- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- IP68 and IP65 waterproofing and dustproofing without rubber flaps
- MicroSD card support
- Plasticky feel
- Lower resolution than many competitors
- Small internal storage capacity
With waterproofing, the familiar omnibalance design and a quad-core processor, Sony is looking to make a splash in the mid-range market with the Xperia M4 Aqua. While it might not be a flagship device, the spec list looks quite nice. But how does it perform when put to the test? Let’s dig into the reviews.
If there was one thing that reviews were on the fence about with the new handset, it would be the materials used to make the phone. While it keeps the omnibalance design, with stereo speakers and the aluminum power button in the center of the phone’s edge, it swaps the glass and metal construction of the Z series with a plastic shell and polycarbonate chassis with a nylon scuff-resistance coating. Trusted Reviews handled the device and found, “There was no undue bend or flex in the body and construction felt strong.” However, all reviews agreed that the phone felt cheaper than many competitors in its price range.
Housed within the shell is a 5-inch 720p IPS display. In a market where 4K phones are looming on the horizon, this resolution is certainly behind many of the competitors. However, thanks to some tweaks from Sony’s Bravia Engine, the reviews of the display are decent. Digital Trends noted that it “looks better than it sounds.” One area of concern many reviews noted was with text clarity. Otherwise, color, contrast and brightness were all applauded.
To keep performance snappy, the phone includes a octa-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM. While the RAM might limit multitasking abilities with heavy apps or games, reviews found no issues with general performance, launching apps or playing the latest games. Trusted Reviews called the M4 Aqua “a strong device at a wallet-friendly price.” It ships with the latest version of Android (Lollipop 5.0) with minimal changes from Sony.
The processor also touts improvements in battery efficiency, which will be important with a 2400mAh non-removable battery. Sony claims that a single charge will net two days of mixed usage and that their STAMINA power saving mode can power the phone with basic functionality for up to five days.
The only area where reviews indicated that performance lagged was taking pictures. Which is a shame, as reviews of the camera are generally positive otherwise. TechRadar said the handset “doesn't seem up to the task of taking photos at full speed.” As long as you’re not taking quick action shots or catching spur-of-the-moment memories, the 13MP rear-facing camera performs well, even in low-light. If you’re a fan of selfies, the 5MP front-facing camera includes a wide-angle lens to make it easy to cram you and your friends into the shot.
Lastly, the phone includes 8GB of internal storage with roughly 4GB available after Android and pre-loaded apps are installed. Fortunately, it also supports microSD cards up to 32GB in capacity. If you plan to download many games or store music or video on your M4 Aqua, you’ll probably want to invest in a microSD card to add a little more freedom in how you use your phone.
In all, the mid-tier handset receives outstanding reviews. Digital Trends declared that it offers a “level of quality and a lack of compromise that’s rare in this category.” Summing up the reviews well, iDigitalTimes states, “While the plastic build does make the device feel cheap, the trade off of a good camera, battery, display and snappy performance, at a great price point is more than worth it.”
Reviews (6.7/10 Avg. rating)
Beautifying the mid-range
We love the look of the M4 Aqua and how, despite being predominantly plastic, it offers much the same design as Sony's flagship Xperia devices. It's a charming smartphone, especially in the coral colour as reviewed here, which almost tricks you into thinking it's part of the flagship line thanks to its metallic coat of paint.
It's not all just about looks either, with decent battery and solid performance outpacing its sub-£200 price tag - and much of the competition. However, the lack of internal storage, along with an average display and average camera do bring it down a p... Full review
Mid-range smartphone with some premium features
Wet but not so wild
Inexpensive mainstream smartphone with IP certification
The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a compact mainstream smartphone with many good features. We liked the bright IPS display with the HD resolution as well as the color presentation and the good system performance. Other positive aspects are the voice quality and the decent camera modules, at least under good lighting conditions. The well-built chassis has a nice design, but is susceptible to scratches and dirt at the plastic back, but it is at least easy to remove dirt thanks to the IP65/68 certification (waterproof and dust-resistant). The features with LTE Cat. 4, dual-band WiFi with a good range... Full review
Affordable waterproof phone, but there’s a price to pay
Good screen, good performance
The XPERIA M4 Aqua Dual is quite a good phone for its price. It was launched at Rs 24,990 but can be found on the internet for around Rs 23,000. It does have a few drawbacks, the most obvious one being lack of USB OTG support and another being the weak loudspeaker while calling. The camera noise performance is a con that we could expect to see an improvement in the future so I would give Sony the benefit of the doubt. If you’re thinking that there are other smartphones on the market that offer similar performance and features at the same or lesser price point then yes you are right. B... Full review
Good performance and display with great stylish design
The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua features one of our favorite designs for an affordable phone: it’s slim and stylish, and while it’s all plastic, it has the looks and feel of a more expensive gadget. This, however, would not mean much if the phone could not perform well. Luckily, that’s not the case, and the device handles the daily Android grind quickly and mostly stutter-free.
The two big downsides of the Xperia M4 Aqua are in the camera department and the limited amount of built-in storage. The 8GB of storage issue can be fixed simply by getting a microSD card, but th... Full review
Falls short in other key areas when compared to the, in some cases cheaper, competition
Big on style, short on substance
The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua has plenty going for it with its sleek design, waterproof body and sufficient serving of power, all topped off with an affordable price. If you've been eyeing up the minimalist aesthetic of the top-end Xperia Z3 but can't stomach the cost, the M4 Aqua is a cheaper way of putting that style in your pocket.
You do have to make some significant compromises, though. The camera is the most disappointing aspect of the phone, delivering images with poor colour, abysmal contrast and unimpressive detail. Sony doesn't help the M4 Aqua's case either by filling it up wit... Full review
Mid-range smartphone with premium features
Very Poor Camera
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