The Lumia 925 and Sony Xperia C3 experience Part 1

This is not a direct comparison or outright review of the Lumia 925 and Sony Xperia C3 Dual. In many ways, they are from two different classes of smartphones. On the other hand, they are also very similar: both are previous generation devices and have been replaced by newer and better products by Sony and Microsoft.


 


Note: This article is a very subjective discussion on the Lumia 925 and C3. I like both devices and find them excellent purchases.

I worked with the full range of Sony Mobile devices for more than a year and I've been using the Lumia 925 since 2013. I've weathered the many bugs of the Lumia 925 since its release in the market up til the arrival of Lumia Denim. The Sony Xperia C3 Dual, on the other hand, is arguably one of the more affordable of Sony's range of smartphones and the Xperia C4 has replaced the C3 in Sony's catalogue. However, I'm familiar with the pros and cons of the mid-range C3 even before purchasing the smartphone. 

Note: The Xperia C3 runs on the old Snapdragon 1.2 GHz Qualcomm with Adreno 350 as GPU while the newer C4 contains the 64-bit 1.7GHz MT6752 processor with ARM Mali 760 on display. The C4's GPU bump is a huge gain for high-end mobile gamers though most users won't notice any difference.

Although the Xperia C3 is clearly the superior device in terms of hardware and software, the Lumia 925 has its advantages especially if you're working in China. The Microsoft Store and updates to Windows Phone are unhampered in the Middle Kingdom, while the C3's Android 5.x can only be updated if you are either running VPN, in Hong Kong or living outside the Great Firewall.

The Xperia C3: Sony apps, Android 5.x and hardware

Before pointing out aspects of the Lumia 925 that make it a good complement to the C3, it's best to get the advantages of the Sony Xperia C3 out of the way first:

1. Android 5.x user interface and stability - There have been many complaints regarding Android 5.x's UI but it's still more stable and has more features than Windows Phone 8.1, which is an improvement over the original WP release but still lacks the necessary oomph to make it a powerful mobile OS. There are delays in notifications, lag in applications and various settings bugs in WP8.1 regardless of the device you have. Android 5.x on the C3 also has some problems but WP8.1's Start Screen aside, it's still the better mobile OS.


 

Amazingly lazy and ignorant users complained about Android 5.x's notification center.


2. Sony hardware and software - Sony does not load their Xperia devices with bloatware and they include various tweaks to Android that are exceptionally useful for the power user. Sony's Album, Music, Video and Sketch apps are well-written apps and the preinstalled File Commander fits well on Xperia devices.


 

Sony's Album app has a lot of hidden functionality.

3. Ability to mount Remote shares out-of-the-box - This is useful for Linux users. There are great WP apps such as File Server that gives users access to shares in remote machines but having the setting in Android makes everything just easier.

4. USB On-the-Go adapter support - OTG cables are still not supported with Windows Phone (here's hoping Microsoft includes support for Host adapters with Windows Phone 10).


 


4. DLNA Media Server and Throw - I've tested the DLNA Media server feature with various Linux distributions, Windows 8/10, iOS and the Western Digital TV Live Media Player. Lumia Play To for WP is embarrassingly crippled and Smart Player, though good, doesn't replace the reliability of the media server features built into Android with Sony devices.

5. Miracast Screen mirroring
   
6. Wireless Media Transfer - This is a criminally underused feature found in all Xperia devices. With Wireless Media Transfer, you can make file exchanges OTA between your C3 and a Windows machine.
   
7. ANT+ - Although ANT+ isn't widely used even by fitness enthusiasts, it's yet another technology Windows Phones don't support (then again, neither does Apple).

 Although the Sony Xperia C3 doesn't include MHL support and Mirrorlink (which are found on Sony's premium Z-series devices), the list shows just how many features are available on the C3 that can't be found on the Lumia 925. Moreover, in terms of Bluetooth and NFC, Sony's implementation is clearly superior to the Lumia 925, which doesn't support large-file transfer over NFC and sports an often-unreliable Bluetooth connection.

Note: Both the C3 and 925 have occasional Bluetooth issues connecting to Fedora, Debian and openSUSE machines. However, the C3 is better at connecting to Windows PCs and audio accessories such as the Jabra Play.

I generally use my iPad 2 for reading PDFs and watching videos, so I don't have issues with the Lumia 925's 4.5" screen. However, Sony's expertise in displays shows on the C3's generous 5.5" screen. It's not to say that the Lumia 925 has a bad screen, but the combination of the screen real estate and Sony's screen quality make watching Les Engrenages and reading 80s issues of Web of Spider-Man an enjoyable experience on the C3. Moreover, Adobe Acrobat Reader for Android on the C3 handily renders image-intensive or badly scanned PDFs much better than its Windows Phone version.


 

Perfect Viewer on the Xperia C3. Spidey shows just powerful he can be against the idiot Tombstone in Spectacular Spider-Man #142 (1988).


Continued in The Lumia 925 and Sony Xperia C3 experience Part 2

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