We all want premium phones, but premium phones come at a premium price tag. This is what Sony must have had in mind when they designed the Sony Xperia M2 which mimics its premium brother the Sony Xperia Z2 but without the same price tag.
Aimed at the mid-level market, does this phone has what it takes ? I set out to find out:
Look and Feel
The Sony Xperia M2 looks like the Sony Xperia Z2 and was often mistaken for the Z2. It has the same boxy feel and unless you know the Z2’s finish you cant really tell the difference without having them side by side. That is a good thing for the Sony Xperia M2 buyer as this phone doesn’t have “cheaper” visual cues writing all over it.
The M2 weigh 148grams and measures at 139.6 x 71.1 and is only 8.6 mm thick (or thin). It has 8GB of storage which is expandable with the MicroSD card up to 32GB.
When looking at the device, on the right side you will find the MicroSD and the SIM slow which are covered by the plastic covering, then the silver power button, followed by the volume rocker button and the dedicated camera button towards the bottom. Along the top is the headphone jack and on the left is the charging USB port.
Even though the Sony Xperia M2’s SIM and MicroSD slots are also covered with the plastic flap as with the Z2 the phone is NOT water resistant ! You will note that the USB charging port does not have a plastic covering so do not dunk it in the pool or leave it in the shower…
The Sony Xperia M2 runs Android 4.3 Jellybean and not 4.4 Kitkat which is a shame for a new device on the market, however the M2 is slick and responds well to taps and pull downs.. The screen of the M2 is a nice 4.8 inch sized screen however the resolution is at 540×960 with 229 pixels-per-inch and that means that the images on the screen and the icons are not as sharp as you would like and don’t have the “pop” clarity. Using the phone in direct sunlight is perfectly fine and there is no major reflection from the sun making it a pleasure to use. Showing a video clip to a couple of friends means that they can watch without getting too cheek-to-cheek cosy with each other as the screen is clear even at various viewing angles. The M2’s speaker is also powerful enough to deliver decent sound even in a relatively noisy room so no need to share those in-ear-headphones either.
The Sony Xperia M2 runs on the 4G/LTE network and so all the essentials work well from Emails, Web Browsing to Tweets to Facebook and Instagram simply run with no issues or lag at all. Playing some 3D games that required some serious processing power also seemed to work with no hesitation as the management of the quad-core 1.2GHz SnapDragon 400 processor with 1 GB of RAM kicked in to ensure smooth operation.
A cool feature is the Location-Based Wi-Fi which is found under the Power Management. In order not to keep the Wi-Fi on the entire time which puts strain on the battery, you can enable this feature that will automatically switch the Wi-Fi on when you are in a physical location of a previously saved Wi-Fi network. eg. home or work.
The Xperia M2 has NFC built in and also has the ability to be used as a portable hotspot which has become a must have feature with all our multiple devices sharing one connection. It comes preloaded with various applications including the legendry Samsung Walkman app.
The Camera on the M2 is an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with the Exmor RS sensor. Snapping pictures on the Superior Auto Mode simply worked and in most cases produced clear, sharp images. The camera did struggle under dark conditions but the Superior Auto added the flash and that helped the images.
The front facing camera is a VGA camera 480p and so those selfies are not so hot….
Sony has added various options into the camera such as the Manual mode where you can control everything yourself, Timeshift Burst which allows you to pick the best photo from a set of images, Augmented Reality so you can play with dinosaurs in your room.
The Picture Effect works by splitting the screen into a grid and in real-time shows how the image looks in every effect option. Instantly you can select the best effect without having to go through them one by one.
Social Live is a very underrated feature from Sony where you can broadcast, in real time, an event to your Facebook friends. Essentially you are broadcasting “live” directly off your M2 phone. Powerful
For those who need a phone to last a full day (and who doesn’t) and still be able to make calls and send emails without scrambling for the power cable, this is a good phone. The battery is a 2300 mAh battery which is non-removable and during the time I had the device it consistently lasted an entire day of mid to heavy usage of the phone. Under the Power Management, you can turn on Stamina Mode that disables background data when the screen is off, enable Low-Battery Mode that disables various functions in order to save power.
So in Summary
It is a great mid-level market phone that has a decent 8 megapixel camera and some really cool features that you see on high end phones. If you are a big selfie taker then you might be disappointed. The design and build are solid and the device feels like its a premium device just without the price tag.
The Sony M2 is available in South Africa from cellular various providers.