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Sony Xperia M5 Dual Review: A flat smartphone with a relatively good camera

Rahul R
Sr. Technology Reporter
Editors Rating

Sony released its Xperia M5 Dual, during the second half of 2015 by positioning the handset as a pure high-ender thereby breaking the monotony of dishing out flagships every now and then. The Xperia M5 Dual is also announced to be a water-proof smartphone; this aspect got the better of us and hence we decided to subject the handset to a hands-on review by conducting multiple performance tests.

Here’s how the Sony Xperia M5 Dual performed in our tests:

Design and Display

Upon unwrapping the Sony Xperia M5 Dual and feeling the handset, its hardened plastic external build comes prominently to the fore. The outer design of the smartphone is pretty ordinary and offers nothing much to cheer about for those preferring to liberally flaunt their handset.

We were disappointed by the supposed “flat body approach” of Sony, as the Xperia M5 Dual is flat at both the sides; but comes with perfectly rounded corners/edges.

We also searched for the exclusive fingerprint scanner on the sides, as in the Xperia Z5; but could not find this physical key as there is none. Taking this button’s place is a conventional lock/unlock key; below this button there are the usual volume keys and the camera button.

The Xperia M5 Dual weighs-in at a manageable 143 grams; we tested using the device in one-hand and were able to do so perfectly without having to worry about the handset falling-off. However, working on the Xperia M5 Dual while on the move proved to be stressful as we in spite of exercising an almost vice-like grip dropped the handset while undertaking travel by train.

As far as its water-proofing capabilities are concerned, the Sony Xperia M5 Dual is certified IP65/68. We were eager to test this out, and are of the opinion that the device survives minor water bursts; we however were not idiotic to immerse the Xperia M5 Dual in water buckets.

For an actual display, the Sony Xperia M5 Dual features a comparatively “smaller” 5-inch display and has resolution of 1080 x 1920 with pixel density of 441 ppi.

During our testing, in full sunlit outdoor conditions, we could use the customized brightness slider to set the brightness at optimum for viewing the contents of the screen in full external conditions.

Also, we could clearly read the contents on the screen, even multimedia. The notifications were also brightened up to a great extent even outdoors during peak daylight.

This LCD capacitive touchscreen is protected by a scratch-resistant protective glass. The display supports Multitouch upto 4 fingers and Multitouch functionalities.

Processor and Memory

The Sony Xperia M5 Dual, under-the-hood, features a MediaTek MT6795 Helio X10 SoC that in-turn comprises of an octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU clocked at 2 GHz and a PowerVR G6200 GPU.

When we used the handset, in a multitasking and multi app scenario, we could not experience any major glitches in performance and the instruction processing capabilities, save for minor lags which are purely dependent on the apps (and their credibility) that are launched at a particular point in time.

Also, video streaming from Netflix proved to be a breeze. Stored multimedia files also played well relatively glitch free. Also, during our testing, high-end games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dead Trigger 2 ran in a hassle-free manner.

As far as internal storage is concerned, the Sony Xperia M5 Dual offers 16 GB internal storage that is expandable up to 256 GB via an external microSD card.

The offered internal storage seemed low to us, considering the fact that we are multimedia buffs and prefer storing and watching movies on smartphones rather than on a bigger screen.

Camera

We tested out the 21.2 MP rear camera, of the Sony Xperia M5 Dual, and found the quality to be fairly good. This shooter let us capture 2160p videos at 30fps and HDR recording.

During our testing, the phase detection auto-focus functionality offered by the 21.2 MP camera of the Sony Xperia M5 Dual came across as a true genius. Low-light photography is also impressive, as pixellation and external noise are visible only when the images are observed in great detail; the general everyday users would not be able to identify these aspects however.

The Sony Xperia M5 Dual also offers a 13 MP front shooter that offers video recording of 1080p videos at 30fps. We found that the secondary snapper captures good snaps as far as selfies are concerned; even selfies captured in low-lit conditions were impressive.

Software

Sony Xperia M5 Dual runs Google’s outdated Android 5.0 (Lollipop) operating platform that is upgradeable to utmost the next iteration which is the 5.01 firmware.

During our testing, the Sony Xperia M5 Dual responded effectively to the double-tap which activates the display or puts it to sleep. We could view all the menu contents, within Settings, in a tabbed view format thereby reducing on-screen clutter to the maximum.

Battery

The Sony Xperia M5 Dual derives its power from a fixed 2,600 mAh Lithium-Ion battery. 

During our testing, we could view videos (stored within the handset’s external memory) continuously for nearly 10 hours. High-end gaming naturally depleted the battery life substantially; upon restricting the usage to calls and basic internet, we obtained battery life that lasted for nearly a day which is impressive considering the fact that the Sony Xperia M5 Dual falls into the same league as modern pure mid-range smartphones.

Pricing and Verdict

In the UAE, the Sony Xperia M5 Dual has a starting price of AED 1,023. We feel that the price-tag is competitive, but could have added the much-required value-for-money aspect had there been an outer unibody metal finish to give off a premium look and feel.

Positives

Rear camera, offered waterproofing

Negatives

High price tag, unimpressive outer design and plastic body.