Sony makes a splash

Sony makes a splash
Photo: The Nation/ANN
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

A new waterproof camera phone that doesn't cost a fortune but boasts good performance as well as fast 4G connection, the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is powered by a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa core processor with four cores running at 1.5 GHz and four others at 1 GHz.

It has two gigabytes of working memory or RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, expandable with a micro SD card and comes with a 5-inch IPS HD display with 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution.

The phone runs on latest Google Android 5.0 operating system, which is codenamed Lollipop.

The Xperia M4 Aqua is designed to be durable. It comes with the same waterproof design as Sony premium smartphones, meaning it's protected against water as well as fine dust particles.

The Xperia M4 Aqua has been given the highest IP rating in a smartphone - IP65/68. This is a standard that measures a device's resistance levels to dust and water and means that it can be immersed in 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes.

That makes it perfect to shoot fun days out at the water park or swimming pool. During the test, I rode my bicycle home in heavy rain and the phone survived the downpour.

I also tried submerging it in a container filled with water and taking a picture and it still worked well, so obviously it lives up to its promise.

The M4 Aqua captured good quality photos during the test. It features a 13-megapixel rear camera that uses Exmor RS as the mobile image sensor. The camera comes with HDR function for both picture and video shooting, giving good details in any lighting condition.

Like Sony's other compact digital cameras, the M4 Aqua has Superior Auto shooting mode, which recognises up to 52 scenes from illuminated night views to close-up macros and automatically adjusts shooting parameters for optimal results.

The phone's HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode is very useful in a difficult lighting environment, allowing you to capture clear photos even against a strong backlight.

The phone also comes with several fun camera apps, including AR Fun and Portrait retouch. AR Fun lets you scribble and draw on your snapshots or capture photos with AR animations.

Portrait retouch improves your selfies and portraits by letting you choose from 10 different beauty styles and make-up effects as well as decorative frames. The M4 Aqua's front 5-megapixel; camera is good for taking selfies and wefies thanks a 22-mm wide-angle lens with an 88-degree field of view that allows you to cram more people into a shot.

The test found that the main camera captured sharp, clean and vivid photos in most lighting environments. I was able, for example, to capture vivid images of the floral bouquets celebrating the 45th anniversary of The Nation using the Superior Auto mode.

The phone also provides a dedicated shutter release button on the lower right side for convenient shooting.

The M4 Aqua uses 4G LTE connection. I tested it on TrueMove H's LTE network and was pleased with the fast data connection speed.

I benchmarked the connection speed with Ookla Speedtest app and found that the M4 Aqua achieved the download speed of 52 Mbps and upload speed of 21.

I was able to download and install apps very fast. Snapshots could be posted on my Facebook wall in seconds and backing up photos to my Microsoft OneDrive and My Dropbox accounts was done in no time.

The phone has good performance too. Its touchscreen and menus were responsive and apps ran smoothly.

It can also play High-Resolution audio files, yet more proof of its good performance. I played Hi-Res audio files of FLAC 24bit/192 kHz format without any trouble listening to the sound with Sony MDR-1ABT Hi-Res headphone.

The M4 Aqua has NFC (near field communications) technology, allowing it connect to other NFC-enabled devices including with the SBH70 stereo headset.

And if you love to exercise and use fitness tracking gadgets, you'll be happy that M4 Aqua has ANT+ wireless function that supports sport, fitness and health tracking gadgets.

The M4 Aqua has a good battery life of up to two days of usage and comes with a 2,400 mAh built-in rechargeable battery.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua has a suggested retail price of Bt9,990. It is available in black, white and coral red.

Key Specs

- Network: 4G LTE (Cat. 4); 3G HSPA+ 850, 900, 1900, 2100

- OS: Google Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

- CPU: 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa Core processor (Quad-core 1.5 GHz + Quad core 1.0 GHz)

- Display: 5-inch IPS touch screen panel with 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution

- Main camera: 13-megapixel Exmor RS sensor

- Front camera: 5-megapixel 22mm lens, 88-degree angle view

- Memory: 2 GB RAM

- Storage: 8 GB internal, upgradable with microSD card up (up to 128 GB)

- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, Miracast, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi, ANT+, 3.5mm audio jack

- Battery: 2,400 mAh

- Dimension: 145.5 x 72.59 x 7.3mm

- Weight: 136g

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