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My wife has had a number of Sony devices and has got used to their way of doing things, so it made sense to stick with the brand when her XA ran out of resources (16gb storage and 1Gb RAM won’t cut it in the modern world).
The device was modestly priced at £169.95 and, after a couple of months’ use, we’re well pleased with it. Don’t expect premium build for this money – there’s a lot of plastic, but if you keep your phone in a case and don’t abuse it, it should be fine. Also don’t expect wireless charging or a fast charger in the box. It does, however, have a USB-C connector as you certainly would expect.
It came with Android 8 and there’s been no sign of 9 as yet, although there was a small update (security?) a couple of days ago. The overall feel is a lot more Android and less Sony that what we’ve had before so, if you’re looking for familiarity, but also to widen your horizons, this would be a good gateway to other brands. Sony-isation does include things like music and gallery apps that you might prefer to the generic Google offerings. The fingerprint reader is side-mounted, which is handy for a thumb, but if you’re using a case, the cut-out doesn’t sit too well.
Performance is good – the device has 32gb of storage, an octa-core processor and 3gb of RAM. That configuration has worked well for me for some five years and I suspect it has a few more in it yet, so I’m not expecting the L3 to run out of breath too soon. It’s snappy in general use and apps update with reasonable alacrity. I haven’t had experience of a top-range device, but neither am I wanting to spend upwards of £600. Would the difference be that noticeable? I’m not convinced, but neither of us runs particularly resource-hungry apps or plays games or videos. The camera is fine for what it’s used for and we haven’t really tried to stress it.
One particular idiosyncracy that put me off having one for myself was Dropbox synchronisation. Quite simply, it won’t sync the camera. I wondered whether this was down to a more recent version of Android or restrictions on what Dropbox now include in the free offering, but my Moto G8 is fine, so I think it’s a Sony thing. The gallery app comes with Amazon Photo Sync built in and I suspect this is the culprit. The solution is to use this instead of Dropbox. Simples. Yes, there’s also Google Photos, but if you want to transfer files to a PC, having a dedicated folder is convenient and Google have now excluded that.
If I was going to recommend a mid-range device, it would now be my Moto G8 rather than this, but it’s £70 more and you don’t get a lot more performance for that, just some rather pleasant usage tweaks. And a working Dropbox.