Hands-on: Sony Xperia L review – first look

News Richard Goodwin 12:22, 18 Mar 2013

We go hands-on with Sony’s latest mid-tier offering, the Sony Xperia L

Being a more affordable option than the Xperia Z and Xperia SP, while still packing features like Sony’s Exmor RS camera technology, the Xperia L looks to be quite a proposition. 

And it needs to be. This is Sony’s play for the masses. So does the Xperia L cut the mustard? Here are our first impressions of the handset.

The Xperia L is smaller, more pocketable, and not quite as premium looking as its Xperia Z and Xperia SP stable-mates. It also uses a smaller, lower resolution, 4.3-inch FWVGA display.

The overall look and feel of is similar to the Xperia SP, although the Xperia L due to its blockier nature does feel chunkier in the hand. Exact dimensions are 128.7 x 65 x 9.7mm and it weights 137g, making it 18g lighter than the SP. 

Sony has opted for a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8230 chipset inside the Xperia L and that should translate into decent enough performance across the board, particularly when combined with Android Jelly Bean (version 4.1). 

We did encounter stutter and the occasional bit of lag while scrolling through menus and switching homescreens, but that irksome problem will have more to do with Sony’s Android UX than the actual hardware. 

Storage is the same as you get on the Xperia SP: 8GB internal and a further 32GB via its SD-slot. Although it’s worth pointing out you only get 5.9GB of the said 8GB to use – the rest is taken up by Android.

Sony’s One-touch feature is also present on both handsets, allowing you to instantly share music, images, and video simply by tapping the handset on a supported NFC-enabled Sony product. 

The big boon with the Xperia L is its 8-megapixel camera with Exmor RS lens. Sony knows competition at this price bracket is fierce. And has accordingly brought much of the Xperia Z’s imaging technology down to its entry-level device.

The Xperia L lacks a 13-megapixel lens but it can still capture HDR stills and video, something no other smartphone of this level currently does. Battery Stamina Mode is also included, as well as a trio of Sony’s entertainment services: Walkman, Movies and Album.

Overall the Sony Xperia L feels like a very strong product. It has the right sort of specs, it looks good, and it features enough USPs to set it apart from the droves of competition it will go up against in Q2 2013 when it gets its UK release. 

Viewed collectively, Sony’s first trio of Android-powered handsets for 2013 are a serious force to be reckoned with. The Japanese manufacturer now has a compelling handset for every price point. And that’s great news for consumers but, we suspect, another potentially devastating blow for HTC. 

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