Sony Xperia E3 review
|Review: November 2014|
In a nutshell: Sony has been steadily refining its budget 'E' range of Xperia smartphones, and the E3 is easily the best yet. Highlights include the large screen and superslim design, quad-core processor, 4G capability and strong battery life.
Today's best buy: Sony Xperia E3 4G UK SIM-Fre ... from Amazon (£94.99)
Design & looks
If only all budget Android phones could look as nice as the Xperia E3! It may have a plastic casing but it's a smart-looking phone that looks a lot more expensive than it is, and feels assuredly solid to the touch. The phone is superslim, at just 8.5mm thick, and is just the right proportions to hold in the palm, although it's not a small phone by any means. The graceful edge curves and aluminium power button lend it a distinctive air, and the choice of colours is subtle and understated too.
The 4.5 inch screen is big for an entry-level phone. It isn't HD, but the resolution of 480 x 854 pixels isn't too shabby. The screen lacks the bright punchiness of Sony's more expensive models, but it's not at all bad and can hold it's own against the competition at this price.
The E3 runs Google 4.4 (aka "KitKat"), making it more up-to-date than many of the cheap Android phones currently in the shops.
The main camera has been upgraded significantly compared with previous 'E' range phones. It uses a 5 megapixel sensor with HDR capability for improved performance in low lighting. Image stabilisation also helps to reduce camera shake with longer exposures.
Video recording is possible at full 1080p HD resolution, and there's also a front-facing camera, although this is very basic with just VGA resolution.
Overall, we've seen better at this price; we've seen worse.
The E3 is equipped with a fast quadcore Snapdragon processor running at 1.2GHz, putting it top of the class for speed in the budget smartphone sector. RAM is a full 1GB too, making it a much more robust phone than many of its peers, which are prone to crashing or hanging.
The built-in flash memory is 4GB, and you can add a microSD memory card to provide an additional 32GB of storage.
This is a 4G phone, with 3G HSPA and GPS available too. On a 4G network, it will provide very fast web browsing and video streaming with theoretical speeds up to 150Mbps.
The phone has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB 2.0 connectivity, ANT+ and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also supports both GPS and GLONASS positioning.
Sony is making a name for itself as a make of long-lasting smartphones, and the E3 is no exception. It's 2330mAh battery is class-leading and can provide up to 7 hours of continuous use, which isn't bad at all. Most users should get at least 2 days between charges and the system's STAMINA Mode can prolong this even further.
The Sony Xperia E3 should be one of your top choices if you're shopping for an inexpensive smartphone. The superslim design is one of the nicest we've seen, although it's possibly too large for some people's taste. It's a fast, powerful phone too, with super-fast 4G, a quadcore processor and excellent battery life to back it up. You might also consider the EE Kestrel.
Sony Xperia E3 features include:
- Google Android 4.4 (Kitkat)
- 5 megapixel HDR camera with 4x digital zoom, image stabiliser, 1080p HD video recording
- VGA front camera
- Display: IPS capacitive touchscreen, 854 x 480 pixels (4.5 inches), 16 million colours
- Walkman player with album art, shuffle and smart playlists
- FM radio with RDS
- xLOUD Experience, 3D surround sound
- Clear Audio+, Clear Bass, Clear Phase, Clear Stereo
- aGPS and GLONASS with Google Maps
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email, instant messaging, conversations
- Vibration alert
- Internet: Web browser, YouTube, Google voice search
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2 GHz quad core
- Memory: 4GB flash memory plus 1GB RAM and microSD memory card slot
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, NFC, ANT+, 3.5mm audio jack
- Networks: 4G LTE, 3G HSPA, GSM
- Size: 137 x 69 x 8.5 mm
- Weight: 144g
- Battery: 2330mAh
- Talktime: 12.3 hours
- Battery standby: 706 hours
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Sony Xperia E3 user reviews
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Average rating from 13 reviews:
Reviewed by Greg
on 5th Feb 2016
Poor, poor, poor. Ridiculously small internal memory keeps filling up and I got constant pop-ups saying transfer stuff to SD card. Auto-focus rubbish when doing close-up snaps so they are always blurred.
Not enough good points to outway the bad ones!
Don't waste you money on this rubbish.
Reviewed by spidy
on 24th Jul 2015
Reviewed by Syslq
on 7th Jul 2015
Got this one after I broke my high end smartphone.
It's excellent value for the money but there is a space issue.
Built in storage is ridiculously for today's standard and pre-loaded android version does not play nice with sdcard.
I have rooted my phone, moved all space hungry apps to sdcard, enabled sd writing and removed most of preinstalled apps I find useless. So now it's perfect, but it's possible my warranty is void due to rooting.
Fairly low end screen and large battery make it ideal travel companion as they result in most excelent battery life of the device.
Phone is also fairly quick, not comparable to my previous 500€ smartphone, but satisfactory.
It has huge bazels, so despite it's fairly compact 4.5" screen the size of device is almost comparable to 5" smartphones. However it took my high end device one fall of 1.5m to break and E3 took way worse than that without a scratch. It's not waterproofed but it has survived occasional water & juice & beer spills so far.
So to summarize. With normal sized built-in storage it would be awesome, 5 star rating. Now at least for me it took rooting to be pleased. Overall a good device for little money.
Reviewed by Sarah
on 13th Jun 2015
I do like this phone, however the memory is very small and most of the apps won't save to my memory card. It's now impossible to download any more apps.
It is fairly quick to access the internet.
Messaging can be a long process as is getting a number, I prefer a few taps to get numbers, but you have to go through a number of steps.
Battery life is good, obviously better if WiFi is not continually on.
Ok phone for the money.
Reviewed by prakash
on 13th Jun 2015
I have never seen anything like this mobile and it is extraordinary.
Reviewed by Dan Coult
on 4th Jun 2015
A poor phone with a inadequate fixed memory. Pre loaded with apps, that cannot be removed, or moved to a memory card. The text messaging section is poor with poor administration. The older phones are much more user friendly. Too many fixed advertising applications.
Reviewed by michaelwatson
on 29th Apr 2015
Storage the memory on the phone is not the best, and for some reason the screen locks, a removable battery would be better so when the screen freezes you wouldn't have to re enter everything again.
Reviewed by Brenda Barney
from united kingdom
on 27th Apr 2015
I was not sure about buying the phone, but I looked it up and read the reviews and having bought the phone I love it.
Reviewed by arijit singh
on 4th Mar 2015
I bought it 1 month back. Awesome battery life, i wish it was 4 inch phone instead of 4.5 inch. but now toaday 4.5 inch is the new 4 inch so called phone because no company is making 4 inches phone except ace phone maker iphone apple. its completely worth every Penny(e3). buy with no hesitation.
Reviewed by Anne McQueen Short
from Great Britain
on 20th Feb 2015
This is a lovely phone, feels solid, sound quality is great and the camera is very much better than my old xperia e! Does what I need it to do, calls, texts, picking up emails and taking and storing pictures and it is so simple to use. Battery life isn't bad either, even with steady use I get 2 days between charges. Great phone!
Reviewed by Clare
on 5th Jan 2015
Agreed that storage is ridiculously small especially for the amount of preloaded apps that I haven't yet found a way to remove!
Reviewed by Terry
on 26th Dec 2014
Reviewed by David Pearce
on 27th Nov 2014
Sony have out done them self's once again hats off to you all lady's and gents truly