My wife won a Google hamper a while back. Amongst the other cool things in the box was a shiny new Sony Xperia M4 Aqua.
Technically speaking, this phone is pretty cool. It has all the things that you’d expect.
The CPU is octa-core, but it’s configured into sets of four 1.5 GHz and four 1 GHz configuration. Sony isn’t the only company that varies the speeds of its CPU’s, but I don’t know why they do it. To keep the price down, maybe? It has 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, which is pretty standard for high-end smartphones. Also pretty standard is the screen. It’s a 5 inch, 16 million colour capacitive touchscreen. What is interesting though is the resolution. They went with 720 x 1280, which is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also not 1080 x 1920 like the Samsung Galaxy S5. Although it is quite average for a high-end smartphone, as far as phones in general go, it’s still a great phone.
Sony’s Xperia Home launcher is smooth, easy to use, and runs well. I haven’t had it crash yet. I won’t dwell on the software because…Android.
The 13-megapixel camera is fantastic. It has various modes. The default is intelligent automatic. If you’re framing a landscape, it tunes the camera for landscapes. If you’re framing a portrait, it’ll sense it and change its settings accordingly. It can automatically sense pets, food, sunrise or set, or low light scenes. If you like to be in control, you can still choose the manual mode where you can change the scene to whatever you want. Those are the primary modes, but there are a few others, and you can download even more. They’re really just-for-fun. Like the dinosaur setting that overlays dinosaurs into your shot. It’s cute. The camera also shoots 1080 video and, optionally, geotags your photos. I find that it produces very grainy photos in low light situations, but overall it’s a decent camera.
The only thing that annoys me about the M4 Aqua is the GPS. It’s terrible. I play a geolocation augmented reality game called Ingress. The game relies on the GPS for location because you need to hack portals that are in real world locations. I often have to wait a full minute, and sometimes longer, for the GPS to find my location. Obviously, I checked the interwebs for solutions. There was a problem with the GPS, but it was supposedly fixed two releases ago. It wasn’t.
The most convenient feature for me is the dual SIM capability. It’s so nice to be able to carry just one phone around, and still take calls on both my corporate number and my private number.
In summary, I like this phone. The GPS frustrates me, but the dual SIM makes up for it. Would I choose it over my S5? Probably not, but I would choose it over many others.