Sony Xperia L Hands On Review

As the newest member of our family, we have a Sony Xperia L up here for a reality check so that our readers can feel a little more comfortable while going for one of the most versatile mid range performers that is on offer by the Japanese multinational. The phone has got quite a gusty chipset and a pretty good feature set for the buck and that is one of the factors that we couldn’t wait to get our hands onto this mid ranger. Now before we get started with our full-blown review of the handset, just for those who missed out on the bite, here’s a brief info of what the Sony Xperia L has to offer.

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The Retail Package:

  • Handset.
  • One Piece headset.
  • Two Piece USB Cable/Charger.
  • A Lot Of Paper Work.
  • No Bundled microSD card.

The standard retail package.

Sony has put in quite a lot of efforts to keep the overall package under the budget and meanwhile has supplied almost all the necessary set of accessories that the user will need to get started with their Xperia device. The bundled charger is of the “GreenHeart” kind which lays a bit less of stress on the environment while the battery inside is a 1750 mAh unit which we will later come on to give a try in our testing rigs. The bundled one piece headset came in white and has standard type earplugs on top of a single button controller and is quite comfortable to the ears courtesy the better design and size.

Build Quality and Design:

The Xperia L borrows most of it’s aesthetics from the elderly Xperia Arc but the metal has been replaced by soft touch and high quality plastics. Although it has a glimpse of the past flagship but also borrows the handsome looking power button that sits on the right waistline of the smartphone. The Phone measures 5.07 x 2.56 x 0.38 inches and fits in a 4.3 inch display upfront as Sony has opted to go for on screen navigation buttons instead of the capacitive ones.

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The Sony Xperia L is nothing but flat upfront with only the sensors and the front cam taking the seats alongside the massive display!

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The curvy back of the Xperia L has been taken from the Xperia Arc and hosts the LED flash alongside the Camera Lens while the Loudspeaker grill sits at the bottom beneath the vintage XPERIA logo.

The device comes in three color options in which i found the Starry Black one having a much better grip than the other two courtesy the rubberized back which also glitters as opposed to the other two being plastic all around but despite of this, the device feels to be having an upmarket feel with some top quality plastic that has been used for it’s construction.

Talking about the design of the phone, the Sony Xperia L is still a looker despite not being too glittery upfront. The device is nearly pocketable but there sits a lot of unused area upfront which could had been a bit tighter around the display. On the right side of the curvaceous figure, you have the volume rocker, the camera shutter(which is a pleasant surprise!) and the signature power button while the left of the phone is almost empty but having the microUSB port which also serves as the charger port. The device is all flat on the front with a big 4.3” display unit and the front camera and the proximity sensor on the top of it. The Display is razor sharp although it lacks the Bravia magic but colors come out to be quite true and vivid and the response from the capacitive touch panel is lightening fast. Although the display chips in at a generous looking 4.3 inches of diagonal but is still somewhat uncomfortable for a single handed use while the viewing angles are nothing to write home about considering the manufacturer’s hereditary issues.

Multimedia and User Interface:

Sony Xperia L runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean straight out of the box with Sony’s proprietary Xperia UI skinned on top of it. The Xperia UI well known for it’s sheer elegance on top of an overall simplistic appeal runs butter smooth over the couple of powerful Krait cores.

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The Lockscreen, Homescreen and the App Drawer.

The user interface also borrows a lot from the piece of software on the Xperia Z and apart from a few tweaks and tricks of the flagship, it is almost a similar story down the lane.

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Sony’s Xperia UI is amongst the most highly customizable ones in the market and powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean’s project butter, the UI is super fluid with no hiccups howsoever.

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The thumbnail matrix of the Albums app can be altered by a two finger swipe in gesture while the Movies app disappoints with no support for FullHD content.

The Sony Xperia L comes with Sony’s media apps pre-installed which also includes the Walkman music player and one of the most interesting gallery apps, the Sony Albums app.

Apart from the standard set of media apps, I also got a few region dependent apps pre-installed on my phone but to be serious here, I wonder why these OEMs are so desperate about puffing their mobile phones’ ROM with that much of bloatware onboard!

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The Camera viewfinder. The Camera mode can be altered by clicking on the camera icon at the top left of the viewfinder while on the bottom right, is a toggle to switch between the front and the back cameras.

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The Sony Camera app provides us with a plenty of image adjustments to choose from!

The camera UI is the stock Sony camera app which has got a lot of customizable scene settings to get the best picture while the different camera modes can be switched easily through the first tab on the left column. The camera also allows clicking of pictures as you shoot your videos but the story gets a little bumpy as the resolution for the stills maxes out at just a Megapixel.

Hardware and Software Performance:

Sony Xperia L does a dual core with it’s two Krait cores clicking a clock speed of 1 GHz while a Gigabyte of RAM goes hand in hand to enhance the supplied throttle to provide a glitch and lag free Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience.

The sound output is crystal clear considering Sony’s sound synthesizing muscle that has comes supplied with the Walkman player while the implementation of the xLOUD audio engine enhances the phone’s sound output via the internal speaker. Talking about the camera which has been touted to be one of the weakest points amongst the Xperia L’s ammunition and arms, is still good enough for clicking a holiday snap or two while the macro mode performance is a joy to the eye. The video cam also suffers the lack of detail in every frame but that seems to be an issue with the focus adjusting system rather than being an issue with the bit-rate which came out to be quite generous on the counters.

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The Sony Xperia L blasted off some really big names in the Nenamark 2 GPU Benchmark while hitting a sweet 60.6 Frames Per Second running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

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Sony’s home-bred Stamina mode turns off mobile data whenever your phone goes under standby. The device pulled out some really good CPU and moreover GPU performance in the Antutu benchmark tests. Also, the phone also prompts for the installation of Sony’s PC companion app as soon as it gets connected to a PC via a USB cable and as soon as you click on Install, the phone mounts itself as an installation disc and the Autorun dialog pops up!

Getting back to the performance tests, the Sony Xperia L is no slouch in terms of either the benchmarks or the real life performance. The phone ticked some pretty neat scores in almost every benchmark we threw at it with an Antutu score of 10445 under stock conditions!

In terms of day to day use, the phone fared out pretty well in not only handling the day to day tasks with much of ease but also providing a moment of leisure courtesy the multimedia powerhouse it packs inside. On a single charge, the battery lasted for almost a day and that is just okay considering it being a 1750 mAh unit to power a dual core Krait powerhouse over a 4.3 inches of display estate. However, the Stamina mode when turned on, pushes the standby time a bit more than twice of the actual value but at the cost of you answering your emails and Whatsapp pings with a bit of delay.

So, summing it up, let us have a quick look at the Pros. and Cons. of the Xperian mid ranger:

Pros:

  • An extremely fluid UI topped upon Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
  • The bigger display with a body resembling a Flagship from the past.
  • The most powerful chipset and the best feature set for the asking price.
  • A Gigabyte of RAM makes multitasking a breeze(no lags till now!).
  • Good build quality and aesthetics.

Cons:

  • Average viewing angles.
  • On par battery life.
  • Poor focus handling of the camera lens(needs a software check, may be!).

All in all, the Sony Xperia L is worth a shot if you are switching to a mid ranger from a low end device but if you have a few more extra bugs to spend upon, you have got a plethora of alternatives out there with a similar CPU configuration but for the price that this lad checks in, it is not meant to go unnoticed so easily!