Sony Xperia C review: Cash and carry

Cash and carry

GSMArena team, 5 December 2013.

Unboxing the Sony Xperia C

The Sony Xperia C comes in an slim box, all the accessories placed in their separate and removable compartments. The contents are nothing out of the usual: an A/C adapter, microUSB cable, a white headset and some leaflets.

Sony Xperia C Sony Xperia C
Sony Xperia C retail box

Sony Xperia C 360-degree spin

The Xperia C has pretty much the same footprint as Sony's Z1 flagship. At 141.5 x 74.2 x 8.9mm, the handset weighs 153g, which is 17g less than the Xperia Z1, due to the all-plastic build of the Xperia C.

Design and handling

What we're looking at is yet another issue of the OmniBalance design that premiered on the Xperia Z early this year. It has been the signature styling of the entire Xperia lineup since, covering the entire price, size and performance range.

Sony Xperia C Sony Xperia C Sony Xperia C
Sony Xperia C

Even though the rear cover is removable, the Xperia C still looks like a unibody phone and one that closely resembles the Xperia ZR. The few metallic elements along the sides make pleasant accents - a prominent element of the Xperia line's styling.

Sony Xperia C Sony Xperia C Sony Xperia C
The sides of the Sony Xperia C

Keeping the design consistent across the entire range isn't a Sony invention but we like it how even their low-to-midrange devices don't look cheap. Perhaps a thing or two for Samsung to learn there.

The Xperia C's entire front is occupied by the massive 5" TFT screen with no hardware controls whatsoever, and bezels that could've been slimmer. Even with those, the Xperia C is still the same size as the top-of-the-line Xperia Z1.

The breathing LED is discretely hidden beneath the glass just below the screen. It illuminates a tiny slit that grows thinner at the edges and looks quite pleasant.

The Xperia C is a well-built phone. The removable rear panel doesn't bend or squeak, and the handset has an almost unibody look and feel.

The phone is big though and those bezels don't help either. The same size as the Xperia Z1, and a few grams lighter, it's slim enough to easily slip into pockets but its presence will always be felt. The phone is reasonably comfortable to handle.

Sony Xperia C Sony Xperia C
Handling the Xperia C

Display

The Sony Xperia C has a 5" LCD display of qHD resolution (540 x 960) for a decent, if hardly spectacular, 220ppi sharpness. The Samsung Galaxy Grand stretches its WVGA resolution far thinner and while there are some 720p options in the class, qHD is not a disadvantage here. There is no special anti-scratch surface over the screen and no special coating either, so the screen is very prone to fingerprints and not easy to clean.

Sony Xperia C
Sony Xperia C's display

Color rendering looks okay, but the white balance is on the cold side meaning there is a subtle bluish tint. Typical for Sony smartphones, viewing angles are not impressive at all, with visible loss of contrast and color shift when you are not looking at the screen head on.


The screen matrix of the Xperia C next to the Xperia Z1

The overall image quality is certainly good for the class, although we noticed strange behavior with its brightness settings. We measured the display's brightness levels and as it turned out that actual 50% brightness is achieved when the slider is set at about 75% and when you set it in its half-way position the brightness is under a quarter of the maximum available. That's why the screen looks dim most of the time, unless you keep it close to the maximum.

As usually we did our battery test on 50% of the dedicated brightness slider and you should have that in mind when you are looking at its scores.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia C 0.18 151 842 0.66 639 962
Sony Xperia Z1 - - - 0.38 580 1513
Oppo R819 0.56 607 1078 0.62 754 1210
Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand 0.37 382 1040 0.62 586 948
Huawei Ascend P6 0.14 136 986 0.62 670 1080
Sony Xperia Z Ultra - - - 0.47 467 1001
Huawei Ascend Mate 0.23 222 982 0.67 711 1053
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 0.12 160 1364 0.32 440 1379
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
HTC One 0.13 205 1580 0.42 647 1541
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320

The front display glass is quite reflective too, making the screen hard to read in direct sunlight.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.950
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.790
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.270
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Reader comments

  • AnonD-575342

Hello Can you help me to root this phone to... Please let me know how to root this sony Xperia c

  • Anonymous

never buy this phone....very limited storage memory for apps....

  • Fandroid

I have this phone and I rooted it, amazing its worked properly and now I felt that this phone is greater than any other luxury phone'