- Large screen
- Slick-looking design
- Has 4G
- Decent battery life
- Low-res screen for size
- Overzealous photo sharpening
- So-so call and speaker quality
What is the Sony Xperia M2?The Sony Xperia M2 is a mid-range phone, the 2014 update to last year’s Xperia M. It shares its look with the much more expensive Xperia Z2, but cuts back on the flashy materials and specs in order to come in at around £200 SIM-free, or just £150 from EE.
In several respects it’s not as good as the 4G version of the Moto G, and it does feels like you’re paying a little bit for the Sony badge in this case. But if a fairly large screen is a must, the Xperia M2 is a good mid-range option.
Sony Xperia M2 - DesignThe Sony Xperia M2 looks a good deal like the Xperia Z2. It’s a moody, slick-looking phone with fully flat back and front panels. It is a big style upgrade over last year’s Xperia M.
Sony rounds-off the edges to make the phone more comfortable to hold, though, and if anything the phone’s size is actually more comfortable than the larger Xperia Z2. It’s 71mm wide and 8.6mm thick, giving it a slightly smaller footprint, but a slightly chunkier frame, than its brother.
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The look is good, but the build isn’t quite as impressive. It's good, just not top-end. Where the high-end Xperia Z2 is made of glass and metal, the Sony Xperia M2 is mostly plastic.
Its sides are black plastic and the rear is topped with a thin layer of transparent plastic designed to look like glass. You don’t get the cool glassy feel of the real deal, but our issue with it is much more practical than aesthetic.
The Xperia M2’s back scratches quite easily, and they are pretty apparent thanks to the high-gloss finish. Sony’s Xperia Z2’s back uses Gorilla Glass 3 to avoid this exact issue.
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It’s one of the reasons the Xperia M2 is so much cheaper than the Z2. Thankfully, the front of the Xperia M2 is Gorilla Glass 3, and so won’t scatch anywhere near as easily.
One other victim of the Xperia M2’s design cuts is waterproofing, something you get in the Xperia Z2. There is a familiar flap on the right edge to cover the microSIM and microSD memory card slots, but it is not rubber sealed.
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Still, the Xperia M2 uses the handy 'omnibalance' button layout, which puts the highly-contoured power button right under your thumb. The volume rocker and physical camera button – something fairly rare in a lower-mid-range phone – sit below the power button. It’s all very handy.
The only other design issue is that if you’re buying a phone for a younger person, they may find the Xperia M2 a little large. A 4.8-inch screen means the phone is a fair bit bigger than something like the Galaxy S4 Mini or Motorola Moto G.
Using a large screen and flashy design means the Xperia M2 can easily pass for a top-end phone at a glance. We imagine this is something that will attract many to this £150-200 phone.
Sony Xperia M2 – Screen
However, start using the M2 and it becomes fairly apparent that this isn’t a phone of that grade. The first giveaway is the screen.
At 4.8 inches it’s large for a mid-range phone, but the resolution isn’t high enough to avoid appearing compromised. It’s a 960 x 540 resolution display, with a pixel density of just 229ppi. Mild pixellation is fairly apparent.
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Our expectations of what to expect from sub-£200 phones have changed quite radically in the last 12 months. Where we might have been pretty happy with the Xperia M2’s screen resolution a year ago, phones like the Motorola Moto G and Alcatel One Touch Idol S – which cost around £100 and have 720p screens – have taught us to demand a bit more.
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the 960 x 540 pixel resolution, but using it in screens larger than 4.5 inches is stretching it a bit too far. Literally.
The Xperia M2’s colours are a little off too, lacking the pop of the Motorola Moto G, whose colour calibration is a bit better.
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