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The Best Sony Xperia L4 review here

Sony Xperia L4

Sony Xperia L4: is it worth your purchase?

Pros: 

  • 21: 9 premium design
  • Decent performance
  • software nice

Cons: 

  • Upgradable cameras
  • Slow charge without USB-C
  • Doesn’t have Android 10

The Xperia L4’s 21: 9 display is impressive, but Sony will have to do much more to be considered among the best budget phones once again. 

Retail price (RRP)

$183.25

The Best Sony Xperia L4 review here

Sony has been trying to gain a foothold in the smartphone market for a while, in order to catch up with other companies such as Apple, Samsung or OnePlus, and the truth is that little by little it seems that it is succeeding. 

When they launched the Xperia 1 in 2019, a change in the strategy of the Japanese company was marked, introducing for the first time a smartphone with a 21: 9 aspect ratio.

Now, he’s moving that high, refined design into lower-end phones, starting with the Sony Xperia L4.

Here is more about our experience with the phone: is its outstanding design enough to overlook flaws in other areas? Keep reading!

Design

The first thing that stands out in the L4’s design is the switch to a 21: 9 aspect ratio. It’s the most obvious difference from last year’s L3 model, and the first time that Sony has brought this narrow and tall format to its line of budget smartphones .

Its effect on the user experience remains largely the same as the 2019 Xperia 1 and Xperia 5. Even though they only have a 720p screen, many movies look impressive in their native format, free of any kind. clipping. 

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On the other hand, it brings back the teardrop notch, something that is not present in more expensive Sony phones. That notch houses an 8 MP camera, without supporting facial recognition. 

With a considerably wide chin, the phone may look a little dated to the naked eye, although you did get used to it. 79.5% of the screen-to-body ratio is by no means a risk factor, but even low-budget phones regularly top 85% in this regard.

The unusual aspect ratio also makes the 6.2-inch phone almost impossible to use with one hand. It is typical of many phones over 6 inches, but its effects are magnified on such a high screen.

With so many similar budget phones today, the 21: 9 display is a sure way for the L4 to stand out from the crowd, but its implementation causes some complications.

The other key design option is a side mount fingerprint scanner. As with the Xperia 5, a matter of patents means that it cannot be integrated into the power button, and thus the latter is awkwardly placed underneath on the side of the device.

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The sensor itself works very well, and it was very successful in our tests, even using it with a slightly damp finger, which is surprising. 

Another notable inclusion is a 3.5mm headphone jack. Although Sony has returned it to its flagship Xperia 1 II from this 2020, it is something that has always been present in the economic range of Sony mobiles. 

Combined with a very decent pair of down-firing speakers, the Xperia L4 offers some excellent audio options.

Turning the phone around you see three rear cameras, with the 13 MP main lens attached to the ultra-wide 5 MP and 2 MP depth sensors. The latter means that the L4 is capable of taking portrait mode photos, although we’ll have more on that later.

The back of the phone is where the plastic construction is most evident, though it definitely doesn’t have the same cheap feel as its predecessor. That’s particularly apparent on the black model we’ve tested, though it’s also available in a more eye-catching blue variant.

We are comfortable enough testing the phone without the case, and the Corning Gorilla glass screen means you can rest assured that it is stronger than other devices. 

Hardwere

The specifications of the Xperia L4 are quite basic. It is powered by a MT6762 Helio P22 processor and is only available in a single configuration of 3GB RAM and 64GB storage. The latter can be expanded with a microSD.

Based on performance tests, the Sony Xperia L4 performs somewhat better than the 2019 Xperia L3, but lags somewhat behind other available budget phones. 

On the other hand, this is a classic case in which we find that the reference points obtained are not necessarily representative. With this we mean that although the performance results have not been the best, we can affirm at the same time that we have enjoyed using the Xperia L4 in our day to day. 

In fact, its performance, for all our tasks, which are not very demanding tasks either, was excellent. 

Movement through the user interface is smooth and runs smoothly, with Sony’s interpretation of Android certainly contributing to it. 

It is definitely not suitable for very demanding users or who want to use the phone to play video games, however, for everything else, it will be a good option.

software

The Xperia L4 comes with Android 9 Pie, and unfortunately there is no indication if it will be able to upgrade to the Android 10 version.

That means that you will not have the improved notification and permission controls or the new sources, although honestly, it was not a great inconvenience when we used it either. 

 

Interestingly, Sony has released a patch that means you’ll have the option of a dark system-wide mode, so that’s something. The company’s phones have also adopted gesture navigation, so you don’t have to worry about missing that.

The subtle differences in Sony’s gestures imply a slight learning curve, but once I got used to them, I definitely wouldn’t go back to the traditional on-screen buttons.

As always, you can return to the traditional navigation buttons by heading to the settings.

As I mentioned in the previous section, this is a thoughtful interpretation of Google software that focuses on the basics.

The main point in its favor is that there is very little inflation software . In fact, a basic music player was the only app we could see that is not found on Pixel phones. The images from the camera even go directly to Google Photos, instead of the Gallery app that we see so often from other manufacturers.

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Interestingly, Sony has released a patch that means you’ll have the option of a dark system-wide mode, so that’s something. The company’s phones have also adopted gesture navigation, so you don’t have to worry about missing that.

The subtle differences in Sony’s gestures imply a slight learning curve, but once I got used to them, I definitely wouldn’t go back to the traditional on-screen buttons.

As always, you can return to the traditional navigation buttons by heading to the settings.

As I mentioned in the previous section, this is a thoughtful interpretation of Google software that focuses on the basics.

The main point in its favor is that there is very little inflation software . In fact, a basic music player was the only app we could see that is not found on Pixel phones. The images from the camera even go directly to Google Photos, instead of the Gallery app that we see so often from other manufacturers.

This makes it great if you invest heavily in the Google ecosystem, though Android’s flexibility makes it easy to install third-party alternatives and transform the look of your device.

Leaving aside the possible lack of updates, the Xperia L4 software is very pleasant to use. 

software

The Xperia L4 comes with an impressive triple rear camera setup, though that’s on par with the course when it comes to low-cost modern phones. The main 13 MP sensor joins the 5 MP wide and 2 MP deep sensors.

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Unfortunately, even though it sounds good on paper, the L4’s cameras are not great. 

As you will see in the samples below, he regularly has problems with exposure. In many of the shots we took, either the background was overexposed, or the darker elements in the foreground were underexposed.

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At the same time, you can also see in the examples in the gallery that if the lighting conditions are optimal, they can take very good photos. On the other hand, we cannot forget that this phone costs less than 200 euros. 

As for video, the phone is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30fps, while there is also the option to take advantage of the 21: 9 aspect ratio for recordings.

The recordings are fine if you plan to keep motion to a minimum, but they’ll quickly get on edge with something else due to the lack of optical image stabilization.

Battery duration

The Xperia L4 comes with a 3580mAh, above the 3300mAh on the L3. Despite having a screen of similar resolution, its performance in the Geekbench 4 battery test was significantly lower than that of its predecessor.

8 hours and 48 minutes is more or less the average when comparing all our smartphones, but I expected it to be closer to 11 hours 6 minutes from L3.

It will allow you to spend a full day without problems, but it is far from being a competitor for our best battery phone.

One area where it worked well was waiting time; We were able to leave the phone with less than 5% battery for several hours without completely draining the battery. This is an area where some Android phones flounder, so it’s worth considering.

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The phone supports 18W fast charging, although it is a separate accessory that is “available soon” at the time of this writing.

It charged 22% of the battery in 30 minutes of shutdown via the adapter in the box, so it takes around two hours for a full charge.

Price-performance ratio

The Sony Xperia L4 costs 199 euros if you buy it directly from Sony, and 189 euros if you buy it from Amazon Spain. It is available in black and in a single configuration of 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. 

It must be recognized that the Sony Xperia L4 has very good competitors. Mobile options with similar prices are the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S or the Oppo A5 2020. 

In itself the Sony Xperia L4 offers good value for money, its only fault is having to compete with mobiles with very similar prices and somewhat better specifications. 

Verdict

The Xperia L4 stands out above all for its design based on the 21: 9 aspect ratio, something that will undoubtedly appeal to many users. This format allows you to watch movies in their native format, which is something exceptional. 

We also really liked its excellent software , despite being based on Android 9 instead of Android 10. 

However, we have been somewhat disappointed with their cameras. If you take photos in good light you can get great results, however, if there are no good lighting conditions the exposure does not end up being entirely good. 

Other drawbacks can be its internal specifications (they are not the most powerful) or the teardrop notch in which the selfie camera is housed 

specification

  • 6.2-inch LCD screen with 720×1680 resolution 
  • Mediatek Helio P22 processor
  • GPU PowerVR GE8320
  • 64 GB storage
  • 3GB RAM
  • Triple rear camera (13 MP main, 5 MP wide angle, 2 MP depth)
  • 8 MP front camera
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Android 9 Pie
  • 3580 mAh battery
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 178 g

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