Xperia M4 Aqua; user review
by Erick R.
After the pleasant experience that the sony xperia z1c left in my heart, i decided to move on to another Smartphone of that brand. As i find myself looking through the different options of my local carrier, i found myself attached to a (at the time) newly released phone that was in my budget. That’s how i ended up with a Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, a great phone with its strengths and weaknesses that satisfied all my needs. The Sony Xperia m4 Aqua is a phone designed for the Outdoors kind of person, with its IP68 Dust/Water Proof Certification which is its strongest feature and also its worst at the same time(more on that later),a more to be desired internal Storage capability and a serious OS compatibility issue.
BATTERY LIFE & CHARGING
The sony Xperia m4 Aqua includes a non-removable Li-on 2800 mAh battery Which is advertised to last for over 600 hours in 3g And over 650 hours in 2g (on IDLE mode). It also advertises as it gives Up to 12 h of usage in 2G ,and Up to 13 (3G) in talk-time and over 60 hours in music playback mode.But all those numbers are not so close to the real performance of the battery of that phone.
The phone actually gives up to 11 hours of usage in 3G and up to 13 hours in 2G, which is not as far as the time advertised. Also the amount of time advertised for music playback IS NOTHING NEAR to real usage of the actual feature. Music playback time its more closer to the over 50 hours mark, which is 10 hours lesser than the advertised(which could be taken as a -10% of battery life performance if you’re into that kind of numbers).
I tested charging with 2 chargers, the OEM Charger and a Cheap-o Knock off brand one. The results weren’t surprising at all since both of the chargers gave the same result.The results were it takes the phone to get from 0% to 50% from 1 to 3 hours and from 50% to 100% from 2 to 5 hours, from 0 to 100% it takes the phone anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to be charged.
PERFORMANCE & DESIGN
Equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (Octa-core) and 2 GBs of ram. With these hardware features performance is more than enough to do Daily tasks without taking a big toll on its battery, tasks as texting, calling, email checking and casual social media apps use(as twitter or Instagram). Now, for gaming purposes, video playback and intense social media use (as snapchat, the live feature of Instagram and such) the smartphone sometimes throttles to handle heavy workloads which leads to a very short battery life and a serious overheating problem on the back of the phone.
The phone follows the stylish design of round edges, a separate micro SD slot with capabilities of up to 256gb of external storage , a nano Sim slot, a micro usb v2 port for charging and media connectivity, a 13 Megapixels Back camera and a 5 megapixels front camera, a back with a NFC reader capability and the back has a layer of acrylic glass. The screen is a 5 inch LCD display that allows multi touch with up to 4 fingers, no physical buttons up front and volume, lock/unlock physical buttons on the side.
STRENGTH & DURABILITY
In terms of durability the Phone is really Sturdy, it can take a beating. It handles falls up to 2 meters(thats how far i allowed myself to test it) with only Minimal cosmetic damage. The back and front part of the phone is really a Finger/scratch magnet so i advise to get a cover and a screen protector for the phone as soon as you acquire it. With its ip68 Certification the phone is Water Resistant supposed to take up to 1.5meters of water depth for as long as 30 minutes.Even though its advertised to be a waterproof Phone, i wouldn’t recommend taking it underwater for long periods of times, as the phone tends to “give up” its waterproof capabilities.
This has to be the Biggest feature about this phone, as i stated earlier it can take up to 1.5 meters of water depth for as long as 30 minutes.This allows the phone to be used as a casual under rain or Snowy days photographic camera.
Lets be real, its not the greatest camera in a smartphone but its really decent, and with the combination of the physical shutter button on the phone, it really allows you to take advantage of what in my opinion is the strongest 2 features of the phone, its resistance to Water/dust and its 13mp camera. Why do i say so? because even though the camera doesn’t have that many megapixels, with the combination of what i mentioned earlier, plus the handling of the OS for the images, plus the capability of the phone to film up to [email protected] you’re able to get really sharp and good images/videos
NFC (near field communication) Scanner.
Probably most underrated feature of the whole phone. This type of scanner allows the easy distribution of media files among users without the hassle of confirmation/verification that bluetooth offers. Its just a matter of holding ther phones together with the feature enabled and then choosing what to share.
Yes, i put this on purpose, while its the sony xperia m4 aqua strongest feature its also is worst. Why? Because the certification only works for a specific period of time, after a while of usage(mid to heavy usage, if you barely use the phone it certification will last forever) the phone stops being water resistant. Which is a big no-no and probably the reason why this feature is also here.
This has to be the biggest flaw this phone has, with 8gbs of storage and A LOT of manufacturer apps( Which by the way, cannot be uninstalled without rooting the phone, they can only be disabled (which is counter productive because they still take up A LOT of space in the internal storage) it just simply not enough. As soon as you install your favorite Apps you’re constantly told that your phone is low in storage (even if you disable 95% of the Apps) which takes out at the same time around 60%-70% of usability of the phone.
A Feature i really gave a lot of thought because of how disappointing the speakers are, even though they did a smart move by placing one of them in the front of the phone, the one that’s supposed to shine ( the bottom one) just leaves alot to be desired.
Out of Factory the phone comes with Android v5.0(Lollipop), which is fine as is. But after a few days or as soon as you plug your phone to the computer you’ll be prompted to update to its latest available OS version which is Android v6.0(Marshmallow) Which no only Slows down your phone by at least 15%, it also takes at least 60% of available internal storage(which already is an issue with this phone) Which means that the 40% left at least 30% will be taken by all the manufacturer apps that are only able to disable which leaves you with 10% of the initial Internal Storage(which is promptly taken completely just by updating useful apps of the phone such as Chrome,Gmail, YouTube and such).
Overall Review I wouldn’t pick this phone as my first option for a mid tier Smartphone, Unless you find it on a really good discount. Sure, it has a couple of great features but, it also has way too many bad features that out weight the good ones. For 300 USD (As listed in amazon by the time I’ve written this review.) you’re just better buying another mid tier phone from any other company such as Samsung,Asus or Huawei. If it had a bigger internal storage or if Sony gave you the option to get rid of all of their apps in the phone, i’d give it a better rating. This smartphone has left me an unpleasant experience after the great experience that the xperia z1c was. Oh i also forgot to say that this phone has a flaw that after a couple of months of uses the phone gets stuck in a boot loop that simply doesn’t let you recover or re use your phone, i dont know if it because i got a faulty one but as i found on the internet after investigating, its a really common problem.