Sony Xperia E4 is likely to give a big boost to the Japanese brand in India’s mid-range smartphone market as the phone seems to be priced at a very attractive rate.
The phone’s predecessor, Xperia E3 was launched in October last year and is still being sold at Rs 9,500-11,000.
However, dealers in Delhi are willing to take preorders for the Xperia E4, which is the successor to the old phone,
for a variety of prices in the range of Rs 8,500-9,000. The phone has been launched at an official price of Rs 12,000. This suggests that the actual selling price of the phone will be in the 8,000-8,500 range when it hits online retailers by the end of this month. Traditional wisdom suggested that the Sony phone would be priced at Rs 9,999.
Of course, informal preorder prices are not always a good indicator of a final price, but they are usually a good guide.
Therefore, it is certainly very curious that a newer version of a phone is being offered at prices that are about 20% cheaper than the existing version.
It becomes even more curious when one considers that the E4 is actually a much better phone than the E3.
For example, the Xperia E4 has a 5 inch display with 0.5 mln pixels, while the E3 has a 4.5 inch display with 0.4 mln pixels. Multi-touch has been improved from 2 fingers to 4 fingers.
Similarly, while the front camera on the E3 is VGA, on the E4, it is 2 megapixels, and even takes 720p video.
Internal memory has been doubled to 8 GB, though the RAM continues to be 1 GB. Android version remains the same at 4.4 KitKat.
The Xperia E4 comes with scratch-resistant glass protection, and looks far better than the E3, which screamed low-end. In fact, in terms of looks, the Xperia E4 closely resembles popular models like the Redmi 1S and Lenovo A6000, with slim bezels.
The main reason why Sony seems to have been able to cut the price of the newer model probably has to do with the chipset that it is using.
Unlike the E3, which was built around the Snapdragon 400 chipset, its successor is built using a quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor.
MediaTek processors are reputed to be much cheaper than their Qualcomm compatriots.
Another reason is, obviously, market conditions. Sony is practically the only brand that continues to demand a stiff ‘brand premium’ on all its phones. There have been unconfirmed reports that Sony is thinking of exiting the smartphone business.
However, Sony’s E series is targeted specifically at the price-conscious buyer, and is supposed to offer value. While the E3 largely failed to live up to the promise with its initial price tag of Rs 12,000, its successor is likely to deliver in this area.
In fact, if the price of Rs 7,999 turns out to be true, then the phone would be among only a handful of KitKat model from big brands like Samsung, Lenovo and HTC with a 5.0 inch display in this price range.
The Xperia will compete with Lenovo S580 (price 7,999), which, in addition to have most of the features of the Sony model, comes with an HD display and an 8 MP camera at the back (compared to 5 MP on E4).
It will also compete with Lumia 535 (Rs 7,850) and ZTE V5, which has a 13 MP camera and an HD display. The phone is also priced at Rs 7,999.