Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience

Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience

Sony’s smartphone division has fallen behind the likes of Apple, Samsung and OnePlus lately, forcing it to adapt.

Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience

The discharge of the Xperia 1 in 2019 marked a shift in technique for the Japanese firm, introducing a 21:9 facet ratio for the primary time.

Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience

Now, it’s bringing this tall, skinny chassis to finances telephones, beginning with the Xperia L4.

Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience

Can this standout function make the telephone a real finances contender, or are there too many compromises in different areas? Learn our full overview to seek out out.

Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience


Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience

The very first thing I observed in regards to the L4’s design is the shift to a 21:9 facet ratio. It’s the obvious distinction over final yr’s L3, and the primary time Sony has introduced this tall, slim type issue to its finances line.

Sony Xperia L4 Overview: An Underwhelming Xperience

Its impact on the person expertise stays largely the identical as 2019’s Xperia 1 and Xperia 5. Regardless of solely sporting a 720p show, many movies look gorgeous displayed of their native format, free from any letterboxing.

Nonetheless, it’s punctured by a quite ugly teardrop notch, one thing that isn’t current on the costlier Sony telephones. That homes a single 8Mp front-facing digital camera, with out help for face unlock.

With a sizeable chin, the telephone lacks symmetry to the purpose that it turns into annoying at instances. The 79.5% screen-to-body ratio is certainly not a dealbreaker, however even finances telephones often exceed 85% on this regard.

The weird facet ratio additionally makes the 6.2in telephone virtually unimaginable to make use of one-handed. That’s typical of many handsets over 6in, however its results are magnified on such a tall show.

With so many finances telephones trying related today, the 21:9 show is a surefire method for the L4 to face out from the gang, however its implementation does trigger a number of problems.

The opposite key design selection is a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. Like with the Xperia 5, a patent concern means it couldn’t be built-in into the ability button, and the latter is subsequently positioned awkwardly low on the aspect of the system.

The sensor itself is straightforward to enrol and had an especially excessive success price in my testing, even when my finger was moist.

One other notable inclusion is a three.5mm headphone jack. Though Sony has introduced this again to its flagship Xperia 1 II for 2020, it’s been an ever-present on the corporate’s finances line.

Mixed with a really first rate pair of downward-firing audio system, the Xperia L4 gives some glorious audio choices.

Flipping the telephone over reveals triple rear cameras, with the principle 13Mp lens joined by 5Mp ultrawide and 2Mp depth sensors. The latter means the L4 is able to portrait mode photographs, though we’ll have extra on that later.

The again of the telephone is the place the plastic construct is most obvious, though it undoubtedly doesn’t have the identical low cost feeling as its predecessor. That’s notably obvious on the black mannequin I examined, though it’s additionally obtainable in a extra eye-catching blue variant.

I felt comfy sufficient testing the telephone case-free, and the Corning Gorilla Glass display means I’d be assured of it surviving the drops you would possibly count on in on a regular basis utilization.


The Xperia L4 sounds fairly unspectacular on paper. Powered by a MT6762 Helio P22 processor, the one configuration gives 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The latter is expandable by way of the microSD card slot, though it might have been good to have extra flexibility right here.

Certainly, the under benchmarks would seem to inform a equally mediocre story. The L4 performs solely marginally higher than 2019’s Xperia L3, and lags nicely behind the most effective finances telephones available on the market.

Nonetheless, this can be a basic case of benchmarks not essentially being consultant of real-world utilization. I actually loved utilizing the Xperia L4 as my on a regular basis telephone, to the extent that I used to be reluctant to take my SIM out of the telephone as soon as I’d completed testing.

Transferring by way of the UI was clean and seamless, with Sony’s stripped-back interpretation of Android undoubtedly contributing to that.

It’s undoubtedly not suited to energy customers, and graphic-intensive gaming didn’t fairly hit the mark, however for every little thing else it was a pleasure to make use of.

Software program

The Xperia L4 comes working Android 9 Pie out of the field, and sadly there’s no indication whether or not it’ll get the replace to Android 10.

Meaning you received’t get the improved notification and permission controls or new fonts, though that wasn’t a giant concern for me.

Apparently, Sony has launched a patch meaning you’re going to get the choice for a system-wide darkish mode, in order that’s one thing. The corporate’s telephones had additionally already embraced gesture-based navigation, so that you don’t have to fret about lacking out on that.

Refined variations in Sony’s gestures imply there’s a slight studying curve, however as soon as I turned accustomed to them I undoubtedly wouldn’t return to the standard on-screen buttons.

As all the time, you may convey the standard nav buttons again by heading into settings.

As I alluded to within the earlier part, this can be a considerate interpretation of Google’s software program that focuses on the fundamentals.

The primary level in its favour is that there’s little or no bloatware. The truth is, a fundamental music participant was the one app I might see that you just won’t discover on Pixel telephones. Snaps from the digital camera even go straight into Google Images, as a substitute of the Gallery app we so usually see from third-party producers.

This makes it glorious when you’re closely invested within the Google ecosystem, though the pliability of Android means it’s straightforward to put in third-party alternate options and remodel the feel and appear of your system.

Potential lack of updates apart, the software program on the Xperia L4 is a pleasure to make use of.


The Xperia L4 comes with an impressive-looking triple rear digital camera setup, though that’s par for the course in the case of trendy finances telephones. The primary 13Mp sensor is joined by 5Mp ultra-wide and 2Mp depth sensors.

Sadly, regardless of sounding good on paper, the L4’s cameras are a bit hit-and-miss.

As you’ll see from the samples under, it often has points with publicity. In most of the photographs I took, both the background was overexposed, or darker parts within the foreground underexposed.

As you may see above, you will get some good photographs in optimum lighting situations, but it surely feels very hit-and-miss. 

It’s straightforward to say that you just’re not shopping for a £169 for its photographic prowess, however Sony has particularly drawn consideration to the Xperia L4’s triple cameras and so their efficiency is barely underwhelming.

On the video aspect, the telephone is able to 1080p video at 30fps, whereas there’s additionally the choice to reap the benefits of the 21:9 facet ratio for recordings.

Footage is okay when you plan on holding motion to a minimal, however will shortly turn into juddery with something extra as a result of an absence of optical picture stabilisation.

Battery life

The Xperia L4 comes with a 3580mAh, up from 3300mAh on the L3. Regardless of having an analogous decision display, its efficiency on Geekbench four’s battery take a look at was considerably down on its predecessor.

eight hours and 48 minutes is round common while you evaluate all our smartphones, however I used to be anticipating it to be nearer to the 11 hours and 6 minutes from the L3.

It’ll get you thru a full day and not using a drawback, but it surely’s removed from being a contender for our greatest battery life telephone.

One space it did carry out nicely was standby time; I used to be capable of go away the telephone with lower than 5% battery for a lot of hours with out it working out of juice. That is an space that some Android telephones battle with, so it’s much more spectacular right here.

The telephone does help 18W quick charging, though it’s a separate accent which is ‘obtainable quickly’ on the time of writing.

I used to be capable of get 22% of battery in 30 minutes from off by way of the adapter within the field, so that you’re round two hours for a full cost.

Worth and worth for cash

The Sony Xperia L4 prices £169 by way of the Xperia Official Associate within the UK, the place it’s additionally obtainable for a similar worth at Amazon.

There are not any configuration choices past color, so in trade you’ll get 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The latter is expandable by way of the microSD card slot, though that’s fairly mediocre when you think about what else is on the market available on the market.

At this it’s going head-to-head with most of the entries in our greatest finances telephone chart. Equally priced choices such because the Xiaomi Redmi Observe 9S and Oppo A5 2020 present what is feasible at this finish of the market, thus drawing much more consideration to the L4’s shortcomings.

I wouldn’t say it’s poor worth for cash per se, however the wealth of extraordinarily succesful sub-£200 handsets makes the L4 much less engaging for the typical client.


The Xperia L4 is one in all solely a handful of finances telephones to have a novel promoting level. The 21:9 facet ratio won’t have mainstream attraction, however bringing the tall, skinny chassis to Sony’s finances lineup was a serious assertion of intent.

Regardless of solely being 720p, the show is a nice shock, and having the ability to watch movies of their native format could be very spectacular.

Different highlights embrace a premium design and glorious software program, even whether it is Android 9 and never 10.

Nonetheless, the largest disappointment on the Xperia L4 is the cameras. You may get some first rate photographs in good lighting, but it surely often struggles with publicity and video is usually unusable. Contemplating the main focus Sony positioned on the L4’s photographic talents, this can be a huge let down.

Throw in some common internals and a really pointless notch, and there are only one too many compromises for most individuals to select this telephone over the competitors.

Sony Xperia L4: Specs

6.2in 720×1680 LCD show
Mediatek Helio P22
PowerVR GE8320 GPU
64GB storage
Triple rear digital camera (13Mp common, 5Mp extensive, 2Mp depth)
8Mp front-facing digital camera
Android 9 Pie
3580mAh battery
three.5mm headphone jack

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