Sony Xperia M review: Morning show

GSMArena team, 29 August 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Sony, Android

Unboxing the Xperia M

The Sony Xperia M comes in an old-fashioned box - big and colorful - which contains the phone itself, the battery, a compact charger and a microUSB cable. A single-piece headset is also in the bundle (though our review unit came without the full set of accessories so we didn't have one).

Sony Xperia M Sony Xperia M
Sony Xperia M retail box, sans the headset

360-degree spin

The Sony Xperia M measures 124 x 62 x 9.3 mm and weighs 115g. Overall it's more compact than most Android phones we've encountered recently, though the screen bezel could've been thinner. For the sake of comparison, an iPhone 5 (also with a 4" 16:9 display) measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm and weighs 112g.

Design and handling

The Sony Xperia M closely follows the design guidelines of the Xperia family, without being too similar (like the Galaxy line). It has the trademark round, metal power key (the so-called OmniBalance design), slightly recessed sides of contrasting material like on the Xperia Z, an RGB light below the screen and a shutter key. The end result is one very attractive phone, despite being low on the totem pole.

Sony Xperia M Sony Xperia M
Xperia M follows the OmniBalance design language

The front holds the 4" LCD screen, surrounded by relatively big bezels (especially top and bottom, considering there are no physical buttons). Even so, the Xperia M is not a large device.

The back has a slight curve like Xperias of the Sony Ericsson era. It's made of plastic that wraps around the sides of the phone, giving it a nice unibody impression, but is actually removable so you can access the battery and the card slots.

Sony Xperia M Sony Xperia M
The back is slightly curved

Another plus about the back is the material - it's a matte plastic with a soft touch finish, making it very pleasant to the touch and fingerprint-resistsant (but can be a bit hard to clean once it inevitably gets smudgy in the end).

It all culminates in a great in-hand feel for the Xperia M - it's small and fits easily in the hand, the materials are pleasant and it's pretty light. At 9.3mm it's not the thinnest phone around but slips very easily into pockets and, again considering its price tag, the M is very well proportioned having an overall impression of a pricier phone.

Sony Xperia M Sony Xperia M
Sony Xperia M in the hand

Display

The Sony Xperia M has a 4" LCD display of FWVGA resolution (480 x 854). That makes it relatively sharp at 245ppi. It's protected by a scratch-resistant glass of undisclosed make.

Sony Xperia M
Sony Xperia M display under a microscope

Color rendering looks okay, but the white balance is on the cold side meaning there is a subtle bluish tint. Typical for Sony smartphones, viewing angles are not impressive at all, with a visible loss of contrast and even a color shift when you are not looking at the phone head on.

Sony Xperia M
4" LCD screen with FWVGA resolution

While the overall image quality is okay, the biggest problem with the display is that it's not very bright. We kept it at almost full brightness most of the time.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy Core 0.29 236 811 0.51 430 842
Sony Xperia M 0.17 150 865 0.57 569 983
HTC One mini 0.15 177 1197 0.50 685 1361
HTC Desire 600 0.18 200 1106 0.46 532 1161
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini 0 166 0 396
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
Oppo Find 5 0.17 176 1123 0.51 565 1107
Samsung N7100 Galaxy Note II 0 215 0 402
LG Optimus G Pro - - - 0.41 611 1489
Nokia Lumia 920 - - - 0.48 513 1065
LG Optimus G 0.14 197 1445 0.33 417 1438
Nexus 4 0.22 314 1447 0.45 608 1341
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III 0 174 0 330
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320

The front display glass is quite reflective too, making the screen hard to read in the sunlight.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.270
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114
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