If you’re after a touch of Sony class but can’t afford the expensive premium Xperia Z smartphone, perhaps the Xperia L (£234 SIM-free) might tempt you. This 4.3-inch mobile retains the classy circular power button but enjoys a more curved form factor, which will please anyone who hated the straight-edged rectangular finish of the Xperia Z.
We checked out the red and white models of the Xperia L in a full hands-on review session (black will also be available), and they feel as good as they look thanks to their curved rears and slightly reduced size. The colourful design is broken up by a slick metal rim which runs the full length of the Xperia L’s edges, and you can pop the back off to access the battery and SIM card slot.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is topped up with Sony’s usual Xperia interface, although the likes of Social Life (Sony’s social networking widget) was missing from the pre-production unit we tested. Everything ran perfectly smoothly, with a dual-core 1GHz processor in charge. The 4.3-inch screen has a 854x480 pixel resolution, not bad for the price especially considering it’s a colourful display.
An 8MP camera lens juts ever so slightly from the rear of the Xperia L. Our pre-production model took ages to load up the camera app and even longer to focus and take a shot, but we’ll put this down to the hardware and software not being 100% finished version. The snaps appeared sharp on the Xperia L’s screen, and while colours weren’t as richly reproduced as some other smartphone pics, they enjoyed more realistic tones.
The Sony Xperia L is on sale from late April for £234. Sony is also releasing the mid-range Xperia SP at the same time as the Xperia L, with a high definition 4.6-inch display. That’ll set you back an extra hundred bob.