Sony's Xperia series of Android smartphones is slowly but surely gaining momentum as newer models in all price brackets are beginning to flood the market. The latest is the Xperia L handset that’s all set to replace the Neo L, the successor to the Neo V. A lot has changed since then and specifications and features that were once considered brilliant for this price segment does not hold any ground today. Let’s hope Sony has kept that in mind when designing the Xperia L.
OS – Android 4.1 with Sony’s custom skin
The Xperia L will ship with Jelly Bean 4.1 out of the box along with Sony’s custom skin. The handset should also be easily upgradable to 4.2 down the road. The UI should be very similar to the one’s we’ve seen on the Xperia Z and ZL.
Cellular connectivity – 3G but no LTE
There really aren't any smartphones available today in this price bracket or lower that don't support 3G. The lack of LTE isn’t much of a downer as many of the high-end phones launched in India lack LTE support too.
Slim and sleek design
Display – 4.3-inch TFT LCD
Here's where Sony would have to really fight for its right to be taken seriously. With devices like the Micromax Canavs HD and the XOLO X1000, both of which have HD displays, the Xperia L falls a bit short in this respect. There's nothing wrong with the size of the screen as larger screen devices are more cumbersome to handle, but the lack of BRAVIA Mobile Engine could be an issue.
Form factor – Definitely an upgrade from the Neo L
Taking its cue from the Arc, the concave back of the handset should make it easy to grip. While Sony seemed to think that a completely flat rear surface would be ideal (see Xperia Z), the curved nature also adds a little finesse to the overall design of the handset. The protruding power/sleep button is all chromed out and adds a touch of class and ease of accessibility to the form of this slim handset. The subtle light indicator at the bottom of the device is also a good idea. Overall, we feel it’s a big step up from the down right plasticky Neo L.
Connectivity – Fully loaded
The Xperia L features dual-band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Hotspot creation, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC and USB 2.0. GLONASS for navigation will be sorely missed though.
SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 400
Loaded up with a dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz, 1GB of RAM and an Adreno 305 GPU, speed shouldn't be a problem. However, once again, lower priced options with quad-core processors like the Canvas HD are available. We'll have more to say once we've run benchmarks on the Xperia L and compared them to those of the lower priced devices.
Internal storage – 8GB, further expandable
You're provisioned with 8GB of internal storage on the Xperia L, out of which about 5.8GB is available for users. This can be further enhanced with the use of microSD cards going up to 32GB in capacity. That's quite a bit for all intents and purposes.
The camera is the main USP of the L
Cameras – 8MP shooter with HDR video
The Xperia L’s main selling point is the camera. The 8MP shooter supports HDR for stills as well as video, just like the Xperia Z. While this is all fine and dandy, we don’t understand why Sony has limited the video recording to just 720p. Most phones in this price range can easily manage 1080p video, so why cap it knowing the SoC can handle it? This is one area which could be a make or break for most buyers. The front-facing camera is also a disappointment. The Xperia L still uses a VGA sensor when the rest of the world has moved onto 1.3MP and above.
Sensors – Only proximity, compass and accelerometer
The Xperia L is missing a Gyroscope, but everything else is present.
Battery – 1750 mAh Li-ion battery
The battery has been bumped up to 1750 mAh capacity, which, given the resolution, should easily last you for an entire day.
The bottom line
Sony’s new Xperia L is definitely not as exciting as its higher-end cousin, the SP. If phones like the Canvas HD, Galaxy Grand and the XOLO X1000 didn’t exist, then yes, the L would have been a very good option. But sadly, that’s not the case. The L certainly has better aesthetics as compared to its predecessor, but it’s far from perfect. At its expected launch price, there are not one but several gaping holes in the specifications list that stick out like a sore thumb. The screen is the most disappointing part. Not only is it not HD, it also lacks the BRAVIA treatment. The lack of full HD recording will also be missed and we could have done without NFC and taken GLONASS instead. We just hope that Sony soon drops the price of the L like it did with the SP, else it’s going to be a tough sell.
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