when setting the handset up.
Jelly Bean offers a great selection of hidden gear under the hood. Some of the highlights consist of a longer battery life, a more intuitive dictionary and the new Google Now cards that update traffic delays, weather, train timetables and other multipurpose tools relevant to geographical location. The live wallpapers also add a pleasant slice of originality to your handset. As you swipe between the five home pages, the background reacts according to finger movements.
Due to the size of relatively small 1GHz processor, web browsing isn’t that fluid and will slow down if you have more than one page open. Excessive apps running at once may contribute to slow internet use too, but they can be shut down via a swipe from the top of the display.
Performance & Verdict
If you’re looking for the Xperia Xperience (sorry, couldn’t help ourselves) but don’t want to shell out for the latest flagship, this model is for you. Budget devices don’t often measure up to much, but this is a capable handset that would be great for someone that doesn’t need to stream hundreds of hours of music or constantly scroll through Twitter.
It’s rare that a manufacturer will create a budget handset and choose to include as many of the features that characterise its flagship, but Sony has done it and it’s certainly a fine move. There’s been no news yet as to whether or not the Xperia E will be capable of upgrading to Android KitKat when it’s released, but standby for updates.