Wanting to consolidate its position in the mid-range, Sony had used the Mobile World Congress to present its Xperia M4 Aqua. It proposes a smartphone that is not so distant it from the range Z but will face a big competition this year in a market segment that has grown considerably.
Good mid-range, the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is not too poorly equipped. A screen to include 5 inch 720p resolution , with a very common resolution of 294 pixels per inch, a processor Snapdragon 615 coupled with 2GB of RAM , a capacity of 8 GB storage low (only 4 available) but with microSD support, a back camera of 13 megapixels , a front sensor of 5 megapixels and a battery of 2400 mAh. It is also compatible with 4G Class 4 and Bluetooth 4.1. Its dimensions are 145.5 x 72.6 x 7.3 mm and weigh 136 grams. A fairly standard configuration.
|Model||Sony Xperia M4 Aqua|
|Version||Android 5.0 Lollipop|
|Screen Size||5 inches|
|Screen technology||IPS LCD|
|Definition||720 x 1280 pixels|
|Resolution||~ 294 ppi|
|SoC||Qualcomm MSM8939 Snapdragon 615|
|Number of Cores||4 x Cortex-A53 1.5GHz
Cortex-A53 4 x 1GHz
|Random access memory||2GB|
|Internal memory||8GB (4 available)|
|Micro SD||Yes, up to 32GB|
|Camera (dorsal)||13 megapixel camera (autofocus)|
|Camera (Front)||5 megapixels|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a / b / g / n|
|4G category||LTE Category 4|
|4G bands||800/1800/2600 MHz|
|SIM||1 x SIM nano|
|Dimensions||145.5 x 72.6 x 7.3 mm|
Design: range Z
The good surprise when we leave this Aqua M4 from the box is that it seems to see a high-end mobile. The phone is very similar to the Sony Xperia Z3, not only in its form-factor but also by some technical characteristics. It first openly ends with 7.3 mm thick, exactly the same as the Z3 precisely. It is also extremely light with only 136 grams on the scale.
Everything has been designed to recall the flagship manufacturer precisely. But it is largely at the same level for the quality of manufacturing and construction. Obviously, mid-range forces, Sony has set aside premium materials to give way to plastic. The portion that surrounds the mobile is fully plastic, grey on the white model, to give a metallic effect. Only the ignition button is aluminium, the other being made of plastic.
The back of the motive is not at the level of what is done on the high end. Indeed, the glass has been replaced by a layer of plastic, but it is visually misleading. We always find the same placement of the various components, with a camera in the left corner and Sony Xperia mentions and the middle and bottom of the rear panel.
The micro USB port is itself placed on the upper left corner, and it’s pretty amazing. This is however not really annoying if you plan to try some games when the mobile is supported. Good point for him, it is not covered with a mask even when the phone is IP68 certified. Note that as often with Sony, a fast shutter button of photographs fits on the bottom right of the unit.
The facade is rather pretty, the screen fairly thin receiving left and right borders. Two stereo speakers (well, that’s what we thought …) also are housed in the top and bottom, entirely symmetrical. As the smartphone is IP68 certified, you will have nothing to fear thanks to the masks that cover the SIM and microSD ports.
Overall, this is a downright elegant smartphone but maybe lacks some special finishes to stand out as a very good smartphone in design. Especially it is still sold quite expensive and is placed in the top of midrange smartphones.
If given the illusion of a premium design on the M4 Aqua, it seems to have played against small arms on the screen. We hoped to see a touchscreen glued to the glass but we will be content with a slightly off-putting effect of depth for a mobile in 2015, and what is more when it costs the same as a OnePlus One, to name him. Fortunately, Sony has integrated Triluminos technology, which benefits from a greater range of colors, to mobile.
The screen brightness was 650 cd / m2, and admits to being quite surprised by this result, nevertheless confirmed by several tests. With Triluminos technology, bright colors are obtained, but a ride on screen test leaves us a bit dubious about the depth of black. It must be said that the fact that the slab is not completely glued to the glass lets light pass necessarily.
Software: a familiar refrain
It is more generally with high-end mobile that can be seen some changes, bringing additional functionality or design of a renewed interface. That of the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua does not change and is not intended to do so, merely a sub installing Android 5.0 native Lollipop, and quote the code at the Sony software. But Lollipop precisely brings out notifications on the lock screen, to our delight.
And it will be content with that. We find the same icons usually, and which are also flattened in recent months. Widgets are the same party, with the famous “What’s new” top of the home screen or the screen captures and other images on the second page. When one travels the application launcher, it must still note the emergence of the application Top Games Ubisoft, which provides direct access to a selection of games from the publisher. This is not necessarily very useful, but why not. I do not know if we have already spoken, but the Party Share application may have an interest if a lot of people start using it (and it is not won) since it is possible to organize parties or joining parties directly above groups. A plus for the revelers, some will say.
Despite the fluidity of the interface, we happened to meet some “freezes” as they say in the jargon of video games, especially when too many applications are open. The interface is otherwise well fluid, and that’s pretty much all we have to say.
Performance: a facade of stability
As for performance, we already know what is the Snapdragon 615, far from being a great warrior, but that does its job reasonably well. It was therefore opposed to this other mobile device equipped with the same SoC, such as Alcatel Idol 3 or ZTE Blade S6. And it is not our Sony Xperia M4 Aqua that doing better.
|Sony Xperia M4 Aqua||ZTE Blade S6|
|SoC||Snapdragon 615||Snapdragon 615|
|AnTuTu||30,535 items||30,703 items|
|PCMark||3401 Points||3121 Points|
|3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited General||6737 Points||7675 Points|
|3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics||6944 Points||7800 Points|
|3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Physics||6101 Points||7267 Points|
|GFXBench (offscreen Manhattan / onscreen)||4.6 / 9.9 FPS||4.9 / 9.5 FPS|
|GFXBench (T-Rex offscreen / onscreen)||10.5 / 18.6 FPS||12/20 FPS|
|Real Racing 3 (Xtra High)||22 FPS||24 FPS|
If the usual benchmark AnTuTu gives the advantage to the M4, graphics tests show a little behind the Blade S6 particular. Whether on 3DMark, GFX or Game Bench, there are about 2 FPS least on arrival for the M4.
The mobile is obviously compatible with 4G and French bands frequencies. Call quality is at the rendezvous, and there are even options to reduce background noise during the call or enhance the sound of the voice.
With its Snapdragon 615, the M4 Aqua does not complex to find and fix the satellites. You can go hiking quietly without risk of losing you.
The Xperia M4 Aqua camera displays 13 megapixels and promises to be pretty good for a midrange. Sony provides good sensors, but often one has the feeling that he lacks something to make its inescapable picture software, and very easy to use. Again, we find this old software, which has not moved a hair with Lollipop.
The photographs are of quality but the brightness of the management sometimes leaves a strange feeling. The scenes we have before us seem more informed than they are in the photographs. It was still a good color rendition, and the pictures are not too smoothed.
The HDR mode is also quite good, giving a very artistic effect to clichés, and not forcing too much on the vividness of colors or certain contrast areas. I find it much more convincing than the Oppo N3, tested lately.
Even under artificial light, as evidenced by the photograph of our ping-pong, clichés are very good and well-managed brightness. This is satisfactory, but notes against a difficulty to focus, and sometimes too slow trip time.
The construction of the mobile is misleading. So it was like to have stereo speakers, the facade grids contain only the microphones and the sound is uttered by a single speaker located on the bottom edge. The audio quality is still largely correct.
Subject to our (new) endurance test, which is to run HD video on Youtube with only the active Wi-Fi, Mobile is doing rather moderately with a 15% loss of autonomy ( the screenshot shows 16% but was taken after). We have seen better and worse so we will be especially forgiving.
In addition, various energy saving modes will manage the autonomy of this mobile very easily. It is this kind of little details that the “big” manufacturers make the difference with the competition. One can easily spend the day of use. But not perhaps two, especially since we have few qualms about wanting to do multimedia with mobile equipped with an S615 and 2GB of RAM.
With such individual notes, one would have looked for the problems if we had put something other than a seven to this Sony Xperia M4 Aqua. It is ultimately very balanced, but it’s hard to find something that packs are particularly at home. The terminal adds nothing new and merely offers an additional choice for mid-range Sony. This is especially the case when we see that the mobile will be sold for 300 euros when you can find Xperia Z3 Compact for a little more expensive. So it will be difficult to recommend for purchase right out, but until the price a little lower, why not.