SHANGHAI, China -- Though the focus of Sony's presentation earlier this week was the supersized Xperia Z Ultra phablet, the company also took the opportunity at Mobile Asia Expo to announce normal-sized handsets like the Xperia C. Meant for the Chinese market, the Android device will come with two SIM slots: one WCDMA and the other GSM.
Featuring a 5-inch qHD (960x540-pixel) screen, the Xperia C slightly resembles the Xperia Z from the front. However, the build is completely different once you turn it around. Instead of a glass chassis, it features a soft-touch back cover that completely envelops the sides and back. This is similar to the what we have seen on the Nokia 820 Windows Phone.
Available in white, black, and purple, the phone feels good held in the hands and is quite attractive. The way the back tapers down to being thinner at the center, when viewed from the side, is a nice touch.
Behind the back cover is the battery, and slots for two SIM card and a microSD card. One SIM slot supports the WCDMA network, so you'll want to put your main 3G card here for cellular data. The second slot is a 2G one, for a secondary or overseas SIM. Unfortunately, the battery is built-in, so you can't simply swap it out with an extra cell when traveling.
Inside, the Xperia C is equipped with a quadcore MediaTek chip. While it's not as powerful as the latest Qualcomm processors, the lower price of the MediaTek chip should help bring down the cost of the smartphone, which is a critical factor in the Asia market. I didn't get a chance to run benchmarks, but basic operations felt snappy and most users should be happy with the performance.
Other specs include 1GB of RAM, up to 4GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It comes with the latest Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system.
On the back is an 8-megapixel camera with Exmor R sensor and is accompanied by an LED flash. There's also a front camera for video conferencing and self-portraits.
The Xperia C will be a China Unicom exclusive for now. However, a Sony representative said a version for other Asia markets may become available in the future. Price and availability for the Sony Xperia C have yet to be announced, but we've been told that it will be priced to target the low- to midrange market.