The Sony Xperia L is modestly accessorized - there's the essential USB cable and A/C adapter and some printed manuals in the box and that's it. There's no microSD card supplied, not even headphones, which isn't surprising for gadgets trying to stick to a budget. Naturally those things are strictly market-dependent so your mileage may vary.
The Sony Xperia L measures 128.7 x 65 x 9.7 mm and weighs the fairly high for its size 137g. It can be forgiven for being taller than the Xperia U, considering the notably larger screen, but if you compare it to the Motorola RAZR i, for example, you will immediately realize that Sony could have done a better job here.
The Motorola smartphone is more than half a centimeter shorter, good 4mm narrower and thinner than the Xperia L, while packing a screen of identical size. What the Xperia L has to show for it is the fine inward curve at the back, which is a nice, if not original, accent.
The Sony Xperia L can claim some distant kinship with the Sony Ericsson Arc but it's a modern take on the old design and one that's respectful of the phone's rank too. The flat glass front does little to set the Xperia L apart from the entry-level Xperia E, but the slightly more prominent rear curve and the bigger screen will instantly tell you which one is the more advanced package.
Screen bezels are by no means too wide but the too large blank bit below the screen is far from ideal. There's enough room on the sloped edge of the phone to rest your thumb, so leaving this much space here was certainly unnecessary.
The primary microphone is placed right at the edge of the bottom bezel. Above the display we find the earpiece, the front-facing VGA camera and the ambient light and proximity sensors. This time around there is no preinstalled screen protector like on the more expensive smartphones in the Xperia line.
The sloped bottom edge of the Sony Xperial L features the Illumination effect LED. Sony has gone for a simpler solution here, compared to the Xperia SP and, and while the LED will still match the color of the current theme or the image you are viewing, it doesn't have the full set of notifications.
It will still alert you for some events that require your attention (missed calls and messages), but you can't assign it as a caller ID and have it light up in different colors depending on who is calling you. Then again, unlike the Xperia SP's LED this one isn't visible from the back, so that wouldn't make too much sense anyway.
The matte plastic back of the Sony Xperia L is removable and we like the feel of the soft finish. It's an interesting coating, as if hundreds of tiny white dots are sprinkled all over, sparkling under strong light - kind of like a metallic car paintjob.
The 8MP camera lens is in the top left corner, a single LED flash next to it, and a loudspeaker grille centrally placed across at the bottom.
The curved edges allow a comfortable grip, and we don't mind them making the phone look chubbier.
Handling the Sony Xperia L is a comfortable experience. The phone has an ample display but remains pocketable and easy to control.