Sony’s new phones boast displays perfect for watching films
IT SEEMS strange to be talking about the venerable Japanese tech giant Sony as being an underdog. But in the world of mobile phones that’s exactly what it is.
On one side you have Samsung, most people’s go-to brand when it comes to Android devices. On the other is Apple with the iPhone for everyone else.
Then there’s Huawei, breathing down Samsung’s neck, despite the reservations among western powers about its Chinese origins.
Still, it’s a big business to be in, and even the small manufacturers sell a lot of phones.
But why would you buy a Sony over anything else? Well, there are a few unique things about Sony’s phones, and they are front and centre in a couple of the latest devices released. And those features give us a little bit of a taste of Sony’s next big release, the Xperia 1.
We’ve been testing the middleand low-range models Sony unleashed last month – the Xperia 10 and the Xperia L3. And we like what we see.
THE Xperia 10 is the mid-range new phone. It costs £299 unlocked, and you can bag one for nothing on a £26-a-month Vodafone contract.
So, it’s not going to break the bank. For that price, though, there has to be compromises, and the Xperia 10 compromises with dated internals which, in the end, produce a slower performance than you might like. I know, though, that most people don’t often notice performance unless they upgrade to a faster device.
The internals are not what Sony is selling with this phone anyway; the selling point is the display.
It comes in a 21:9 aspect ratio, which means it’s thinner and taller than other phones. There’s a clear and obvious reason Sony has done this: 21:9 is the same aspect ratio you’d see watching the latest blockbusters on the big screen in the cinema. Yes, this is a phone for watching films on.
It has some other advantages; the slimmer phone is slightly easier to use one-handed, and you could argue the taller screen compensates for what you lose either side.
As a phone it’s a perfectly capable beast. It comes with a pretty standard version of Android, without some of the less useful aspects of Sony’s usual modifications.
Build quality is good, too, as you would expect from Sony. And the camera – a dual unit on the back – produces the kind of quality you’d expect from a phone in this price range. Let’s be honest, though, if a great camera is what you need and want, you wouldn’t be looking in this price range.
Battery life is mid-range and that is certainly one of the things people care about when choosing phones.
One quirk that might put people off is the fingerprint scanner, which is located on the side of the device rather than the back… it can be a little awkward to reach the volume controls underneath.
But you do get what you pay for, and for Sony fans, and those who use their phone a lot for video, the Xperia 10 must be on any list of phones to consider.
THIS is a budget phone from Sony, and it certainly shows. It’s all-plastic, and the performance does feature some lag issues when switching screens and scrolling.
That said, it’s £169 (or free with a £22-a-month Vodafone contract).
It’s solid and usable, will take decent photos, and do all the Android things you like to do with your phone – just a little slower than you might like.
What it does have in its favour is the 21:9 aspect ratio screen.
If that’s the thing that’s important to you, and given the price, this entry-level model is certainly the way to go.
Battery life is pretty good – it should last all-day under normal usage. Which is more than can be said for its big brother, the 10.
As entry-level phones go, then, the L3 is worth looking at – not least because that familiar Sony logo on the back brings with it some assurances of quality craftsmanship.
TWO decent phones, for two different price-points, then. The top-of-the range Xperia 1 will feature the 21:9 screen, too, but will pack in some top-spec hardware to rival the high-end phones made by Apple and Samsung. It’ll be interesting to see if that screen will make a difference to buyers when the prices and specs are comparable to the best on the market.
The Xperia 10 and L3 are out now, the Xperia 1 is scheduled for release in “late spring”. Visit sonymobile. com and vodafone.co.uk
Sony Xperia’s new 10 and L3 phones have 21:9 ratio screens