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Sony Xperia M2 Aqua Smartphone Review

Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/24/2014

Sealed. Sony expands its M product line by another model. The M2 Aqua is technically on par with its sister model but is additionally dust and waterproof. The Android version has also been updated and is thus compatible with all Sony wearables.

For the original German review, see here.

Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua costs approximately 10 Euros (~$12) less than its M2 sister model at market launch with an RRP of 249 Euros (~$302). However, the roughly six-month older model's price has been reduced and now only costs 199 Euros (~$241) in the manufacturer's shop.

Sony has not modified the configuration much and uses the tried equipment of the M2. Only the IP certification is new and confirms the device's dust and water resistance. Furthermore, the casing is now purple. In addition to white and black, a genuine-looking copper color is also available.

The contenders do not have any IP certifications. Nevertheless, the Motorola Moto GNokia Lumia 735Asus Zenfone 5iOcean X7SHuawei Ascend G700 and Acer Liquid E700 Trio are exciting alternatives.

Case

The back is now also plastic
The back is now also plastic
The interface flaps keep things sealed
The interface flaps keep things sealed

The casing of Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua is completely made of plastic. The glass back has, however, now been replaced with matte plastic that does not look very high-quality but which has a pleasant feel. The handheld's weight has also been slightly reduced to 147 grams.

Even if the design is quite favorable and features Sony's typical form factor, the M2 Aqua is not as rigid as we would have expected. It is not exceptionally stiff and creaked very audibly when warping attempts were made. Wave formations also became visible on the screen very quickly, and a touch on the screen could be triggered when enough pressure was applied to the display frame's upper edge. However, these shortcomings will hardly be noticed in normal use.

The notification LED is also again available, but it can only be enabled and disabled in the settings. Unlike in the former models, a personal configuration is no longer possible. The battery is non-removable.

The IP certification is a good thing and verifies the smartphone's dust and water resistance. However, this only applies to fresh water and a depth of 1.5 meters for a maximum of 30 minutes. That should be long enough for the swimming pool, beach, shower or bathtub. It is only too bad that the manufacturer has not integrated charging contacts for a docking station or cable-less charging. Thus, the USB port's flap has to be opened for recharging the phone every time.

148.2 mm / 5.83 inch 72.8 mm / 2.87 inch 10.34 mm / 0.4071 inch 145 g0.3197 lbs147.3 mm / 5.8 inch 73 mm / 2.87 inch 9.9 mm / 0.3898 inch 156 g0.3439 lbs141.5 mm / 5.57 inch 70.7 mm / 2.78 inch 11 mm / 0.4331 inch 150 g0.3307 lbs142.5 mm / 5.61 inch 72.8 mm / 2.87 inch 8.95 mm / 0.3524 inch 157 g0.3461 lbs141 mm / 5.55 inch 68.7 mm / 2.7 inch 8.9 mm / 0.3504 inch 135 g0.2976 lbs140 mm / 5.51 inch 72 mm / 2.83 inch 8.6 mm / 0.3386 inch 147 g0.3241 lbs139.6 mm / 5.5 inch 71.1 mm / 2.8 inch 8.6 mm / 0.3386 inch 149 g0.3285 lbs

Connectivity

The list of interfaces of Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua is identical with that of the Xperia M2. The USB port can be used for transmitting data from the smartphone to a computer and for recharging the handheld. OTG is supported, but MHL is not. However, wireless media streaming is possible via Miracast and DLNA.

The micro-SD card slot can only expand the storage by 32 GB. Unlike the Xperia M2, it supports App2SD owing to the newer Android version. Thus, applications can be stored on the memory card and opened from there.

Upper edge: audio
Upper edge: audio
Left: micro-USB 2.0
Left: micro-USB 2.0
Lower edge: wrist-strap loop, speaker
Lower edge: wrist-strap loop, speaker
Right: micro-SD, micro-SIM, power, volume, camera
Right: micro-SD, micro-SIM, power, volume, camera

Software

Google's Android 4.4.2 KitKat is preloaded on Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua. Though that is not the newest bug-fix version, it is quite up-to-date. The looks have not been modified much. Like in the Xperia M2, Sony's UI dominates on the screen.

The manufacturer not only preloads proprietary apps but also third-party apps. For example, apps from Garmin (30-day trial), eBay, Amazon and the OfficeSuite app were already preloaded on the review sample. It is annoying that not all can be uninstalled.

Communication & GPS 

Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua has a Wi-Fi module that supports the IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n standards, which enables transmitting in both the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequency bands. Its range was really good; the signal strength was still high even 20 meters away from the router (Fritz!Box 6360, 2.4 GHz), and browsing on the Internet functioned without noticeable delays.

The handheld accesses the Internet via HSPA+ (max. 42 Mbps downstream) or LTE Cat. 4 (max. 150 Mbps) on the go. The frequency coverage is large enough to easily cover the providers in Europe.

In addition to NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 is also available. Streaming music and video soundtracks functioned well, but it was accompanied by a permanent, quiet background noise.

GPS Test indoors
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors

The Aqua M2 can find satellites either via GPS or Glonass. That functioned quite quickly and accurately even indoors.

We compared the accuracy with the Garmin Edge 500 bike nav-system. Though the review sample did not present the same accuracy as the Xperia M2, it still achieved good results. Deviations were primarily noticed in difficult situations. The discrepancies over the entire route were approximately 5%, which is still a decent outcome.

Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua

Telephony and Voice Quality

The voice quality of Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua seems identical with that of its sister model. We could understand our contact quite well when the phone was held to the cheek. However, we sounded a bit tinny. That looks similar when using the speaker, and minor speech interruptions were occasionally noticed. The included headset is good, though a bit muffled. The phone app has not been modified but now features voicemail.

Webcam shot
Webcam shot

Cameras

Sony has not upgraded the front-facing camera. The quality is still unsatisfactory in low light. It is sometimes very difficult to recognize anything on the picture in twilight. However, not much more can be expected from just 0.3 MP (640x480 pixels).

The primary camera makes a considerably better impression. It has a maximum resolution of 8 MP (3264x2448 pixels; 4:3) that is only possible in manual mode. Automatic mode only allows 5 MP (3104x1746 pixels; 16:9). The resolution is reduced by one megapixel when HDR is enabled in maximum resolution.

The pictures are good but cannot compete with cameras in high-end smartphones. The snapshots are simply too blurry for that. The M2 Aqua also struggles with a very visible overexposure in daylight, and details are absorbed in close-ups. Details blur to muddy globs of pixels even in ambient shoots (scene 3).

Videos are recorded in Full HD and look quite good in daylight. However, permanent refocusing still causes a well-visible push effect.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Accessories

Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua is shipped with a data cable, modular power supply, and stereo headset. The manufacturer does not offer any smartphone-specific accessories. However, Sony offers universal accessories such as better headphones or Bluetooth headsets.

Warranty

Sony includes a 24-month warranty on the Xperia M2 Aqua. The battery and accessories are covered for six months.

Input Devices and Controls

The capacitive touchscreen in Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua is the primary input device. It detects up to ten fingers at the same time. Its accuracy is good, and inputs only have to be reentered occasionally because they were likely not recognized. The surface's gliding properties are decent.

The keyboard layout is the same as in the Xperia M2. It is very clearly arranged and has an additional bar with word suggestions. Auto-correction can be customized or even disabled in the setting should it get annoying. Android's on-screen keys take up additional room on the screen so that only little of the content remains visible particularly in landscape mode. The handheld's vibration when inputs are made provides a good tactile feedback.

Auto-correction settings
Auto-correction settings
Keyboard: portrait mode
Keyboard: portrait mode
Keyboard: landscape mode
Keyboard: landscape mode

Display

The M2 Aqua features a bright screen
The M2 Aqua features a bright screen

Sony has modified a technical detail in the screen of its Xperia M2 Aqua. In contrast to the TN screen in the Xperia M2, the review sample features an IPS model. The other specs are identical. The screen has a size of 4.8-inches and a resolution of 960x540 pixels. That corresponds to an aspect ratio of 16:9 and pixel density of 230 ppi. A 720 p screen like in the Ascend G700 would certainly be more appropriate, but the available resolution is sufficient. Smaller fonts look a bit angular and pixels can become visible.

The brightness has been slightly improved and now achieves up to 491 cd/m² with a still very homogeneous illumination of a high 92%. We did not ascertain halos in our sample.

485
cd/m²
451
cd/m²
476
cd/m²
488
cd/m²
458
cd/m²
488
cd/m²
476
cd/m²
453
cd/m²
491
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 491 cd/m² Average: 474 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 458 cd/m²
Contrast: 864:1 (Black: 0.53 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.63 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 6.22 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
Gamma: 2.38
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia M2
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 8 GB SSD
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 8 GB SSD
Asus Zenfone 5
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Ascend G700
SGX544, MT6589, 8 GB SSD
Screen
-14%
8%
3%
5%
Brightness middle
458
483
5%
349
-24%
389
-15%
562
23%
Brightness
474
467
-1%
348
-27%
375
-21%
543
15%
Brightness Distribution
92
93
1%
96
4%
88
-4%
92
0%
Black Level *
0.53
0.93
-75%
0.4
25%
0.58
-9%
0.7
-32%
Contrast
864
519
-40%
873
1%
671
-22%
803
-7%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.63
5.74
25%
3.74
51%
4.22
45%
4.56
40%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.22
6.83
-10%
4.52
27%
3.08
50%
6.48
-4%
Gamma
2.38 92%
2.2 100%
2.63 84%
2.57 86%
2.83 78%
CCT
10939 59%
9470 69%
7336 89%
6840 95%
6388 102%

* ... smaller is better

The Xperia M2 Aqua's black level has clearly improved and now reaches a decent 0.53 cd/m², which is only undercut by the Moto G (0.4 cd/m²; 873:1). That is nevertheless a good rate which results in an equally good contrast of 864:1.

The review sample does a good job in color accuracy, but shifts are visible for the trained eye. That applies to both the grayscale, which exhibits an obvious greenish cast, as well as the mixed colors. Particularly the orange hues clearly step out of line in the latter and present shifts beyond a DeltaE of 10. That will, however, only bother the fewest users in practice.

Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)
Color Management (target color space: sRGB)
Color Management (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)

Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua benefits from its high brightness and strong contrast outdoors. Content remains well-legible on the screen even in bright ambient light. Only the reflections might sometimes prove annoying. It will become more difficult in direct sunlight, but the review sample also fares quite well here.

The IPS screen's viewing-angle stability is good as expected, although no apparent improvements have been made compared with the Xperia M2. We did not ascertain any color deviations even in extremely flat viewing angles. The brightness decreases only slightly starting at an angle of approximately 30 degrees.

The M2 Aqua looks good outdoors
The M2 Aqua looks good outdoors
Viewing-angle stability: Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Viewing-angle stability: Sony Xperia M2 Aqua

Performance

Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 MSM8926. It is a quad-core processor that can clock each of its cores with up to 1.2 GHz. The system is supported by 1 GB of working memory, which ensures a decent system performance. Short delays are only noticed when opening apps or fading in the keyboard. The Adreno 305 graphics unit provides the needed video and graphics acceleration.

The benchmarks confirm the identical hardware configuration of the Xperia M2 sister model. Both handhelds are very close in most benchmarks. The Aqua is a bit faster in some cases. For example, the Geekbench 3 score is averagely 7% higher than that of the identically built M2. This variance could be due to the different operating system versions or the Aqua copes better with the waste heat produced by the SoC.

The review sample makes a good impression in the browser benchmarks. The results are also compelling. The Xperia M2 Aqua often outperforms its contenders and is particularly convincing in Kraken 1.1. However, it exhibits unexpected weaknesses in SunSpider and comes in last. Websites are opened quite fast subjectively.

The storage has a capacity of 8 GB, but only 4 GB is available. It can, however, be extended by up to 32 GB via a micro-SD. The Xperia M2 Aqua also supports App2SD and thus applications can be moved to the memory card. The Xperia M2 did not support this feature, but it was added with the update to Android 4.4. The storage speed is comparatively high and also presents good scores in the benchmarks.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
1121 Points ∼4%
Sony Xperia M2
1057 Points ∼3% -6%
Asus Zenfone 5
1119 Points ∼4% 0%
Wiko Stairway
1096 Points ∼4% -2%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
1133 Points ∼4% +1%
Huawei Ascend G700
1081 Points ∼3% -4%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
343 Points ∼7%
Sony Xperia M2
314 Points ∼7% -8%
Asus Zenfone 5
340 Points ∼7% -1%
Wiko Stairway
327 Points ∼7% -5%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
341 Points ∼7% -1%
Huawei Ascend G700
327 Points ∼7% -5%
AnTuTu v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
19251 Points ∼19%
Asus Zenfone 5
17292 Points ∼17% -10%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
17280 Points ∼17% -10%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
3D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
639 Points ∼11%
Sony Xperia M2
644 Points ∼12% +1%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
755 Points ∼13% +18%
Huawei Ascend G700
769 Points ∼14% +20%
2D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
2488 Points ∼13%
Sony Xperia M2
2837 Points ∼15% +14%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
2305 Points ∼12% -7%
Huawei Ascend G700
2143 Points ∼12% -14%
Memory Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
1857 Points ∼0%
Sony Xperia M2
1817 Points ∼0% -2%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
1775 Points ∼0% -4%
Huawei Ascend G700
1627 Points ∼0% -12%
Disk Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
6329 Points ∼4%
Sony Xperia M2
14582 Points ∼8% +130%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
8815 Points ∼5% +39%
Huawei Ascend G700
9267 Points ∼5% +46%
CPU Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
7509 Points ∼1%
Sony Xperia M2
7608 Points ∼1% +1%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
7397 Points ∼1% -1%
Huawei Ascend G700
8294 Points ∼1% +10%
System (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
2209 Points ∼10%
Sony Xperia M2
2319 Points ∼11% +5%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
2385 Points ∼11% +8%
Huawei Ascend G700
2371 Points ∼11% +7%
3DMark
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
7989 Points ∼9%
Sony Xperia M2
8159 Points ∼9% +2%
Asus Zenfone 5
7872 Points ∼9% -1%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
7904 Points ∼9% -1%
Huawei Ascend G700
8134 Points ∼9% +2%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
4402 Points ∼1%
Sony Xperia M2
4322 Points ∼1% -2%
Asus Zenfone 5
4156 Points ∼1% -6%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
4265 Points ∼1% -3%
Huawei Ascend G700
2125 Points ∼0% -52%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
4890 Points ∼2%
Sony Xperia M2
4826 Points ∼2% -1%
Asus Zenfone 5
4643 Points ∼2% -5%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
4751 Points ∼2% -3%
Huawei Ascend G700
2542 Points ∼1% -48%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
5.9 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia M2
5.9 fps ∼0% 0%
Nokia Lumia 830
4.2 fps ∼0% -29%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
5.8 fps ∼0% -2%
Huawei Ascend G700
2.6 fps ∼0% -56%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
15.4 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia M2
15.5 fps ∼0% +1%
Nokia Lumia 830
7.2 fps ∼0% -53%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
10.8 fps ∼0% -30%
Huawei Ascend G700
4.5 fps ∼0% -71%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
1710.2 ms * ∼19%
Sony Xperia M2
1664.6 ms * ∼18% +3%
Nokia Lumia 830
1237.7 ms * ∼14% +28%
Asus Zenfone 5
1684 ms * ∼18% +2%
Wiko Stairway
1575.6 ms * ∼17% +8%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
1406 ms * ∼15% +18%
Huawei Ascend G700
1319.8 ms * ∼14% +23%
WebXPRT 2013
Offline Notes (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
2667.7 ms * ∼56%
Sony Xperia M2
2332.3 ms * ∼49% +13%
Nokia Lumia 830
2795.9 ms * ∼58% -5%
Asus Zenfone 5
2648 ms * ∼55% +1%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
2427 ms * ∼51% +9%
Huawei Ascend G700
2142.6 ms * ∼45% +20%
Stocks Dashboard (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
2691 ms * ∼72%
Sony Xperia M2
2379.7 ms * ∼64% +12%
Nokia Lumia 830
2476.7 ms * ∼66% +8%
Asus Zenfone 5
2642 ms * ∼71% +2%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
2614 ms * ∼70% +3%
Huawei Ascend G700
2339.6 ms * ∼62% +13%
Face Detection (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
3237.8 ms * ∼27%
Sony Xperia M2
3395.1 ms * ∼28% -5%
Nokia Lumia 830
5915.1 ms * ∼49% -83%
Asus Zenfone 5
3375.1 ms * ∼28% -4%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
3355 ms * ∼28% -4%
Huawei Ascend G700
8093.1 ms * ∼67% -150%
Photo Effects (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
1450.6 ms * ∼16%
Sony Xperia M2
1744.3 ms * ∼20% -20%
Nokia Lumia 830
2042.7 ms * ∼23% -41%
Asus Zenfone 5
1633.6 ms * ∼18% -13%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
1497 ms * ∼17% -3%
Huawei Ascend G700
2699.7 ms * ∼30% -86%
Overall Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
172 Points ∼8%
Sony Xperia M2
173 Points ∼8% +1%
Nokia Lumia 830
137 Points ∼6% -20%
Asus Zenfone 5
167 Points ∼7% -3%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
175 Points ∼8% +2%
Huawei Ascend G700
130 Points ∼6% -24%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
16154.6 ms * ∼27%
Sony Xperia M2
18774.4 ms * ∼32% -16%
Nokia Lumia 830
27128.5 ms * ∼46% -68%
Asus Zenfone 5
16691.6 ms * ∼28% -3%
Wiko Stairway
18568.1 ms * ∼31% -15%
Huawei Ascend G700
17923.7 ms * ∼30% -11%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
577 Points ∼9%
Sony Xperia M2
558 Points ∼9% -3%
Nokia Lumia 830
297 Points ∼5% -49%
Wiko Stairway
567 Points ∼9% -2%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
515 Points ∼8% -11%
Huawei Ascend G700
534 Points ∼9% -7%
AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
1.11 MB/s ∼0%
Sony Xperia M2
0.64 MB/s ∼0% -42%
Asus Zenfone 5
1.26 MB/s ∼1% +14%
Wiko Stairway
0.66 MB/s ∼0% -41%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
1.6 MB/s ∼1% +44%
Huawei Ascend G700
0.4 MB/s ∼0% -64%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
12.76 MB/s ∼7%
Sony Xperia M2
13.7 MB/s ∼8% +7%
Asus Zenfone 5
12.43 MB/s ∼7% -3%
Wiko Stairway
12.18 MB/s ∼7% -5%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
8 MB/s ∼5% -37%
Huawei Ascend G700
9.69 MB/s ∼6% -24%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
15.35 MB/s ∼4%
Sony Xperia M2
11.62 MB/s ∼3% -24%
Asus Zenfone 5
12.45 MB/s ∼3% -19%
Wiko Stairway
10.91 MB/s ∼3% -29%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
13 MB/s ∼3% -15%
Huawei Ascend G700
9.75 MB/s ∼3% -36%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
121.33 MB/s ∼13%
Sony Xperia M2
123.47 MB/s ∼14% +2%
Asus Zenfone 5
95.47 MB/s ∼10% -21%
Wiko Stairway
46.78 MB/s ∼5% -61%
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
58 MB/s ∼6% -52%
Huawei Ascend G700
60.86 MB/s ∼7% -50%

Legend

 
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia M2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Nokia Lumia 830 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus Zenfone 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Wiko Stairway Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8226, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Huawei Ascend G700 Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 8 GB SSD

* ... smaller is better

Games

The Adreno 305 is no longer brand new and was positioned in the mid-range at its market launch late 2012. Today it certainly belongs in the entry level and hardly has reserves for future games. Nevertheless, most games from the Play Store run well. Occasional lags will only be noticed when high requirements are placed on the hardware. Otherwise, the games will lower their details. The slightly lower resolution is positive in this case because it unloads the GPU, which consequently leads to higher frame rates. Classics like Candy Crush or Angry Birds are no problem, though.

Angry Birds
Angry Birds
Epic Citadel (Ultra High Quality)
Epic Citadel (Ultra High Quality)

Emissions

GFXBench 3.0: battery test
GFXBench 3.0: battery test

Temperature

Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua reached a maximum surface temperature of 32.4 °C when idling. The rates climbed up to 41.7 °C during load, which is still absolutely uncritical but comparatively high. Most other contenders do not exceed 40 degrees; the Moto G (max. 35.4 °C) is just lukewarm even during full load.

We performed a stress test on the Xperia M2 Aqua's components using the battery test of GFXBench 3.0. The T-Rex test is run thirty times in succession for this purpose. The app records both the battery state and the frame rates. There is no reason for complaint here. The review sample could always fully use its performance reserves.

Max. Load
 39.4 °C
103 F
32.1 °C
90 F
27.4 °C
81 F
 
 41.7 °C
107 F
32.2 °C
90 F
28.3 °C
83 F
 
 38.4 °C
101 F
31.1 °C
88 F
27.9 °C
82 F
 
Maximum: 41.7 °C = 107 F
Average: 33.2 °C = 92 F
27 °C
81 F
32.3 °C
90 F
39.2 °C
103 F
27.7 °C
82 F
32.5 °C
91 F
40 °C
104 F
29.1 °C
84 F
33 °C
91 F
37.9 °C
100 F
Maximum: 40 °C = 104 F
Average: 33.2 °C = 92 F
Power Supply (max.)  37.2 °C = 99 F | Room Temperature 20.6 °C = 69 F | Voltcraft IR-350
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.2 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.7 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 35.6 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.5 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

The speaker installed in Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua is identical with the one in its sister model. It has not been positioned ideally since a hand could quickly cover it. Bass and mids are audible but very thin. The trebles are slightly muffled. Overall, a useful sound is rendered. Intense distortions only occur when the volume is increased to over 80%.

The included headset is good. It provides a comparatively decent sound with strong bass and clean trebles. The sound remains free of distortions even in maximum volume.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua has been reduced slightly compared with the Xperia M2. It now consumes between 0.5 and 1.4 watts when idling. Its maximum consumption, which we simulate with the Stability Test app, is 2.6 watts. The M2 still needed 3.2 watts in the same scenario.

Thus, the review sample presents itself as very frugal in the comparison field. Both the Moto G (max. 3.5 W) and the Liquid E700 (max. 3.6 W) consume more power.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.5 / 1.2 / 1.4 Watt
Load midlight 2.1 / 2.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The battery in Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua has an output of 2330 mAh, which enables a good battery life. Both the minimum and maximum runtimes are within a very good range. The tests allow better comparison with an adapted screen brightness of 150 cd/m².

All consumers except for the Wi-Fi module are disabled in the Wi-Fi browsing test. A script that opens a new website every 40 seconds is run in the browser. The Aqua lasted for almost ten hours in this scenario. In particular, the Moto G proves more enduring here, but the Xperia M2 also runs longer which surprised us a bit in view of its consumption rates.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
22h 50min
WiFi Surfing
9h 42min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 07min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 24min
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia M2
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 8 GB SSD
Motorola Moto G 2. Gen XT1068
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 8 GB SSD
LG L Bello
Mali-400 MP, MT6582, 8 GB SSD
Asus Zenfone 5
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Acer Liquid E700 Trio
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
-3%
20%
-3%
-12%
6%
Reader / Idle
1370
1538
12%
1195
-13%
1131
-17%
H.264
607
294
-52%
941
55%
WiFi
582
686
18%
904
55%
522
-10%
545
-6%
510
-12%
Load
264
293
11%
221
-16%
276
5%
229
-13%
327
24%

Verdict

In review: Sony Xperia M2 Aqua.
In review: Sony Xperia M2 Aqua.

Owners of an Xperia M2 certainly do not have to buy an Aqua because the technical specs of both devices are virtually identical. The screen size, resolution, and performance hardly differ, and the battery life of both devices is also very good.

The review sample also excels with an excellent Wi-Fi range, good voice quality and decent GPS reception. The icing on the cake is its dust and water resistance, which is also the most noteworthy difference to its sister model. However, Sony does not use glass. The casing's stiffness is generally not as good as that of the cheaper model. Besides that, we found the bloatware annoying.

Buyers currently looking for a mid-range smartphone with an IP certification will find it difficult getting around Sony's Xperia M2 Aqua. There are plenty of alternatives, such as the Moto G, should this extra not be needed.

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In review: Sony Xperia M2 Aqua. Review sample courtesy of Cyberport.de.
In review: Sony Xperia M2 Aqua. Review sample courtesy of Cyberport.de.

Specifications

Sony Xperia M2 Aqua (Xperia Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
1024 MB 
Display
4.8 inch 16:9, 960 x 540 pixel, capacitive 10 multi-touch point touchscreen, IPS, 230 PPI, glossy: yes
Storage
8 GB eMMC Flash, 8 GB 
, 4.06 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: combo headphone and microphone jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 32 GB (SD, SDHC), Sensors: position sensor, orientation sensor, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, aGPS, NFC, DLNA, Wireless Display (Miracast), Ant+, IP65/IP68
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900 and 2100 MHz), LTE Cat. 4 (band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 20), head-SAR: 0.656 W/kg, body-SAR: 0.862 W/kg
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.6 x 140 x 72 ( = 0.34 x 5.51 x 2.83 in)
Battery
8 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 2330 mAh, 3.6 V, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 11.4 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 641 h
Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
Camera
Webcam: 0.3 MP, primary camera: 8 MP (Sony Exmor RS, auto focus, LED flash, HDR, 1080p video)
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual, headset, USB cable, power supply, quick start guide, various Sony apps, Vouchercloud, OfficeSuite, Garmin Navigation (30 day trial), eBay, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
147 g ( = 5.19 oz / 0.32 pounds), Power Supply: 64 g ( = 2.26 oz / 0.14 pounds)
Price
249 Euro

 

The screen has a size of 4.8-inches.
The screen has a size of 4.8-inches.
The resolution of 960x540 pixels is somewhat low.
The resolution of 960x540 pixels is somewhat low.
The IPS screen is high in contrast and bright.
The IPS screen is high in contrast and bright.
The micro-SIM and micro-SD slots are direct neighbors.
The micro-SIM and micro-SD slots are direct neighbors.
The USB port has to be opened for charging.
The USB port has to be opened for charging.
The audio jack is also sealed with a flap.
The audio jack is also sealed with a flap.
The back is made of plastic.
The back is made of plastic.
The camera has a maximum resolution of 8 MP.
The camera has a maximum resolution of 8 MP.
The included headset delivers an impressive sound.
The included headset delivers an impressive sound.
Only 4 of 8 GB is available.
Only 4 of 8 GB is available.
Android 4.4.2 is preloaded.
Android 4.4.2 is preloaded.
Geekbench 3
Geekbench 3
GFXBench 3.0
GFXBench 3.0
Anomaliy 2 Benchmark (High Quality)
Anomaliy 2 Benchmark (High Quality)
3DMark
3DMark
Vellamo 3.1
Vellamo 3.1
Basemark OS II
Basemark OS II
AndEBench Pro
AndEBench Pro

Similar Devices

Similar devices from a different Manufacturer

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Kyocera Torque Smartphone Review
Adreno 305, Snapdragon 400 MSM8928
Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen Smartphone Review
Adreno 305, Snapdragon 400 MSM8226
Microsoft Lumia 640 Smartphone Review
Adreno 305, Snapdragon 400 MSM8226

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pros

+Dust and waterproof
+Expandable storage
+Fairly up-to-date Android
+App2SD support
+Great Wi-Fi range
+Decent GPS
+Good voice quality
+LTE Cat. 4
+Very good battery life
 

Cons

-Casing stiffness
-No longer glass back
-Bloatware

Shortcut

What we like

The M2 Aqua is really impressive outdoors. The screen remains well-legible, GPS is reliable, and rain is no danger for the handheld, either.

What we'd like to see

The screen resolution could be a bit higher.

What surprises us

The new IPS screen provides a considerably better black level - great.

The competition

Some contenders are the Motorola Moto G2, Sony Xperia M2, LG L Bello, Acer Liquid E700 Trio, HTC Desire 510, Nokia Lumia 735 and Samsung Galaxy Ace 4.

Rating

Sony Xperia M2 Aqua - 12/18/2014 v4(old)
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
76%
Keyboard
64 / 75 → 85%
Pointing Device
84%
Connectivity
49 / 60 → 82%
Weight
93%
Battery
93%
Display
82%
Games Performance
54 / 63 → 86%
Application Performance
26 / 70 → 37%
Temperature
88%
Noise
100%
Audio
50 / 91 → 55%
Camera
58%
Average
71%
81%
Smartphone - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Sony Xperia M2 Aqua Smartphone Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2014-12-24 (Update: 2018-05-15)