We arrived at the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact launch with our flagship needs set to be taken care of, but we landed up getting a serving of entry level smartphone in the form of the Sony Xperia E1.
Sony Mobile South Africa’s marketing manager, Andrew Fraser, called the Xperia E1 “the best smartphone in it’s class”. While the price is still unconfirmed thanks to our wildly fluctuating exchange rates, Sony is hoping that the Xperia E1 will be on sale in South Africa for between R1 800 and R1 900.
At that specific price point the Xperia E1 will compete directly with Nokia’s Lumia 520 Windows Phone which retails for R1 999. The Lumia 520 has done extremly well in South Africa having helped Windows Phone to outsell the iPhone n the third quarter of 2013.
The Xperia E1 is being marketed heavily with Sony’s iconic Walkman branding even going so far as to include aWalkman button on the top of the phone. Hold the button in and it will launch the Walkman music app, hold it in while music is playing and shaking the phone will shuffle to a new random track and clicking it once will play and pause. For those who like to listen to their music out loud the Xperia E1 has a 100dB speakerphone. To put that into perspective it’s as loud as a motorbike, according to Fraser.
Hardware wise it runs on a dual core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage which is expandable by up to 32GB with microSD cards. The 4-inch display has a 480X800 resolution and a 3 megapixel rear camera.
A 1700mAh battery keeps everything powered and the inclusion of Sony’s agressive power management software from other Xperia devices should help it easily make it through the day. Speaking of software, the Xperia E1 will arrive running Android 4.3 and is scheduled for an update to Android 4.4 in the future.
All of the networks bar one, Telkom Mobile, have confirmed that they will be selling the Xperia E1 when it arrives, which is currently expected to be in early April. Sony also told us that retail partners, like Pep, have also expressed serious interest in selling the Xperia E1.