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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Hands-on, First Impressions

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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Lollipop

The “Capture More, Enjoy More, and Achieve More” mantra from Sony has been doing quite well in bringing out devices that have features that rarely any other have. A beautiful design and water proofing, is what we always are a fan of. But, there are a few things that always needed a fix, when it comes to Sony smartphones. The latest addition to Sony’s lineup is the M4 Aqua, a water- and dustproof smartphone, easily guessable from the “Aqua” tag it has.

We’ve seen almost all the smartphone brands launching a mid-range device with Snapdragon 615 powering it. Samsung Galaxy A7, HTC Desire 820, Yu Yureka, Oppo R5 and R7, Vivo X5 Max, and the Xiaomi Mi 4i. This is one such optimised chipset that is able to give the best for Android Lollipop, with the 64-bit architecture. But, the S615 tends to heat up pretty fast, and Sony’s smartphones with glass body are known to be bad dissipators of heat. How well will this combination fare, will remain a question until we use it for a few days. Other specs include a 5-inch 720p display, 2400 mAh battery, and Android 5.0 Lollipop with Xperia UI.

The reason we loved the Xperia Z3 over its predecessor, was those curves on the side frame, rather than a flat one that made it not the best to hold. What was in the Z3, is repeated here. The M4 Aqua looks super good, and feels the same in the hand. No compromise in the design while trying to make this a waterproof unit, and even better, there is no need to remove the flap to expose the MicroUSB port – because there is no flap given at all.

Omnibalance design is what Sony follows, and thus, the Xperia M4 Aqua looks no different from most of the other Sony smartphones, having a glossy plastic back (unlike glass on flagship units) to add to the beautiful 5-inch display. The glossy back retains fingerprints and smudges, and is very reflective. Sony has given a MicroSD card slot on the left side, adjacent to the MicroUSB port. On the right, is a power button, volume rocker and the dedicated camera shutter button, alongside the SIM card slot.

On the back, a 13-megapixel camera with LED flash is provided and there is no bulge, thankfully. The bottom is where a speaker mesh is provided, and while there is quite some space above a microphone mesh on the front bottom, the buttons are a part of the display. Above the display, Sony has given a 5-megapixel camera, along with the earpiece, and a set of sensors.

The Snapdragon 615 chipset is already fast and good, and that along with Sony’s UI makes it swift, very responsive and quick. Sony has included quite a lot of bloatware, and out of 2GB of RAM, about 1.1GB is available to the user when no apps are running. While we talk of Snapdragon 615, it will be interesting to see how the Xperia M4 Aqua will be able to tackle the heating issues, though it is expected to be better than the other Sony smartphones, as this isn’t a full glass body.

The UI based on Android Lollipop, has some elements of Material Design, but “some” means limited. The notification panel and quick settings screen are almost the same as in stock Android, but some major elements in the app drawer and home screen, are unlike it, and resemble the standard Xperia UI. One noticeable change in the apps, is that the Walkman tag is gone, and Sony has changed it to Music.

For a 13-megapixel sensor, this is quite a great camera on the back of the device. The camera app adds to the experience, with a lot of modes carried from earlier, and those include Manual mode, AR shot mode, and sweep panorama. For whatever we could try in the low light conditions at the place where we had the hands-on, it was impressive in the conditions. The front 5-megapixel shooter also does similarly good job for selfies, and the modes/effects give a funny and good experience.

All the three colors, i.e. Black, White, and Coral look unique and good in their own way, though we are impressed with White for how classy it looks. Too early to talk about the battery life, though, the interface from Sony has quite a few ways to extend the battery life, or get it through for more hours when low on power. Given how Sony’s smartphones have been living up to the expectations when it comes to battery, the M4 Aqua too will be able to get you through the day with 2400 mAh capacity.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Battery Modes

Early thoughts, but enough to say that the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is one such mid-range device that one should get, if you want to have a perfect combination of good looks and killer performance.

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