Sony Xperia M4 Aqua - Review

Submitted by Brecht Theys on Fri, 08/21/2015 - 02:32

If you were born in the 90’s, or even past that. You probably had a Sony stereo somewhere in your house. At least I know I did, and so did most of my friends back then. Sony was a well-known stereo manufacturer back in those days. But now Sony seems to be getting into other markets as well. And one of them is the smartphone market. Most people have a smartphone these days, either they just bought one because it’s basically all you can find at the store these days, or they needed one for work, for example. A smartphone is a handy gadget that can be used for many things, but its main use still remains the same of that of a phone.

Design

Now what do people look for when buying a smartphone? Not everyone is an expert when it comes to technology. So most people buy one just for the looks. And Sony really did a great job when it comes to that. When we first opened the package, we were simply amazed by how slick and smooth the Xperia M4 Aqua looked. The brushed aluminium sides with the white body really makes the phone stand out. The phone’s speaker and microphone have been incorporated in the body as well, making them less of an eye soar. The phone seems like it could potentially be uncomfortable to hold for a long time, but it’s actually not. Sony made sure to round of any edges that could’ve been annoying to the user, making the phone very easy to hold for a longer period, for when you want to play a mobile game or have terrible diarrhea for instance. With the phone weighing in at only 136 grams, it’s about the same weight as an Iphone 6.

 

Specifications

A quick look online left us with the following specifications, if you’d like to know more, such as what kind of accelerometer it uses, you can easily find that using google. For now, let’s only look at what’s truly important to know before you consider buying this smartphone.

Sony went for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset. Which is still an 8-core. They probably did this due to thermal issues. With the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua being only 7.4 mm thick, there is no room for any decent form of cooling. So the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 was definitely not an option in this case. Due to the dedicated GPU bus attached to the Adreno 405, it is also quite capable of some mobile gaming.

The smartphone has 2 GB of memory, which is more than enough to handle any workload. 2 GB is more than enough for a smartphone, and most higher end smartphones these days, have exactly that amount of RAM. So nothing new there really. The touc

h screen is also very responsive, I’d even dare saying it is one of the most responsive touch screens I’ve ever had in my hands, again, making it great for mobile gaming and of course any task in general.
So, so far we’ve come to the conclusion that this is smartphone is quite powerful, even though it is very thin and stylish. But a powerful smartphone only looks appealing to the technology geeks and mobile gamers among us. The only other feature that might be somewhat appealing to the general public, is the camera. Dedicated cameras have kind of become obsolete, with phone’s cameras becoming more and more capable of handling higher resolution pictures. Since we’re already talking about Sony, I remember buying an Sony DSC-H50 camera back in my early years of high school. If we just compare the image quality of that €250 camera to the quality of the Xperia M4 Aqua, we can clearly see how much technology has advanced in the last couple of years. The DSC-H50 had a whopping 9.1 MP camera, which was quite substantial back in those days. The Xperia M4 Aqua’s rear camera just wrecks the DSC-H50. With the 13 MP, 4128x3096 camera you can make stunning looking pictures everywhere you go. We’ve tested it ourselves, and the results were phenomenal.
Another absolutely great feature of this phone is its incredible speakers. We were playing some mobile games to see if the phone would get hot when under heavy load (it performed quite alright) and we decided to turn on the speakers, and wow, do they pack a punch. We were blown away by how good the sound quality was.

So far, all the features we’ve listed were good. But if there’s on thing I’d like to see Sony improve, it’s the battery life. A 2400 mAh should last 2 days, so it says on the packaging. But if you want to actually use the phone every now and then, expect it to last about 13 to 14 hours. When used heavily, it will not last longer than 6 hours. This is taken from my personal experience with the phone, maybe you don’t check your phone as often as I do. But it’s certainly worth mentioning. But since the Snapdragon 615 isn’t really a very power demanding chipset, you should still be okay as long if you’re not a phone addict. But still, maybe a 4100 mAh battery would’ve been more fitting for this behemoth of a smartphone.

When it comes to the OS, there’s really nothing to talk about. A phone with this amount of juice is just made to be running Android Lollipop. An operating system we’re all very familiar with I take? With Android being highly customizable, this is certainly a very good choice for this phone. Sony even gave a personal spin to it, making it even better looking when combined with this phone’s exterior look. 

Benchmarking

Of course we can’t review a phone without properly benchmarking it, can we? That’s why we benchmarked it using both Antutu and 3Dmark. And these were the results.

You might be asking yourself: "why does it score that high on Antutu?". Well, that's because Antutu really loves octa core processors, simply put.

Personal opinion

Personally, we here at BlackHoleTec think this phone is great for its value. Seeing it only costs €260 here in Belgium makes me want to hop on this metaphorical wagon myself. It can compete with loads of other phones, some being even more expensive. This phone is a great bank for the buck smartphone and definitely worth getting. Are there better phones on the market? Definitely, but you’d end up paying way more, this smartphone is balancing somewhere around the sweet spot when it comes to dollar/performance. So looking at all of the features and the price, and after having used it as my personal phone for a while, we can safely say this phone deserves a BHT silver award. 

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