With all the new Sony phones coming out these days, one thing is for certain, Sony has a strong belief in don’t try to fix what’s not broken. And why would they? The Xperia series have phones that all look similar, albeit with different screen sizes, and it seems to be working. We got to play around with the new Xperia M5 dual, and here is our review.
As I mentioned above, frequent Sony users will not feel any difference in terms of design. I use an Xperia phone myself, just a bigger one, and I was instantly connected. The phone measures 145mm x 72mm and is 7.6mm thick. A little thicker than most phones in the current market, but it works.
The biggest aesthetic difference is the large camera on the front side of the phone. Staying true to the design patterns, the entire front side of the phone is simple and plain, but still invoking a sense of class. With no physical buttons, the front side of the phone is dedicated mainly to its 5 inch full HD screen. Moving over to the back of the phone, it sports a simple design with just the rear camera and branding. The Sony branding is on the center, while the Xperia branding is at the bottom. You can also find the NFC tag above the Sony logo.
The edges are given a metallic finish, which both enhances durability and contributes to the overall finish of the phone. With our review piece which was white in color, the silver edges gave it an urban look. The top edge has the 3.3.5mm headphone jack as well as the mic for video recording. The bottom edge has the USB port and speakers. On the right you can see the power button as well as volume rockers and the camera shortcut button. And finally, the left side houses the dual Sim tray and MicroSD card slot, both tucked under one cover.
Sony hit success with the OmniBalance design, and decided not to change it since. In its own, its not a bad design, but for me it is starting to get quite old.
Let’s start with the display. The Sony Xperia M5 Dual has a full HD 5 inch display. It has an IPS LCD capacitive screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels that equates to a 441 ppi density. The phone also boasts a Mobile Bravia Engine 2, which boosts the sharpness of the display and creates perfect viewing angles from edge to edge. The display is also perfect for viewing 1080p videos, which can be taken with the 4K camera, but we can get into that later. It also supports multi touch and comes with a complete scratch resistant glass.
As seen in most of Sony products these days, the M5 dual is also waterproof and dustproof. The phone has been given an IP65/68 rating, the highest for a smartphone, for its resistance to water and dust. If you go to Sony’s website, it says the phone is safe from splashes and submersion for up to 1.5m, although after Sony’s earlier announcement urging users not to take a dip with their phone, I was rather reluctant to jump in the pool with the M5.
An interesting feature seen in the phone is the direct integration of online video streaming source Crackle into the Video gallery, which posts updates on what show is currently available in Crackle. This did seem like an interesting feature at first, but as Crackle is not available in the UAE, it seemed rather pointless. I feel that Sony could have left that space for the user to decide what service to put there, for example, similar to Crackle, the user could just sync their YouTube account and see latest videos from their subscribed channels.
A disappointing aspect of the phone is the speakers. For a company like Sony, that is known for its home theater systems and music systems, I expected the phone to have stunning speakers. However, it only performed below average, and could have been done better.
The phone features Dual Sim mode, as seen from the name itself, as well as a wide range of sensors which are now common in most of the smartphones of today.
Specifications and Performance
The Sony Xperia M5 Dual runs on the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop, and it runs fairly smoothly. I wouldn’t say it runs the best, as there were some glitches here and there. It heats up occasionally if used a bit too heavily, which results in the phone closing applications on its own, for example when shooting 4k video with the camera.
Specification wise, the Xperia M5 runs on an Octa-Core 2.0 GHz Cortex A53 processor with 3 GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. The memory can be expanded up to 200 GB via microSD card. A Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10 GPU handles the graphics performance, which renders 3D images quite well, with only a slight stutter every now and then. However, as this is not a premium device, I did not expect it to have powerful graphics.
Here is a list of complete specifications.
- Device TypePhone
- ModelSony Xperia M5 Dual
- Release Date01 September 2015
- Dimensions145 x 72 x 7.6 mm
- Weight142.6 g
- ColoursBlack, White, Gold
- NetworksGSM / HSPA / LTE
- BluetoothBluetooth is a wireless communications technology for exchanging data between mobile phones, headsets, computers and other network devices over short distances without wires, Bluetooth technology was primarily designed to support simple wireless networking of personal consumer devices.microUSB v2.0
- Wi-fiWi-Fi is a popular wireless networking technology using radio waves to provide high-speed network connections that allows devices to communicate without cords or cables, Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming the preferred mode of internet connectivity all over the world.Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- NFCNFC (Near field communication) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish peer-to-peer radio communications with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few inches.
- GPSGPS The Global Positioning System is a satellite-based radio navigation system, GPS permits users to determine their position, velocity and the time 24 hours a day, in all weather, anywhere in the world, In order to locate your position, your device or GPS receiver must have a clear view of the sky.
- ChipsetChipset is a group of integrated circuits designed to perform one or a more dedicated functions, often with real time computing constraints, Popular smartphones are equipped with more advanced embedded chipsets that can do many different tasks depending on their programming.Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10
- CPUCPU (Central Processing Unit) mostly known as processors, CPU processes instructions in order to carry out certain functions that make your device operate properly. Processors are often described as the brain of computers, smartphones and tablets, Smartphones and tablets rely on processors to carry out their every task, Processors are an incredibly important factor in selecting any type of computing device, including your smartphone.Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
- GPUGPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a single-chip processor designed to rapidly manipulate and alter memory to accelerate the creation of images in a frame buffer intended for output to a display, This includes things such as lighting effects, object transformations, and 3D motion.PowerVR G6200
- RAM (Memory)RAM (Random Access Memory) is a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes that allows information to be stored and accessed quickly from random locations. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computer systems, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices.3GB
- StorageInternal Storage is a data storage space (flash memory) mostly used in smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices where operating system, apps, music, photos, videos, files and other user data Is stored.16GB
- ExpansionMemory Card Slot is a special slot for inserting a memory card. Memory cards allow you to expand the phone's built-in memory, A memory card (sometimes called a flash memory card or a storage card) is a small storage medium used to store data such as text, pictures, audio, and video, for use on small, portable or remote computing devices such as mobile phones, mp3 players, digital cameras.200GB
- SensorsSensors are electronic components that detects and responds to some type of input from the physical environment. The specific input could be light, heat, motion, moisture, pressure and location, The output is generally a signal that is converted to use in computing systems, a location sensor, such as a GPS receiver is able to detect current location of your electronic device.Accelerometer, proximity, compass
- TypeDisplay Technology => A number of display technologies and types used in mobile phones => TFT (Thin Film Transistor), IPS (In-Place Switching), OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode), AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode), Super AMOLED (an even advanced version of AMOLED), Resistive Touchscreen (Resistive touchscreens contain two layer of conductive material with a very small gap between them which acts as a resistance), Capacitive Touchsceen (Capacitive touchscreen technology consists of a layer of glass coated with a transparent conductor)IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
- Size5.0 inches
- Resolution1080 x 1920 pixels
- Pixel DensityPixel Density (PPI) is refers to the concentration of pixels on a particular display, measured in pixels per inch (ppi). Pixel density is calculated by dividing the diagonal pixel resolution of a display by its diagonal size, higher pixel density better display quality.441 ppi pixel density
- ProtectionDisplay Protection => Gorilla Glass is a special alkali-aluminosilicate glass shield with exceptional damage resistance that helps protect mobile displays from scratches, drops, and bumps of everyday use, It is always better to go for a smartphone with Gorilla Glass for that added protection and peace of mind.Scratch Resistant Glass
- Features4 Finger multitouch
- PrimaryCamera is able to capture photographs and usually videos, The most important characteristics of a camera are the resolution (measured in megapixels), lens focus type (fixed or automatic), higher megapixel cameras are known to capture higher quality photos, but not always a good measurement of the photos quality.21.2 MP, 5312 x 3984, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
- Camera SecondaryCamera is able to capture photographs and usually videos, The most important characteristics of a camera are the resolution (measured in megapixels), lens focus type (fixed or automatic), higher megapixel cameras are known to capture higher quality photos, but not always a good measurement of the photos quality.13 MP, autofocus; 1080p@30fps video
- Video2160p@30fps, HDR
- FlashFlash Light => There is commonly two types of flash lights are used in camera mobile phones, LED Flash (LED flash offers lower power consumption with drive circuitry that takes up very little room, LEDs can be strobed faster than any other light source), Xenon Flash (xenon flash produces an extremely intense full-spectrum white light for a very short duration)LED flash
- Camera FeaturesGeo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR, panorama
- 3.5mm OutputMMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is a standard way to send messages that include multimedia content (audio clips, video clips and images) to and from mobile phones over wireless networks using the WAP protocol.
- FM Radio
- Sounds FeaturesVibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
- Battery TypeBattery Type => Cell phones run on various kinds of batteries depending on the manufacturer, phone size or shape and features. There are basically four types of cell phone batteries => Lithium Polymer, Lithium Ion, Nickel Metal Hydride and Nickel Cadmium.Li-Ion (Lithium Ion)
- CapacityBattery Capacity is a measure (typically in Amp-hr) of the charge stored by the battery, and is determined by the mass of active material contained in the battery. The battery capacity represents the maximum amount of energy that can be extracted from the battery under certain conditions.2600 mAh
- Talk TimeTalk Time is the longest time that a single battery charge will last when you are constantly talking on the phone under perfect conditions, Ambient temperature and highly dependent on the cellular network environment such as the distance to the closest cell network tower.Up to 11 h 49 min (2G) / Up to 12 h 11 min (3G)
- OSOS => Every computer system run on a base software called Operating System (OS). Operating System controls all basic operations of the computer (such as smartphone, PDAs, tablet computers and other handheld devices). The Operating System allows the user to install and run third party applications (apps), apps are used to add new functionality to the device.Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
We also ran the phone through an Antutu benchmark. Here are the results.
The camera is the holy grail of the Xperia M5 Dual. 21.5MP for the primary camera and 13MP for the secondary front facing camera makes photography and selfies amazing. The Exmor Senser RS for mobile also contributes to this.
The camera is activated by pressing the camera shortcut, which can sometimes be a bit buggy, but it clicks images at fast speeds. It has a Hybrid Autofocus, 5X clear image zoom and an Auto Scene Recognition feature, all to help you take professional images, with a phone. The Superior Auto Focus, a feature seen in many Xperia devices, recognizes up to 52 scenarios and automatically adjusts the settings accordingly, making it easier for the amateur photographers. Selfie lovers will love this phone as the front camera clicks at 13MP and uses the Exmor RS which gives selfies great color as well. If that’s not enough, you can also take selfies in HDR mode as well.
The Xperia M5 dual allows you to take videos in complete 4K resolution giving you crisp and bright videos. However, playing the 4K videos can be a bit choppy, which was rather disappointing.
The camera also comes with a set of pre-installed applications which include Creative effects for the creative ones, Timeshift videos, Face in which allows you to click simultaneously with the front and back camera or Style Portrait, which enhances your selfies with effects or even lets you add make-up (that’s for the ladies) or even AR Masks, which allow you to put a cats face over yours for a video or photo, quality YouTube material.
One issue I had with this almost perfect camera was that, extended uses starts to heat up the device. This is alerted with an initial warning that says the device will shut down the application if the phone overheats, which it does quite fast and often. Otherwise, the camera is a beauty.
The 2600 mAh battery might sound low compared to other phones, it works quite well. Sony does a good job with battery optimization of all their phones and the M5 Dual is no different. I managed to get up to two days out of it with moderate usage.
To sum up, the Sony Xperia M5 Dual is a great phone, albeit for the issue of heating up. To some users it may seem like a good looking phone, but to me personally it feels like Sony really needs a design overhaul.
It does have its plus points though, with a high end camera and superior battery life, making you wonder, is this really a medium-range phone?
+ Battery Life
+ Durable Finish
+ Amazing Camera
+ Exceptional Screen
- Phone heats up a lot
- Applications crash often
- Design has stayed the same
- Below average Speakers