We should all be familiar with Sony's custom gallery - Album. It organizes images into groups of thumbnails and sorts them by date. You can change the thumbnails size by pinching.
Unlike previous versions there isn't a homepage that hosts all of your albums, instead you get the same navigation drawer as in app drawer is offering. There you can find all of your online and offline albums.
The gallery can connect to online albums (PlayMemories, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr) and also to other devices on the local network. Maps and Globe albums are also available, which use the geotagging info to sort photos by the location at which they were taken, and faces, which groups photos by the faces of the people in them.
Images can be cropped or rotated directly in the gallery. Quick sharing via Picasa, Email apps, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS is also enabled.
The Walkman music player is part of the equipment of all recent Xperia smartphones. It features Music Unlimited integration and is not above trying to sell you songs, but you can hide the Music Unlimited stuff.
The Walkman interface is based on a hidden swipe-able menu that sort your music collection by Artist, Albums, Playlists, all songs and even the songs your friends are listening to (but you need to connect the player with your Facebook account). You can pop up the menu the same way you'd do it in the app drawer or the gallery - just swipe from the left edge of the screen.
The Music Unlimited stuff includes ways to discover new music - Charts, New releases and Channels. Those can be hidden individually (same goes for the artist/album/playlist tiles) or you can disable the service altogether.
The Infinite button is available in the Now Playing screen (just tap the album art) - it will help you find the track's video on YouTube, look up info about the artist on Wikipedia and search for lyrics on Google. Gracenote is used here too and it can automatically download information about your tracks and album art.
The Walkman player offers a variety of audio settings - ClearAudio+ option is here, which determines the best audio quality settings depending on the song you're listening to. We liked how it changed the music and carefully accentuated various details.
Dynamic normalizer evens out the differences in volume between tracks, which is great if you've mixed multiple albums from multiple sources.
The Sound enhancements contain yet more settings. There's an equalizer with presets and manual settings (including tweaking Clear Bass). Then there's Surround sound mode, which imitates the Studio, Club or Concert Hall experience.
The Clear stereo mode enhances the perceivable stereo channel separation. Dynamic normalizer minimizes the difference in volume between songs (great if you're playing a shuffled mix).
Speaker settings include Clear Phase, which adjusts the quality, while xLOUD boosts up the internal speaker.
There's also an FM Radio. The app features multiple visualizations and integrates with TrackID to recognize the currently playing song. You can even directly send an "I'm listening to..." post to Facebook.
The video playing app is dubbed Movies and it too has a great custom UI. It's connected to Gracenote, which helps you find additional information about the movies and TVs you have on the phone. It will even download posters for them and for movies, it will download metadata like genre, synopsis, director and cast.
Unfortunately, this doesn't work very well for TV shows - it doesn't recognize the S01E02 naming convention and it won't pull info about individual episodes.
The Sony Xperia C3 was able to handle videos up to 1080p resolution. It had issues with the AC-3 audio codec and failed to load sound in videos carrying it but that's mostly normal for smartphones these days. MKV movies went through, but with no sound because of their AC-3 audio codec.
The video player comes with subtitle support by default, the only requirement is both file names (video and subtitles) to be the identical.
The Sony Xperia C3 Dual did fairly well in our audio quality test, demonstrating clean output in the two test scenarios.
As usual we did the first test with the smartphone connected to an active external amplifier and it produced some very good scores. The Xperia C3 Dual showed no weak points to its performance, except for the volume which was below-par.
Plugging in a pair of headphones causes a very moderate spike in the stereo crosstalk and also adds some intermodulation distortion - neither of the problems is too easy to detect unless you have a very well trained ear. The volume levels are once again the main problem with the output - the smartphone will certainly struggle with more demanding headphones.
Then again, if you own such headphones and are willing to pay the price that comes with them you probably aren't shopping in the price bracket that the Xperia C3 Dual inhabits. And within its own competition, the smartphone does pretty well.
And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|Sony Xperia C3 Dual||+0.02, -0.08||-87.0||88.9||0.0045||0.012||-89.0|
|Sony Xperia C3 Dual (headphones attached)||+0.27, -0.11||-86.9||89.0||0.061||0.204||-62.4|
|Sony Xperia T3||+0.12, -0.03||-89.3||90.5||0.0054||0.012||-85.6|
|Sony Xperia T3 (headphones attached)||+0.02, -0.11||-89.1||90.3||0.121||0.037||-46.5|
|Sony Xperia T2 Ultra||+0.02, -0.08||-90.5||89.4||0.0057||0.014||-92.2|
|Sony Xperia T2 Ultra (headphones attached)||+0.32, -0.21||-90.2||89.0||0.019||0.183||-49.8|
|Nokia Lumia 1320||+0.20, -0.09||-89.1||89.1||0.0095||0.197||-88.6|
|Nokia Lumia 1320 (headphones attached)||+0.21, -0.06||-89.1||89.0||0.115||0.198||-58.5|
Sony Xperia C3 Dual frequency response
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.
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