back to article Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G: The Android smartie that can take its drink

Read any technology site and the advice is pretty unequivocal: if you want an Android smartphone for less than £200 that’s not an import, then buy the Mk 3 Motorola Moto G. Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G Android Smartphone Drinking buddy: Sony's Xperia M4 Aqua I'm not about to deny that the new Moto G is a nice bit of kit, or that …

  1. Richard Wharram

    SD Storage question

    Before I'd consider an Android phone:

    I haven't had an Android for a while now but my son's Hudl 2 tablet doesn't make good use of SD Cards at all. When I filled up its 16GB with games I bought a 32GB SD and went through the Apps section in Settings pressing 'Move to SD Card.'

    However it only moved about 10% of each game over to the SD Card and the rest stayed on the device.

    Bugger all use.

    Is this a normal Android behaviour or is it Tesco-specific?

    1. Spiracle

      Re: SD Storage question

      Depends on the app but some of them may not be moving their cache out of main memory - some music streaming apps, for example, may not shift previously downloaded songs without manual intervention. Try clearing the cache in the system and app settings and re-starting everything. Failing that find out which apps are the main memory hogs in settings, delete and re-install from the store.

      1. Richard Wharram

        Re: SD Storage question

        Sounds plausible but if I delete the app and re-download won't he lose all his progress in the game?

        (I realise this depends how they implement saves but afaik save to cloud is pretty rare still. After all I didn't create login credentials for anything except Angry Birds Star Wars II.)

        1. AIBailey

          Re: SD Storage question

          You can clear out the cache without clearing the application data. Clearing data is usually near the "Move to SD" button in the application properties. The cache settings are further down. Alternatively, there are loads of cache cleaner apps in the Play store.

    2. Danny 14

      Re: SD Storage question

      Sometimes there is "hidden" data; co-pilot tells me that it is using 34Mb of data on my uSD card and a few Mb on internal memory. This doesn't include the 800Mb of map data it downloaded to the uSD card (which the application manager doesn't tell me about). Same with games, they tell you about the app size but not the subsequent OBB size that it downloads to the SDcard0/android/obb directory.

      For this phone 8gb is close to useless even if you can move to SD there are still chunks of apps that wont live or leave behind big bits on the internal memory. 16Gb is acceptable and at least there is an SD card.

    3. Paul 135

      Re: SD Storage question

      There are big changes on this front coming in the next version of Android, Marshmallow, which will make SD storage transparent and this not an issue any more. No doubt this will receive the update, so I wouldn't worry.

      1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

        Re: SD Storage question

        I want to both upvote and downvote this post for the following reasons:

        "There are big changes on this front coming in the next version of Android, Marshmallow, which will make SD storage transparent . . ."


        "No doubt this will receive the update, so I wouldn't worry."

        Boo! In the sense that one cannot take for granted receiving an update to Marshmallow.

        1. Hans 1

          Re: SD Storage question

          >"There are big changes on this front coming in the next version of Android, Marshmallow, which will make SD storage transparent . . ."

          Don't be silly, read this one before ... I complained about the very same thing some years ago on here and I was promised that it was going to be fixed in ... KitKat.

          @ Richard Wharram

          You can download the SDK and perform some KungFu on the device, it usually works much better with noname devices. Sony are BASTAAAAAAARDS and will prevent you from using the SD card for apps, their rootkit (?) overrules the KungFu.

          1. Richard Wharram

            Re: SD Storage question

            @Hans 1

            You got a link to a guide at all? :)

        2. agedslacker

          Re: SD Storage question

          In the past Sony have been good on this front; I recently received an update to Lollipop on my "ancient" Z2.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which markets, which versions?

    I've been pondering a dual SIM phone for a while.

    Going to be travelling long haul via Kuala Lumpur in a while and wondered if this might be a chance to pick up a dual SIM vesrsion. But will it work in the UK - is there a specific International version?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Which markets, which versions?

      I'm not sure about this specific phone, but dual SIM phones work just fine in the UK as long as they speak GSM, which pretty much all phones do now.

    2. KRG
      Thumb Up

      Re: Which markets, which versions?

      After much searching for a Dual-SIM phone with 4G data ( not the Moto G!) I finally bought a Z3 Dual-SIM from Hong Kong; I'm very pleased with it. If you're in this market just make sure that the relevant UK 4G Bands are covered; some (Honor) won't work on Vodafone UK's 4G.

    3. hiker

      Re: Which markets, which versions?

      I've bought the Xiaomi Mi4i that has dual sim and works just fine with my Three sim card.

      I got it from eGlobalCentral:

  3. MrWibble

    The Moto G has always been the recommendation I made to various family members, but I have a soft spot for Sony - their hardware is damn good, and their commitment to ASOP and the dev community is second to Nexus only.

    I shall have to have a play with one of these!

    1. Tromos

      I too have a soft spot for Sony.

      It's on the compost heap.

    2. F0rdPrefect

      Re: but I have a soft spot for Sony

      their hardware is damn good, and their commitment to ASOP and the dev community is second to Nexus only.

      Pity that their commitment to thier customers, by upgrading the OS as so sh*te.

      Experia arc S, for 2.5 years and never an upgrade, even thought a new release of Android came out 3 months after I bought the phone.

      Sony were duly added to the same list as Medion, for exactly the same reason. That is the never do business with again, list.

      1. Bodhi

        Re: but I have a soft spot for Sony

        But the Xperia Arc is about 4 years old now, and was made by a completely different company? My original Xperia Z would be on Lollipop by now, if I hadn't left it in a taxi in Bangkok, and that's well over 2 years old now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: but I have a soft spot for Sony

          My original Xperia Z would be on Lollipop by now, if I hadn't left it in a taxi in Bangkok,

          It probably is on Lollipop now.....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: but I have a soft spot for Sony

        My Z1 Compact is the best smart phone I have ever had. I believe it has had at least 3 OS updates so far. I and I have dunked it in to a pint of cider and it still works, the cider was ok too....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    16GB Version?

    "Sony does make a 16GB (and a dual-SIM) version of the M4, but it is not currently available in the UK and Sony couldn't give me a date for when, or if, it will be."

    So, like the 16GB version of the G, it's about as rare as rocking horse shit?

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: 16GB Version?

      The first-gen Moto G 16GB wasn't rare at all. I bought a few for family members (using their Tesco Clubcard points)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 16GB Version?

        We're not talking about the first gen, but the third gen (2015) G. Which is indeed as unobtainable in 16GB form as the M4.

        As for the review itself, it's a bit unfair to compare the price of the 8GB Sony against the 16GB Moto G. Compare apples with apples, you can get a 8GB Moto G for £140.

        1. Unkempt

          Re: 16GB Version?

          I'm using the Moto G 2015 16GB right now. Ordered it online from Motorola using the Moto Maker, it shipped from China a week letter and arrived 48 hours later. No fuss.

  5. dajames

    No OTG?

    I'm amazed that the M4 doesn't have USB OTG, that's a standard feature of just about every other Android device, these days and support for it is built into the OS.

    In this case the hardware apparently doesn't support it (anecdotal evidence from the web) so I can only assume that Sony deliberately chose cheap USB hardware for this phone to keep down costs, and perhaps as a discriminator between the M and Z ranges.

    My Z1 compact certainly does have USB OTG, and even came with an OTG cable in the box.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: No OTG?

      Could be a deliberate differentiator, in the past Sony have shipped OTG capable chips with a connection omitted to disable it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No OTG?

      "My Z1 compact certainly does have USB OTG, and even came with an OTG cable in the box."

      I don't expect it to get updated to Marshmallow, but otherwise I think the Z1 compact is the best under-£200 phone currently available. Just don't forget to put one of those glass protectors front and back.

  6. Chairo
    Thumb Up

    Overall quite a nice package

    Usually I would still go for a phone with a removable battery, but I can accept a fixed battery as trade-off for the water protection.

    At the moment I pack two phones, one smartphone with a data plan and a feature phone for calling. I really really would like to have a dual SIM solution, so this looks really interesting.

    I hope they make the 16GB dual SIM version available. Actually for me it would be even better, if they would sell the darn thing SIM free in Japan, but this is so unlikely, that I dare not to hope for it. Guess I have to either import it from Europe or buy a Huawei or Asus here. Nothing else available SIM free here.

  7. nijam Silver badge

    Interesting review, but you left out the crucial bit, needed in any review of a Sony product these days, namely: how long until Sony pull out of th market segment and leave users high and dry?

    1. Adair Silver badge

      As a long standing Sony mob user...

      I can vouch for updates and upgrades to my Z1 Compact being regular and timely. Not something I would have said two phones further back down the track, but Sony's record over the last 3-4 years has been fine by me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sony aren't going anywhere

      They have made a commitment and this phone sends a very strong message.

      Also my Xperia phone got updated 3 weeks after my Nexus, which is pretty damn good, and way better than even moto, and certainly better than HTC and Samsung

      5.1 1 (with stagefright fix) is rock solid, and Sony are doing all the right things. The specs of my z3 makes the iPhone 6 look frankly like an overpriced toy. For example the proper acrive noice cancelling hardware, it makes my train into work a pleasure... No other phone on the market, to my knowkedge does this.

  8. Ru'

    What even is " IP65/68"? Surely it's either one of the other, the lowest number if there's any doubt. I think there is a third number in the IP scheme for impact resistance or something, but it's rarely used.

    1. Dr_N

      IP65 is tested for water jets

      IP68 is tested for continuous immersion.

      So two different types of test/rating.

      Just because you can spray it with a fire hose, doesn't mean you can dunk it in water for long period and vice-versa.

      1. Ru'

        Thanks Dr_N; I was under the impression they were "cumulative" but now I know that from 6 and above they are not hence dual ratings.

        1. Triggerfish

          You might want to look up the full classification though. Water resistant rating usually go by pressure, so something rated at a certain depth may still leak if you swim or move it about to much.

  9. Chronos

    Moto G 3rd gen LTE

    Available for £149.07 on Jeff's own tat emporium. So the natural order is thus restored.

    Must say I am tempted by the 128GB capacity of its SD slot, though. If Cyanogen ever becomes available for the Aqua it would then be a no-brainer.

  10. Yugguy

    Sony offers three excellent media apps in the form of Album, Video and Music

    Of these three that came stock with my Z3 I've only kept Album.

    Music especially was annoying cluttered, filled with adverts and "recommendations" that could not have been further away from my buying or listening history.

    I use VLC for all my media storage and playback, does all three in one, it isn't perfect but it doesn't bug me with adverts for crap I don't want.

  11. Shades

    "Both share the same neat, trademark Xperia aluminium power button"

    Stopped reading after this. When did a power button become "neat" and its material become noteworthy? Have things got that bad that this is now a thing? The only comment a power button should garner is if it is well positioned, or not.

  12. Millwright

    "If the Moto G were available for £150, the natural order would be restored."

    It is, unlocked PAYG from 3. I've got one.

  13. Al Taylor

    M4 for £125 PAYG

    Natural order up creek again.

    1. Pat Att

      Re: M4 for £125 PAYG

      Any idea if it's locked? I would presume so, in which case, is it easy to unlock?

  14. Sam 15


    <squints at picture>

    Are you quite sure that it's beer in that glass?

  15. Tommy Pock

    Avoid the M4

    I can't update iPlayer due to the OS taking up 5GB of the phone's 8GB total. Sony have put 2GB of unremoveable crap on it as well. The M4 cannot be rooted.

    The phone is crippled to a state of uselessness the moment you take it out of the box.

    The shiny transparent plastic back can be scratched by placing it on a hard surface. A case is essential.

    The camera is catastrophically bad.

  16. Shadow Systems

    Do I understand this properly?

    There's a microphone located at the top of the case & a speaker at the bottom?

    The fekkin thing is built upside down!

    Put the speaker near the ear so we don't have to turn the volume so bloody loud to hear it, & the microphone down near the mouth so we don't have to act like annoying twats SHOUTING to be heard.

    Whose brain dead idea was THAT design cockup?

    No WONDER you need an earbud speaker with boom mic to use the damned phone, some dork built it wrong!


    I'll get my coat, it's the one with the "Dumb" FlipPhone in the pocket that's smart enough to be built properly...

  17. Scott Wichall

    Plastic back is far superior IMHO. I say this as the glass back on my Z3 has cracked all by itself, the phone has never been dropped and I always take it out of my pocket before I sit down. Lots of reports of this and the screen cracking by itself on the Z3 without being dropped.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not good enough

    but getting closer.

  19. Martin

    Still too big for my little hands.

    I want to use a phone one-handed. I need something no bigger than a 4.5" screen.

    Why do all the manufacturers think we all need huge phones?

    "Oh, no-one buys small phones."

    That's because you don't make them any more!!!

  20. your handle is already taken

    128GB Micro SD cards?

    I've searched.

    The decent ones are a good bit more than twice the price of 64GB cards.

    The more reasonably priced ones have dubious performance numbers.

    64GB seems to be the sweet spot for price/size/performance ratio in the Micro SD world at the moment -- am open to corrections and pointers.

  21. Zmodem

    you should have installed metal sniffer

    theres nothing worse then hunting around in a muddy puddle elbow deep trying to find your keys

    normal phones pick up loud speakers from 3 feet away

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