The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a mid-range entry flaunting IP68 water and dust proofing on top of premium design inspired by the Xperia Z3+. Find out in our review if the Xperia M4 Aqua has the value for your money.
Design and build
The Xperia M4 Aqua is the only Sony Xperia to be configured to look like an Xperia Z3 or Z3+. For an untrained eyes, it is hard to distinguish an Aqua to a Z3 or Z3+ without a closer inspection.
The design language is greatly influenced by the all glass and metal frame accent from the Z series. The M4 Aqua also sports an IP68 certification too, which means you get up to 1.5m water and dust proofing for 30 minutes. However, the feel is not premium as the Z3+ as the undisclosed glass attracts smudge and dirt easily while the metal is matte and glass’ smoothness is just average.
We appreciate what Sony did on the Xperia M4 Aqua design and build. Overall feeling is still premium and solid with the existence of familiar controls layout, rounded edges and easy-to-hold sleek body.
The only major complain we have is on the controls which are positioned shallow at the side. Users would need to put pressure in order for the buttons to work, but the positions of these keys are easy to reach with your thumb.
Despite the 720p resolution, the Xperia M4 display remained bright, clear and sharp. These traits helped in producing good sunlight legibility at outdoor performance.
At first, we were worried about the durability of the screen as Sony didn’t include a Gorilla Glass protection in the M4 Aqua. Instead they opt for an unknown scratch-resistant glass which luckily survived and avoided any scratches during the span of our review.
We wish that Sony would consider bumping up the screen resolution on their mid-range 5-incher devices on the next to keep up with the competition.
At the back of the M4 Aqua is a 13MP shooter paired with LED flash. The camera is not the best among the 13MP shooters we tested. The post-processing algorithms of the camera produce reddish and very soft images. Image details and color accuracy are still acceptable with good amount of light found in the images.
The video capabilities of the device include 1080p FHD movie at 30fps. The video quality is different and better than the still image with good audio pick-up by the microphone.
M4 Aqua has joined the bandwagon of mid-range shooters equipped with 5MP selfie snapper. Quality wise, selfie addicts will surely love the front camera of the phone.
Benchmark and performance
Powered with a Snapdragon 615 64-bit octacore chip, the M4 Aqua handles light to heavy tasks without lags. The transitions works smoothly while browsing from app to app. In terms of overall actual speed, there is nothing to complain at the Xperia M4 Aqua.
The Xperia M4 Aqua is a decent performer if you just don’t mind the numbers.
Software and experience
Above Android 5.0 Lollipop, Sony infused their improved UX retaining the flexibility and elegance of the software. The experience is rich with enough customization levels from themes to status bar and launcher. The quick launcher on top is accessible through two swipes down. You can customize it by adding or removing shortcuts.
Organizing our multimedia contents in the phone is a breeze. The Album and Music app presents media entries in a flat grid type design. By pinching out or in, the content size changes adapting to the width.
The improvements in the home-brewed user experience of Sony is not major, but we appreciate how the company maintained it clean and intuitive over the course of Android existence.
We were surprised by the speaker performance of the M4 Aqua despite its small size. Sound is clear and loud as on the Zenfone 2. It even beats the Lenovo K3 Note and the mid-ranger Lenovo K80. Anyone would appreciate the speaker of the M4 in music or movie playback.
Sony configured the Xperia M4 Aqua with 2400mAh none user-replaceable battery which is not an issue. The phone would last up to a day and half with our light use including push emails, updates, browsing, whole day of SMS and few minutes of voice calls.
During the 2 hour HD video playback test in max brightness and volume, the battery percentage left in the Aqua was 67% from 100%, down of 33%. So it means you could have up to 3 HD movies with a single charge. Using an adaptive brightness and headset would clearly extend your battery rating on this task.
The steep price of the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is the biggest step-back for any potential buyer. The only features justifiable for its price are the premium design, clean user experience, and IP68 certification. Other than these, you should consider options like the FHD Asus Zenfone 2 and Lenovo K80 both with larger display and more powerful internal hardware.
Both the single and dual SIM Xperia M4 Aqua are now available in the Philippines. Official price of Sony is around P14.5k pesos. Online stores offer cheaper price from P11k to 12k depending on the variant.
Highlights in Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
What we like
- Premium design and build
- Intuitive, clean user experience
- Water and dust proof
What we don’t like
- Shallow physical controls at side
- Still images are reddish and too soft
- The glass gets easily dirt and smudge
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Dual specs
|5-inch HD IPS display, 294ppi|
|7.3mm thick, 135g|
|Water & dust proof up 1.5m and 30min, metal frame, all glass|
|Snapdragon 615 1-1.5GHz octacore chipset|
|8/16GB internal, microSD card|
|13MP camera, 1080p video, HDR, LED flash|
|5MP selfie camera, 720p video|
|4G LTE Dual SIM, WiFi n Bt 4.1, FM Radio, GPS|
|Android 5.0 Lollipop|
|Black, White, Silver, Coral/Pink|
|P12,900 dual as of July 10|
Related posts and videos: