Mobiles & Tablets

Took a selfie. What next?

Sabyasachi Biswas | Updated on September 24, 2014

bl25_tech_XperiaC3_1.jpg

Sony’s new Xperia C3 is touted as the best selfie smartphone. But is it anything more than that?



Before we came to realise it, selfies drove smartphone makers to pay as much attention (if not more) to the front facing camera, as the rear-facing ones. Now Sony claims that its new Xperia C3 is the ‘best selfie smartphone’, and that brings us to verify the veracity of this statement. While we have seen some stellar front cameras in recent times – LG G3, HTC One (E8 and M8), iPhone 5s, and even the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – the Xperia C3 Dual is slotted in a more affordable price segment.

Priced at ₹25,990, toting a 5-megapixel front camera and a 5.5-inch display, this sits right up in the phablet department, and the closest competitor is one of our favourite Android phablets, the HTC Desire 816. We take a look at the Xperia C3, to see if it offers anything more than a big front camera.

Design and build

A 5.5-inch display is big as it is, so it is essential that the overall ergonomics should be right. With the C3 Dual, unfortunately, it isn’t the case. Sure, the device is slim and light, but the bezel is a bit on the wider side. While bigger hands may find it easy to hold the phone up for a good selfie, those with smaller hands (as pointed out by one of our colleagues) will find it difficult to operate.

There’s a dedicated camera-launch button that doubles up as the shutter release button too. However, this button is placed very awkwardly, right near the bottom of the right-hand-side spine. Holding the phone in that position sacrifices the grip, and you feel as if you’ll drop the phone

Otherwise, the phone has a sturdy build, and the plastic build feels far from flimsy. There are chrome accents on the sides, and a grippy matte texture on the back panel.

Specs and performance

Staying true to its price segment, the Sony Xperia C3 Dual comes with a quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC, clocked at 1.2GHz, along with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage (around 5.09GB is available to the user). You do get 32GB of expandable memory though, using a microSD card. The C3 Dual comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box.

The Triluminos display, like all Sony smartphones, is quite good – it supports a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and comes with Sony’s proprietary Bravia Engine. Sure, the colours are typically oversaturated, but that helps in outdoor usage.

Camera

Since the highlight of this smartphone is the front camera, we quickly set about taking selfies. The first thing that we noticed is that the front camera is good at capturing details, and the images don’t get too noisy either, in indoor shots. The front-facing soft flash is also a good idea – it illuminates softly at short range, unlike the rear-camera flash arrays that we usually see on smartphones.

However, the auto-focus system is very slow on both front and rear cameras. In fact, the rear camera is a bit of a disappointment. The gallery was loaded with blurred or underexposed shots, and in most cases the images were smudged too. Video, however, is decent, and you get an array of effects and in-camera apps.

Verdict

The battery life of the Sony Xperia C3 Dual is amazing, giving over a day’s worth of juice on our standard tests. However, apart from the battery and the front camera, there’s nothing else that we would consider appealing.

In comparison, the HTC Desire 816 offers more phone per rupee than the C3 Dual. It has a better rear camera (the front camera lacks only the flash, but is otherwise almost as good), better performance (thanks to a bigger RAM), a better interface, and a design that’s way more appealing.

However, if you’re not interested in a bigger screen but still want stellar performance, and a good camera with great design, you should check out the latest generation of Moto X.

₹25,990

Love – Great battery; front camera

Hate – Rear camera; design isn’t ergonomic

Published on September 24, 2014

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