Sony Xperia E5 Review: Better Than The Moto G4?

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Although the top-tier marketplace is a highly competetive sphere, with every big brand manufacturer competing for the top spot, it’s not the biggest market in the smartphone sector. That’s probably got something to do with not everyone having a spare £800-£1000 for the ever-escalating prices of flagship handsets, in fact it seems Apple played its hand a little too hard with the iPhone X and the resulting lower-than-hoped sales are due to a lot of consumers putting away their wallet over the sky-high price. Similarly, other brands including key rival Samsung are creeping their prices up towards and in some cases past that £1k threshold which seems to be a big no-no with a lot of people.

Anyway, undoubtedly the biggest markets are the mid-range and budget. Pretty much everyone from all economic backgrounds across the globe now want smartphones, and a lot of them are eyeing the £150-£200 pricing bracket to see what they can get at any given moment. There are a LOT of people in this tier who are quite prepared to part with their cash for the right device. It’s no secret that the £150 Moto G has been one of Motorola’s biggest selling devices of all time, far surpassing the sales figures of the company’s heydey as the market-leader during the pre-smartphone feature phone era.

Sony is one of those household electronics firms competing for a slice of the pie, and in the last few years, alongside similar brands such as HTC, Sony has seen itself largely muscled out of the higher-end tier by the Samsung and Apple duopoly, and the undercutting by OnePlus and Google’s Pixel series – handsets which offer flagship specs at a cheaper price.

That leaves Sony competing with Motorola, Nokia, and many others for the bigger, higher sales, lower RRP budget and mid-tier, which in many respects has the potential to be much more lucrative. If somewhat less prestigious.

The Japanese tech firm is one of the most well known brands on the planet. It made the first Walkman and its HDTVs are awesome. But for the longest time its phone business has struggled.

The Sony Xperia E5 is aimed squarely at the affordable market segment; it retails for anywhere between £100 and £150, depending on where you shop. The handset is good-looking and one of its nearest rivals is the undisputed king of the budget mobile space – the Moto G4.

Best Sony Xperia E5 contract and SIM free deals

Sony Xperia E5 vs. Moto G4: A Worthy Competitor?

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The first thing you have to remember when buying a mid-range Android phone is that you’re not going to get flagship performance. It’s like the difference between a straight-six three litre engine and a one litre turbo-charged unit – there are differences and they’re pretty big.

Having said that, for a lot of users this is not a problem.

If you use your phone for calls, messaging, email and web browsing as well as things like Facebook and Twitter, then a mid-range Android phone makes a lot of sense. They will handle basic tasks like this with ease.

Flagship handsets like the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 Plus have best in class camera technology, insanely high-resolution displays, advanced CPUs, tons of RAM and plenty of internal storage.

The reason for this is simple: power users want their phones to function like computers; they use them for work, managing their personal and business lives and everything else in between.

The Moto G4 – the original Moto G, actually – kind of redefined what we call a “budget Android phone”, though. It not only looked stunning, but it also performed brilliantly, bringing flagship usability to the sub-£150 price bracket for mobile phones.

The Sony Xperia E5 attempts to do the same thing. But does it succeed? Let’s take a look at some of its core attributes to find out.

Sony Xperia E5 Specs & Hardware

  • Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz Mediatek MT6735
  • Screen Size: 5in 
  • Screen resolution: 1,280 x 720
  • Rear camera: 5 megapixels
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Wireless data: 3G & 4G,
  • Dimensions: 144 x 69 x 8.2mm
  • Weight: 147g
  • Operating system: Android 6.0.1

Concessions aside, the Sony Xperia E5 is optimised for solid performance. The MediaTek CPU is decent and very well optimised and you have a decent level of internal storage at 16GB.

The inclusion of Android Marshmallow is a positive, though an update to Nougat probably isn’t all that likely. Still, if the latest build of Android is important to you there are always custom ROMs.

For what this phone is targeted at – web browsing, email, texts and calling – the spec and hardware on show here should be fine. GPU-intensive gaming should probably be avoided though, as big games hammer a handset’s CPU/GPU.

For everything else, this spec lineup should suffice, however.

Sony Xperia E5 Camera

A 5MP camera is never going to win any photography competitions, that’s a given, but for those that only upload to Facebook and Instagram will do just fine with the Xperia E5’s camera.

It’s nothing special, but it gets the job done. Camera units are one of the most expensive parts of a phone, so it is always the first thing to go when a company is making a budget-friendly handset.

If imaging is important but you don’t want to pay flagship prices your best bet is buying an older flagship handset like the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Alpha or iPhone 6 Plus. These will all be more expensive than the Sony Xperia E5 but they will have vastly superior specs and hardware and better overall performance, despite their age.

Sony Xperia E5 Battery Life

Sony claims you can get two day’s usage out of the Xperia E5; I think they might have been smoking something when they made that claim, though. Battery performance isn’t bad but it certainly isn’t two days with normal use.

The Sony Xperia E5 will easily manage a full day with normal usage. Push it a little harder with long calls and extended web browsing and YouTube sessions and you might run out of juice around 9PM.

Sony Xperia E5: Final Thoughts

The Sony Xperia E5 is a handsome handset with great, classical styling. It packs in plenty of features, Android Marshmallow and relatively clean UI which is easy to use and features some very useful applications.

Battery life is decent with moderate use and the imaging, while patchy at best, will suffice for those that aren’t too bothered about taking photos with their phones.

This handset isn’t quite as appealing as the Moto G4; I prefer the Moto G4’s software, which is closer to stock Android. However, if this doesn’t concern you I have no grumbles recommending this handset to someone that is after a cheap, functional, good-looking Android phone for under £150.

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