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2013 has been one of the most productive years for Sony. In addition to its flagship Xperia Z device, Sony has launched other devices aimed at a wider audience at more affordable prices. We wanted to see them up close and compare the Xperia SP and the Xperia L, the latest mid-range handsets from the Japanese manufacturer.

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The Sony Xperia L (white) vs Xperia SP (black). / © AndroidPIT.

These two smartphones are a good example to demonstrate that high-end and mid-range, at least as far as Sony is concerned, do not always differ that much from one other. We recorded a video to see the Xperia SP and the Xperia L more closely, but first let us give you some notes on the two devices.

Display 4.6 inches, 1.280 x 720 píxels, 319 ppi 4.3 inches, 854 x 480 píxels, 228 ppi
Processor Qualcomm Dual Core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Dual Core 1 GHz
Operating System Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, Xperia UI Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, Xperia UI
Internal Memory 8 GB, 5.37 GB available 8 GB, 5.58 GB available
Camera  8 MP (rear-facing), 2.2 MP (front-facing) 8 MP (rear-facing), 0.3 MP (front-facing)
Connectivity NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WLAN, HSPA, LTE NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WLAN, HSPA
Dimensions 131 x 67 x 9.9 mm 128.7 x 65 x 9.7 mm
Weight 155 grams 137 grams
Bettery 2370 mAh 1700 mAh
The Xperia devices both have a dedicated shutter button built-in to the chassis. / © AndroidPIT.

Design Differences

Let's start our observation with the design of the two phones. The lines of both the SP and the L are quite different, not only from one another but also with respect to other Sony design signatures. The L also has sharp angles and a silver edge that further distinguishes the handsets. The housing cases are both removable and both hide slots for microSD and micro-SIM.

The novelty is the camera shutter button that, unlike the vast majority of smartphones, is built physically on the side of these two phones. Apart from this, the two devices have very subtle hardware buttons, both on the right side. The most outstanding details are the transparent strip LED notification lights on the SP and the curved back of the Xperia L.

For two Sony smartphones, the design differences couldn't be more distinct. / © AndroidPIT.


Regarding screens, both have LCDs. While the Xperia L is 4.3 inches and has a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, the Xperia SP is somewhat bigger, at 4.6 inches and 1280 x 720 pixels. Although the pixel density between the two is far apart, the brightness of the screens are almost the same. With the Xperia L, however, there's better contrasts and white is purer.

Both devices run Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and the Xperia UI interface, meaning: the software is virtually the same, although it is noteworthy that in the SP we've seen a couple of pre-installed applications (that were also seen in the Xperia Z) such as Auto mode, McAfee Security Software and the navigation software 'Wisepilot'.

The Xperia SP has a slightly larger screen than the Xperia L. / © AndrodiPIT.

Software and Camera

Sony announced the Xperia L as a device for photographers, but in reality it is far from the SP. Both have an 8 MP camera and incorporate an Exmor RS sensor, although the SP has a 2.2 MP front-facing camera while the L only has a VGA cam for selfies at 0.3 MP. 

In terms of performance both Xperia models are very different despite both having dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The Xperia SP has twin S4 Pro's at 1.7 GHz, far more powerful than the L's S4 twins at 1GHz. In our test during web navigation, the Xperia L proved to be slower. The weaker processor is also visible in the construction of images and scrolling gestures.

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AnTuTu clearly shows the Xperia SP (left) coming out on top of the Xperia L. / © AndroidPIT


So it may seem that the SP is much better than the L. This may well be, but you'll pay for the difference in performance and specs. While the Xperia L fails to convince against the SP, it's still a decent smartphone that's available on Amazon for around $270. The SP, on the other hand, may have the better performance and handling, but it'll set you back almost a hundred dollars more.

So, as always, the question is: how much phone do you need for your dollars?

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