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Sony Xperia E: Making phone calls the top priority again with HD Voice

For all the advancements that smartphones have acquired over the years, one element has of course remained constant; phone calls. Now almost seen as a secondary function for some, with the connected nature and services like Facebook and Skype connecting us in new ways, phone calls have for all intents and purposes taken a back seat on the list of things we enjoy using our smartphones for. The Sony Xperia E wants to change this.

SONY XPERIA E

Earlier this morning Sony Mobile pulled the wraps of its latest affordable Android handset. The Xperia E a full-featured device with its party piece being HD voice calls. Despite the innovation in connectivity, users are still making and taking calls where they can’t fully hear or understand the person on the other end of the line and HD Voice is one technology that been created to combat this.

On top of HD Voice functionality, the entry-level handset is Sony’s offering to mobile users new to the world of smartphone, with tools designed to ensure the phone stays powered on for longer between charges and doesn’t eat up mobile data when it’s sitting in a pocket or bag.

Sony Xperia E table

Xperia E has also been designed to let consumers stay on top of cost and power consumption. The data usage application monitors how much is being spent and the extended standby mode increases the standby time up to 4 times. When the screen has been in sleep mode for a few minutes, Wi-Fi and data traffic will be disabled and most applications will be inactive to save battery life. However, calling and messaging will continue to work as normal. Once you touch the screen to wake the device up from standby, all functions are back to normal.

What specifications does the Sony Xperia E have?

  • Screen: 3.5-inch HVGA (320×480) display
  • Processor: 1GHz single-core chip
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 4GB onboard, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • Camera: 3.2-Megapixel rear camera, VGA front-facing camera
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G (HSPA+)
  • Audio: HD Voice, xLoud experience, WALKMAN application, manual equaliser
  • Battery: 1530mAh
  • Colour: Black, white, pink

What operating system does the Sony Xperia E run?

The Sony Xperia E is one of the first Sony handsets announced in 2012 to land in consumers laps running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out-the-box. The latest iteration of Android features notable enhancements over Ice Cream Sandwich like expandible notifications and ‘Project Butter’, a project which has helped improve the fluidity of the Android user experience, even on conservative hardware. We’re not sure whether the Xperia E will see an upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.2 or the subsequent version of Android due to its standing in Sony’s product portfolio.

Sony Xperia E WALKMAN app

What are the alternatives?

Although we don’t yet have pricing, the entry-level nature of the device feel reminiscent of other Sony handsets like the Miro, or more accurately the Tipo. The promise of crystal clear voice calls falls to only a select number of handsets, but they include significant names like the Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation and iPhone 5, so the Xperia E looks to stand as the most affordable option if HD Voice is a must, otherwise devices like the HTC Desire C might be worth a look.

When will the Sony Xperia E be available?

The Sony Xperia E is scheduled to touch down in select markets during Q1 2013, which is anytime between January and March. It’s unclear as to whether the dual-SIM variant – the Sony Xperia E dual will hit the same markets as the single SIM version.

Sony Xperia E video playback

What do we think?

We like the idea of an affordable smartphone concentrating in what phones were always intended to do, make great calls. HD Voice is currently only support on select network and only works with other handsets which support HD Voice, having said that the data and power saving measures in this phone make it sound as though it’ll serve as a great entryway into the smartphone market for new users. If the price is right when it arrives next year, it could be a hit for Sony, we’ll have to wait and see.

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