Sony Xperia E3 review, rating and latest UK deals and offers
Now on it's third incarnation - the first two were name the E and E1, there was no E2 - Sony's entry level android smartphone once again raises the bar for those who want a cheap and cheerful, rather than a cheap and nasty, Android smartphone
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4.5 inch IPS LCD touchscreen
5 megapixel camera with flash
Useful Memory card slot
Shock absorbing casing
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by Mike Leader
The Sony Xperia E3 is purported to be an Entry-level phone by the manufacturers, hence the 'E' model designation, but sits at a slightly higher price than a true budget phone.
This is no bad thing though as it means Sony do not skimp on features, although the most pleasing thing to the eye initially is the appearance. It looks exactly like the flagship Sony Xperia Z3, albeit of course smaller.
Unlike the Z3 you do not get waterproofing or a Full HD screen here but you do get a scratch resistant shatter proof glass screen and shock absorbing nylon corners like those on the Z3, designed to help protect the phone if dropped.
The flagship-like design and soft curved sides also feature, and the 8.5mm depth feel just right in the hand as does the 144g weight.
New and improved throughout
There are a raft of improvements over the Xperia E1, not least the screen size being increased by half an inch to a generous 4.5 inches.
The pixel count has also increased slightly too although the pixels per inch drops slightly to 218 PPI, which means it isn't the world's sharpest screen, but acceptable for this price point.
Sony make some great screens and this is no exception, with the switch to an IPS screen meaning you can see the bright and clear colours easily in bright sunlight and at much wider angles.
It's a great improvement over the traditional TFT screens and one which is sure to please you on an entry level handset.
Further enhancements see the introduction of 4G and NFC, double the size of RAM memory and a quad core processor replacing the previous dual core.
Clock speed remains at 1.2 GHz and this is ample enough to keep the E3 ticking over nicely. Indeed you will find the same processor in the similarly priced HTC Desire 610 and Motorola MOTO G.
Upgraded camera with many enhancements
The camera has also been upgraded to a 5 megapixel unit from 3.2 MP, and it now includes an LED flash, touch focus and Full HD video recording. Photos and video are excellent, with sharp results and bright colours, with better than average low light shots.
If anything the camera is slightly let down by the low resolution screen which doesn't allow you to view the results of your photography work at it's best.
Auto focus, face detection, HDR and panoramic modes are also included and a wealth of customisable photo and camera apps are available on Google Play, or Android market as most of us still fondly remember it as.
Live photo sharing, Timeshift and Burst shot apps are included, and you can have lots of fun with the AR augmented reality app
An interesting feature is the Shake Start app which allows to to waken the phone and start an app of your choice, including the camera, simply by shaking it.
Walkman music pedigree
Music is well catered for with Sony's smartphone version of their Walkman player providing excellent results through your favourite headset via the 3.5mm headphone socket, or via Bluetooth in stereo to suitable wireless speakers or headphones. A stereo FM radio is also included.
Your calls will sound fantastic too with active noise cancellation on board which cuts out background noises when you are on a call, using a dedicated microphone.
Strong battery life, but limited memory
A generous 2330 mAh battery offers up to 700 hours standby and 12 hours talk time, while a not so generous 4GB of memory space means that the memory card slot is welcome, and you can add cards with up to an additional 32GB of memory.
For an entry level handset the Sony Xperia E is outstanding, and will tick most of your boxes. However the pricing is at the lower end of midrange and as such the screen resolution is just about acceptable. It's an otherwise excellent screen though, and the only other thing lacking is the slightly skimpy memory space.
But the overall feature set is first class, and the bonus of a large screen phone with the looks of it's considerably more expensive flagship brother, the Xperia Z3 Compact, as well as the brilliant top of the range Z3 means this will delight most people and feels like a much more expensive handset, which in effect makes it a genuine bargain.
Available colours, depending on network, are black, white, copper and a slightly odd pale yellow, or lime depending who you ask!