Sony Xperia L1 Smartphone Review : lack of personality


  • Good finishes.
  • Double-SIM and microSD.
  • Screen rather faithful.


  • Low contrast IPS panel.
  • Quality of the photos very disappointing.
  • Average battery life.


The Sony Xperia L1 will not turn the smartphone market upside down. It is generally very average and may be suitable for basic use. Do not expect too much, especially in photo.

The Sony Xperia L1 is a smartphone that flows into the arena of terminals less than 200$ without any trump. This segment is very disputed and it is almost impossible to forget its Full HD screen or fingerprint reader. Two keys to success that the Xperia L1 forgets to take away.

Technically, the Xperia L1 is very close to the Xperia E5. The major difference is that the L1 boasts a larger screen, 5.5 inches, still in HD definition (1280 x 720 px). It is powered by a SoC MediaTek MT6737T, consisting of 4 ARM Cortex-A53 (1.45 GHz) cores, an iGPU Mali-T720 and coupled with 2 GB of RAM. The 16GB internal memory can be expanded by adding a microSD card. For the photo, the very classic sensor couple of 13 Mpx at the rear and 5 Mpx at the front is renewed. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and 4G LTE are all ways that the L1 can connect to its environment. Independently of the microSD card, the Xperia L1 can accommodate 2 nano-SIM cards. The power supply of the whole is ensured by a battery of 2620 mAh, while it is Android 7.0 Nougat that takes care of the animation software.


Sony still has not bothered to change its design codes. There is a smartphone with wide borders above and below the screen. The lateral edges are much finer and this allows it to reach 75% of occupancy rate of the front face by the screen.

The L1 is not really in the finesse with its 8.7 mm thick. However, his back slightly curved and covered with a matte plastic is very pleasant in hand. This surface also has the advantage of not slipping. The buttons are all located on the right edge and only the one devolved to the unlocking is easily accessible from the thumb. The volume keys are placed too high and require a small gymnastics to be activated.

Overall, the finishes are very good. The hatch that contains the SIM and microSD ports integrates well with the set and makes accessing these ports very easy. Even at less than 200$, the absence of a fingerprint reader becomes penalizing.

Strangely enough, the Xperia L1 has a certain tendency to rise in temperature. We notice temperatures rising to 43 ° C on the back and almost 41 ° C at the front.


An IPS HD panel (1280 x 720 px) of 5.5 inches has never been a great success. That of the Xperia L1 did not really dazzle us. The contrast ratio is quite low (1060: 1), even for IPS. We are quite far from the good students of technology, which exceed the 1,600: 1, and even further from the Amoled and its almost infinite contrast. Fortunately, the Xperia L1 works well against sunlight, thanks to a maximum brightness of 500 cd / m² and a reflection rate of 13%.

The colorimetry is also correct, with a delta E measured at 3.6 and a color temperature at 7650 K. If the delta E is close to the threshold of perception of the colorimetric drift (3), the temperature is a little too high and the screen is too cold. The passage through the adjustments makes it possible to improve this second point, but greatly reduces the first point by making the delta E pass to 6.4.

As for reactivity, the screen of the Xperia L1 is in average of our comparison. We measured its remanence at 18 ms and its tactile delay at 89 ms.



The interface of the Sony smartphones evolves quite little even in spite of a passage to Android 7.0 here. Unlike a pure version of the Google OS, Sony has maintained the application menu. You maintain a usual navigation logic with the drop-down menu that groups notifications and shortcuts. It is mainly on the graphic plane that the Xperia L1 modifies the interface of Android. The whole seems quite busy, on a market where we draw rather towards visual lightness.Sony is not stingy in applications. In addition to apps from the Google suite (Gmail, YouTube, Drive …), the Japanese manufacturer adds its gallery applications, video playback or even music. Sony also offers us some unsolicited applications like Facebook, Amazon or AVG Protection. It would not have been inconvenient if it had been possible to uninstall them completely, but that is not the case. Of the 16 GB of internal memory, only 10 GB is actually accessible to the user.

The MediaTek MT6737T chip and the 2 GB of RAM that accompany it do an honest job for simple tasks. When several applications are open, we feel that the system slows down slightly, without falling into the lag.


The surface offered by the 5.5-inch L1 screen is nice to watch videos, but the lack of Full HD definition is not optimal. This is still correct for a series episode from time to time. The built-in video player plays almost all popular formats, except the AVI, as is often the case.

The headphone output of the Xperia L1 is average. Without being very powerful, it will suit the majority of headphones. The distortion is rather contained, the dynamic is satisfactory and only the reproduction of the stereo image is disappointing. The loudspeaker on the lower slice provides enough power and precision to view a video or make a hands-free call.


For the video game, the chip Mali-T720 begins to get old. It is enough to turn titles little greedy, but will be much more to the pain face 3D games, more demanding. It will then have to go through the graphic settings to hope to preserve a semblance of fluidity.


 The picture is rather sad for the Xperia L1. Despite a 13 Mpx sensor – and all of Sony’s expertise – the smartphone can not capture the correct shots even in broad daylight. The lack of detail is mainly due to electronic noise present, even when light is sufficient. The colored areas are “speckled” and chromatic aberrations are numerous. The trigger speed is very disappointing and – as usual – the image processing time is very long. In addition to this long list, there is a strong tendency to underexposure.

Quite logically, things are even worse in low light. The white balance loses the north and the details disappear completely this time. The image processing seems to push the exposure to the center of the photo, leaving the corners darker and causing a very marked vignetting. Focusing becomes very delicate in difficult light conditions.

Video capture can go up to Full HD. As you can imagine, it is better to focus on well-lit environments in order to hope to see something. Exposure measurement and development monitoring are quite slow overall.

The front sensor of 5 Mpx does not make a miracle. It smooths a lot the clichés to mask the noise generated and thus makes much lose in natural to the photographed faces.


Considering the size of the Xperia L1, it was hoped that Sony would take a very big battery. Yet it only makes 2620 mAh here. That might have been enough, considering the low configuration of the L1, but things are not so simple unfortunately. On our SmartViser test protocol, the Xperia L1 holds 10:26. It is worse than a LG K10 (2017) which runs for 13h06, and much less than the 17h reached by a Lenovo Moto G5 Plus The video playback test on Netflix is ​​no more engaging, with only 7:08.In practice, standard use will make it difficult to exceed the day of use. The more moderate ones may reach the next morning, but the more sustained uses will lead the L1 to its charger before the start of the evening. It also takes a little less than 2 hours to completely recharge the Xperia L1.

There are two versions of the Xperia L1, one in dual-SIM and the other in single-SIM. We tested the dual-standby version, which means that only one of the two cards can access the mobile data, the other is limited to calls and SMS.
We did not notice any particular weaknesses on the receiving side and the recovery of 4G after being switched back to the coverage area is done quickly.

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