Sony's most affordable Xperia L2 is a well-rounded entry into the company's smartphone lineup, though ultimately we would have liked to have seen it perform better.
One area where we were a little disappointed is the display - a 5.5-inch 720p panel was never going to be very sharp, but why did Sony have to go with a dimmer display for the L2 than the one used on the L1?
Good thing that the L2 makes up a little in the battery life department - again, it's far from amazing, but it's an improvement over the previous model. Unless you're binge-watching TV shows on your phone, that is. Here, however, it's getting obvious that brute force can only get you so far - adding more battery without using efficient hardware isn't the way to achieve spectacular battery life.
We appreciate that Sony fitted the L2 with usable amounts of storage and RAM, and the fingerprint sensor and USB-C port on an entry-level device is the way every maker should go about things now.
Admittedly, Sony's entry level does come at a price point other makers call midrange. For about the same amount of money Xiaomi will give you either the Mi A1 or the Redmi 5 Plus for even less. Both come with vastly more powerful Snapdragon 625 chipsets, both can record 2160p video, and both have sharper 1080p screens - the Redmi's is even in an 18:9 aspect. The Mi A1 has a dual rear camera and is part of the Android One program.
The Moto G5S Plus is another competitor that offers a lot of smartphone for a little money. Snapdragon 625 again, 2160p video, splash resistance, longer battery life, but an old microUSB port.
The LG Q6 is even more affordable than the Moto, though it's not as good. Even so, it's ahead of the Xperia in at least a couple key areas - a 1080p tall display and a Snapdragon 435 chipset.
The Xperia L2 seemed to have it all - large display, generous battery, promising cameras, fingerprint sensor, and most importantly a Sony badge. In our testing, it turned out that the display wasn't as bright as last year's, battery life is good, but still hampered by an old and inefficient chipset, and image quality was meh at best. The fingerprint reader and brand name we can't complain about.
Perspective is important, though, and this is, after all, Sony's most affordable phone. However, we feel that the L2 doesn't quite manage to justify its price. Compromises in the most important areas - display, chipset, and camera, are too many to ignore. If LG and Motorola/Lenovo can squeeze much better hardware within the same or even tighter budget, the Xperia L2 is left with just that 'Sony is a premium brand' defense. Not a very strong defense that.