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