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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua hands-on review | MWC 2015

Whilst Sony’s new Xperia Z4 Tablet was grabbing headlines ahead of its MWC launch, the humble Sony Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone suffered relatively minor leakage. Now thankfully, we can give you the first official hands-on.

IFA handed us an array of killer new Sony tech in the form of the Xperia Z3 family, primarily thanks to the company’s latest flagship the Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone. The Xperia Z4 Tablet is undoubtedly the most powerful device on Sony’s stand at MWC 2015, but it’s the mid-range where the company wants to focus on with this new device.

The design trend kicked off by the Z3 family is alive and well on the M4 Aqua and at a glance you’d be hard-pressed to tell the two apart. There’s a plastic surround on the device’s edge as opposed to metal but it still looks and feels great in the hand, not to mention the iconic metal power button is present and correct too.

Somewhat of an upgrade over the Z3’s body is the M4 Aqua’s microUSB port, which joins the headphone jack as an exposed cap-less offering, whilst maintaining the phone’s IP65 and IP68 water and dust resistance. This is a big win for potential users who want Sony’s waterproofing skills, but who are on a tighter budget.

The internals are respectable too; a Snapdragon 615 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM and Android Lollipop run the show. It’s a responsive device, even when opening up beefier applications like the camera and Sony’s been a little more restrained with which pre-loaded apps it packs onto the device to begin with, which also helps boost fluidity in the user experience department.

Alongside its design and its waterproofing, imaging is the other big element of the flagship experience that Sony wanted to bring down into the mid-range and the M4 Aqua packs a respectable pair of snappers. Selfie fans will appreciate its 5-megapixel front-facer, and on the back users can enjoy Sony’s well-respected Exmor RS sensor, in this case capable of taking 13-megapixel stills and Full HD video. If you want a device that takes great shots without having to fiddle in the settings menus, Sony’s pushing the M4 Aqua as the perfect choice.

The viewing experience comes in a 5-inch 720p HD IPS display. It’s naturally not the sharpest panel in its class but it’s impressively bright (up to 500 candelas, if you were wondering), colourful and suffers from only the mildest of colour distortion. Throw 4G LTE and according to Sony, two-day battery life plus an extended STAMINA mode into the mix and Xperia M4 Aqua shapes up as a pretty impressive piece of kit.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua three colours

Pricing is expected to be around €299 (£220) when the handset launches in spring and it’ll be up for grabs in black, white, coral and in selected markets, silver too. If Sony plays its cards right, the M4 Aqua has the potential to dominate the mid-range smartphone space with its mix of beautiful design, waterproofing and a strong imaging experience too. Now we just have to see what the competition is cooking up.

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