Sony Xpe­ria X

The Xpe­ria X runs An­droid Marsh­mal­low 6.0.1. It’s not far off stock An­droid, with the fa­mil­iar app drawer, no­ti­fi­ca­tions and mul­ti­task­ing

Tech Advisor - - Contents - Ashleigh All­sopp

Sony’s Xpe­ria X of­fers spec­i­fi­ca­tions that sit just be­low its flag­ship Z range, plus some in­ter­est­ing new fea­tures for the camera and screen.

De­sign

The Xpe­ria X has a 5in screen sur­rounded by small bezels, re­sult­ing in a sleek and stylish de­sign that we were in­stantly at­tracted to. It doesn’t have the edge-to-edge screen of the Xpe­ria XA (page 24), but it’s not far off and we think it looks great.

It’s 7.9mm thick and feels gor­geous to hold, with slightly curved glass that blends silk­ily into the curved edges of its body, tak­ing a slight de­par­ture from the blocky na­ture of Sony’s pre­vi­ous Xpe­ria phones. It’s won­der­fully light, too, at 153g. Colour op­tions in­clude an unattrac­tive Lime Gold, a rea­son­ably nice Rose Gold and a good-look­ing White and Graphite Black mod­els, all of which have a slight shim­mer to them. They also come with op­tional match­ing cases and cov­ers.

We par­tic­u­larly like the ded­i­cated camera shut­ter button we’ve come to ex­pect from Sony phones,

Our only caveats with the de­sign are that the screen is prone to pick­ing up fin­ger­prints and the body isn’t seam­less, so small crumbs and bits of fluff can be­come stuck where the back cover and edges of the phone meet.

Also, the SIM tray is com­bined with the mi­croSD card slot and is a bit fid­dly to re­move and rein­sert, though you’re un­likely to need to do this of­ten so it’s not a deal-breaker.

Per­for­mance

Tak­ing a closer look at that 5in dis­play, you’ll find that it’s a crisp, clear and colour­ful Full 1080p HD screen. The size is ac­tu­ally smaller than most phones these days, many of which are around the 5.5in mark, so the Xpe­ria X will suit those want­ing some­thing a lit­tle eas­ier to han­dle and pocket.

The pro­ces­sor in­side the Xpe­ria X is mid-range, with a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 650 tak­ing cen­tre stage with 3GB RAM as its side­kick. In our benchmark tests that duo man­aged to achieve a Geek­bench 3 multi-core score of 3746, which puts it in line with com­peti­tors like the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (which is avail­able at more than £100 less than the £459 price tag of the X). Com­peti­tors within the same price range typ­i­cally score much higher in these per­for­mance tests than the X did, with the Huawei P9 im­press­ing us with a score of 6506 in the Geek­bench test, for ex­am­ple.

When it comes to graph­ics, the Xpe­ria X scored a good 35 frames per sec­ond in the GFXBench T-Rex test, which is al­most the same as the P9’s 36fps and much higher than the Galaxy A5’s 14fps. In the more dif­fi­cult GFXBench Man­hat­tan test, the Xpe­ria X man­aged 17fps, which is just a bit lower than the 19fps achieved by the P9 and much higher than the A5’s 5fps.

In prac­tice, those scores mean that the Xpe­ria X is fast enough to per­form most tasks with­out any ma­jor lag, but we did find that it strug­gled with switch­ing be­tween camera modes some­times, for ex­am­ple. Most apps should run well, but par­tic­u­larly graph­ics-heavy apps may strug­gle and if you plan on mul­ti­task­ing with lots of apps open at once, ex­pect the phone to be­come quite slug­gish.

Cam­eras

The Xpe­ria X has two cam­eras: a 23Mp snap­per on the rear and a 13Mp camera on the front, which Sony touts as one of its stand­out fea­tures and we can’t help but agree. The rear of­fer­ing comes with Pre­dic­tive Hy­brid Autofocus, which sounds amaz­ing in prin­ci­ple, though in our tests didn’t al­ways work as we’d have liked.

To use this fea­ture, open the camera app, aim at the mov­ing ob­ject your are try­ing to pho­to­graph, tap the screen, then wait un­til you want to snap the pic­ture. It’s de­signed to pre­dict where the ob­ject is go­ing to be and make sure it is the point of fo­cus when you press the shut­ter button, though when we tried it the fo­cus was never quite right. Plus, the de­sign of the phone and the positioning of the button that switches to the front-fac­ing camera meant we kept tap­ping it, and we’ve wit­nessed oth­ers suf­fer­ing from the same sur­prise when their face un­ex­pect­edly ap­peared on screen.

You’ll also find quick launch, auto-fo­cus and HDR, as well as an ISO of up to 12800 for low light pho­tog­ra­phy, 1080p video record­ing, video sta­bil­i­sa­tion and more. In short, it’s a very good camera for a smart­phone, though at this price we’d ex­pect things like op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion and 4K video record­ing.

Fea­tures

There’s 32GB of built-in stor­age as stan­dard, and it ac­cepts up to 200GB ad­di­tional stor­age via mi­croSD card. Other fea­tures in­clude a fingerprint scanner on the side of the phone, like the Z5 range, de­signed to make un­lock­ing the phone seam­less and se­cure. We found the positioning of the sen­sor (on the right side of the phone built-in to the lock button) per­fect for quickly un­lock­ing the phone with­out hav­ing to even think about it. Things might be a lit­tle trick­ier for left-handed users, though.

As for bat­tery life, you’ll find that you’ll only need to charge once ev­ery two nights at most, which is much bet­ter than you’ll find from many flag­ship smart­phones in 2016. In our bat­tery tests, for which we use the Geek­bench 3 test, the Xpe­ria X lasted 9.25 hours, with a score of 5649. That’s im­pres­sive, and beats the flag­ships like the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and LG G5.

Soft­ware

The Xpe­ria X runs An­droid Marsh­mal­low 6.0.1. It’s not far off stock An­droid, with the fa­mil­iar app drawer, no­ti­fi­ca­tions and mul­ti­task­ing. Ad­di­tional fea­tures ex­clu­sive to Sony in­clude a What’s New panel view­able when you swipe right from the home screen, with rec­om­men­da­tions about new apps, movies, mu­sic and more that are up­dated daily. There’s also Xpe­ria Lounge and ex­tra fea­tures for PlayS­ta­tion users.

Ver­dict

We wish we could rate the Xpe­ria X more highly than we have. It has a stun­ning de­sign, with the ideal screen size for those who pre­fer the smaller end of the spec­trum. The 5in dis­play is the sweet-spot for us here. It also of­fers a great bat­tery life, a bril­liant camera and per­for­mance that should sat­isfy the ma­jor­ity of users. But at over £450, this phone is over­priced. When you com­pare it with the com­pe­ti­tion, both in terms of price and specs, you can get a lot bet­ter value for money elsewhere which makes the Xpe­ria X hard to rec­om­mend, even if money is no ob­ject.

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