Sony Xperia E3 full review

Sony has announced the new Xperia E3 budget smartphone at IFA in Berlin. Here's our hands-on review of the Sony Xperia E3 from IFA 2014. See also: Best smartphones.

Sony used its keynote at IFA 2014 in Berlin to unveil the Xperia E3, alongside the new Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, the SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3.

Sony Xperia E3 hands-on review: Release date and price UK

We know that the Xperia E3 is due to be released later this month but there isn't a specific date. Sony hasn't announced a price either but Clove has the handset pegged at a very affordable £162 putting it in the same ball park as the Motorola Moto G.

See also: Sony Xperia Z3 hands-on review.

Sony says that the E in E3 stands for entry-level, while the M in the Xperia M2 stands for mid-range. However, in its press release, Sony describes the E3 as a mid-range smartphone so there's some confusion surrounding that. The price outed by Clove is certainly what we'd call budget.

Sony Xperia E3 hands-on review: Design

Sony Xperia E3 design

Sony has designed the Xperia E3 to look like its flagship sibling the Xperia Z3. It comes compete with the same nylon corners (to avoid damage in a drop) and a scratch-resistant screen made with tempered glass. Colour options for the Xperia E3 include white, black, yellow and copper.

Although it shares the same design language as Sony's more expensive smartphones, as you might expect, the Xperia E3 is a little chunkier. It's a smaller phone and at 8.5 mm it's hardly brick-like. The device feels nice in the hand and give the impression of being more premium than the price suggests. It weighs 143 g which gives a nice balance for a phone this size.

Unfortunately, being part of the E range means no dust- or waterproof credentials. Sony has just trickled this premium feature down to the M range so we'll have to wait a bit longer until it reaches the budget devices.

Sony Xperia E3 design

Sony Xperia E3 hands-on review: Hardware

The Sony Xperia E3 has a 4.5in display - that's relatively small these days and matches the current crop of iPhones. The resolution is just 480 x 854 pixels, giving it a rather disappointing 217ppi pixel density which is easily trumped by many of its rivals including the Moto G.

Inside the Sony Xperia E3 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2GHz processor, the same processor you'll find in the budget Motorola Moto G and the HTC Desire 610. It also has an Adreno 305 graphics processor and 1GB RAM.

Things are a bit lacking on the storage front with only 4GB of built-in storage, but there is a microSD card slot so you can add up to 32GB which you'll probably want to do.

An important element of the Xperia E3 is that it's 4G LTE enabled for speedier mobile data performance (with the appropriate tariff). This makes it Sony's most affordable 4G handset.

The camera found on the rear of the Xperia E3 is 5Mp and offers HDR too so is one of the better parts of the hardware line-up. It's capable of recording HD 1080p videos. On the front of the smartphone is a VGA camera, meaning its sensor is less than 1Mp so not great for selfie lovers.

The Sony Xperia E3 sports a 2330 mAh non-removable battery and the company says will offer up to 12 hours of talk time and 7.5 hours of video playback time. Sony's Stamina mode makes an appearance aiming to get more battery life for users by switching off some functions while the screen is off.

Sony Xperia E3 hands-on review: Software

Xperia E3 software

The Xperia E3 runs Android 4.4 KitKat overlaid with Sony's own user interface - it's clean and stays mostly true to stock Android. It includes various Sony apps including the Walkman app, Sony Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited with a free 30-day trial for those services.

The Camera app includes features such as Timeshift, Burst and AR effect, and the Social Live app and Live on YouTube by Xperia app both help make sharing your videos and photos easier.

The shake to start feature lets you customise shortcuts to apps for quick and easy access. By shaking your wrist, you can launch an app such as Facebook or Twitter, for example. It's unsurprising that the phone doesn't  come with the PS4 Remote Play feature which is found on the Z3 range.