What’s the best unlocked phone two Benjamins can buy nowadays stateside? The third-generation Motorola Moto G? Probably. The Asus ZenFone 2 Laser? It might be. The recently discounted Huawei P8 lite? Unlikely, but that’s also a solid contender.
Speaking of budget champion title challengers, the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua costs $199.99 on Amazon with a valid US warranty, 16GB internal storage space, and LTE connectivity for free use on carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Cricket Wireless, and so on and so forth.
Prior to this deal that’s by the way not advertised as a time-limited Black Friday affair, it was hard to score the M4 Aqua so cheap even with an 8GB ROM and no manufacturer coverage for unintentional damage.
And yes, it’s true the 5-incher is starting to age, having already spawned a higher-res, beefier sequel. But an “international” Xperia M5 goes for $420, and both devices are guaranteed Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates, allowing them to run smoothly from a software standpoint for at least an extra year or so.
Unfortunately, even though it has the Latin term for water in its very name, the Xperia M4 Aqua isn’t safe for long swims in the pool or ocean. Just spills, splashes, and rain, everything else potentially voiding your precious warranty.
A multitasking beast by mid-end standards, with 2GB RAM in tow, the early 2015 handheld also packs octa-core Snapdragon 615 processing power, backed by a relatively small 2,400 mAh battery. The compromise is caused by the 7.3mm wasp waist and 136 grams weight, while the IPS LCD panel produces 720p content. Not so great after all? The 13 and 5MP cameras may make you reconsider, and help seal the deal.