Review Price £180.00
Sony Xperia M2 review | First Impressions
Who really needs to spend £500 on a phone?The Sony Xperia M2 is the cheapest phone in Sony's Android line-up to offer a look that's pretty high-end. Sony's mid-ranges phones are pretty popular, and this one offers some pretty significant design upgrades that – on first impression – make it pretty close in some surface respects to the Sony Xperia Z2.
However, this phone costs less than half the price – around £180. There are a few cut-down specs that mean it's not the bargain a Moto G is, but some people will be willing to pay the extra for that Sony style, and the Sony name.
SEE ALSO: Xperia M2 vs Moto G
Sony Xperia M2 – DesignA new design is probably the most important upgrade the Xperia M2 offers over the Sony Xperia M. That older phone is popular, despite having a fairly ordinary design and spec list.
The original M's plain plastic body has been traded-up for one that looks more like the Xperia Z2's. It's still largely plastic, but now there's a sheet of what appears to be glass on the back. It could be hard plastic, but my usual glass identification trick of tapping it on a tooth would probably have gained me some unwanted attention from Sony's staff. We'll look for clarification on this.
It has also adopted Sony's 'Omni-balance' design – the sort of term that sets off our nonsense radar. What this means in practice is that the eye-catching power button on the side sits bang in the middle of the phone. There's not much to it, but I do think the M2 is a solid aesthetic upgrade over the original Xperia M.
There's a flap on the phone's side that covers the Xperia M2's SIM and microSD card slots, but unlike the Xperia Z2, this is not a water-resistant phone. You'll find an exposed microUSB socket on the left edge, further reducing the symmetry that Omni-balance promises (not that it matters).
This is a good-looking phone, and a decent impersonation of Sony's more expensive phones. It doesn't feel as expensive, though. It's lighter, and in-hand it is fairly clear that the Xperia M2 is made of plastic rather than metal. It is thicker too, but at 8.6mm it's hardly chunky.
Flappy? Yes. Waterproof? No
Sony Xperia M2 – ScreenAside from the loss of waterproofing, the design is pretty good for a sub-£200 phone. However, there are some clearer compromises in the screen.
Resolution is the most serious issue. It's a 960 x 540 pixel screen that is 4.8-inches across. This gives a relatively low pixel density of 229ppi, and you can tell. Text looks less sharp than it would on a Z2 or – more importantly – a Motorola Moto G. This is a shame, and it's the one part of the phone I find genuinely disappointing. Sony boasts about having the largest-in-class qHD screen in its release materials, but that's actually a bad thing.
However, the Xperia M2 does seem to benefit from the screen calibrations improvements Sony has made recently with phones like the Xperia Z1 Compact. Colours appear nice and vivid without oversaturation. However, I was looking at the phone under the unnatural lighting of the MWC 2014 show floor, so won't come to any conclusions just yet.
In use the phone is also slightly held back by some residual visual stuffiness in the custom Sony interface – things like the unnecessary 'outlining' of app icons in the apps menu. Sony seems to have cut this out of the Xperia Z2, so we don't know why it's still here.
Sony Xperia M2 – CameraIf the screen is one area where the Xperia M2 loses out to the Moto G, the camera should be one where it can win. It has an 8-megapixel sensor that I'd bet will be of the standard 1/3.2 inch size.
Despite the Exmor RS lens we're not expecting a smartphone camera star, but it could be able to comfortably outperform many sub-£200 rivals.
Sony Xperia M2 – Other SpecsI've compared the M2 a few times to the Moto G, and they are natural rivals on some level. However, the M2 does have a bunch of things missing from Motorola's budget star. You get 4G mobile internet with this phone, and NFC.
Their processors are the same, though – a quad-core Snapdragon 400. It's a solid mid-range CPU that will easily be able to handle most high-end games, especially given the low screen resolution.
It has a few screen limitations, but I expect the Sony Xperia M2 will sell well on the high street. It has much of the visual snazziness of Sony's more expensive phones while selling at a fraction of the price. However, if you're a bargain hunter and don't mind missing out on 4G, the Moto G offers a pretty alluring alternative.
Next, read our Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S comparison