Sony Xperia M review: Morning show

GSMArena team, 29 August 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Sony, Android

Google Now at your command

Google Now gives you a short overview of information it believes is relevant to you right now. Going to work in the morning? Google Now knows this and lets you know if there's a big traffic jam on your usual way to the office, and offers you a re-route.

It can interpret a lot of things from your search history as well. If you've been searching for, let's say, your favorite football team, Google Now will prepare a card showing you the next match the team is playing and will provide you score updates once the game begins.

Sony Xperia M Sony Xperia M Sony Xperia M Sony Xperia M
Google Now

Google has also integrated Voice Actions. They can handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), initiating a voice call, asking for directions, taking a note or opening a site. Google Now can also launch apps, check and manage your calendar and look for nearby places of interest and stuff like movie openings in theaters.

Google Now on the Xperia L gets activated with a press-and-hold-and-upward-swipe of the virtual Home button. You can either type or talk to it and the app will give you one of its info cards (if available) and read you its contents aloud (you can disable this from the app settings). If there's no card to help with the answer to your question Google Now will simply initiate a Google web search instead.

Synthetic benchmarks

The Sony Xperia M uses a Snapdragon S4 Plus chipset with two Krait cores clocked at 1GHz, 1GB RAM and Adreno 305 GPU. It's a chipset made popular by entry-level Windows Phone handsets but it is not that popular with Android.

The Krait cores and Adreno 305 should have the advantage over dual and quad-core Cortex-A5 processors and their Adreno 203 companions that are the hardware of choice for phones like the Samsung Galaxy Core, the HTC Desire SV and Desire 600 dual sim.

Single core performance is okay - higher than the Galaxy Core and Desire 600 dual sim even though their processors are clocked at 1.2GHz. Architecture plays a big role here, but so does clock speed - the dual-core Krait in the HTC One mini is at 1.4GHz and that results in a noticeable advantage in performance.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    166
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • HTC One mini
    293
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    346
  • Sony Xperia M
    400
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    409
  • Sony Xperia L
    435
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    499
  • Sony Xperia go
    543
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    554
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    578
  • HTC Desire X
    639
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    800
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    831

The multi-threaded benchmark Linpack puts the Xperia M between last year's flagships, the Galaxy S III and HTC One X. It's also well ahead of the Desire 600 dual sim and double what the Galaxy Core did.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    788
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    413
  • Sony Xperia SP
    348
  • HTC One mini
    320
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Sony Xperia L
    191
  • HTC One X+
    177
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175
  • Sony Xperia M
    168.3
  • HTC One X
    160
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    107.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    85

Geekbench 2, however, thinks the quad-core Desire 600 dual-sim is practically a match for the Xperia M, while the dual-core Galaxy Core lags behind again.

Geekbench 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    3227
  • HTC One
    2708
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2173
  • HTC Butterfly
    2143
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    1937
  • Sony Xperia SP
    2105
  • LG Optimus G
    1723
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1661
  • iPhone 5
    1601
  • HTC One mini
    1417
  • Sony Xperia L
    1073
  • Sony Xperia M
    973
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    970
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    678

Let's move on to the full system benchmarks. AnTuTu thinks the Desire 600 dual sim is as good as the HTC One mini and ahead of the Xperia M. Quadrant seems to agree and keep in mind the Desire is rendering graphics at qHD resolution rather than FWVGA like the Xperia M (that's about 26% more pixels). Still, the One mini is ahead but not by far in these two tests (it has a higher-res 720p screen to project images on, after all).

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • HTC One
    22678
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    14518
  • HTC Butterfly
    12631
  • HTC One mini
    11434
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    11203
  • Sony Xperia M
    9902
  • Sony Xperia L
    9746
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    9140
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    7408
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    6650

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    7153
  • HTC One mini
    6048
  • Sony Xperia V
    5816
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    5053
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    4998
  • Sony Xperia L
    4279
  • Sony Xperia M
    4147
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    3152

Resolution doesn't come into play with GLBenchmark 2.5 and 2.7, both render at 1080p offscreen. The results of the Sony Xperia M are very close to those of the HTC One mini (which also uses Adreno 305), which leads us to believe the GPUs in both phones are running at the same clock speed.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    41
  • Google Nexus 4
    32
  • Sony Xperia Z
    31
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    30
  • LG Optimus G
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    17
  • HTC One mini
    15
  • Sony Xperia M
    12
  • HTC One X
    11

GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    17.1
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    17.1
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    16
  • LG Optimus G
    13.9
  • Sony Xperia Z
    13.5
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    6.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    6.3
  • HTC One mini
    5.6
  • Sony Xperia M
    4.7

In real-world performance that results in a good but not perfect framerate in Epic Citadel (which is rendered by the phone at the screen's resolution). 53.2fps will be enough for current 3D games to run smoothly at High Quality, but future, heavier games might have to choose performance-oriented graphics settings. Still, the Xperia M is an entry-level phone and we don't even bother running these benchmarks on Adreno 203-powered devices, so that should tell you something. It may not be up there with the big boys, but it's no slouch either.

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    59.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    57.1
  • HTC One
    56.4
  • HTC One mini
    56
  • Sony Xperia Z
    55.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    55.5
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    54.7
  • Nexus 4
    53.9
  • Asus Padfone 2
    53.4
  • Sony Xperia M
    53.2
  • LG Optimus G
    52.6
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    41.3

Good single-threaded performance should have resulted in good JavaScript performance, but that's not the case. The Xperia M is sandwiched between its dual-SIM adversaries, while higher-end minis are ahead. Windows Phone 8 devices that use the same chipset also beat the Xperia.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    1185
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    1196
  • HTC One mini
    1237
  • HTC 8S
    1413
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    1435
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    1654
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1660
  • Sony Xperia M
    1867
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    2197
  • HTC Desire X
    2259
  • Sony Xperia L
    2539
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    2824
  • Sony Xperia J
    2853
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    3578

BrowserMark 2 and Vellamo run more comprehensive browser benchmarks and give the Xperia M a slight edge.

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2314
  • HTC One
    2262
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    2170
  • HTC One mini
    2164
  • Sony Xperia V
    1957
  • Sony Xperia L
    1809
  • Sony Xperia M
    1642
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1592
  • HTC 8S
    1556
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    1469
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1469
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    1154
  • Sony Xperia E
    992
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    975
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    908
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    714

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia SP
    2497
  • HTC One
    2382
  • HTC One mini
    2252
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2019
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Sony Xperia M
    1800
  • Sony Xperia L
    1640
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1572
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1366
  • Nexus 4
    1310
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1234
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1072
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1065

In the end, the Sony Xperia M has an advantage over quad-core Cortex-A5 phones in CPU performance and only a minor lead in web performance. It's the Adreno 305 that makes this chipset really worthwhile - it allows you to play 3D games that would otherwise be too graphic intensive for Adreno 203 phones.

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