Sony Xperia M2 Review: same iconic design, more modest package

June 4, 2014
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Sony's iconic design in a much more modest package.

PROS
  • Great build quality
  • Compact form factor
  • Smooth performance
  • Exceptional Battery life
CONS
  • Poor camera
  • Price
  • Low-res display
7.5
The Sony Xperia M2 features Sony’s tried and true design and build quality in a midrange package.  While it has many great qualities from performance to battery life, the price might be too high for some so I’d recommend waiting for it to go on sale before pulling the trigger.

The Xperia M2 is a midrange phone from Sony and while midrange phones aren’t for everyone, there certainly is a demand for them. Whether it’s Samsung, HTC, or LG, every OEM has figured out a design language that works for them and Sony is no exception. The M2 shares the same design aesthetics as other flagship Sony devices, albeit in a much more modest package. It’s smaller, made entirely of plastic instead of the Z2’s glass and metal, and doesn’t have any waterproofing characteristics.

The 4.8 display on the front is also quite a step down with it’s 960×540 resolution, but it’s certainly more than passable with great colors, viewing angles, and brightness. Like many other Sony handsets the M2’s reflective panel does put a hamper on outdoor visibility.

Sony Xperia M2-3

Inside the M2 is a Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.2 GHz with 1GB RAM, an Adreno 305 GPU and 8 gigs of internal storage, which can be augmented by micro SD expansion. The specs are relatively standard when it comes to midrange smartphones, but the performance of the M2 has provided for an overall pleasant experience. Basic tasks such as swiping through home screens and opening up apps went smoothly without any noticeable lag, and even demanding tasks like gaming performed very well. While the Xperia M2 is far from being the fastest device in the world, it’s speed of operation will satisfy many users needs.

The 8 megapixel camera, however, is very lackluster and while Sony has packed it with all of the functions and shooting modes that you get with their flagship devices, the picture quality leaves a lot to be desired. Great looking shots can be achieved in appropriate lighting conditions but photos turn into a noisy mess quickly with even the slightest change in lighting, making for very poor performance in low light and night time photography.

Sony Xperia M2-30

Battery life on the other hand has been surprisingly fantastic. While the 2,300 mAh battery sounds mighty small in 2014, with average use I managed to get through a full day with 5 hours of screen on time without any sort of heavy power management. That said, Sony’s Stamina Mode is included if you feel the need to stretch the battery life even further.

On the software side the Xperia M2 is running on 4.3 Jelly Bean with a promise of being updated to KitKat, but we’ll have to wait and see when that happens. On top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is Sony’s Xperia UI. While I prefer stock Android over any skinned experience, if I had to pick a skin the Xperia UI certainly isn’t a bad choice as it adds some useful features like the small apps for quick multitasking. Even better, there’s not a lot of bloat or any major changes that interfere with the core Android experience.

The Sony Xperia M2 is available now for roughly $300 with HSPA and LTE support on board, provided you get the right model number. Our review unit is the D2305, which caps out at 3g connectivity, while the D2303 and D2306 both support LTE. In other words, make sure to check those model numbers before you make your purchase.

For a price of $300, the Xperia M2 will likely be a hard sell for many consumers, namely because devices like the Nexus 5 and Moto X are available for only an extra $50 and pack considerably more punch. There’s also phones like the Moto G and Moto E that offer similar performance at much lower price points. By no means is the Xperia M2 a bad phone, but if you plan on picking one up I’d recommend holding off until the price drops.

 

Next: The top cases available for the Sony Xperia M2.

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