Smartphone components have become more affordable as the technology has matured. The screen on most entry-level handsets has a better resolution than a top of the line iPhone from the past. But, in order to be competitive you have to limit the tech that you include in the handset. So, can you really make a compelling budget smartphone that ticks all the boxes?
The Xperia L2 model tries to answer that question, but the cuts are felt acutely in most areas. In fairness, it improves in almost all areas on last year's Xperia L1 model. The handset is a mite smaller, housing a 720p display and some decent sounding speakers.
For the size of the handset, the weight is very well balanced and feels less 'dense' than its more advanced siblings, like the Xperia XA2. The phone sits comfortably and securely in the hand and never feels warm when in use.
The camera is also impressive, as you would expect from a Sony handset. The 13-megapixel rear camera is capable good photography. If the conditions are perfect you will get a quality shot, but in low light or overcast conditions the pictures will be average at best.
The front-facing camera, an 8-megapixel camera is capable of taking 120-degree super-wide photographs, fitting more people into the frame without the need to squish-in together. A neat palm recognition trick in the camera makes it easy to trigger a photo on the selfie camera, without the need to balance the phone and push the button while also maintaining a pose.
Speaking of buttons, the Xperia L2 does not have a dedicated camera button. This is always a welcome feature in a smartphone and something that can be found on the more expensive siblings of the L2. While it may be a simple addition, to be sure, it is clear that this was removed to keep costs down. Its absence makes it much more difficult for this handset to replace your dedicated point-and-shoot camera.
Something that is significantly improved in the Xperia L2 over last year's model is the battery - 3,300 mAh instead of 2,620 mAh in the XPeria L1. This larger capacity along with Sony's fantastic power management means that this handset should survive for two days of average use comfortably.
We'll keep taking the Xperia L2 for a spin and provide a full review shortly.