Launched at the high-end price point of Rs. 29,490, the Sony Xperia C4 dual is not one of the flagship devices from Sony in terms of specification. However, among all the phablets that Sony has so far, this one does excel in certain aspects.
Sony has improved a lot in this smartphone which falls in the upper mid-range category. It also heads to a slightly another direction in terms of design and build quality. Moreover, Sony has typically showed some a great deal of making the device as fancy-looking as possible and surely a move away from the age-old design and form factor that Sony uses for almost all the phones falling in its "Z series" is what typically makes it likable.
Anyway, after using it for a while, GizBot has come up with a full-on review of the handset. The large sized Sony Xperia C4 Dual impressed us in a lot of ways but did leave with us a couple of experience which disappointed us as well. So, let's go ahead with the review from spec to spec.
The first thing that I experienced when I used the device was the size of the device and when you hear that 5.5-inch form factor, you will definitely not imagine it to be easy to use with one hand. However, even with the dimension of 150.3 x 77.4 x 7.9 mm the Xperia C4 is pretty easy on hands. Evidently, it is comparatively the smallest and easiest to handle 5.5-inch smartphone. Not only that but even the weight of the device, at 147grams makes this one quite lighter if compared with other large phablets. However, that could be because of the use of the plastic in the phone.
Sony has, however, used the same placement of the buttons. The aluminum power button is still on the right side; slightly below that is a volume rocker and further below, you will see an independent camera button. The upper half of the right side bears a latch which gives access to 2 SIM card slots and a microSD card slot. The top edge hosts nothing but a 3.5 mm headphone jack and in the left side, you will see the microUSB port. Even the bottom edge looks clean with just a primary microphone pore barely visible.
As you rotate the device, the rear panel is made of a soft matte finish plastic that is similar to the one used for the recent Z-series tablets. It doesn't feel glossy in the hands and is very comfortable as it offers enough grip while holding the phone. The camera and LED flash seat at the upper side of the back panel and on the bottom you will see a speaker grille. The age old Sony and Xperia logos, as well as an NFC label also are on the back panel.
The front of the phone is what I personally liked. The minimum bottom bezel is certainly the best part of the front face of the Xperia C4 Dual. The earpiece sits centrally above the company logo, with the notification LED and the ambient light/proximity sensor to its left. In the top right corner you'll find the 5MP front-facing camera module and an LED flash.
The Sony Xperia C4 features a 5.5-inch display with 1,080 x 1,920 pixels resolution that translates to 401ppi density. It gives a great color output and if in case you are not satisfied with the display you might as well manually tune it to your likes via white balance with RGB sliders via settings. The display is pretty bright and the viewing angles are amazing. One of the things I liked in the software front of the display is the inclusion of the glove mode. The touch response is great and we hardly see any problem in the display department.
Power and Performance
The Sony Xperia C4 Dual is powered by the Mediatek MT6752 SoC. Precisely speaking, it is the 1.7 GHz octa-core chipset, which also relies on the same Cortex-A53 CPU cores as in the Snapdragon 615 by Qualcomm. Complimenting it is the 700 MHz Mali 760 MP2 GPU, which is not the best GPU for mobile gaming but does a decent job. However, the 2GB RAM does make the device a quite eligible for multitasking.
Graphics performance as said earlier is not the best in the device. As we played quite a few games including Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dead Trigger 2, initially both the games ran pretty well and the graphics were pretty amazing. However, after 20 minutes the games started to slow down and we witnessed quite a lot of screen freeze. The device can handle multitasking pretty much easily. However, seldom, while multitasking with several apps open at the same time, the phone lagged and again there was a screen freeze. But this didn't happen all the time but occasionally. This definitely will not be an anticipated factor from a phone that costs close to Rs. 30,000.
The phone is fast in terms of running apps. Although, the screen freeze was there, you will hardly see the device running slow. The response time is decent. Therefore, according to us, the Xperia C4 Dual is not the great performer in terms of gaming and multitasking but gets the work done.
But benchmark tool show the different results, which is more than average if you compare the scores with its rival devices. While we ran the AnTuTu benchmark test, it scored 40635, which is surprising.
There is not much of a great change in the software front. Sony has slapped the company's proprietary XperiaUI over the Android Lollipop OS. It looks close to the stock OS, only adding minor tweaks. Therefore, you will get the best of Android and Sony UI in this device. You can also customize the notification panel of the Xperia C4 dual. And very much like the rest of Sony's Lollipop builds, the Xperia C4 also uses standard Android app switcher with the added benefit of a kill-all button.
In the software department, there are quite a lot of things that you can play around with. For instance, the one-handed operation, double-tap for access to the notification area, etc.
As always, Sony's forte lies in the camera. There is quite a lot that we can talk about here. Firstly, Sony Xperia C4's primary camera is equipped with a 13MP Exmor RS sensor, which shoots images in a native ratio of 4:3 up to a maximum resolution of 4,096 x 3,072 pixels. It features a f/2.0 lens and is also accompanied by a single-LED flash. Also important is the signature shutter key that you can set up to unlock the phone and start the camera.
As always, Sony has ample number of modes bundled with the app. However, not all can be used at all times. Some are really fun filled while others might not be used at all. SO basically, it can be a boring affair sooner than you think.
The Xperia C4 shoots pretty good images. Specially, when you use Manual mode you have a better way to bring out the life-like picture quality. However, the camera shows some lack of details when taking pictures in the shadowed areas. The low-light imaging is not great but decent. The auto-focus speed is average but you will need a stable hands to take images of a moving subject.
As far as the front facing shooter is concerned, it shoots images up to 2,560 x 1,920 pixels for a total of 5MP. The images are most of the times grainy and doesn't show much detail. However, it gets the work of video chats done easily. Moreover, it can also shoot average selfies for your social networks.
The Sony Xperia C4 shoots videos up to 1080p/30fps, which is not a great deal these days. Impressively, it can shoot HDR videos at full resolution as well, which means there will be more dynamic color range as well.
Storage and Connectivity
The Sony Xperia C4 Dual as the name suggests comes with a dual SIM support. Further it also comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA support. Cat.4 LTE support is also present. Other connectivity options include, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n with Wi-Fi Direct and hotspot; Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP; A-GPS and GLONASS support; NFC; microUSB 2.0 port, USB OTG, Miracast protocol, and DLNA.
The storage department is pretty straight forward. It comes with a 16GB internal memory, which can be further enhanced with upto 128GB expandable memory via microSD card.
For a device which measures 5.5-inch, the Sony Xperia C4's 2,600mAh battery is definitely the one with less power. The device therefore, struggles to stay awake for more than 8 hours. With maximum usage, the device cannot last for more than 6 hours. However, Sony's power management software features comes handy sometimes. You can use them accordingly depending on the amount of power you want to conserve. However, that doesn't completely solve the riddle that starts from the low-power capacity cell. In this department we are pretty much not satisfied.
Despite the large display with great resolution and performance, a decent CPU and camera, it looks like Sony Xperia C4 Dual will face a downright problem in the Indian market. Especially, when you know for fact that there are Chinese smartphone makers, particularly OnePlus that has the way much better specs and performance scores on its smartphones, Sony should have done something more with this device.
Anyway, to round it up, the display is the best thing about the device. The camera is above average but again not the best that can be bought from the market. The front camera shoots rather disappointing images, which was yet another disappointment.
Performance-wise, the device is average. Avid gamers will be extremely disappointed but people who are into video watching will have the best experience in this device.
Battery capacity also could have been better in the device. Most of the specs, apart from the camera, battery, CPU and display, are what you generally see in the standard smartphone in the mid-range category.