Sony Xperia C3-Header
Model: Sony Xperia C3

    CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7
    GPU: Adreno 305
    RAM: 1GB
    Display: 5.5", 720x1280px, 267ppi pixel density
    Rear Camera: 8MP, 3264x2448px, autofocus, LED flash, check quality
    Front Camera: 5MP, 720p, LED flash
    Battery: 2500mAh Li-Ion
    OS: Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)

Ease of Learning: 4 / 5

Ease of Use: 4 / 5

Enjoyment: 4 / 5

Design: 4 / 5

Value for Money: 3.5 (assumed mid-range price tag) / 5

Back when Sony first split from Ericsson, they went on record stating that the convoluted numbering and release scheduling would be a thing of the past. Fast forwards a few months, and it seems the company is right back to their old tricks. While the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact have made the major headlines and drawn most of the criticism with their announcement, a mere 6 months after the Z2 and the likes, many of the middle to high budget smartphones also suffer from similar concerns.

A month after the announcement and release of the Xperia T3, Sony announced the slightly modified Xperia C3. If you’re looking for the short comparison between the two, the C3 appears to focus on its front-facing camera for better…uhm…selfies. For a more in depth discussion, and comparison, you can continue reading.

Sony Xperia C3-01

Build and Design

Without a one-to-one comparison, the C3 looks the same as the T3. Upon further analysis, the slight differences between the two devices make the C3 all the more attractive, especially the white variant. The unit has the same button and port layout, and is almost fully plastic, but for the same stainless steel framing around the edges. The major difference in design on the C3 is the inclusion of an LED flash next to the front-facing camera. Again, there is no waterproof certification on the C3 as there are on the flagship devices. The rear of the unit looks pretty identical as well, with the camera positioned slightly closer toward the middle by a few millimetres, and a longer rear speaker grill.

Due to the increased screen size, from 5.3” to 5.5”, the dimensions and weight are a touch higher than the T3. The unit now measures 156.2×78.7×7.6mm and weighs 149.7g, a full 1.7g heavier. Although the screen size has increased, the display still remains with the same 720x1280px resolution, with a reduced 267ppi pixel density. The pixel density may be reduced, not that much though, but the fitted display is a bit of an improvement. The T3 had a display that supported multitouch of only four fingers, the C3 makes provision for all 10 of your digits, if you choose to use them. Both devices make use of Sony’s Triluminos display and Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 technology, but, while my eyes may deceive me here, the result on the C3 looks a little more enhanced.

Even with the flurry smartphones released onto the market, Sony hasn’t dropped its standards in terms of overall build quality, adhering closely to the same design template. I always enjoyed the design on the Xperia phones, even for the more ‘budget’ devices, and the C3 is no different. Although the double glass, front and back, design of the Z3, the C3 still looks the part, with some angles look and feel better than the Z3.

Sony Xperia C3-02

Performance and Battery Life

In terms of the device specifications, the C3 is fitted with a Quad-core Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz CPU, which is coupled with the Adreno 305 GPU. The T3 on the other hand has a slightly better CPU with a Quad-core 1.4GHz CPU. The unit is also fitted with the same 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, and 2500mAh battery. What this means, then, is that the C3 should provide better battery performance due to the reduced computational power, provided it doesn’t overclock more often as a result. Over the few weeks I had with the device for testing, the battery could easily last a full day between charges, and at times, even extended to two full days. I tested the Wi-Fi tethering capability while playing a few games and making calls, and the battery still held up.

At the same time, even with the reduced CPU output, Android 4.4.2 still manages to operate smoothly, and animations between windows swipes are still crisp with no lag. The gaming performance is reduced somewhat, as to what I’ve become accustomed to on many flagships, but even still then, there was no apparent drop in frame rate or any jutters to speak of. HD movie playback is also handles quite well, again with no noticeable lag. While playing games and watching movies, the loud speaker plays an important role in terms of interaction. Unfortunately, the rear-facing loudspeaker doesn’t deliver much of a punch and is often very soft, even when the volume is raised, which then becomes distorted at some point. There are two grills on the front of the unit fitted to the top and bottom, which appeared, at first, to be front-facing stereo speakers. I was disappointed to discover that these were merely for decoration for the microphone and speaker used for making calls.

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The rear-facing 8MP remains the same as on the T3. The biggest change in terms of the device’s cameras is the front-facing camera. Sony have fitted a more powerful, 5MP camera, which even has its own LED flash for better selfies (as mentioned previously). In 2013, the team over at Oxford Dictionary decided that the word for the year was “selfie.” Although we can’t exactly argue with the employees over at Oxford Dictionary, it would seem the rest of the world didn’t have much say in the matter. As it stands, this ‘phenomena’ has changed the way many companies do business these days, and we can’t fault or blame Sony for attempting to ride the wave while it lasts.

Megapixels aren’t the be all and end all for cameras. There are many other hardware and software components to factor in. Even something as simple as the flash can make a big difference when it comes to taking that perfect photo. Sony has equipped the 5MP camera with its own LED flash, which provides sufficient lamination for selfies in dim-lit environments. The flash is much ‘softer’ than that fitted on the rear, which doesn’t over illuminate the subject. It helps, too, that you won’t be blinded by the light either. Sony’s camera software also aids to reduce noise, creating a clearer picture. The software works well, even in the darkest of environments. I was happily surprised with the overall quality of low-light images, on both the front and rear cameras.

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Over the past few months, there have been more and more devices flooding the top end of the scale, with many new flagships being released by the different OEMs, some of whom even launched more than one flagship-type smartphone. The mid-range smartphone space has always been saturated with too many options for prospective buyers to decide on which would be the best fit.

The Sony Xperia C3 makes an attempt to stand out from the crowd by fitting a front-facing camera perfect for selfies. And it works well, as it turns out. The Xperia C3 hasn’t yet been released for sale in South Africa, and is expected to go on sale in the first week of November (next week). It is expected that the C3 fall into the mid-range category, based on the resemblance in specifications to the T3, albeit with the additional front-facing camera spec. This makes the C3 a very good option for those looking for a mid-range smartphone to fit into their budget, while still being able to perform all your social duties that await during the day.

You can find the full specifications here.

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