The Xperia E3 is Sony’s budget smartphone.
The design of the E3 is very similar to the Z3 we reviewed around a month ago. The device is mainly made of plastic, with a hard plastic around the side of the device and a soft touch plastic on the removable back cover.
On the left side of the device you have a Micro-USB charging port, on the top you have your headphone jack and on the right hand side you have your power button and volume rockers. The front of the device is clean with no physical buttons, it has the front facing camera, and the earpiece and microphone. On the back of the device you have the rear facing camera, LED flash and microphone, and at the near the bottom you have a rear facing speaker.
The device is 13.7cm tall, 6.9cm wide and 0.9cm thin – which gives it around the same dimensions as the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 6.
For the most part, I have no problems with this design, as before with the Z3 I wish that the power button was bigger and I also wish that the speakers were front facing because personally I think that they sound better front facing.
The E3 comes with Sony Xperia: UI out of the box, which is Sony’s Android Skin. I’m not an enormous fan of this skin because Sony’s icons don’t really match the feel of Android. I had to replace the Xperia keyboard with the Google Keyboard because I was finding it difficult to type on the device, but apart from the icons and the keyboard the skin is fine. Sony Xperia: UI runs very well on the device and doesn’t lag at all which helps provide a good and consistent user experience.
The display on the E3 is pleasant to look at and shows bright and vivid colours. The display is 4.5 inches and has a resolution of 480×854, this is a fairly low resolution nowadays but the display still looks crisp and sharp, but it can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
The rear facing 5 megapixel camera performs well in well-lit environments but not so much in dark ones. The camera also records 1080p video at 30fps. The photo and video quality is not the best, so if you are going to be spending a lot of time taking photographs and video you may want to consider another device. The front facing camera is not good at all, the camera has VGA quality and the picture is quite cropped and not wide angle, and the front facing camera does not perform well in low lit areas at all.
Each photo is 1mb which isn’t much of an issue, but if you plan on installing quite a lot of apps too you may want to get a microSD card as the device only comes with 4gb of on-board memory.
The device comes with a Snapdragon 400 processor and 1gb of RAM, but even with these low-end specs performance is good on the E3. I have experienced a few occasional crashes in apps when multitasking, but otherwise everything has been running smoothly.
The battery life for me with the E3 has been good, lasting around 11-12hours and will get me through a full day of usage. Specifically, the device has a 2330mAh battery, which cannot be removed – despite the removable back.
Overall I’d say, if you’re looking for a well-built budget smartphone, this is the phone for you. If you’re looking for a device with better speakers and cameras you should probably look elsewhere. But nevertheless, the Sony Xperia E3 is a great budget smartphone for web browsing and social networks – and of course making phone calls.