The Sony Xperia SL is an attempt by Sony to extend the life of the successful Xperia S just like Samsung has tried to extend the life of its once flagship Galaxy S through the Galaxy S Advance. The basic design and features of the phone remain the same. Sony has upgraded some out-dated aspects of the Xperia S like its OS and the CPU. Like its predecessor, Xperia SL catches your attention with its highly sophisticated looks and the 12 megapixel camera. But the plastic hardware, smaller display, and poor camera positioning are the things which go against it.
Boxy design of the Xperia SL undoubtedly looks attractive. As the Xperia S was once a flagship product from Sony, very high quality plastic was used to makes its external panels which makes the phone to look very elegant. Display of the phone looks amazing both for reading text and enjoying any multimedia content on the phone. Like its predecessor, the display of the Xperia SL is made of scratch resistant mineral glass topped up by a shatter- proof plastic sheet. These features make the display of the phone rock solid and protects from it from any accidental slips.
Xperia SL carries forward the much praised build of the famed Xperia S. The striking plastic strip at the phone’s bottom gives it a distinctive look. Interface of the phone is totally touch with no physical buttons. Rear of the phone is curvy and sports the phone’s camera (with flash) and external loud speaker. Front of the phone has a glossy finish while the rear has a rubberized matte finish for better grip. The gloriously vibrant touchscreen of the phone is one of its biggest selling points. The LED-backlit LCD screen of the phone has a breath-taking resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels (~342 ppi pixel density) and can support 16 million colours. Touch interface of the phone is very smooth and can support up to 10 fingers. Xperia SL comes with Android 4.0.4 out of the box and supports most of the latest apps on the official Play Store. Sony has topped the OS with its proprietary Timescape UI which improves the interface but consumes a lot of phone’s processing power.
Xperia SL runs on a 1.7 GHz Dual Core Processor with 1 GB RAM which makes it a super-fast device. The phone has 32 GB of internal memory for storing all you multimedia and other data. A large internal memory means that you need not purchase any additional memory card. All the connectivity options ranging from the traditional Bluetooth to the latest DLNA and HDMI port are available in the phone making it very simple to connect with other devices and networks.
A high powered 1750 mAh Lithium Ion battery powers the phone which gives a standby time of 420 hours and talk time of 8.5 hours. A 12 megapixel camera of the phone with LED flash is still one of the best cameras seen on any smart phone till date. It captures life like images at a resolution of 4000x3000 pixels. Rear camera of the phone can also record Full HD videos with the video stabilization option. Other imaging features of the phone include geo-tagging (through the on-board GPS), autofocus, touch focus, face detection, 3D panorama, and picture stabilization. A 1.3 megapixel front camera of the phone gives good video calling and video chatting experience to its users.
What’s not so Great?
Despite its awesome design, Sony placed the phone’s camera lens at the top of the phone’s rear panel. This makes it very uncomfortable to take snaps by holding the camera with both your hands (one palm will cover the lens). A 4.3 inch display looks very small in the days when 5 inch displays are becoming the norm even for midrange smartphones. Memory of the phone is nonexpendable and you need to contend yourself with the on-board 32 GB of memory. Lack of external memory brings with it other problems like the inability to swap the data stored in your phone easily with others. Xperia SL weighs 144 grams and feels heavy in your palm. You may be compelled to use a hands free accessory while having long conversations on the phone.
Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos
Priced at Rs 19,500, Galaxy Grand Duos is a slightly cheaper but fully packed alternative to the Xperia SL. Grand Duos has a bigger 5 inch screen making it to rub its shoulders with the likes of the Xperia Z and the very latest Samsung Galaxy S4. Galaxy Grand has a 1.2 GHz dual core processor which makes the phone to run with decent speed. The 8 GB of internal memory of the phone can be expanded by another 32 GB through a microSD card. A big draw for the Galaxy Grand is the dual SIM (GSM + GSM) support for the phone. Dual SIM support makes it a very attractive option for the affluent younger customers. The 8 MP Primary Camera can record full HD videos which can be played on the phone’s 5 inch screen which also supports full HD playback. You can prefer buying this phone over the Xperia SL for its bigger screen, expandable memory and dual SIM support.
Nokia Lumia 720
Priced at Rs 17,999, the Nokia Luma 720 is another cheaper but equally good alternative to the Galaxy S Advance. Lumia 720 has a powerful 1 GHz Dual Core Krait Processor and 512 MB of RAM which gives it a good processing speed. The phone runs on the latest Windows Phone 8 OS and can hence support all the available apps available for the OS. Windows 8 OS and a distinct design make the phone to stand out in the crowded market. Lumia 720 has an equally big 4.29 inch screen of the Xperia L but with a slightly lesser resolution. A 6.7 megapixel primary camera can take average quality pictures. Other features like HD recording and Geo-Tagging spice up the imaging features of the phone. The phone’s internal memory can be expanded by another 64 GB through a microSD card. You can prefer this phone over the Xperia SL for its cheaper price tag, latest Windows OS, and a unique design.
There is no doubt that the charm of the good old Xperia S spills on to the Xperia SL. Sony has done a good job of refreshing the Xperia S with a new OS and a faster processor. The high resolution screen and the brilliant camera from the days of the original Xperia S are any how there. But a smaller screen and a dual core processor can’t compete with the likes of the recent Samsung Quattro and Samsung Mega series phones which come for a much cheaper price. To conclude, you can buy the Xperia SL only if you want a camera with an obscene 12 megapixel lens or for its ultra-sophisticated design. Otherwise, consider the latest offerings from Samsung like the Galaxy Grand Duos or the Galaxy Mega Series.
Price and Availability
The price of Sony Xperia SL is Rs. 23,990. The phone is available with Sony exclusive dealers and all the major multi-brand electronic stores like Mobile Store and Universal. Ecommerce sites like flipkart.com and naptool.com also offer a good discount and freebies when you buy the gadget from them.