Sony announced its latest phones from the Xperia series for the Indian market. The Xperia M4 Aqua comes with water-proof and dust-proof certifications. The other phone launched was the Sony Xperia C4 Dual, which is looking at the mid-range segment. First announced at the Mobile World Congress, the Xperia M4 Aqua will start selling in India from May 26. We got to spend some time with the phone post the event and here are our first impressions.
Build and Design
Sony has employed the same design elements that we have come to associate with its Xperia series of smartphones. The Xperia M4 Aqua has a more rounded edges and corners. The phone has a tempered glass display protecting the 5-inch IPS panel. The frame is metallic and the matte silver colour adds a bit of elegance to the phone. On the left hand side you have a microSD card slot and a cap-less microUSB port for data transfer and charging. On the right hand side there is the dual NanoSIM slot on the to covered by a cap, an aluminum power/standby button, a volume rocker and a dedicated camera shutter button down below.
A 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top and there are dual front-facing speakers. Overall, the phone has a good build quality and Sony gets a brownie point for providing a capless microUSB port. Imagine the annoyance at having to constantly remove the cap when you want to charge the phone. The fact that it is just 7.3mm thick and comes with IP65 and IP58 certifications will appeal to many.
The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua sports a 5-inch HD display. It is quite vibrant and thanks to the IPS panel the viewing angles are quite good. There is no Corning Gorilla Glass protection, but you get tempered glass in its place. The display has a propensity to attract smudges though, which becomes evident when the phone is in the sleep mode and that could be a let down for lot of potential buyers.
Chipset, RAM, Storage
The phone houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 system on chip which has a 1.5GHz octa-core processor which is paired with 2GB of RAM. The phone comes with 16GB of storage on board and also has a provision to add in a microSD card slot. We got to use the phone for a brief time and in that time, there were no issues with the phone’s response, camera launching, app-switching and so on. But we will need to run benchmarks on a review device to give a proper verdict on the performance.
The phone comes with a dual-SIM configuration. It has support for 4G LTE networks on one of these SIMs. Apart from this the phone supports Wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA and so on. It also supports GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS. The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with the Xperia UI skin atop it. You will barely see any design language of Lollipop unless you get into the settings menu.
Apart from the fact that it is water-proof and dust-proof, the other major USP of the phone is its camera. You get a 13MP rear camera with Sony ExmorRS sensor and a 5MP front-facing camera. Sony has included some features seen on flagship Xperia handsets such as the Z2/Z3/Z3 Compact into the M4 Aqua’s camera software as well. So you get AR Effects, Style Portraits, AR style and so on. Sony claims that the low light capabilities of the M4 Aqua are better than competition, but we will have to test that for ourself.
There is a 2,400 mAh non-removable battery powering the Xperia M4 Aqua which Sony claims can run for two days on single charge on regular use. We will be testing this claim. Apart from this the phone also comes with a Stamina mode setting, which further improves the battery life. This mode worked well with the Xperia Z3 that we had tested last year, so we will see how well it works with the M4 Aqua as well.
The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua has a decent specification set and the waterproofing and dustproofing certifications are appealing. For an outdoors person, the M4 Aqua seems like a good phone and the Snapdragon 615 SoC paired with 2GB of RAM should be quite capable of handling many work and multimedia related functions. But the Rs 24,990 price point may be a hindrance for many, specially now when you have so many flagship-level devices available for much less. The segment of users who are purely looking at a waterproof/dustproof phone is quite niche and majority of the buyers will be looking for a good phone which also comes with the IP certifications. But at Rs 25k price point, there is no reason why a regular user may not select the OnePlus One, a Xiaomi Mi 4 or put in Rs 1,500 more and go for a Samsung Galaxy S5, which is water resistant as well. A price point closer to Rs 20,000 would’ve made the Xperia M4 Aqua quite competitive.