As far as this year is concerned, Sony’s latest smartphone delivers a fantastic camera and hardware that’s worth the cash. Early reviews of this device have been mixed, for reasons from the device having an “underwhelming camera” to the device having an “awkward volume control placement.” We’ll take a look at both design and camera quality below. Especially the camera – a feature that’s been given a massive kick in the pants in all major smartphones over the past couple of years due to Sony’s own camera sensor innovation.
Sony hasn’t had a stellar reputation over the past couple of years with smartphone releases. Not because the phones don’t perform well – they most certainly do. Sony’s bad rep comes from the end of the Xperia Beta program with little explanation, a month-1 price cut, and limited release schedules – not to mention name changes galore which were laid out to us earlier this year.
But none of these reasons have a whole lot of effect on the average user. Sony may be changing the way they sell smartphones around the world, but their end product remains pretty great. With that said, let’s get right to it.
First Impressions Count
This device is designed with the “do what works” principals in mind. Sony’s been making devices with basically the same look for several generations now, this year putting their budget friendly release in metallic-like tones with reinforced glass fronts. The device’s body is made from a flexible polycarbonate which isn’t going to easily break and makes way for stronger radio signals than if the device had used metal all around.
The design of this device is not mind-blowingly different from any other mid-tier smartphone from any other brand. It’s solid. It works very well.
The display is extraordinarily bright when cranked up all the way to top brightness. Brighter than the Samsung Galaxy S7 and slightly less warm, too. This device has a 5-inch IPS LCD display with 720 x 1820 pixels.
The camera on this device is excellent. Here we’re working with the following specs: 13-megapixels, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama, 1080p @ 30fps, and 1080p @ 60fps – and this is just the back-facing camera. Up front Sony’s taking care of the selfie-lovers too with a 5-megapixel camera with f/2.4 sensor size.
While smartphones with terrible battery life do still exist, they’ve by-and-large been a thing of the past as of the past couple of years. The Sony Xperia E5 doesn’t have the longest-lasting battery in a smartphone, but with just 2,300mAh inside, this device’s daily uptime is surprisingly lengthy.
We’ve used theXperia E for a full day – 10+ hours – with moderate use, and battery time was still at 40%. We’ve used the device only for its ability to make and take phone calls – with the occasional email – and it’s lasted two days.
Sony’s Stamina and Ultra Stamina modes allow us to keep the device on for extended periods of time in emergency situations – otherwise we’re not having to worry about battery time if we keep the device charging overnight with a standard charger every night.
The Xperia E5 suffers from Sony’s inability to survive only on their basic software finesse and high-quality hardware builds. That’s unfortunate. Instead they seem to have to jam in as much software and promotions as they can to make the most of every single smartphone sold.
If it weren’t for the overzealous apps and Xperia’s suggestions for downloads, this device would be a really, really great phone. Instead it’s only a really great phone once we’ve gone through and disabled a bunch of apps ourselves. Then, and only then, is this smartphone ready to live up to its potential.
For the end user reading this review – congratulations, none of the paragraph immediately above really matters to you. You don’t need suggestions from clerks at mobile phone store kiosks, you’re out here searching for the answers yourself.
Is the Sony Xperia E5 worth the R3999 it’ll cost from any of a variety of stores users are able to buy it from? Definitely.