A quick breeze through the spec sheet for the Sony Xperia M and that budget price tag is completely reinforced - a 4-inch 480 x 854 display, 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB internal storage and 5MP rear camera is hardly going to set the world alight.
The Moto G has made things even trickier at the bottom with it's mid-range spec list besting its rivals, so the Xperia M definitely has its work cut out.
In terms of design the Xperia M has borrowed style from both the Xperia Z1 in terms of its side profile, while on the rear the curved back is reminiscent of the Xperia SP and the original Xperia Arc.
While the Sony Xperia M sports an all-plastic construction, it feels solid and well built, and at 115g it's well balanced in the hand.
The slightly rubberised, removable rear cover provides some additional grip (and access to the battery, SIM card and microSD slot), while the curve of the handset means it fits comfortably into the palm and hides its 9.3mm depth.
On the right you have an easy to hit power/lock key as well as a volume rocker switch, while below them resides a physical shutter key providing quick access to the camera app and a more natural action for snapping pictures.
Flick the screen on and you'll notice this isn't a 720p HD display (WVGA, remember), and while it's not awful the low resolution of the Xperia M is very noticeable on text heavy pages.
Running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, the Sony Xperia M is rather behind the times, what with Android 4.2, 4.3 and now 4.4 all arriving since - and there's no sign of a software update on the horizon at the moment.
Sony has stuck its own overlay on top of Android, although it's not quite as commanding as HTC's Sense, adding useful quick settings in the pull down notification bar and Sony's fleet of media applications.
The dual-core processor does pretty well to keep Jelly Bean running smoothly, although it's not as fluid as the Moto G.
Opening up the more demanding applications takes a good second or two, and while the Xperia M doesn't leave you waiting long, the delay is noticeable.
I'm so used to seeing phones with screens upwards of 4.5 inches these days (the iPhone range being the major exception), going back to using a 4-inch display feels very cramped.
Everything is still usable, and I'm sure you'll get used to the keyboard size and general space (or lack of it) on screen, but don't downgrade your screensize - you'll only end up regretting the decision.
The Sony Xperia M is a tidy, well built handset offering up a reasonable Android experience at an equally reasonable price tag, but the issue it has is with its competition.
With the Moto G disrupting the budget end of the market with its mid-range spec, and the Lumia 520 providing a fuss-free and cheap smartphone experience, the Xperia M is going to have to work its socks off to stand out.