Sony has gone through a rather rough patch in the smartphone sector. Its last few offeringsat the top end segment got critical acclaim but did little to boost the market share of the Japanese technology giant. Withresurgent rivals like Motorola eating at its share and new contenders like Xiaomi and Lenovogrowingstronger, Sony is trying its best to geta foothold in the sector. While its recently released refresh to the Xperia Z series got good reviews, Sony is also keen on grabbing a share in the lucrative mid-rangeAndroidsegment. This is onesegment eyed by contenders like OnePlus,Xiaomiand Motorola. The newly unveiled Xperia M5 Dual can be deemed as a mid-range flagship from the stables of Sony.
A unique contender
With the Xperia M5 Dual Sony intends to conquer a new territory- a segment that sits in between the entry level Androids and high end devices sporting killer spec. The design element from Z series is evident, but there have been many departures as well. It is not the successor to any existing Xperia device andcarries no excess baggage!It is rather refreshing in a lineup that has been slammed a lot for being similar in appearance.
Build and design: Near flawless
The Xperia M5 Dual has got an impressive build and most users will not feel it is a mid-range device from the finish. Sony is offering it in three colours- Gold, white and black. The well-known OmniBalance design is also evident in this model.
The scratch resistant glass coating present in the Z series is present in this beauty. It is also there on the front screen. The glass and metal finish oozes class all over. Sony has provided bumper corners to provide added protection and survive accidental drops. The metal frame of the M5 dual also protrudes on both sides. The nanoSIM and microSD slots are covered by protective flaps. However, the glass surface picks up smudges and fingerprints fast. Sony has made the device IP68 certified which means an accidental drop in the bucket of bathroom will not cause it any harm.
The Sony Xperia M5 Dual is equipped with a 5-inch FullHD IPS LCD screen that has 441 ppi pixel density. You can argue phones in the same price range come with higher resolution screen, but there is hardly anything to dislike about the gorgeous display. Besides, anything above fullHD resolution cannot really be differentiated by the naked eye.Of course, when you compare it with rivals like Galaxy A8, you can spot the difference. The brightness levels are not very high and as a result, its sunlight legibility is not that good.
Software: itâs mostly good
The Sony Xperia M5 Dual is equipped with Android 5.0 Lollipop and Sony has made some modifications to the UI. However, you get close to stock android experience. There are no weird color schemes or gimmicky animations. The UI is mostly fluid and intuitive.
Spec and performance
Sony has been keen on choosing Qualcomm made CPUs for most of its Android models barring a few exceptions. The M5 dual is one such exceptions! It is powered by a MediaTek MT6795 Helio X10 CPU. This is an octa-core CPU coupled with 3GB RAM and PowerVR G6200 GPU. These components are ideal for heavy multitasking and most games run smoothly. The Meizu MX5 also has the same configuration, though it is way cheaper. While CPU intensive task run butter smooth, heavy graphical tasks lag a bit. During multitasking or prolonged gaming the device heatsup, but then it is something you find in most Android devices nowadays. The good thing is that it does not take long to cool down.
As for storage, you get 16GB of ample internal memory and you can use the microSD slot to extend up to 200 GB. This should be more than enough for most users.
Calls and audio: pretty good
The Xperia M5 Dual has loud sound output and the single speaker is nice for music and movie playback too. However, the quality cannot be compared to that of HTCâs BoomSound enabled devices. The device has 4G LTE support for both the SIMs and call quality is decent.
With time smartphone imaging technology is evolving and most people do not bother buying point and shoot digital cameras these days! The Xperia M5 Dual sports a nice 21-megapixel camera with LED Flash. The front snapper has a resolution of 13 MP. The outdoor imaging performance is superb for a mid-range device. In fact, it also does pretty well in low light situations. The front camera is good for selfies. The video recording efficacy is not that good, but it supports 4K videos. Sonyâs Steady Shot feature has been packed in the model to make up for the absence of OIS. The quality, however falls short of heavyweights like Galaxy S6 or LG G4.
Battery: Decent, not great
The Sony Xperia M5 Dual has a 2,600mAh battery. There are rivals in same range with larger capacity batteries, as it is. It just packs in enough power to last a day on regular usage. DisablingWiFiandbumping down screen brightness can give you some more juice, as expected.
Summing it up
The Xperia M5 Dual is a unique device that bears some of the Sony pedigree, more so in build, but sports some changes too. It is a good mid-range phone covering everything and overall performance is good. The IP68 certification and protective glass covering add to the durability and premium appeal.
Its configuration -though not very usual is good and you get plenty of storage space and 4G support for both the SIMs. However, for lesser price you will find rivals that offer similar performance. In segments like battery life and imaging some of them also outshine the Xperia M5 Dual. It is a good mid-range offering from Sony, but faces steep competition from the rivals. Sony loyalists with modest budgets are likely to lap it up though.