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4 inch touchscreen
Scratch resistant glass
50GB free online storage
Read our full review here >>>
by Mike Leader
The first thing of note is that the screen size has been increased from 3.5 inches to 4 inches, yet remarkably Sony have managed to retain the same overall size.
Measuring 118mm the phone is now just under 5 millimeters taller and a hairsbreadth wider and thicker than the Sony Xperia E at 62.4 and 12mm respectively.
This is achieved partly by moving the three Android buttons, Home, Back and Menu, onto the screen itself rather than just below them.
The screen's pixel count has been increased too, to an impressive 480 x 800 pixels which is a density of 233 pixels per inch. In English, as a point of reference that's better than the iPhone 3GS. Remember this is on a budget handset which shows how far we have come in a few short years.
The 4 inch TFT screen is excellent, probably better than we had a right to expect at this price level and you will enjoy bright, sharp colours and a viewing experience of excellent clarity all of which is placed behind scratch resistant glass.
The style of this Android smartphone cleverly apes Sony's flagship Xperia Z1 and Z2 models, until you turn it over to find one on it's main features on the rear panel.
At the foot of the rear panel you will notice a huge (for a smartphone!) speaker which expands almost the whole width of the phone. You might have also caught sight of the dedicated Walkman music player activation button on the side, all of which will have given you big clues as to this phone's main intentions.
Music is it's first love, and that speaker isn't just for show but actually pumps out 100 decibels of sound which is quite a remarkable (and loud) level of sound from a mobile phone.
Importantly, it's clear with strong bass tones, which is a bonus we rarely get to report in these pages. Speakers on mobile phones and even tablets are all too often tinny and lacking any depth but you will not find that problem here.
Purists might whinge at the lack of stereo sound but on a device this small it's largely a pointless exercise anyway.
Memory card slot and FM radio
You will be able to enjoy your music more than ever before, which you can play straight from your memory card, as the phone accepts memory cards right up to 32GB, or streamed straight from the internet.
You can also use wireless Bluetooth speakers or headphones, as well as a wired headset via the 3.5mm headphone socket
There's also a built in FM radio with RDS too. RDS displays the station name and any other information the station chooses to display so you will never be left without your music
Fully featured camera
The Xperia E1 also features a 3.2 megapixel camera and while this is probably classed as entry level, it does impress.
Features include face and smile detection, HDR to prevent 'silhouetting' on brightly backlit shots, geotagging via GPS, together with image stabilisation and panoramic modes.
Shots are crisp and clear too, again better than we expected with impressive quality, sharpness and stability while video recording is also present at a smooth 30 frames per second
Upgraded processor for faster operation
All this is kept running smoothly by a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, again better than expected as we have become used to a 1GHz processor in models at this price level, as seen in the model it replaces.
It may not sound too significant but it's almost like trading in your car for the latest model and getting a larger engine for the same price as you paid for the old one
50GB of free online memory
Memory is decidedly entry level though with a sufficient but 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It's nothing to write home about but should not bother anybody but power users who will not be buying this phone to use with intensive power hungry apps anyway.
This is your around-town runabout rather than a motorway cruiser. However it is worthy of note that Sony are offering a massive 50GB of free lifetime cloud storage, though we have no confirmation as yet that this will be offered in the UK
Full connectivity suite
All the expected connectivity is here, Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct and Hotspot, stereo Bluetooth of course, GPS for geotagging and navigational apps. The phone runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with an upgrade to the latestversion 4.4.2 'KitKat' promised, and the upgrade should already have been applied by the time it hits the UK's shelves.
With a predominant feature set, excellent music credentials and superb screen this is a brilliant handset for those of you who can't afford, or don't want to shell out for, the expense of a top end smartphone like the Z2 but still want to feel like part of the crowd.
This is also a delightful phone for the younger ones, especially those who like their music and apart from the slightly spartan memory bank it represents outstanding value for money. We highly recommend the Sony Xperia E1 which you will find is an absolute bargain for features per pound.
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