It is Sony's cheapest quad core smartphone and comes as an alternative to Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro.
Xperia C is Sony's first Mediatek processor based smartphone and is also its cheapest Android quad core device. It was a slightly late but appropriate move from Sony as Indian and Chinese handset makers are currently filling every price point with their quad core phones. In fact, you could buy a quad core processor based Android smartphone for as low as Rs 6,000. So why should one buy the Sony Xperia C for around Rs 20,000?
To answer the question we reviewed the Xperia C for about two weeks to test its features and here is what we found:
Xperia C is certainly not the best looking handset of Sony but it is built well and is comfortable to use. This is because, despite having a 5 inch touchscreen, the smartphone weighs 153 grams and is 8.88 mm thick. Its matte finish back panel gives it a very good grip. Another reason for the good grip are its broad sides.
Xperia C stands out from other phones in its button placement. Like its high end cousins, the Xperia C has a power button made of metal on its right side - exactly at the middle. There are two benefits to this positioning - reaching out to the power button while operating the device with one hand is easy. Secondly, while playing games and watching movies there is no risk of accidentally pressing the power button, which normally happens in other handsets that have the power button at the top.
Besides the power button, there is the volume rocker and just below that a camera key. On the left side there is a micro USB port while a 3.5 mm jack is located at the top. There are no physical buttons below the screen.
Sony Xperia C comes with a 5 inch LCD touchscreen. Sadly though it has only qHD (540 x 960 pixel) resolution. Most of its competitors (Indian and Chinese brands) come with full HD resolution. At least Sony should have armed it with HD resolution. Not that the resolution is that awful but you will feel the pinch while playing high end graphics based games and HD movies. The display though has good viewing angles and brightness. Touch response of the screen is also good.
Xperia C comes with 4 GB internal memory, of which only 1.21 GB is available for users to store their content. There is a 32 GB expandable memory slot. You will find this combination in many phones, but mostly in the below Rs 10,000 category. Handsets of most Indian and Chinese brands in this price range come with at least 8 GB internal memory. Also, handset manufacturers (including HTC and Samsung) have started arming its smartphones, even mid-budget ones, with 64 GB micro SD slots.
In Sony Xperia C, you can move all applications except the bloatwares, which cannot be uninstalled, to the SD card. Sony though has very wisely not stuffed it with too many bloatwares as used to be the case with most Sony devices earlier.
The Sony Xperia C comes with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system, but with a custom interface. The notification bar consists of just data connection, WiFi, volume, Bluetooth and settings icon. There are no physical keys under the display but as you power on the touchscreen you will see three touch buttons - return, home, and one for recently activated tasks. When the home button is long pressed it allows you to directly open the web browser.
The recent tab button in Xperia C is also very useful. When you click it, it shows icons for browser, note, and a button to record sounds at the bottom. Also, from this screen you could access several widgets. Among the widgets, one special widget (named as Active Clip) allows you to capture the screen. Activate the screen capture widget to bring up the homescreen no matter what you are doing -watching a video or playing a game - and you have to just tap the icon at the appropriate time to capture it. This is easier than the traditional method of holding the power key and volume down button to capture the screen.
Another highlight of Sony Xperia C is its support for eight Indian languages that include English, Marathi, Hindi and Bangla.
Xperia C has a 1.2 GHz Mediatek MT6589 processor. It is assisted by a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processing unit and 1 GB RAM. Now there is nothing spectacular about this combination; dozens of handsets available for around Rs 10,000 come with these specs.
But Xperia C is much more capable than many Mediatek processor based handsets that I have reviewed. For instance, I was playing Injustice: Gods among us, which is a fairly graphics heavy game, simultaneously on both Xperia C and Micromax Canvas Turbo, which comes with a Mediatek MT6589T processor. It wasn't as smooth on Canvas Turbo as it was on Xperia C.
In Sony Xperia C there is a 2330 mAh Li-Ion Non-Removable battery. In most other 5 inch phablets you will find a battery of much lesser capacity, mostly around 1800 mAh. As is obvious, the phone managed to run long hours. On average usage involving around half an hour's gaming, 15 minutes of calls, half an hour of internet browsing, it comfortably gives a day's backup.
To give you some idea, we put it on a test during which we kept the WiFi on, brightness at maximum, and sound at loudest. We watched high definition videos on YouTube for half an hour, in which it lost 7 per cent charge. Then we played games for another half an hour in which it lost 10 per cent charge.
The Xperia C has many battery saving widgets as well. Among them is Stamina mode, which disables mobile data and WiFi when the screen is off. A low battery code disables functions in order to save power when the battery level is low. Location based WiFi automatically activates WiFi when in range of a saved network. This further helps conserve energy. Below are two screen shots that show how the Stamina mode affects the battery life of the phone.
Sony Xperia C comes with an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 0.3 megapixel front camera. A single LED flash is provided alongside the rear camera. Xperia C comes with a dedicated camera key as well.
The figures speak for the front camera. The 0.3 megapixel camera is good for video chatting but it is no good for self-portraits. The rear camera is able to capture colours as it is and has good auto focus capability. The LED light especially does a very good job of illuminating close by areas in low light. But the rear camera is nothing outstanding. In fact, there are many handsets much below this price point that could deliver the same.
Sony Xperia C is a dual SIM smartphone with dual standby feature but its only SIM supports 3G (42 Mbps download speed, 11.5 Mbps upload speeds). Besides, it has WiFi (b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity. There is DLNA and a micro USB port for file sharing as well. Thankfully it comes with FM radio too, which is usually not found in Android smartphones. Xperia C has a magnetometer, ambient light sensor, e-compass, accelerometer, and proximity sensor as well.
Images by Sushil Kumar
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