The Xperia L2 adopts Sony's new design for 2018, which we already saw on the XA2 and the XA2 Ultra. That does include the curved back with a fingerprint sensor in the middle, but the aluminum power button on the side didn't make the budget and neither did the hardware shutter key.
Aluminum nothing, actually - the L2 is all plastic unlike the XA2s, which have a metal frame to go with their plastic backs. The L2 could only take so much from its more expensive stablemates, and we're happy that the fingerprint reader made it - every smartphone these days should have some form of biometric recognition, and Sony's choice to put one on its entry-level handset is worth a cautious word of praise.
While we have nothing against plastic per se, the Xperia L2's panel likes to keep a record of every time you touch it - cleaning it from fingerprints is no easy task. We only had the black version, and the lighter gold and pink paint jobs could be better in this respect.
The camera is in the center now, gone are the days when Sony defaulted to the top left corner. In between the camera and the fingerprint reader an NFC badge tells you where the antenna is - Sony's tends to move it around from model to model, so it's good to know where it is this time.
On the front, it's the same 5.5-inch 720p display from the old model - no upgrades here. A bit of a downgrade, in fact, is the added 4mm of width to the phone for a display the same size as the predecessor. Wide phones aren't something we want in our lives, and the makers thinks so too - why would they be moving towards the 18:9 aspect otherwise?
The new model is a mil shorter, let's give it that. There's also some redistribution between chin and forehead, with the former now meatier, for some non-apparent reason. For there is equally nothing of substance there as on the L1.
Above the display, aside from the Sony logo, an earpiece slit sits next to the edge of the phone. It doesn't double as a second speaker, unfortunately. The ultra wide angle selfie cam that comes from the XA2 is here too, as well as the usual ambient light/proximity sensor assembly. There's even a notification LED in the top left corner.
A couple of design details that also serve a practical function, to some extent at least, the raised lips of the top and bottom edge would keep the display a fraction of a millimeter above a flat surface. Thing is though, the distance is so small that it may very well be insufficient for that pesky unknown abrasive particle on your countertop. But who leaves their phones face down anyway? On the countertop, at that! In any case, the Gorilla Glass 4 that covers the display should do a better job than some questionable minute protrusions. Which we've already spent way too much time on.
Moving on, and back to that power button - it's on the right side of the phone, a bit higher than the midway point, which is nice. The volume rocker is above, and not somewhere low like some Xperias of old. Both could have been a little larger, but even as it is, we found no real issues working with them.
The card slot is on the left side of the phone. Pulling out the tray will take out the SIM and thus restart the phone if there's a SIM card inside, when you could have wanted to just get to the microSD. The L2 will then restart again when you put the tray back in. Two reboots to replace a memory card - just Sony things.
The Xperia L1 of last year already had a USB-C port and the new model comes with the same standard port when other makers are still sticking with microUSB 2.0 for entry-level models. Thumbs up to Sony for the timely adoption.
Down here at the bottom, you'll also find the loudspeaker - a single bottom-firing one, as we already established the earpiece won't be offering a helping hand in audio playback. A pinhole serves as the inlet of the primary mic. Up top, there's another pinhole for the secondary mic, and a 3.5mm jack completes the hardware walkaround.