Sony Xperia C4 Dual Review: Flashy Performer: Conclusion

By 04:56 Mon, 16 Aug 2021 Comments

Final words

Sony's latest phablet arrives at a market well saturated with large-classy screen midrange devices. Fighting for the front flash niche the company tried to explore with the Xperia C3, the C4 brings more powerful hardware and a better display to create this a much better rounded package.

What's best about the Xperia C4 and, coincidentally, what's its major drawback, can both be found on page 3 of this review. It's hard to find fault with the 5.5-inch 1080p display - the panel boasts high brightness and contrast, and has remarkable viewing angles. Scroll down to battery life and you'll see the Xperia C4 fail miserably and die after 5 and a half hours of video playback.

The front capturing camera produces rather disappointing images for its high-res sensor, but the front flash is there to save the day - many a club shots will turn out better with this one than with most flagships on the market. The primary capturing camera does a fine job, so long as you steer clear from the unreliable Superior Auto mode.

The rest is pretty much all in its favor, though. Performance is towards the top for the class, the interface is Sony's familiar lightly modded XperiaUI, the proprietary apps nicely enhance the experience.

Key test findings:

  • All-plastic build, materials feel pleasant to the touch, but accumulate grease and are tough to clean
  • Compact bezels, easy handling, logical control layout
  • Excellent 5.5-inch FullHD display - sharp, bright, with high contrast and fine viewing angles
  • Connectivity package covers the basics and then some - Cat.4 LTE, dual-SIM capability, dual-band Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) with plenty of options for classy screen sharing, NFC
  • Limited battery life, poor video playback longevity, below average talk times and web browsing endurance
  • Familiar Xperia UI stays close to stock Lollipop, looks simple and functional
  • Solid benchimprint performance for its class, consistently ahead of Snapdragon 615 competition
  • Sony's multimedia package is rich in features - gallery has plenty of options for viewing and editing, video player has extensive codec support and subtitle handling, music player is stylish and has a host of sound enhancements
  • Audio quality is mostly good
  • Primary 13MP capturing camera produces images with a fine level of detail, but could utilize some sharpening; luminance noise is present, but not so much as to be a problem; Superior Auto is best avoided as its color reproduction fluctuates
  • Video quality is okay, but not spectacular, detail is low for a 1080p feed
  • Front capturing camera output is soft and lacking in detail

Now, it should be clear from the get-go that if the front flash is a must-have feature for you, the options are severely limited. It's not like the front camera/flash combo is such a stellar performer as to base your buying decision solely on that, but still, we acknowledge that it may be a priority to some, so we'll try to sift through the possibilities.

There's obviously the HTC Desire Eye (guess where the name comes from), but it's either more expensive or a lot more expensive than the Xperia C4, depending on where you live. What you acquire for the premium is a 13MP front capturing camera with dual-LED flash, flagship-grade Snapdragon 801 chipset and IPx7 certification. Its classy screen is smaller at 5.2 inches, but it's the price tag incompatibility that puts those two in different leagues.

HTC Desire Eye

Then we have the Oppo N1 and N3, which don't really come with a front flash per se (or actual front capturing camera for that matter), but thanks to the swiveling main shooter (motorized on the N3), you acquire the full 13MP/16MP primary capturing camera to shoot your selfies. The tradeoff is that they are significantly larger than the C4 and while the N3 is running on the S801, the N1 is powered by the dated Snapdragon 600 SoC. Oh, and the N3 costs double the C4, while the N1 (if you can still find one) is about as much as the Desire Eye above, so again no real competition here.

Oppo N3 • Oppo N1

Now if selfies aren't everything you want, you can acquire some more sensible alternatives. The Samsung Galaxy A7 is a premium-built 5.5-inch midranger, which runs for a small more than the Xperia C4, comes with a Snapdragon 615 for comparable performance, but lacks the all-vital front flash. So does the Galaxy E7, and its 5.5-inch display is only 720p, while the Snapdragon 410 is decidedly inferior. It does give you a colorful large-diagonal display for less than what the C4 costs, though.

Samsung Galaxy A7 • Samsung Galaxy E7

The 5.5-inch version of the Alcatel Idol 3 is another viable option, and one that will set you back less than the Xperia C4. The Idol is powered by the ubiquitous Snapdragon 615, has an 8MP front capturing camera and dual speakers, which also provide its signature reversible design.

Alcatel Idol 3 (5.5)

The LG G3 has gotten dirt cheap in some markets over the past months - for what it offers, of course. Pioneering into the QHD territory LG's last year flagship has a remarkable main capturing camera with 2160p video recording, though the front one is only 2.1MP. It's also more powerful thanks to the S801 chipset and you can opt for the 32GB storage / 3GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) version for even better performance.


Now that we're in past flagships territory, Sony's own Xperia Z2 is a competent rival to the C4. Snapdragon 801 and 3GB inside, it has a 20.7MP primary capturing camera with 2160p video, IP58 certification and better battery endurance.

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Sony Xperia Z2

A proficient large-classy screen midranger, the Sony Xperia C4 is a fine overall package. Its headline flash-equipped front capturing camera is not the be-all and end-all of selfies, but it does give it a unique twist - something increasingly hard to find in the overcrowded segment. And that might be what turns one of the better 5.5-inch phablets into a hot seller.



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