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Hands on: The Xperia E3, Sony’s most affordable 4G phone yet

Sony’s latest budget phone, the dinky 4G-enabled Xperia E3, has been unveiled at IFA 2014. We’ve had a play and so far it’s looking to be a stylish affordable LTE mobile.

While Sony spent most of IFA 2014 launching premium devices like the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, it didn’t forget the other end of the smartphone market. Say ‘guten tag’ to the Xperia E3.

The 4.5-inch Sony Xperia E3 is a fresh new entry-range mobile and Sony’s most affordable 4G LTE handset so far. And 4G support isn’t the only nifty feature that Sony’s packed inside.

Sony Xperia E3 launches at IFA 2014 with full specs and UK release info

A 5-megapixel camera comes rammed with most of Sony’s big features, including the brand new AR Fun and Live on YouTube modes. Sadly there’s no Superior Auto mode, just an auto scene detection mode, but our test photos showed promise all the same. Even in a dimly lit interior, they came out bright and sharp.

You can record 1080p video on the rear camera, and there’s a VGA front-facer for getting your Skype on.

The 4.5-inch TFT screen reminded us of the Xperia M2, another Sony mid-range mobile. It seems bright enough to counter any irritating glare, while the 854×480 resolution gives a reasonable 218 pixels-per-inch. You won’t exactly enjoy HD visuals, as you can with rivals such as the Motorola Moto G 4G, but it’s sharp enough for everyday use. Sadly the colours don’t quite burst at your eyeballs as they do with more premium Xperia handsets.

Sony Xperia E3 launches at IFA 2014 with full specs and UK release info

A quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor runs the show, backed up with 1GB of RAM, and seems to handle Android 4.4 just fine from our play time. We’ll be sure to test out games, multi-tasking and battery life performance as soon as we get a final review copy.

For a budget phone, the Xperia E3 sports a nice design that sticks to Sony’s Omnibalance ethos, fitting in perfectly with the rest of the Xperia family. You get the same smooth corners and rounded edges as the premium Xperia X3, and a choice of snazzy colours too (lime and copper are the two stand-out efforts).

We like the size of the Xperia E3 as well, the 8.5mm frame fitting our palm nicely and proving comfortable enough to use one-handed. At 144g it won’t weigh you down either.

Sony Xperia E3 launches at IFA 2014 with full specs and UK release info

We’ll bring you a full review of the Sony Xperia E3 soon, and the phone should hit the UK in the coming month, with the price to be announced shortly.

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