Sony Xperia E1 Smartphone Review

Michael Moser (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 06/14/2014

It's got the beat. Sony's Xperia E1 is a Walkman with many settings options. It comes in a flashy plastic casing, a 4-inch TFT screen, and an entry-level SoC from Qualcomm besides 4 GB of flash memory. An included headset reinforces the portable jukebox claim. The price of 129 Euros (~$174) matches the available power.

For the original German review, see here.

Sony continues its affordable entry-level Xperia E smartphone line and launches the 4-inch Xperia E1. Its focus is on the low price of 129 Euros (~$174, RRP), and the music player feature with a dedicated Walkman hardware button that enables directly accessing saved media via a Walkman app. Sony also specifies an awesome maximum volume of 100 dB for the speaker installed on the back, which excels with ClearAudio+ and the xLoud audio enhancer.

The flashy plastic casing sports a basic Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 MSM8210 dual-core SoC with a clock rate of 1.2 GHz and integrated Adreno 302 graphics card, which is supported by 512 MB of working memory. The scanty 4 GB of internal storage can be expanded by up to 64 GB. The 4-inch screen has a resolution of 480x800 pixels, and the removable battery offers a whole 6.3 Wh.

Sony's Xperia E1 is available in black, white, and purple like our review sample. The traditional Japanese manufacturer also offers a dual-SIM model for about 10 Euros (~$13) more dubbed Xperia E1 Dual.

It thus competes against contenders like Acer's Liquid Z3 Duo, Huawei's Ascend Y530, Motorola's Moto E, and Nokia's X from the same price range.

Case

It is logical that Sony has to make cutbacks in view of the low price. Fortunately, not in the build; the pressure resistance - at least concerning the casing - and the even gaps are good. Although mineral glass protects the screen, it yields under the slightest pressure, which produces evident discolorations. However, snapping or creaking noises were barely perceptible in the stiffness test. The design is appealing enough, but the polycarbonate casing makes a cheap impression. Neither its looks nor its feel are completely convincing.

The dimensions of 118 x 62.4 mm and weight of 119 grams are alright in the category comparison. However, the thickness of 12 mm is quite high and is almost on par with the slightly oversized Motorola Moto E. The fact that the 1700 mAh battery under the removable back can be replaced makes up for that.

Connectivity

Naturally, a recommended price of 129 Euros (~$174) also has an impact on connectivity. Nevertheless, the bundle makes a balanced and entry-level suitable impression. Sony's Xperia E1 is powered by a fairly new Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 MSM8210 dual-core SoC that clocks with 1.2 GHz. An Adreno 320 graphics chip, a model from the lower entry-level, calculates graphics tasks. The working memory of just 512 MB and the 4 GB internal storage are also tight. The latter's capacity drops to a low 2 GB net but can be expanded by up to 64 GB via a micro-SD card. Unfortunately, it is not possible to move apps to the external SD card, and only media files or documents can be stored there. The physical Walkman button on the smartphone's upper edge that enables direct access to the Walkman app has to be mentioned as a special feature.

Left: micro-USB 2.0
Left: micro-USB 2.0
Upper edge: 3.5 mm jack, Walkman button
Upper edge: 3.5 mm jack, Walkman button
Right: power button, volume rocker
Right: power button, volume rocker
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

Software

Though not one of the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating systems is installed, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is used. Among the usual pre-loaded software, the Walkman app that scores with album cover thumbnails and TrackID music recognition is worth mentioning. This enables quickly creating playlists, sharing songs with friends via Facebook, and combining music files. The audio enhancers xLoud and Audio+ featuring Clear Bass, Clear Phase and Clear Stereo, and HD Voice are also available. Interesting for music fans with the matching playback peripherals: The A2DP Bluetooth stereo transmission protocol is also supported. Finally, Sony's Xperia E1 boasts an FM radio with RDS so that the supply of music does not run out on-the-go.

Long pressure on the dedicated Walkman button opens the Walkman app; short pressure controls play/pause. The Shake Control feature allows easy fast-forwarding by simply shaking the smartphone, for example.

Communication & GPS 

The installed communication equipment is very solid. Although LTE is not offered in this price range (even if a manufacturer picture of Sony's Xperia E1 suggests the opposite), and dual-band Wi-Fi is not on board either, the review sample has NFC. Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and the higher-speed Tri-band UMTS (850/1900/2100 MHz) including HSPA+ (up to 21 Mbps in downstream, and 5.76 Mbps in upstream) should ensure reception and swift data transfer almost everywhere. Bluetooth 4.0 is also available for short range transmissions. The integrated Wi-Fi b/g/n offers tethering (hot-spot feature) in addition to good signal strength.

GPS Test
GPS Test

The review sample also sports an A-GPS/GLONASS module. The GPS Test app certified good localization. However, it displayed minor inaccuracies during real-life conditions on an approximately 11-kilometer cycle route compared with the Garmin Edge 500 navigation system. The ascertained total route was roughly 200 meters too short; tracking particularly deviated from the real distance traveled in curves. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to use it for occasional navigation purposes.

Sony Xperia E1: total
Sony Xperia E1: total
Sony Xperia E1: bridge
Sony Xperia E1: bridge
Sony Xperia E1: woods
Sony Xperia E1: woods
Garmin Edge 500: total
Garmin Edge 500: total
Garmin Edge 500: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: woods
Garmin Edge 500: woods
Phone app
Phone app

Telephony and Speech Quality

The phone app does not conceal any surprises and is clearly arranged. The manufacturer only made little modifications in looks. Large keys allow accurate typing.

The speech and audio quality in calls is convincing. The installed noise cancellation and voice optimization do their job, and they produce a quite natural sound. Owing to the loud speaker, Sony's Xperia E1 is also compelling in hands-free mode.

Cameras and Multimedia

On paper, the rear-facing camera unit sounds impressive with a resolution of 3 megapixels, HDR, four-time zoom, and an HD video recording feature. However, not much of that is left in practical use. Unfortunately, the camera struggles with slight noise, overexposure with bright objects, and it cannot capture enough light in dark surroundings. An LED flash is not installed, and dark picture areas consequently quickly lose details. A lack of sharpness is also noticed.

A front-facing camera for video chats or popular selfies is not installed from the outset.

Sony Xperia E1: fruit
Sony Xperia E1: fruit
Sony Xperia E1: scene
Sony Xperia E1: scene
Sony Xperia E1: surroundings
Sony Xperia E1: surroundings
Apple iPhone 5: fruit
Apple iPhone 5: fruit
Apple iPhone 5: scene
Apple iPhone 5: scene
Apple iPhone 5: surroundings
Apple iPhone 5: surroundings
Nokia 1020: fruit
Nokia 1020: fruit
Nokia 1020: scene
Nokia 1020: scene
Nokia 1020: surroundings
Nokia 1020: surroundings
Sony A57: fruit
Sony A57: fruit
Sony A57: scene
Sony A57: scene
Sony A57: surroundings
Sony A57: surroundings

Accessories

Besides Sony's Xperia E1 phone, the box includes the battery, a modular charger including a micro-USB cord, and a stereo headset. Sony optionally offers many accessories, such as the BM10 Bluetooth music receiver for about 60 Euros (~$81) or even the SBH80 Bluetooth luxury headset for approximately 100 Euros (~$135).

Warranty

Sony includes a 24-month warranty on the phone; the battery and headset are only protected for 6 months.

Input Devices and Controls

The keyboard is comfortable to use and corresponds to the stock Android model. The keys are much bigger in landscape mode, but the visible screen shrinks to a narrow stripe. Key tones and vibrations increase the feedback optionally.

The capacitive touchscreen functions satisfactorily up to its edges. Its gliding properties are very good, but occasional, short lags between input and implementation occur. The smartphone could also sometimes stagger for a moment when inputs are made very quickly.

It's possible to type quite well despite the small screen.
It's possible to type quite well despite the small screen.
Although the keys' size increases a bit in landscape mode, the visible screen shrinks considerably.
Although the keys' size increases a bit in landscape mode, the visible screen shrinks considerably.

Display

The screen in Sony's Xperia E1 has a size of 4-inches with a sufficiently high resolution of 800x400 pixels. The sensitive TFT screen is additionally protected by scratch-resistant mineral glass.

Its brightness of approximately 358 cd/m² is also relatively high. Although the review sample surpasses Acer's Liquid Z3 Duo in a direct comparison with the contenders, it cannot compete with Huawei's Ascend Y530, Motorola's Moto E or Nokia's X. However, the very homogeneous illumination of 92% is on par with Nokia's X, and slightly surpasses both Acer's Liquid Z3 Duo and Huawei's Ascend Y530. It does not quite reach the 96% of Motorola's Moto E.

359
cd/m²
347
cd/m²
353
cd/m²
377
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
356
cd/m²
371
cd/m²
345
cd/m²
365
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 377 cd/m²
Average: 357.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 348 cd/m²
Black: 0.51 cd/m²
Contrast: 682:1

Both the black level of 0.51 cd/m² and contrast of 682:1 are almost on par with Motorola's Moto E in the category comparison but do not quite reach the marginally better rates of Acer's Liquid Z3 Duo. Then again, Sony's Xperia E1 has a clear lead on both Huawei's Ascend Y530 and Nokia's X.

The subjective assessment in routine use is appealing owing to a decent black in dark picture or video sequences, and good image sharpness.

The analysis using the X-Rite i1pro2 colorimeter and CalMAN software shows a too high color temperature of 9560 K (ideal approx. 6500 K). Particularly the reproduction of red hues is extremely shifted, and blue hues are clearly overemphasized. The average DeltaE of 6.43 is still within limits, but a slight gray-yellowish cast is noticed.

The DeltaE of 7.92 in the grayscale is clearly too high. A visible, bluish discoloration is seen in the grayscale reproduction. These color shifts are already seen in dark gray colors. Subjectively, the measured deficiencies are considerably less serious than presumed though.

Color reproduction
Color reproduction
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
Grayscale reproduction
Grayscale reproduction

Although the screen in Sony's Xperia E1 is quite suitable for outdoor use with its maximum of 377 cd/m², the intensely reflective mineral-glass surface sometimes clearly limits the legibility. Thus, avoiding direct light makes outdoor use feasible.

The screen's viewing-angle stability in practical use is impressively high for a TFT screen - as long as the user does not look down from the screen's upper edge. This perspective quite soon leads to massive color inverting. Otherwise, brightness losses first occur in extreme viewing angles.

The brightness is enough in semi-shade,...
The brightness is enough in semi-shade,...
...but the legibility suffers intensely in direct light.
...but the legibility suffers intensely in direct light.
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Sony's Xperia E1 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 200 MSM8210 dual-core SoC processor. This relatively new chip operates with two ARM Cortex A7 cores that clock with 1.2 GHz. Like the SoC itself, the integrated Adreno 302 graphics chip stands for solid performance in the undemanding entry-level sector.

Our benchmark tests nevertheless certify that this combo's performance is good in comparison with the mentioned contending smartphones. Sony's Xperia E1 has the lead on all contenders in virtually all benchmarks, with exception of Motorola's Moto E. Huawei's Ascend Y530 usually follows closely in most benchmarks. Only the storage-related benchmarks sooner show mixed results for the review sample. For example, the Xperia E1 clearly lags behind in the Disk Test of PassMark Performance Test Mobile V1 and has to let the contenders pass by. Phones like Nokia's X or Acer's Liquid Z3 Duo achieve an up to 70% higher score. However, AndroBench 3 is more in favor of Sony's Xperia E1.

3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score
Sony Xperia E1
4146 Points ∼3%
Nokia X
2385 Points ∼2% -42%
Motorola Moto E
4091 Points ∼3% -1%
Huawei Ascend Y530
4125 Points ∼3% -1%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
1655 Points ∼1% -60%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics
Sony Xperia E1
4171 Points ∼1%
Nokia X
2269 Points ∼0% -46%
Motorola Moto E
4111 Points ∼1% -1%
Huawei Ascend Y530
4139 Points ∼1% -1%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
1471 Points ∼0% -65%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics
Sony Xperia E1
4060 Points ∼7%
Nokia X
2907 Points ∼5% -28%
Motorola Moto E
4023 Points ∼7% -1%
Huawei Ascend Y530
4075 Points ∼8% 0%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
2946 Points ∼5% -27%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Score
Sony Xperia E1
2207 Points ∼2%
Nokia X
1308 Points ∼1% -41%
Motorola Moto E
2238 Points ∼2% +1%
Huawei Ascend Y530
2203 Points ∼2% 0%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
805 Points ∼1% -64%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Sony Xperia E1
1976 Points ∼1%
Nokia X
1131 Points ∼0% -43%
Motorola Moto E
1986 Points ∼1% +1%
Huawei Ascend Y530
1951 Points ∼1% -1%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
667 Points ∼0% -66%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics
Sony Xperia E1
3735 Points ∼8%
Nokia X
2902 Points ∼6% -22%
Motorola Moto E
4028 Points ∼8% +8%
Huawei Ascend Y530
4026 Points ∼8% +8%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
2937 Points ∼6% -21%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Sony Xperia E1
3760 Points ∼3%
Nokia X
2226 Points ∼2% -41%
Motorola Moto E
3750 Points ∼3% 0%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Sony Xperia E1
3646 Points ∼1%
Nokia X
2073 Points ∼1% -43%
Motorola Moto E
3626 Points ∼1% -1%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Sony Xperia E1
4221 Points ∼8%
Nokia X
3003 Points ∼6% -29%
Motorola Moto E
4262 Points ∼8% +1%
AnTuTu Benchmark v4 - Total Score
Sony Xperia E1
12784 Points ∼33%
Nokia X
7655 Points ∼20% -40%
Motorola Moto E
12811 Points ∼33% 0%
Huawei Ascend Y530
12124 Points ∼31% -5%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
9434 Points ∼24% -26%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score
Sony Xperia E1
327 Points ∼9%
Motorola Moto E
321 Points ∼9% -2%
Huawei Ascend Y530
324 Points ∼9% -1%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
254 Points ∼7% -22%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
Sony Xperia E1
609 Points ∼5%
Motorola Moto E
601 Points ∼5% -1%
Huawei Ascend Y530
605 Points ∼5% -1%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
473 Points ∼4% -22%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
System
Sony Xperia E1
1598 Points ∼29%
Nokia X
1296 Points ∼24% -19%
Motorola Moto E
1645 Points ∼30% +3%
Huawei Ascend Y530
1262 Points ∼23% -21%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
1506 Points ∼27% -6%
CPU Tests
Sony Xperia E1
3641 Points ∼9%
Nokia X
2697 Points ∼7% -26%
Motorola Moto E
3388 Points ∼9% -7%
Huawei Ascend Y530
1295 Points ∼3% -64%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
2924 Points ∼8% -20%
Disk Tests
Sony Xperia E1
1569 Points ∼4%
Nokia X
2673 Points ∼7% +70%
Motorola Moto E
2538 Points ∼7% +62%
Huawei Ascend Y530
2317 Points ∼6% +48%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
2663 Points ∼7% +70%
Memory Tests
Sony Xperia E1
1485 Points ∼27%
Nokia X
1107 Points ∼20% -25%
Motorola Moto E
1557 Points ∼28% +5%
Huawei Ascend Y530
1535 Points ∼28% +3%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
1466 Points ∼26% -1%
2D Graphics Tests
Sony Xperia E1
2297 Points ∼46%
Nokia X
1516 Points ∼31% -34%
Motorola Moto E
2172 Points ∼44% -5%
Huawei Ascend Y530
2334 Points ∼47% +2%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
1901 Points ∼38% -17%
3D Graphics Tests
Sony Xperia E1
591 Points ∼27%
Nokia X
451 Points ∼20% -24%
Motorola Moto E
565 Points ∼26% -4%
Huawei Ascend Y530
584 Points ∼27% -1%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
518 Points ∼24% -12%
AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB
Sony Xperia E1
54.2 MB/s ∼32%
Motorola Moto E
52.07 MB/s ∼31% -4%
Huawei Ascend Y530
37.2 MB/s ∼22% -31%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
50 MB/s ∼30% -8%
Sequential Write 256KB
Sony Xperia E1
8.82 MB/s ∼15%
Motorola Moto E
6.51 MB/s ∼11% -26%
Huawei Ascend Y530
9.24 MB/s ∼16% +5%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
6.57 MB/s ∼11% -26%
Random Read 4KB
Sony Xperia E1
10.11 MB/s ∼48%
Motorola Moto E
8.72 MB/s ∼42% -14%
Huawei Ascend Y530
8.02 MB/s ∼38% -21%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
11.87 MB/s ∼57% +17%
Random Write 4KB
Sony Xperia E1
0.76 MB/s ∼26%
Motorola Moto E
0.73 MB/s ∼25% -4%
Huawei Ascend Y530
0.51 MB/s ∼17% -33%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
0.53 MB/s ∼18% -30%
Legend
      Sony Xperia E1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 8210, Qualcomm Adreno 302, 4 GB Flash
      Nokia X Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8625Q, Qualcomm Adreno 203, 4 GB Flash
      Motorola Moto E Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 8210, Qualcomm Adreno 302, 4 GB Flash
      Huawei Ascend Y530 Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 8210, Qualcomm Adreno 302, 4 GB Flash
      Acer Liquid Z3 Duo MediaTek MT6572, ARM Mali-400 MP, 4 GB Flash

Sony apparently does not put much trust in the Android browser and does not pre-load it to start with. Instead, the Xperia E1 uses the stronger Google Chrome browser, on which we also performed our browser benchmarks. We found a fluctuating performance here. Both Octane v2 and SunSpider 1.0 always caused errors or even crashed despite several attempts. The benchmarks that ran smoothly place the review sample roughly on par with Motorola's Moto E. Huawei's Ascend Y530 surpasses both devices in Peacekeeper.

These fluctuations were not noticed in routine use; the smartphone did a good job here. Browsing was smooth and in an acceptable speed.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Sony Xperia E1
17886.5 ms * ∼30%
Motorola Moto E
17651.2 ms * ∼30% +1%
Huawei Ascend Y530
19673.3 ms * ∼33% -10%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
24669.6 ms * ∼41% -38%
Peacekeeper
Sony Xperia E1
550 Points ∼9%
Motorola Moto E
562 Points ∼9% +2%
Huawei Ascend Y530
628 Points ∼10% +14%
Sunspider
Sony Xperia E1
1671.7 ms * ∼16%
Nokia X
2432.5 ms * ∼23% -46%
Motorola Moto E
1625.4 ms * ∼15% +3%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
1769.2 ms * ∼17% -6%
WebXPRT 2013
Overall Score
Sony Xperia E1
161 Points ∼11%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
111 Points ∼8% -31%
Photo Effects
Sony Xperia E1
1935.6 ms * ∼22%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
2617.1 ms * ∼29% -35%
Face Detection
Sony Xperia E1
3767.9 ms * ∼31%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
9350.6 ms * ∼77% -148%
Stocks Dashboard
Sony Xperia E1
2485.9 ms * ∼66%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
3066 ms * ∼82% -23%
Offline Notes
Sony Xperia E1
2415.9 ms * ∼50%
Acer Liquid Z3 Duo
2694.2 ms * ∼56% -12%

* ... smaller is better

Epic Citadel
High Performance
Sony Xperia E1
40.9 fps ∼67%
Motorola Moto E
52.5 fps ∼87% +28%
Huawei Ascend Y530
54.5 fps ∼90% +33%
High Quality
Sony Xperia E1
52 fps ∼87%
Motorola Moto E
50.9 fps ∼85% -2%
Huawei Ascend Y530
53.4 fps ∼89% +3%
Ultra High Quality
Sony Xperia E1
33.2 fps ∼56%
Motorola Moto E
34.2 fps ∼57% +3%
Huawei Ascend Y530
37.3 fps ∼62% +12%

Games

The low-range Adreno 302 graphics card shows its deficiencies in the Epic Citadel graphics benchmark. Overall, the contenders manage better here. The practical test reinforces this. The current Angry Birds Go! racing game repeatedly hung up; although the first-person shooter Dead Trigger 2 ran in low details, it sometimes struggled with stuttering and audio drop outs. Nevertheless, the graphics power is enough for many up-to-date games, such as Metal Slug Defense or Trials Frontier.

Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Metal Slug Defense
Metal Slug Defense
Trials Frontier
Trials Frontier

Emissions

Temperature

Sony's Xperia E1 is pleasantly restrained in terms of surface temperatures. We measured an average idle of 30 to 32 °C on the smartphone's back and front, which is just lukewarm. The temperatures increase to approximately 31 to 34 °C during full load. A maximum of 35.5 °C is reached in single areas. Even the power supply remains within an acceptable range with a maximum of 33.7 °C. The review sample performs well in this sector.

Max. Load
 33.3 °C32.9 °C31.5 °C 
 35.4 °C35.5 °C32.7 °C 
 35.4 °C35.3 °C32.3 °C 
Maximum: 35.5 °C
Average: 33.8 °C
29.6 °C31.5 °C30.5 °C
30.6 °C32.0 °C31.8 °C
30.2 °C32.8 °C31.0 °C
Maximum: 32.8 °C
Average: 31.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  33.7 °C | Room Temperature 21 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

According to Sony, the rear-sided speaker reaches a volume of up to 100 dB. We cannot confirm this rate, but this much is clear: The smartphone is loud enough. Other problems occur before the volume gets too low. The treble distorts slightly and is always overemphasized, and bass and mids are pushed into the background. It is also evident that the sound output of a current HTC Desire 610, or similar phones, plays in another league.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Owing to its low-end components, Sony's Xperia E1 is fairly restrained here, and its idle consumption of 0.3 to 1.3 watts is roughly on par with its contenders. It even undercuts all rivals with a full load maximum of 1.5 watts. These rates thus provide the best requirements for a strong runtime performance of the removable 6.3 Wh battery.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 0.3 / 0.9 / 1.3 Watt
Load 1.4 / 1.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Sony specifies a capacity of 6.3 Wh/1700 mAh for the Xperia E1's battery, and thus it meets the contenders on equal terms. Only Motorola's Moto E steps out of line with its fat 1980 mAh battery, and it boasts with a runtime of approximately 14 hours in our Wi-Fi test. We perform this test using a screen brightness dimmed to 150 cd/m² and a Wi-Fi script. Sony's Xperia E1 shut down after 8 hours, and Huawei's Ascend Y530 (6.5 Wh/1750 mAh) only lasted 3 minutes longer. Both Acer's Liquid Z3 Duo (5.6 Wh/1500 mAh) and Nokia's X (5.55 Wh/1500 mAh) manage one to two hours more. The review sample shows its strength in full system load using maximum brightness via the Stability Test app with 4:50 hours and outperforms all contenders.

The energy saving mode dubbed "Stamina Mode" considerably extends the battery runtime even more by temporarily disabling unused features.

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing
8h 00min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 50min

Verdict

Sony's Xperia E1 has a lot to offer for 129 Euros (~$174, RRP). Being compact and well-built, its looks are more a matter of taste. The choice of materials makes a cheap impression, but not the equipment - of all features, particularly the Walkman function with a dedicated hardware button alongside a powerful music player app. Although the rear-sided speaker achieves a high maximum volume, the sound is rather treble-heavy. The included stereo headset does a better job. The 4-inch screen has a sufficient resolution of 800x480 pixels and is quite convincing considering the price range.

Qualcomm's dual-core SoC is a member of the lower entry-level sector, but its performance is nevertheless absolutely enough for both smartphone newcomers and modest users. They will also be pleased about the removable battery that achieves long battery runtimes. Just as pleasing is the use of the still fairly up-to-date Android 4.3 operating system.

However, a few compromises have to be made as well. For example, the camera's quality is not the best of its kind - although it is a tolerable concession in this price range. The lack of a webcam is also acceptable. But the tight internal storage of approximately 2 GB net is a major drawback. Particularly since although music and other media files can be saved on a micro-SD card, apps cannot be moved to it. Large apps, like some games, thus cannot be installed from the outset.

Would we recommend the review sample? Well, Sony's compact Xperia E1 might in fact be an option for users looking for an affordable, more basic smartphone, who highly value music features but do not feel the urge to install many apps.

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In Review: Sony Xperia E1. Review sample courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.de
In Review: Sony Xperia E1. Review sample courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.de

Specifications

Sony Xperia E1

:: Processor
:: Memory
512 MB, LP DDR2
:: Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 302, Memory: 400 MHz
:: Display
4 inch 16:9, 800x480 pixel, capacitive 10 finger touchscreen, TFT, scratch-resistant mineral glass, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
4 GB Flash, 4 GB , 2 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: microSD (max. 64 GB), Sensors: aGPS/GLONASS, motion sensor, NFC,
:: Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, UMTS HSPA+ (850 (band-V), 900 (band-VIII), 1900 (band-II), 2100 (band-I) MHz), GSM GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 12 x 118 x 62.4
:: Weight
0.119 kg Power Supply: 0.061 kg
:: Battery
6.3 Wh Lithium-Ion, 1700 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 8 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 441 h
:: Price
129 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.3
:: Additional features
Webcam: 3 megapixel (2048 x 1536), HD video recordings (800 x 600), HDR, 4 x Smooth Zoom, Speakers: 100 dB speakers with ClearAudio+ and xLoud audio enhancer, Keyboard: virtual, Keyboard Light: yes, Walkman app w/ album cover display; TrackID music recognition; xLoud; Audio+ w/ Clear Bass, Clear Phase and Clear Stereo; HD Voice; Bluetooth stereo (A2DP); UKW radio w/ RDS, 24 Months Warranty

 

In review: Sony Xperia E1
In review: Sony Xperia E1
Our review sample was clad in purple. Besides that,...
Our review sample was clad in purple. Besides that,...
...the smartphone is also available in black and white.
...the smartphone is also available in black and white.
Nifty detail: The Walkman button. It can be also optionally used...
Nifty detail: The Walkman button. It can be also optionally used...
...for activating Shake Control.
...for activating Shake Control.
The pre-loaded software is diverse. Among it, the optional, integrated Sony Music Unlimited music service.
The pre-loaded software is diverse. Among it, the optional, integrated Sony Music Unlimited music service.
In addition to the music player...
In addition to the music player...
...various audio enhancers, such as ClearAudio+ or...
...various audio enhancers, such as ClearAudio+ or...
...xLoud, are installed.
...xLoud, are installed.
The build is good...
The build is good...
...but not quite the choice of materials.
...but not quite the choice of materials.
However, the physical buttons are well-implemented and make a quality impression.
However, the physical buttons are well-implemented and make a quality impression.
The removable battery is under the removable back.
The removable battery is under the removable back.
Stamina Mode extends the already very good battery runtime considerably.
Stamina Mode extends the already very good battery runtime considerably.
The 4-inch screen's resolution of 800x480 pixels is sufficiently high.
The 4-inch screen's resolution of 800x480 pixels is sufficiently high.
It is bright enough for outdoor use when direct light does not shine on the screen.
It is bright enough for outdoor use when direct light does not shine on the screen.
The scratch-resistant mineral glass is highly reflective.
The scratch-resistant mineral glass is highly reflective.
The camera does not feature an LED flash, and its 3MP resolution is not very high.
The camera does not feature an LED flash, and its 3MP resolution is not very high.
Though the speaker is loud,...
Though the speaker is loud,...
...the supplied sound is not breathtaking.
...the supplied sound is not breathtaking.
The installed SoC's power is usually enough for everyday use.
The installed SoC's power is usually enough for everyday use.
Apps cannot be saved on the tiny, available storage.
Apps cannot be saved on the tiny, available storage.
Sony's Xperia E1 is more a music device than...
Sony's Xperia E1 is more a music device than...
...a gaming machine.
...a gaming machine.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

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Sony Xperia E1
» 84.46 GBP (lowest price)
84.46 GBP King of Gadgets
90.94 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
99.00 GBP Amazon.co.uk
110.00 GBP Look Again

The displayed prices can be up to one day old.

Pro

+Sharp and responsive screen
+Speech quality
+Headset included
+Battery power saving mechanisms + runtimes
+Build
+Though the speaker is very loud...
 

Cons

-...it soon overdrives and is treble-heavy
-Tight internal storage
-Not App2SD capable
-Moderate camera unit
-No front-facing camera
-Slightly cheap-looking plastic, but very robust

Shortcut

What we like

The good music player with direct access via a dedicated button, and the battery runtime.

What we'd like to see

A higher-quality appearance and a better camera.

What surprises us

The tight internal storage considering the focus on music.

The competition

Acer Liquid Z3 Duo

Huawei Ascend Y530

Motorola Moto E

Nokia X

Rating

Sony Xperia E1
06/10/2014 v4
Michael Moser

Chassis
76%
Keyboard
63 / 75 → 84%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 73%
Weight
95%
Battery
91%
Display
82%
Games Performance
52 / 75 → 69%
Application Performance
19 / 65 → 29%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
64%
Camera
47%
Average
69%
79%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Sony Xperia E1 Smartphone Review
Author: Michael Moser, 2014-06-14 (Update: 2014-06-14)