At the moment there are a lot of different smartphones trying to grab your attention, from the iPhone all the way up to the Huawei P9.
Sony’s latest attempt to grab attention is the Sony Xperia X, which is a mid-range smartphone, that follows Sony’s normal design language for smartphones, with a decent set of specs, but quite the high-end price tag.
It is available from a number of retailers including Vodafone, who are offering the smartphone on contract from £32 a month with £10 upfront.
Sadly, because it has a similar design to Sony’s other smartphones, it doesn’t impress too much. That’s not to say its a bad design, it’s just not very interesting after using other smartphones from Sony.
That said, it does have some slight changes, with rounded sides, more pronounced corners and a new brushed aluminium, which is a welcomed change from the glass that Sony previously used.
Along the side of the phone, you will find the new lock button that features an embedded fingerprint sensor. This sits alongside a volume rocker and a dedicated camera.
Sadly, these are in strange positions, with the volume rocker and camera button at the bottom of the smartphone, it can be hard to figure out automatically, especially when you aren’t looking. You might also accidently press these when using the phone.
The lock button also feels strange to press, and the camera takes more than you would expect to press.
Around the other side, there’s a SIM card tray that can take both a nano-SIM card and a microSD card.
Around the front of the Sony Xperia X, you will find a 1080p, 5-inch LCD panel with Sony’s Triluminos Display for Mobile, X-Reality engine, and Dynamic Contrast Enhancement technology.
All of this equates to a display that is very good, its bright and features a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution that makes it great for viewing photos and playing games.
In use, the display recreates deep blacks, with an accurate representation of the colours and great viewing angles.
That said, the level of the brightness is pretty high, which can be annoying at night when the LCD panel tends to light up the entire room.
Performance and Software
Despite its high-end price tag, the Sony Xperia X doesn’t have a high-end CPU to go with it, instead, it features a Snapdragon 650 processor, which is rather strange given that budget phones use this very same processor.
Well, that’s the UK model anyway, for some strange reason, elsewhere it has a Snapdragon 820.
Thankfully, Sony has beefed it up elsewhere. It features 3GB of RAM, an Adreno 510 GPU, 32GB of storage and a microSD card slot to expand that storage.
As we received the UK version of the smartphone, we will be reviewing it based on that version.
And sadly, this version is not the speedy one that you might be hoping for. Sure doing basic things like opening apps or browsing the web is done easily, however, if you are going to be doing something that requires a little more performance then you will find a bit of lag.
Editing RAW images or playing intensive games will instantly show problems, the phone will get warm and the lag will be notable if you have used anything more performant.
Thankfully, the software is actually quite impressive.
That’s because Sony has kept it as simple as they can, but with a few extras, that do add more use than they do annoyance.
It’s all Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 at its heart, but there are a few changes like a clear-all button on the multi-tasking bar and notifications, the ability to change the icons and edit what is shown in the quick-setting menu. All of these are small features, but they are definitely useful.
That said, they have also added a few of their own apps, which you may or may not need. A number of them are duplicates of what already exists in Android, and probably the most annoying thing is that all of these show notifications repeatedly, as default.
You can still turn these off of course, but you shouldn’t have to.
This is all quite saddening, but if you like the PlayStation 4, then you might enjoy the Remote Play app instead, which allows you to stream games from your PS4 onto the Xperia X.
Inside of the Sony Xperia X, you will find a 2,620mAh battery. Sony claims that this battery is good enough to get two days of use, however, we presume that most of our readers will never achieve this kind of battery life as the only way you are going to get it to last that long is by reducing your consumption heavily.
That’s not to say it’s a bad smartphone for battery life, you’d definitely be able to get it through an entire day without too many problems and with the battery-saving modes you can stretch this further, however, we doubt it will ever last you two days on normal use.
Thankfully, the smartphone also comes with Quick Charge 2.0 onboard, which means that it can charge from 0-100% in an hour, but you need a compatible charging block and cable for that.
Sony likes to put a lot of focus on the cameras that they include in their smartphones, as do a lot of other manufacturers.
On the back of the Sony Xperia X, you will find a 23-megapixel sensor that uses Sony’s Steady Shot software as opposed to optical image stabilisation and features a f/2.0 aperture. Generally, this camera is decent enough for the average shot and a little more, however, this camera will not do more advanced shots like Bokeh due to the narrow aperture.
That said, the images taken on a Sony Xperia X do look good, we didn’t find that they were overexposed, with well-represented colours and fine details. However, sometimes you will find that the camera will sharpen images a little too far.
Here are some of our sample shots:
[alert type=blue ]Disclosure: Vodafone sent us a sample of the Sony Xperia X for the purposes of this review.[/alert]