|Style & Handling|
|Attractive design||Disappointing screen|
|Good battery life||Weak camera|
|Slick interface||Easily scratched|
Verdict: The Sony Xperia M2 is a stylish phone with good battery life, two things which are rare in the mid-range, but its camera and screen could stand to be better.
The Sony Xperia M2 is the latest Sony handset to slot into the increasingly crowded middle of the market. Indeed so many phones are being aimed at the mid-range now that it’s arguably harder to stand out there than even at the top end, especially as handsets like the Motorola Moto G drive quality up while pushing prices down.
So what does the Sony Xperia M2 bring to the table? And can it hope to compete? Read on to find out.
The Sony Xperia M2 has a design similar to the high end Xperia Z2. Known as ‘Omnibalance’ it has harsher lines than most smartphones and is less curved, leaving it looking rather industrial. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though and helps it stand out, it also looks rather stylish and with its distinctive design and metal power button it could almost pass for a high end handset, were it not for the plastic build of the phone itself.
Unfortunately the back is not only plastic, but also rather prone to fingerprints and even scratches, so this is one phone that you’ll want to keep in a case.
At 4.8 inches the screen on the Sony Xperia M2 is fairly large. Slightly bigger even than last year’s HTC One for example. That could be a good thing, except the display only has a resolution of 540 x 960, which isn’t unusual for a mid-range phone, but given the size that leads to a pixel density of just 229 pixels per inch.
If Sony was unable to increase the resolution without upping the price tag then we actually wish it had made the screen slightly smaller, as while it’s not terrible it is noticeably lacking sharpness even compared to other mid-range handsets like the Motorola Moto G, which has a screen that’s both smaller and higher resolution.
The Sony Xperia M2 ships with the same 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM as the cheaper EE Kestrel, so performance is unsurprisingly similar, though given the higher price of the Xperia M2 it’s also less impressive.
The phone doesn’t feel as fast as the Sony Xperia Z2 for example but it stands up well to other mid-range handsets and feels fairly speedy most of the time.
It also benefits from 4G LTE, which means that web browsing, streaming, downloading and even online games are all slick and high speed even when you can’t get a Wi-Fi connection.
The Sony Xperia M2 has an 8 megapixel camera, which is about what you’d expect from a £200 handset, unfortunately the performance of said camera is not up to scratch. It fares okay in favourable lighting, but as soon as you take it into a dimly lit room or even a bit of shade it really fails to deliver. The VGA front facing camera is no better, with a megapixel count so low as to be almost pointless.
It’s a shame too as Sony has packed the Xperia M2 full of camera modes and options inherited from flagships like the Z2. This means you get access to things like Social Live, which lets you broadcast a video live on Facebook, and Timeshift Burst which takes 61 photos in just 2 seconds, but you’ll find yourself wishing you had a better camera to use them with.
One thing you can consistently rely on to be good on Sony phones is the interface. The Xperia M2 runs Android of course (Android 4.3, so it’s slightly outdated, but an update to 4.4 is expected), but Sony has overlaid its own UI on top of that, as most manufacturers do.
However while many are heavily customised and full of bloat Sony’s is fairly minimal. In fact other than changing the look a little from stock Android, Sony hasn’t done much with the interface at all, but the changes it has made are arguably for the better.
For example from the M2’s lock screen, as well as launching the home screen, you can launch the camera with a swipe to the left or bring up widgets with a swipe to the right. You can also launch floating windows with a press of the multi-task button, which essentially allows you to have two apps or windows open at once.
One pleasant surprise with the Sony Xperia M2 is its battery life. It has a 2300 mAh power pack, which is fairly large for a mid-range phone and it fares well, easily standing up to a day or more of moderate use. It’s not quite up to the standards of the Sony Xperia Z2 or most other top end phones, but it’s definitely got better battery life than most mid-range handsets.
There’s only 8GB of built in storage but the Xperia M2 also has a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 32GB and it has an impressive range of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
The Sony Xperia M2 makes a strong first impression thanks to a stylish build, large screen and slick interface. Once you use it for a while it impresses even more in some ways, thanks to surprisingly long battery life and decent performance, but it disappoints in others as the screen could be sharper and the camera could be a lot better.
But it’s a well-equipped, well connected device and for the roughly £200 that it costs SIM free it’s well worth it if you can live without a decent camera. It’s not the cheapest way to get 4G on a smartphone- that honour goes to the EE Kestrel, but it’s a better phone overall.
The Moto G with 4G is a closer competitor, delivering a better screen at a lower price tag, but its battery life is worse. The middle of the market is clogged with handsets and the Sony Xperia M2 doesn’t do enough to stand head and shoulders above the rest, but it’s definitely up there with the best of them.
Sony Xperia M2 SpecificationDimensions : 139.7 x 71.1 x 8.6mm Weight: 148 grams Screen size: 4.8” LCD (540 x 960) Screen Resolution: 540 x 960 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 229 Processor: 1.2GHz Quad core application processor RAM: 1 GB On-board Memory: 8GB (microSD support) Camera: 8MP (rear) 0.3MP (front facing) Operating system: Android 4.3 Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes Battery capacity: 2300mAh Colours: Black, White, Purple Launch Date: Out Now Price: £200