48 hours with the Sony Xperia L3

sony xperia l3 preview

Dear Sony fans, the company isn’t abandoning South Africa at all in 2019. In fact, the Japanese smartphone maker is adding four devices to its roster. Three are already here, and three are in my possession at present. One, the Sony Xperia 1, is yet to arrive.

But the device we’re going through today is a cheapest of the range, the Sony Xperia L3.

For those looking for a mid-range device, here’s what we’ve come to like, *wiggle hand*, and completely hate about the L3.

Sony Xperia L3: the good

  • Sony’s default launcher is one of the few I can actually live with. It offers excellent organisation features and a visual adjustments that I usually look for in Nova Launcher.
  • Hell, Sony’s lock screen is also incredibly intuitive, showing a digital clock with second ring, options to access the voice assistant and camera from the screen itself.
  • Sony barely touches the UI, so you’re effectively getting stock Android.
  • Did you know you can reverse charge using this phone? You’ll need a USB-C to USB-C cable, but it’s possible to turn this device into a powerbank. Brilliant!
  • The FM radio support is a nice inclusion.
  • Sony hasn’t gone with the 21:9 aspect ratio, so the Xperia L3 is easier to hold and use with a single hand.
  • The screen’s coated in Gorilla Glass 5, which was also used on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9. The back however is plastic, but feels sturdy rather than cheap.
  • Performance is decent for browsing social media apps and the web, at least if you’re not expecting it to be. You’re getting 3GB of RAM and a Mediatek Helio P22.
  • As far as gaming performance goes, you’ll be happy with the performance of titles like Monument Valley.
  • USB-C? Check.
  • Headphone jack? Check.
  • NFC? Check.

Sony Xperia L3: the average

  • SwiftKey, not Gboard, is installed by default. Personally, that’s an issue, but your mileage may vary.
  • Phone audio isn’t great. You’re not going to power through a party with this phone. But for personal listening, especially for podcasts, it’s more than adequate.
  • Sony’s usual SIM card and SD card tray doesn’t need an eject tool, but it is a pain to pry out with a fingernail on this particular phone.
  • It’s odd how 5.7 inch screens feel decidedly small nowadays even though it isn’t. It’s still a big device this, and if you’re looking at a compact device, this probably isn’t it.

Sony Xperia L3: the terrible

  • While the device received the May 2019 security update, it’s still running Android Oreo.
  • The Xperia L3 may be one of the uglier phones you’ll be able to purchase in 2019. It looks as if Sony launched it in 2017, with its fat bezels.
  • I don’t think I’ve used a worse camera on a phone launched this year. It’s not even that the quality is low, it’s that this thing refuses to focus on objects.
  • Sony claims this phone has 32GB of internal storage, but you’ll only have around 20GB to actually use for files.
  • I usually enjoy side-mounted fingerprint readers, but the Sony Xperia L3 seems to require more time than most to unlock using my thumb. It’s also very particular about finger placement.
  • There’s no shortage of bloatware, but nothing too terrible. There are the typical Sony apps, but you’re also getting Amazon Shopping, for some odd reason, Facebook and AVG.
  • Single SIM. Boo.
  • This phone isn’t cheap. At R4499, it’s facing some stiff competition from Xiaomi, Nokia, Huawei and even Samsung with its lower end A Series.

Look forward to a bullet-by-bullet look at the L3’s bigger, longer, and more expensive brothers — the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus — in the near future.

Feature image: Andy Walker/Memeburn

Andy Walker
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