Sony Xperia E1 review: An affordable phone that offers serious performance for its class

Apr 19 2014, 14:57 IST
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Priced at Rs 10,490, Sony Xperia E1 is a good phone to buy if you’re into music, along with some minor multitasking. Priced at Rs 10,490, Sony Xperia E1 is a good phone to buy if you’re into music, along with some minor multitasking.
SummarySony Xperia E1 Dual Sim is affordable and great for music, multitasking.

Music lovers on a budget can totally rejoice with the Sony Xperia E1 Dual Sim. With a dedicated Walkman button and cool music app, you can be assured of a rich musical experience. It is also a very compact and lightweight phone given its plastic outer shell. Obviously, at Rs 10,490 this phone doesn’t look and feel upmarket. Besides, the phone carries only a 3MP camera without flash and no front camera. Might be a deal-breaker, but before you decide, here’s the inside scoop on this smartphone.

DESIGN

The Phone looks and feels plastic, therefore it weighs just 120 grams. You might also say it’s a fairly chubby phone from the side measuring at 12mm. That’s not great news for the manufacturer because nowadays even affordable phones such as the MOTO G sport a sleeker look and come with wide colour options. However, barring the looks it’s a well put together phone and given its modest dimensions (2.46 inch wide), it’s perfect for single-handed use.

You also have a Walkman key on top of the phone. The button is meant to control the music and integrates with the Sony’s music app. Press it long enough and it kick-starts the Walkman app, while double pressing it skips to the next song. Quite a neat feature for music aficionados.

DISPLAY

The E1 has got a biggish 4-inch display with 800 x 480 pixels. The display isn’t great and lacks colour depth. In fact, if you tilt the phone you will notice a poor contrast and loss of colours. But given the price, you’ll feel it’s not all that bad.

This phone, however, has an automatic brightness adjustment feature that adjusts according to outdoors visibility.

Sony-Xperia-E1

One feature we found practical was the sufficiently large size of the on-screen keyboard that makes for a fast and convenient typing experience. You’re less likely to jumble up words due to lack of screen real estate.

PERFORMANCE

It’s surprising, but true: the E1 Dual Sim comes with a faster version of the Snapdragon 200 MSM8210 chip. For it’s price and class, it is fast enough to perform daily functions. This also means most of your games could run very smoothly.

But what will leave you disappointed is that it runs on Andord 4.3 Jelly Bean and not the 4.4 Kit Kat. That aside, it only has a meager 512 MB RAM on offer, which will affect the phone’s multitasking abilities. And this will be evident when you straddle different apps and open multiple windows on your Google Chrome browser. On one instance, after we opened multiple tabs on Google Chrome, the phone hanged and shut down.

With just 4GB of internal storage, out of which only 2GB is available, it might be extremely difficult for users to store large amount of data. But luckily, the phone has an additional slot for microSD cards of up to 64GB.

CONNECTIVITY

Although Sony has pre-loaded Google Chrome as the default browser, we can safely say that it loads pages fast and lets users scroll and zoom swiftly.

CAMERA

This is perhaps the single biggest disappointment. The 3MP camera captures choppy pictures and lacks details. To make a phone this cheap, Sony has had to cut corners, which is understandable. But what is disconcerting is the fact that the company chose to neglect the most important feature: the camera. To make things worse, it has neither a flash nor a front-facing camera. You can bid adieu to selfies then!

You will also notice that the camera app, though well made, crashes on some occasions. But once it starts, you get the Superior Auto Mode that picks the right settings and the Manual Mode for those who wish to control settings such as ISO, white balance, and other features manually.

We happened to take some snaps in good lighting conditions as well as low light. And the results oscillate between average and poor. The pictures simply lack detail. This camera is not for the picture-conscious. Having said that, it’s not a big deal though to upload some of those pictures onto social media as the camera can capture basic colours in well-lit conditions without looking bad. Steer clear of video mode as well because it’s way below average at 480p and a low frame rate.

MULTIMEDIA

The 4-inch screen size is good for watching videos on Youtube. But what is great about this phone, is the Walkman app that full of features. With ClearAudio+ mode turned on, you do get a more refined and a clear music experience. The xLoud feature is also a bonus as it enhances the sound of music making. The loudspeaker sound is not too flattering though.

CONCLUSION

This is an affordable phone that offers some serious performance for its class. Music lovers will greatly appreciate it, but most users might despise two of its greatest drawbacks that are too much of a compromise: display and camera quality.

Priced at Rs 10,490, it’s a good phone to buy if you’re into music, along with some minor multitasking of apps. But that’s about it!

- Abhimanyu Chakravorty

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