- Excellent water resistance
- Respectable battery life
- Omnibalance design
- Weak camera
- Tricky waterproofing flaps
- Lackluster display
Sony has been overhauling some of its previous models recently and it seems its time to reboot the M2. The M2 Aqua now sports an impressive IP68 waterproof rating and a few minor tweaks, but is this enough to remain competitive in a quickly growing mid-tier market? Let’s check out what the reviews have to say.
At first glance, the M2 Aqua looks just like its predecessor thanks to Sony’s Omnibalance design. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that means you’re either going to love or hate the way the phone looks. Reviews were generally positive, noting that the matte finish on the rear of the phone was great at deflecting scuffs and scratches. Unfortunately, a lack of treatment on the glass on front found many reviews complaining about fingerprints and smudges.
Behind the glass is a 4.8-inch IPS display. Certainly on par with the current trends in larger displays. However, the resolution on the screen is 960-by-540. A stat that many reviews were quick to point out is rather low for today’s mid-tier market. GSM Arena called the screen “decent, even if hardly spectacular” while Wired UK said that the screen looked “a tad out of place” with the design of the phone.
The phone relies on a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 with 1GB of RAM to keep Android KitKat running smoothly. Performance reviews are generally positive with Wired UK saying the experience is “consistently smooth and it never seemed to lag unduly.” and GSM Arena noting the phone does “an okay job” with both gaming and daily tasks.
While 8GB of storage space might not offer a ton of room for your apps, movies and music, microSD support allows you to affordably add up to 32 additional GB of storage if you wish.
Thanks the the Aqua’s firmly mid-tier specs, it pulls respectable battery life from its 2300mAh battery pack. This is good as the battery is non-removable, unlike many other Sony handsets. Reviews found a full day’s use with mixed usage on a single charge and even better life when taking advantage of Sony’s Stamina mode and other power saving features.
Unfortunately, not everything is pristine for the device. While it touts an IP68 water and dustproof rating, the rating hinges on an array of flaps and plugs. The headphone jack, microSD slot, SIM slot and charge port all have rubber flaps to keep them sealed. TechRadar described it as “flap-tastic.” They also pointed out that if one flap is loose, the IP68 rating is irrelevant. So if you plan to take your phone for a swim, be sure to check your flaps. Recombu found another issue with the waterproofing. The capacitive screen doesn’t play well with water. They noted, “As soon as the screen gets wet, the handset goes completely mental.”
Finally, the 8MP rear-facing camera with dedicated shutter button received mixed reviews. While the camera app offers the usual bounty of Sony options, TechRadar called the camera’s image quality and performance “quite disappointing” and “a bit slow.” On the other hand, Beta News though that “in general the camera copes well.” This was similar in other reviews, with some noting issues and other applauding the camera.
In the end, this same mixed feeling was found in many review verdicts. While TechRadar called the Aqua a “decent value,” Wired UK thought the handset “just doesn't seem all that attractive.” In the end, it appears that if you’re looking for a waterproof mid-tier smartphone, the Aqua offers a dependable choice, albeit with a few tradeoffs in performance and display quality.
Reviews (8.1/10 Avg. rating)
Great performance, great waterproof protection and a phone that can withstand daily life
I have read in other reviews that the flaps were “awkward”. Now, whilst this may need a bit of getting used to if you’re regularly using the 3.5mm audio port, it wasn’t a great problem for me just to slip my nail under the flap and charge it each night. I don’t think it was a massive issue really, and you’ll soon get used to it. It’s simply the pay off for having a waterproof phone.
It looks good, has good audio performance and the Android performance is fine.
Overall, yes it’s “mid-range”, but I think that th... Full review
Really impressive outdoors
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. In return, Sony does not use glass. The casing's stiffness is generally not as good as that of the cheaper model.... Full review
A masterclass in waterproofing
It's key to stress that this is in no way a new smartphone in its own right. The Sony Xperia M2 Aqua is just that: a slightly upgraded, waterproofed version of the original M2.
Still, while it's by no means going to make headlines, the handset is sure to make waves in the midrange market as a decent waterproof option. Before now water-proofing was a selling point of the flagship, but the M2 Aqua has cracked open a new market for H20 repelling handsets.
The downsides are that while the M2 Aqua's build is solid, it sometimes feels a little too solid. For the screen size,... Full review
Good build, sensible finish but a little too big and heavy perhaps for the screen size
A waterproofed version of one of their mass-market models is hardly the biggest thing to come out of Sony's labs this season. There's a new super-mini to look forward to and the next flagship generation, plus a couple of wearables just broke cover ahead of the IFA show. Yet, the one thing all these have in common is waterproofing, no less. A fact the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua will be keen to use to its advantage.
Just like Sony themselves will only benefit from an extra option in the lower midrange. There used to be a few affordable water resistant smartphones around but the niche is n... Full review
Darn, there are no reviews yet for this phone.
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