Sony Xperia L
Sony Mobile, now two years old, is unleashing more and more Xperia devices on the smartphone market, and today sees the launch of the Xperia L (and the Xperia SP, below). The Xperia L is pictured in the header image, above.
The Xperia L is a mid-to-low-end device that emphasises the camera experience, and not too much else. However, what we see here is a 4.3″ handset with FWVGA display, a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, a somewhat middling 1,700mAh battery, 8GB of expandable internal storage, NFC circuitry and an 8 megapixel rear camera with Exmor RS.
While definitely the smaller brother of the Xperia SP, lacking its 720p resolution, this (likely) more budget friendly handset does offer HDR stills and video, which is one of Sony’s favourite party tricks at the moment. This feature is sure to make the Xperia L an attractive smartphone for those who are budget conscious yet demand a high quality photographic experience no their mobile phone, while not caring so much about brute strength, LTE compatibility, etc.
The Xperia L weighs in at 137 grams, and is 9.7mm thick, meaning it’s slender and well-weighted, meaning it fits comfortably in the hand. Available in three colours, you can obtain the Xperia L in white, black, or a rich red. The Xperia L’s Snapdragon S4 handles Android Jelly Bean (4.1) with aplomb without any apparent stutter, though applications may take a little longer to load given the older architecture of the handset. Pricing and availability are yet to be confirmed, but we’re looking at a relatively low price-point. I’d expect to see the Xperia L floating around in JB HiFi and Dick Smith Electronics in the ‘Unlocked handsets’ category soon.
The second phone announced today is the Sony Xperia SP. While Sony clearly has the Xperia Z carrying their flag this year, the mid range handsets should not be discounted; the Xperia SP sounds like it’s no shrinking violet.
Feature-wise, the Xperia SP is a 4.6″ handset with design elements and features shared with the S and P models from 2012 (unsurprisingly, that’s where the SP name comes from). A 720p screen powered by Sony’s Bravia Mobile Engine 2 will be your display, and the camera is (like the Xperia L) and 8 megapixel Exmor RS. Other items on the laundry list include a dual-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon MSM8960, an aluminium frame that’s just under 10mm thick, and a weight of 155 grams. The Xperia SP also sports Sony’s see through strip, with a customisable notification light built in.
This notification light is a great feature for those who want to know what’s happening without having to power up the display and interact with the phone. The notification light operates while music is playing (in time with the music, no less), and you can program it to offer different light colours for different callers. While other handsets offer this functionality, this level of customisation without needing a 3rd party app is pretty cool.
As with the Xperia L, the Xperia SP comes in black, white and red, and unlike the flagship Xperia Z, the Xperia SP actually features a hardware camera button, making taking photos a bit quicker and more intuitive (I must say, it was a surprising omission from the Xperia Z which made much of its camera qualifications).
Under the hood, the Xperia SP runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 with most of the bells and whistles added to the software featured on the Xperia Z. The Camera app in particular shares much of the Xperia Z heritage, with a variety of automatic settings to improve your shooting in a number of different lighting situations. A surprising missing feature, which the lower-budget Xperia L can manage, is the ability to shoot HDR video. While noted as a marketing choice, it seems odd to have a mid-range handset without this much-vaunted feature which the Xperia Z (top of the range) and Xperia L (close to the bottom of the range) both share.
There’s little word of availability for the Australian market yet, though if we are considered to be the Asian market, we could see this device before the end of June 2013. No word on pricing yet either.