Sony has a good track record for delivering decent mid-range Android smartphones at very competitive price points, and the Xperia J is the latest handset to join the party. Its 4-inch display and beefy battery are among the features that make it stand out, at least when comparing specs sheets with alternative offerings. A 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera, and a VGA front-facing snapper are also in stock, meaning that the Sony Xperia J could be a bargain hunter's dream handset. But how does the smartphone perform in reality? Well, there's only one way to find out so let's fire it up and put the J through its paces.
As one would expect from a smartphone situated in the lower mid-range category, plastic is the predominant material that the Sony Xperia J is made of. The device's front side looks quite plain and boring, but its curved back side is a lot funkier and easily makes the handset stand out. With its matte finish, the smartphone's battery cover is extremely resistant to fingerprints, all the while providing enough grip, thus allowing us to comfortably hold and operate the device with a single hand.
With the Sony Xperia J you get a pair of notification lights. One of them is located right next to the earpiece and indicates when the smartphone is charging, but the one you'll probably find a lot more useful is at the bottom. It is of the RGB kind, so depending on what kind of notification you have pending – be it a new text, a new Facebook message, or a “Low battery” warning, the light glows in a different color. The light is hidden under the phone's plastic panel, so you won't see it unless it is on.
The 4-inch LCD display on the Sony Xperia J is actually quite good. At 480 by 854 pixels, it may not be worthy of having an “HD” tag attached to it, yet with its 245 pixels per inch, the amount of detail it treats our eyes to is sufficient for the device's class. Moreover, the panel has a pretty neutral color representation, so colors look neither too dull, nor too saturated. We were also pleased to see that the display exhibits very wide viewing angles, and it shines bright enough to be usable in broad daylight. It is a bit annoying, however, that due to the lack of an ambient light sensor, you'll have to adjust the screen's brightness yourself, either by going to the Settings menu or with the help of a widget.