Sony Xperia C is a mid range Smartphone that comes with smart features. Recently we had tested Sony Xperia Z1 Smartphone that fell in the high end series platform. Xperia C is 50% cheaper and has a bit similar features and durable design, but it is not completely like Xperia Z1. Due to low budget, many features are removed but still Xperia C is a good Smartphone. The phone features a big size screen and smart camera features. It is ideal for those who are looking for a durable model for entertainment. In terms of design Xperia Z1 is a complete locked phone offering you waterproof and dust proof quality. But Xperia C is different. I do not think this is a waterproof model. It has a removable back cover and open ports on the body. There are no protective flaps. So it will be better not to test this phone inside water. The cost of Xperia C lies around Rs.20,500. It is a dual sim phone. It comes with Android 4.2.2 android OS and soon will get Android 4.3 Jellybean OS update in the month of December. Xperia C is a phablet. 5" TFT qHD screen on the front side provides big space to play games, surf web and watch movies. Big size affects the portability. It remains visible outside the pocket. I was expecting a durable design in this model. Almost all Xperia series offer a dustproof and waterproof design. But when I saw Xperia C, this feature was missing. The removable back cover if not placed properly has thin opening that can allow liquid to enter inside and damage the circuit. Micro USB and audio ports both are open.
Less impressive display and non durable design does not justify the price. It looks pricy to me. Sony is asking too much in terms of cost. If we compare other model at a similar price range, then we are having a more powerful configuration. Xperia C would have beaten them only if it had waterproof design. We will move ahead in locating what things are good in this model and whether going for this phone is a wise choice or not. Before that lets checkout the specs in detail.
- SIM – Dual
- Weight – 153g
- Display – TFT capacitive touch screen, 16M colors.
- Max Resolution – 960×540 pixels @ 220ppi.
- Storage – 4GB, expandable upto 32GB.
- RAM – 1GB
- Camera – 8 megapixel fast-capture camera with Exmor R. 4x Zoom with Autofocus
- OS – Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
- CPU – Quad-core Cortex 1.2 GHz (MTK MT6589 Chipset offering Cortex-A7 CPU + PowerVR SGX544 GPU)
- Battery – Li-Ion 2390 mAh
Being a phablet, it is a big size phone offering a nice 5inch qHD screen. The resolution is impressive here. From far the phone has a thick look. Xperia Z1 has more impressive design. Xperia C looks like a mid range phone to me. It does not give any major impact at first look. It comes in three different colors. Black, White and Purple. The cost varies in terms of color. It is a huge phone. The screen looks more amazing if you use it without screen guard.
At the front side lies the 5inch display which covers the biggest area. At the bottom there are three capacitive touch buttons. On the top lies the ear speaker with a standard VGA camera along with Microphone and Notification Light. The camera provides average output for video chat. Photo quality in low light is not impressive. Next to that lies Light sensor. The screen is covered by thick border. Xperia C has a fast responsive touch screen, thanks to Timescape UI. It is easy to customize and operate.
5inch screen adds more space compared to small screen size. You have a larger area to read and type emails. It is very easy to use under portrait mode. The screen provides 960×540 pixels of maximum resolution. This is not very high but reasonable to give you detailed pictures and good readability. It provides 220ppi density which is common in many mid range phones. It is recommended to keep the brightness on auto. Depending on the light condition, the phone will adjust the light output which also saves your battery. Sony is not offering us Mobile BRAVIA Engine on Xperia C due to which the quality remains limited.
At the backside lies an 8MP camera. Sony is offering us a fast capture camera supported by Exmor back illuminated CMOS Sensor. The camera is nicely visible on the backside surrounded by silver ring. You can get amazing image quality from it. The camera does not depend on light to give you amazing photo quality. Exmor R is Sony's proprietary technology which aims in delivering hd photos instantly. The speaker is placed at the bottom. The placement does not look proper to me. Audio is blocked when you keep the phone on desk.
The back cover is easily removable. The cover is less flashy with matte finish instead of glossy finish. It adds more to the grip. It is less slippery. The removable cover features a nice rough finish and it is quiet thick. You have to press the edges softly to remove it. The entire front body will come out.
At the backside you can see there are two sim slots. The phone has a dual sim mode where you can handle calls on both. Through this you can take calls from other sim if you are talking on the first one. The first call is put on hold. Before that lies a MicroSD card slot. You can add up to 32GB card. The battery is locked with the body. It is not removable. A 2390mAH battery is placed below the seal.
There is a tiny hold provided at the top right side above battery compartment. This allows you to shutdown your phone quickly. You have to use a ball pen for that. Do not use any sharp object or press hard because you can damage the phone easily.
At the left side lies a single Micro USB Port. And you can also see the phone thickness here. At the right side we have three buttons. A round silver button is the default screen lock and power key. Next that lays a volume key and the camera key is placed at the bottom. The phone looks a bit impressive from sides. It is thick and provides you good grip to hold also. Xperia C does not feature a slim design.
At the top lies a 3.5mm audio jack. This jack has an issue like all other Xperia phone. You cannot use any headphone on that. You will have to use Sony Compatible headphones only. That is a real waste of money. I had tried turning of xCloud and Clear Phase from Sound settings but still it was not working. At the bottom we have a strap holder.
Sony Xperia C has a good design but it does not feature any waterproof qualities. The back cover sometime is complicated to remove. It is a big size phone which is good in multimedia, multi-tasking and camera. The phone has a thick body and it is also a bit heavy. It does not have a compact body. Speaker placement is also improper. The sound quality is affected when it is placed on desk.
Timescape UI :
Almost all Sony Xperia series has Timescape UI. This offers super smooth screen and fast performance. The UI is nicely optimized. Icons are properly arranged with simple customization. You can hold the screen for few seconds to get the customization options. This is common feature in every device. You can change wallpapers, add live images, widgets, home screen, etc. On Xperia C, the UI works perfectly. Big screen size offers you great space to scroll and view images. Pinch zoom works nicely. There are some set of themes provided. There are few helpful widgets that can help you to get more benefit from the device. Like under widget you get some helpful solutions like Bookmarks, Clock, Email, Recent Calls, etc. I can't find Social Life in Xperia C. This two app widget helps you to get real-time update from social networking. You can add that from Google Play. In terms of customization it is very easy to operate.
Xperia C has a 8MP Primary camera supported by Exmor CMOS sensor. This is a fast capture camera which delivers good quality pictures. I had linked the sample image gallery below. I found the camera features a bit limited compared to what I had seen in Sony Xperia Z1. That is because of low budget price. It has a standard camera app which is easy to manage, and comes with different settings. This device has an impressive camera. The quality is good and some default settings in it allow you to capture amazing pictures. There are different modes easy to pick. Color output here is amazing. Exmor CMOS sensor is used in many Sony cameras which produce great vibrant images. The quality is impressive. Camera app offers you easy panels on the screen to modify the settings. You can choose different modes. The same panel offers you Portrait Retouch mode that will fix your face and make it clearer. This is a bit beneficial in taking your own photos. But it is limited to 2MP only. The camera key offers great help while taking photos. You don't have to keep on tapping on the screen.
The settings section has the regular options that we get commonly in all other cameras. You can configure the focus mode, enable it, touch capture, etc. It is a regular menu. Through the camera you can capture images in following resolution:
- 8MP: 3264×2448 at 4:3 aspect ratio
- 5MP: 3072×1728 at 16:9 aspect ratio
- 2MP:1600×1200 at 4:3 aspect ratio
- 2MP: 1920×1080 at 16:9 aspect ratio
There is a smart feature that allows you to take nice self-portrait photos. It has a voice guided support. You can find that under settings. Just turn it on and follow the voice instructions. The camera once locates your face then it clicks the pictures on its own. This feature is quite effective and very easy to use when you are taking your own photos. You don't really need anyone to hold the phone. Just turn the camera towards your face and adjust it little. I am not happy with the front camera. In low light you cannot see clear pictures. Front camera supports different camera modes. Under settings you have limited options. For videos you get 4 different resolutions. They are 1920×1080 @ 16:9, 1280×720 @ 16:9, 640×480 @ 4:3 & 176×144 @ 11:9. So here you can take different videos from different resolution. The quality is amazing when you are taking them in light. A dedicated option is available to turn on the flash. You can keep it on at the time of shooting videos.
Xperia C is an ideal smartphone for watching videos. HD video quality looks great on it. 220ppi screen does not fall short from corner. Viewing angle is also amazing. It has a qHD display offering you maximum resolution of 960×540 pixels. This is a bit low compared to some other phones that fall in the same budget. But when you play videos or view photos you will not find any changes in the quality. HD videos especially look great. Even if you are playing low resolution video the default Movie app stretch it to full screen. This app is capable of playing all kinds of video format and also support media server. If you have DLNA devices you can connect the phone with them and use it. Or you can just add your favorite songs and videos on Windows Media Player library and access them on your phone. In the same way Walkman is the default music application. It manages all your songs and albums. By default you get your songs in it with playlist and SenseMe channels organized more properly. Through settings you can enable Clear Audio+ which boosts the sound quality. But when this is turned on you cannot use Equalizer. You can add some visualization effects on the screen while playing music. Images are managed by the default Album application.
For multimedia the additional thing we have here is a powerful audio booster. This works separately for music and video. The sound enhancements add more volume to speaker so that you don't require a headphone. For videos you can enable Surround Sound, Clear Stereo, Clear Phase, xLoud and Dynamic Normalizer. All of them boost the audio quality and offer impressive sound. Unfortunately all other headset does not work on this phone. That is a negative aspect. Even devices like Samsung Note 3 and HTC One supports all kind of head phone, but Xperia models do not.
We all use our phones for web surfing, reading news and eBooks. For this point a big size screen is handy. On small screen when you zoom-in to view some text, other part is partially hidden. Compared to that on bigger screen you have bigger space. Along with that it is important to have a clear and crisp display. So that your eyes doesn’t has to work hard to recognize the text. The qHD screen of Xperia C displays clear fonts. You can read any news or edit your office files on it. You can type smoothly through the default keyboard. Google Chrome is the default web browser that comes in this device. This is fast responsive and offer multi-tab view. You can try using other browser like UC Browser (linked review) on it that has additional features. I had used this phone for some weeks. It is very comfortable for typing an email, chatting with friends and surfing WebPages.
Performance & Gaming:
Xperia C has MTK MT6589 chipset. This is a budget solution for high end smartphone offering a good processor and graphic support together. 1GB ram is capable of giving out good output. The phone does not lag on multiple app usage. You can run any app, download in the background and play games at the same time. Xperia C works really well with MTK MT6589 chipset with Quad Core Cortex 1.2Ghz processor. If we compare other mid range phone with Xperia C, then it is a bit more powerful. It has Cortex-A7 CPU further supported by PowerVR SGX544 GPU. Processing is good on the phone. But when it comes to HD gaming the phone will not make you happy. Games like Plant vs Zombies, Subway Surfer, works nicely. You can also try playing Real Racing on it which works very well. But at the same time it also heats up. Benchmarking score are impressive when it comes to mid range devices only.
Xperia C runs on 2390 mAH battery. I am impressed with the battery quality compared to Xperia Z1. Xperia C is capable of holding more power and give long lasting battery output. Even if you are using the phone on internet and multimedia you won’t have to charge two times in a day. It has a built in Stamina mode. This feature is available in all Xperia models. Stamina mode is designed to preserve the battery life by turning off all unwanted applications and updates. Along with this the phone offers you two more options to control the battery usage. That is Low Battery Mode and Location Based Wi-Fi. When Low battery mode is turned on you set certain options to disable automatically. Like vibration, wifi, gps, Bluetooth, etc. As the battery reaches 30% the phone will turn off all selected options. This is an impressive feature. The next option is Location-Based Wi-Fi. This is really a cool feature. I use wifi in my office. When I move out the phone turns it off and turns it on back when I enter in office. So this is really a smart to preserve the battery. Once you are out, the wifi keeps on scanning in the background and eats a tiny amount of battery power. All this feature offer great battery output in Sony Xperia C. You can rely on this phone while travelling.
Sony Xperia C is a good phone but the cost is high. At a price of Rs.20,500 I have some more models in my mind. It is a worth buying device if it comes under Rs.15,000. Sony is not even giving enough storage. It comes with 4GB only which fills up really fast after adding few apps and game. At least there must be 8GB internal space to justify the price. If we consider the price range of Rs.15,000 to Rs.25,000 then we have some really impressive models. Xperia C has a very stiff competition with some great models in that price range. Like Nexus 4, iPhone 4, LG Optimus 3D and Samsung Galaxy S3. Some of them offer more high features, similar screen size/camera and high storage. So it is a very hard choice to choose this phone when it comes to budget. But overall experience with Xperia C was good in terms of photography, multimedia and a bit of gaming. The big screen allows you to comfortably handle the phone and battery boost features provide long hours of nonstop usage.
- Good battery life
- Great for multi tasking
- Amazing camera features
- Good speaker quality.
- Only 4GB Internet Storage
- Regular headphones do not work
- Non durable design.