If the top-of-the-line Xperia Z2 is looking a little out of your price range, Sony’s shorter, stouter, slower Xperia M2 Android handset may be a better fit for your bank balance.
Keeping the Z2’s aluminium-edged OmniBalance design, a quick look at the two handsets would have them seem very similar. Though also available in white and purple, the black M2 I had a brief play with could easily be mistaken for its pricier stable mate.
But pick it up and the differences quickly become apparent. Thicker and heavier at 8.6mm, the M2’s smaller 4.8-inch qHD screen is notably less impressive than the Z2’s, lacking the depth of colour and sharpness the more advanced technologies in the flagship allow for. It’s still a reasonably pretty display though, being similar to the one found in the Moto G, with decent viewing angles and brightness levels.
Under the hood is a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, backed by 1GB of RAM. Again, it’s not the fastest in town, but these days a quad-core processor at that clock speed is more than enough to run smoothly through all-but the most demanding of 3D applications. Swiping through the five homescreens and firing up applications was responsive and speedy enough. Honestly, chasing faster processor speeds much higher than the M2’s at the moment feels like little more than posturing.
As for battery life, despite the M2’s extra width, it’s unlikely to outlast the Z2 from a single charge, with the budget-orientated handset packing in a 2300mAh battery pack compared to the Z2’s 3200mAh one.
On the rear sits an 8MP camera, equipped with an Exmor RS image sensor. A quick test returned satisfactory results, particularly from the HDR setting, with good colour reproduction and little visible noise (though of course the real test would be when those images were blown up beyond the 4.8-inch screen). If the slower processor and less-impressive imaging tech was noticeable anywhere, it was with video capture, which returned footage considerably more juddery than on the Z2.
It does retain one relatively premium feature though in its 4G connectivity. There will also be a dual-SIM variant of the M2 on offer, though that loses the 4G capabilities.
Like the Z2, Sony’s again keen for users to get comfortable using its entertainment options on the M2, and as such will be throwing in a few digital freebies with each purchase. New M2 owners will get access to 30 days free music streaming access through the Music Unlimited service, while three Sony Pictures flicks can be downloaded from the Video Unlimited portal.
Sony has yet to finalise pricing for the M2, but has stated that it will come in at a “mid-range” price point when it hits stores globally from April. Expect to pay something around the €220 / £180 mark.