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Sony’s Xperia L1 brings the premium feel without breaking the bank

Why it matters to you

Sony's flagship smartphones have been out of reach for many would-be users, but the Xperia L1 will lower the entry barrier to one of Android's most unique device makers.

As many await the imminent launch of Sony’s Xperia flagships for 2017, the company has just pulled the cover off an entry-level smartphone nobody really saw coming. It’s called the Xperia L1, and it is expected to launch in select regions, such as the United Kingdom, beginning in late April.

Following in the footsteps of 2013’s budget-conscious Xperia L, the L1 carries a 5.5-inch 720p display driven by a MediaTek quad-core system-on-chip clocked at 1.45 GHz, paired with 2GB of RAM. In terms of cameras, there’s a 13-megapixel shooter at the back with an F2.2 lens, and a 24 mm wide-angle 5MP shooter above the screen. The phone comes with 16GB of onboard storage, and will support MicroSDXC cards up to 256GB in capacity. It will also be dual SIM-capable in certain markets.

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Sony’s phones have long had a reputation of respectable battery life, and the L1 will look to continue that with a 2,620mAh unit fitted with Qnovo Adaptive Charging. The feature, which will be present in all of Sony’s Xperia XA and XZ devices, claims to extend the lifespan of the battery, allowing it to maintain stock performance for two years. It also allows for quick charging.

The L1 will launch with Android 7.0 Nougat onboard, and come in a selection of three colors: Black, white, and pink. It also features Sony’s Xperia Actions software that monitors how you use your phone, and then presents you with the relevant settings to tailor usage to your habits.

For example, if you typically silence all notifications before bed, Xperia Actions pays attention to that, asks if you’d like to set an automatic time window for muting your phone, and offers even more granular controls, like the ability to turn off charging lights and sounds. It will certainly come in handy for those kept awake at night by the piercing LEDs found in some smartphones nowadays.

There’s currently no word as to precisely where and on what carriers the L1 will launch, or if it will even come stateside. Cost is another unknown, though TechRadar reports Sony has confirmed a price of 169 pounds for the U.K., which roughly equates to $210. Look for more information to drop in the coming weeks.