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(Pocket-lint) - In addition to the new mid-range Xperia SP, Sony's also updated its entry-level model with the introduction of the Xperia L, and Pocket-lint was on hand to have a tinker with this latest affordable Xperia handset.

Although Sony won't confirm exactly how much the Xperia L will cost, it doesn't have the immediate feel of a "budget" handset by any means. The 4.3-inch screen smartphone is large yet light in the hand, but still features some of the higher-spec build quality from further up the Xperia range.

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To the side of the model is the very same aluminium standby button as found in the top-spec Xperia Z, for example. A small thing, perhaps, but something that nods towards a more premium experience that's a far cry from the often "plastic fantastic" entry-level handsets.

Sony says that the Xperia L will offer a premium camera experience too. The 8-megapixel Exmor RS sensor and f/2.4 aperture are the same as that found in the Xperia SP, but most of the L's potential prowess comes from software-based solutions. Sony's implemented a My Albums hub where on-devices images can be viewed in their respective homes - whether Picasa, Facebook or whatever- as well as globe-based GPS positional views.

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The L can not only deliver HDR (high dynamic range) stills, it can also capture HDR movies in real time to better expose for both shadows and highlights in a single shot. Impressive for a budget phone and the example we saw was impressive for the most part despite the slightest of flicker on the occasional frame.

Just a shame that the screen is only an 854 x 480 resolution to play these files back on and there's no colour-boosting Mobile Bravia Engine to be found here either.

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Under the hood the Xperia L comes loaded with a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm 8230 processor, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, and 8GB of on-board storage. The L will be 3G HSPA+ capable instead of the nippier 4G-capable Xperia SP and Xperia Z models.

Looks like a quality handset assuming the as-yet-unknown price comes good. The Sony Xperia L will be available in black, white and red finishes from this summer.

Writing by Mike Lowe.