The Sony Xperia C comes in an slim box, all the accessories placed in their separate and removable compartments. The contents are nothing out of the usual: an A/C adapter, microUSB cable, a white headset and some leaflets.
The Xperia C has pretty much the same footprint as Sony's Z1 flagship. At 141.5 x 74.2 x 8.9mm, the handset weighs 153g, which is 17g less than the Xperia Z1, due to the all-plastic build of the Xperia C.
What we're looking at is yet another issue of the OmniBalance design that premiered on the Xperia Z early this year. It has been the signature styling of the entire Xperia lineup since, covering the entire price, size and performance range.
Even though the rear cover is removable, the Xperia C still looks like a unibody phone and one that closely resembles the Xperia ZR. The few metallic elements along the sides make pleasant accents - a prominent element of the Xperia line's styling.
Keeping the design consistent across the entire range isn't a Sony invention but we like it how even their low-to-midrange devices don't look cheap. Perhaps a thing or two for Samsung to learn there.
The Xperia C's entire front is occupied by the massive 5" TFT screen with no hardware controls whatsoever, and bezels that could've been slimmer. Even with those, the Xperia C is still the same size as the top-of-the-line Xperia Z1.
The breathing LED is discretely hidden beneath the glass just below the screen. It illuminates a tiny slit that grows thinner at the edges and looks quite pleasant.
The Xperia C is a well-built phone. The removable rear panel doesn't bend or squeak, and the handset has an almost unibody look and feel.
The phone is big though and those bezels don't help either. The same size as the Xperia Z1, and a few grams lighter, it's slim enough to easily slip into pockets but its presence will always be felt. The phone is reasonably comfortable to handle.
The Sony Xperia C has a 5" LCD display of qHD resolution (540 x 960) for a decent, if hardly spectacular, 220ppi sharpness. The Samsung Galaxy Grand stretches its WVGA resolution far thinner and while there are some 720p options in the class, qHD is not a disadvantage here. There is no special anti-scratch surface over the screen and no special coating either, so the screen is very prone to fingerprints and not easy to clean.
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 visible loss of contrast and color shift when you are not looking at the screen head on.
The screen matrix of the Xperia C next to the Xperia Z1
The overall image quality is certainly good for the class, although we noticed strange behavior with its brightness settings. We measured the display's brightness levels and as it turned out that actual 50% brightness is achieved when the slider is set at about 75% and when you set it in its half-way position the brightness is under a quarter of the maximum available. That's why the screen looks dim most of the time, unless you keep it close to the maximum.
As usually we did our battery test on 50% of the dedicated brightness slider and you should have that in mind when you are looking at its scores.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|Sony Xperia C||0.18||151||842||0.66||639||962|
|Sony Xperia Z1||-||-||-||0.38||580||1513|
|Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand||0.37||382||1040||0.62||586||948|
|Huawei Ascend P6||0.14||136||986||0.62||670||1080|
|Sony Xperia Z Ultra||-||-||-||0.47||467||1001|
|Huawei Ascend Mate||0.23||222||982||0.67||711||1053|
|Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3||0.12||160||1364||0.32||440||1379|
|Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4||0||201||∞||0||404||∞|
|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 direct sunlight.