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    new_new Sony Xperia E dual review

    Sony Xperia E dual review

    Introduction

    In 2012, Sony decided to alter its smartphone strategy and launched numerous affordable entry level smartphones, aiming to bring solid Android at prices close to those of some featurephones.
    It seems the move paid off handsomely, as the company is continuing the push at the start of this year. The Xperia E dual, like its name suggests, is the dual-SIM half of the wallet-friendly and reasonably feature-packed Xperia E duo.
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    Sony Xperia E dual official pictures
    The Xperia E and Xperia E dual have identical internals, with the extra SIM slot the only notable hardware difference. However, that same SIM slot is probably what prevented Sony from shipping the Xperia E dual with Jelly Bean, like its single-SIM twin. Ice Cream Sandwich is still an extremely competent platform full of nice features, but it already has two successors, so it does come as a slight disappointment for us.
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    Sony Xperia E dual official pictures
    Still, corners were always going to be cut when we talk a smartphone with this kind of price. And the Xperia E dual still has plenty going for it so the lack of Jelly Bean is not something that should make you lose interest in it altogether. Let's take a closer look the all the features it has to offer.
    Key features

    • Dual-SIM (dual stand-by)
    • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band UMTS support
    • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
    • 3.5" 256K-color capacitive TFT touchscreen of HVGA resolution (320 x 480)
    • Android OS v4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
    • 1 GHz Cortex-A5 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227A chipset
    • 512 MB of RAM
    • 2GB of user-accessible built-in storage (4GB total)
    • microSD slot (32GB supported)
    • 3.15 MP fixed-focus camera, geo-tagging
    • VGA video @ 30fps
    • Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
    • GPS with A-GPS
    • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
    • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
    • Stereo FM radio with RDS
    • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
    • User-accessible battery, Li-Ion 1530 mAh

    Main disadvantages

    • Feeble chipset
    • Poor screen quality
    • Fixed-focus camera with poor image quality, No LED flash
    • No front-facing camera
    • Mediocre audio output

    The Sony Xperia E specs sheet is not stuff from the geeks' dreams, but it makes it extremely competitive in its own price class. The chipset does raise concerns, but since it's not going to need to deal with a demanding 720p display, it might turn out quite adequate. The lower screen resolution itself is not that much of a problem either as it's spread on a pretty compact screen by today's standards.
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    Sony Xperia E dual studio pictures
    As usual, we start the review than with our traditional hardware tour. We'll meet you right after the break.







    Unboxing the Xperia E dual

    The retail box of the Xperia E dual has nothing but the basics - a wall-mount plug, a USB cable for computer connections and charging, and a one-piece headset.
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    Xperia E dual retail package
    Sony Xperia E dual 360-degree view

    The Sony Xperia E dual is a fairly compact and lightweight smartphone, coming in at 113.5 x 61.8 x 11 mm and weighing 115 grams. It's one of the easiest smartphones to pocket we have seen recently.

    Design, build quality and handling

    The Sony Xperia E dual borrows some design queues from the Xperia J, including the front panel lines and the thin silver frame, but introduces a completely new back panel. Unlike most of the 2012 Xperia smartphones that came with flat matte battery covers, the Xperia E dual cover is made of a textured rubberized plastic that attracts almost no prints or smudges.
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    The Sony Xperia E dual
    The one place that will get smudgy all the time is the screen glass and the glossy black plastic surrounding it. Unfortunately it's a tough job to clean the front, a (really clean) microfiber cloth will do the job, but it will take you twice the time as it would have taken to do the same with a Galaxy S III or an iPhone 5, for example.
    The Xperia E dual is not the best looking handset out there, but it's certainly built better than most of the otter offerings in its price range. There might not be fancy materials like carbon fiber or anodized aluminum here, but the plastic selected feels both adequately sturdy and nice to the touch. the Xperia E dual textured back provides excellent grip and the smartphone handles really comfortably.
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    Handling the Xperia E dual
    Sony did an excellent job during the actual manufacturing of the Xperia E dual, too. There are no squeaks or creeks and no too wide gaps between the panels.
    Controls

    Most of the Xperia E dual front is occupied by the 3.5-inch TFT HVGA display. Just above the screen is the centered earpiece, the hidden status LED light and the proximity sensor.
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    Above and below the Xperia E dual's screen
    Below the screen we find the capacitive Back, Home and Menu keys. They light up briefly as you unlock the screen, but the backlighting is otherwise off until you tap on one of them. There's no setting to change this behavior and the lack of an ambient light sensor means they won't illuminate automatically. The keys are haptic enabled, producing short sharp vibrations upon a tap. There's a microphone pinhole just below the Menu key.
    The left side of the Xperia E dual has the lonely microUSB port used for charging and connections. It has no protective cover to keep it from getting filled with dust.
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    The microUSB port is on the left
    The right of the Xperia E dual is pretty crowded - all three hardware controls are here. From the top to bottom we find a thin volume rocker, a tiny but comfortable metal Power/Lock key, and the camera shutter near the bottom. We were really surprised to find a dedicated camera key on a budget phone with a fixed-focus camera, but nonetheless we are happy it's here.
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    The right side of the Xperia E dual has all three hardware controls
    On top of the Xperia E dual resides only the 3.5mm audio jack. While at first glance the bottom seems appears bare, there's actually a hidden LED right where the chrome frame meets the slanting bottom edge of the front. It glows for a few seconds each time you unlock your Xperia E dual, matching the currently selected color theme. The tiny status LED next to the earpiece is in charge of notifications (messages, battery status, missed call etc).
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    The Xperia E dual top side • The bottom side with the hidden LED light
    At the right bottom edge you can find a lanyard eyelet.
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    The lanyard eyelet is at the bottom too
    The back of the Xperia E dual has the 3.1MP camera lens and the loudspeaker grille just between the removable battery cover and the soldered plastic at the bottom.
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    The back of the Xperia E dual
    Once you slide the battery cover up and remove it, you'll get to the hot-swappable microSD card slot and the 1530mAh battery.
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    A peek under the battery cover
    Removing the battery cover will give you access to the two SIM compartments. Neither of those is hot-swappable, but both of them support 3G networks. We'll go more in-depth with the dual-SIM telephony later in a while.
    Sony put a 1530mAh battery inside the Xperia E dual. We put the handsets through our battery routine, but we were sure to supply it with two SIM cards. It scored 30 hours, which means you'll only need to charge the smartphone every 30 hours if you use it for an hour of talk-time, an hour of web browsing and an hour of video-watching per day. Quite disappointing result indeed.


 

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