The Sony Xperia L’s battery is a moderate performer. Its 1,750mAh Lithium-Ion capacity is enough for a full day’s use but little more, which is marginally better than on the rival Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini and similar to the larger Google Nexus 4.
Some puzzling Wi-Fi issues don’t help the battery life, however. Wi-Fi on the Sony Xperia L is extremely sluggish to set up and flaky. It took roughly five minutes to lock on to a network used by many test devices before it, and it regularly dropped connections.
These constant attempts to lock on, and reconnect to, a network can be a severe drain on the handset’s battery reserves. Moreover, the Wi-Fi woes caused us to repeatedly hit our daily data limits early in the day because the phone kept on reverting to 3G without warning.
Elsewhere the Sony Xperia L connectivity options are strong but less than ground-breaking. There’s no HDMI connection, but the customary audio jack and microUSB ports are conveniently positioned. The inclusion of NFC future proofs the phone, but will be little use to many at launch.
The Sony Xperia L comes up just sort on call quality expectations. Calls, both made and received, are somewhat muffled and lack the clarity and defined tones you would expect of a £250 phone. While signal strength is strong, leaving us with no concerns about dropped calls, the level of distortion introduced counteracts any plus points won on this front. The speaker phone is a little better – it’s louder, but the same basic clarity issues remain, resulting in muffled, distant sounding calls.
No. The Xperia L has a decent screen and performance is adequate, but the camera’s excruciating two-second shutter delay is a major black mark against it, as is the so-so build quality. There are better phones available for the same price.The most obvious one is the Google Nexus 4. It outstrips the Sony Xperia L on all fronts and, if you are happy taking on the Nexus device on a SIM-free basis, is arguably the only handset to consider in this price bracket. Its only handicap is the lack of a microSD card slot, but the £280 16GB version should have enough space for most people.
If you absolutely must have a memory card slot, consider Motorola Razr i. It’s a few months old now, but it’s an excellent Android alternative at a decent price.
The Sony Xperia L lacks the spit and polish necessary to standout at this price. The basics are good enough, but the sluggish camera and merely ok design count against it.