The Sony Xperia L has a design similar to that of the entry-level Xperia E, but the arced back is distinct reference to 2011 flagships of the company. The Xperia L is not as slim as the Arc or Arc S, but it's still an instantly recognizable Sony smartphone and that's a compliment in our book.
The plastic body with a very thin metal frame lacks the sophistication of the glass panels of the Sony Xperia Z, but you can't realistically expect that kind of build materials in this class. Furthermore the plastic used on the Xperia L is of pretty high quality and feels really nice to the touch. The Sony Xperia L's extra heft also contributes to the great feeling it gives and makes the smartphone feel way more solid than the bulk of its market rivals.
We also like the initial selection of available colors. A more eye-catching red version joins the classical black and white units and the best bit is the color changes do not affect the quality of the build materials. The matte plastics are really hard to get smudged with fingerprints, so they will retain their looks longer, too.
The sloped bottom edge of the Xperial L hosts the Illumination effect LED. Sony has gone for a more subtle implementation here, compared to the Xperia SP and, and while the LED will still match the color of the image you are browsing in the gallery or the album art of the currently playing track, it lacks the option to flash in different colors when a call is incoming and serve as visual caller ID.
From the sides the Sony Xperia L looks like an upsized Xperia E with the camera key showing Sony's commitment to providing better imaging experience than its Android rivals. You also get a microSD card slot under the hood, showing that the company has learned from the mistake it did with the Xperia U.
The Sony Xperia L display retains the same resolution as the one on the Xperia U, but since its diagonal has grown by nearly an inch, the pixel density has dropped to just 228 ppi. It's not the best you can get out there, but the screen still feels reasonably sharp for a lower mid-range device and the 16:9 aspect ratio comes as a nice bonus to video enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, the Achilles' hell of all Sony smartphone displays - the poor viewing angles - make another appearance here. Of course, that disadvantage matters little in real-life usage, unless you are often sharing your smartphone with others, but it takes away some of the high-end vibe of these displays. At least the contrast looks good and even though the Xperia L lacks the Bravia engine optimizations, its colors are quite punchy as they are.
So that's it for our short meet-up with the Xpeira L. It left a positive impression and Sony promises it will be priced quite temptingly. It surely deserves a more detailed write-up and we're looking forward to that once the smartphone hits the market.