All behold the rain gods, for the monsoon has arrived in Delhi… finally. If you’ve lived in Delhi for long, you’d probably know how Delhiites share a love-hate relationship with rains.
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Well, now that it’s here, we decided to unbox what is perhaps the most suitable device for the season: the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua.
As the name suggests, the M4 Aqua has been designed to survive splashes, showers, puddles even pools of water. In short, it’s what you call a ‘made for rainy weather’ smartphone. Having said that, buying a smartphone just so you can take it out in the rain or shower is probably not the best idea. You want more, right? Priced at Rs.23,000 the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a mid-range handset with mid-range specs. Sure, it’s waterproof and all that, but is it enough to set the market on fire? We find out.
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The Sony Xperia Z3 will always be top contender for the best-looking smartphones we’ve ever seen. The Xperia Z3 was beautiful, no two ways about it. It’s good to see Sony retaining that design philosophy in its recently launched handsets. Even the current flagship Xperia Z3+ has been built on similar lines. But, bringing those design aesthetics in a mid-range device, now that’s something special, something that we don’t see many companies doing daily.
The M4 Aqua is strikingly similar to the Xperia Z3 on so many levels, that on first look you’re bound to get confused. Heck, some of our friends/colleagues mistook it for the Xperia Z3. The all-familiar glass front and back, accompanied by the slightly rounded edges, and oh, the raised silvery power button are all there, giving it a minimalistic yet sophisticated look. The volume rocker is still on the right edge (below the power button) and Sony has retained the physical camera button as well.
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Still, this is a mid-range device and corners have been cut. Unlike the metallic frame (in the Z3) the Aqua uses one made of plastic. On closer look, this does look a little cheap, but it’s something we can live with. The dual-SIM card slot (on the right) and the microSD card slot (on the left) are guarded by protective flaps. A welcome change here is the absence of a protective flap over the micro-USB charging/data syncing port that makes charging a no-fuss experience as opposed to the Z3 where the flap made things a little frustrating.
At 145.5 x 72.6 x 7.3 mm and 136 grams, the M4 Aqua is lighter than the Z3, but that one was a 5.2-inch device. That said, the M4 Aqua is one of the slimmest and lightest smartphones in this price range, more importantly it is ergonomically well balanced and fits just right in the hand. One drawback is that it attracts lots of fingerprints, but again most handsets with a glass surface do that. The Xperia M4 Aqua has a 5-inch HD IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels that roughly translates to 294ppi.
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These are basically standard specifications for a mid-range device. There are, of course, a number of handsets in this range (like the Honor 6 Plus, OnePlus One) that give you full-HD resolution and even bigger screens. If you’re looking for something like that then the M4 Aqua is surely not your thing. Sony trademarks like the Triluminos display and X-Reality Engine are also missing out on this one, and the effect shows in the overall display output.
This is clearly not Sony at its best. Though it also doesn’t mean it’s bad. The HD-display on-board the M4 Aqua metes out a pretty good output (for the price). Colour reproduction is mostly accurate and there is an option to manually adjust the white balance. While viewing angles were pretty good for the most part, we did not like the overall brightness of the screen which was on the lower side.
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The effect was more pronounced in outdoor environment where low brightness meant reading text and watching videos was a strain for the eyes. Also, the reflective surface adds to its display woes. The Xperia M4 Aqua runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out-of-the-box. We liked that this one gives you close to stock Lollipop experience in a market overcrowded with third party skins. There is some skinning involved, but those who like pure Android won’t be disappointed with Sony’s take on it.