Sony launches brand new Xperia X series — will replace Z series

While Samsung and LG launched their new flagship devices yesterday, Sony was also preparing their MWC 2016 presentation. Say hello to the Xperia X line.

The Xperia X line is, according to Sony, a “medium-high end” series of smartphones, and comprises three smartphones — the Xperia X, XA and X Performance. While there was some initial confusion over its place in the Sony hierarchy, it is now confirmed to be replacing the Z series. Have a look at their specs, alongside the Z5‘s, to see why.

Xperia XA Xperia X Xperia X Performance Xperia Z5
SoC Octa-core, MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10

and

Mali T860

Hexa-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 650

and

Adreno 510

64-bit Quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

and

Adreno 530

64-bit Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810

and

Adreno 430

RAM 2GB 3GB 3GB 3GB
Storage 16GB 32/64GB 32GB 32GB
Display 5.0” 720p IPS LCD 5.0” 1080p IPS LCD 5.0” 1080p IPS LCD 5.2” 1080p IPS LCD
Dimensions 143.6 x 66.8 x 7.9 mm , 137 grams 142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9 mm , 153 grams 144.8 x 71.1 x 7.6 mm max, 165 grams 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm , 154 grams
Camera 13 MP, 1/3” sensor, LED flash 23 MP, f/2.0, 24mm, 1/2.3” sensor, LED flash 23 MP, f/2.0, 24mm, 1/2.3” sensor, LED flash 23 MP, f/2.0, 24mm, 1/2.3” sensor, LED flash
Front Facing
8MP, LED flash
Front Facing
13MP, f/2.0, 22mm, 1/3” sensor
Front Facing
13MP, f/2.0, 22mm, 1/3” sensor
Front Facing
5.1MP, f/2.4
Battery 2300 mAh 2620 mAh 2700 mAh 2900 mAh
Launch OS Android 6.0 Android 6.0 Android 6.0 Android 5.1.1
Fingerprint Sensor No Yes Yes Yes
SIM Size NanoSIM NanoSIM NanoSIM NanoSIM

Looking at the specs, the XA and X are definite mid-range devices, the former only powered by a MediaTek and the latter housing a Snapdragon 650. What are surprising are the internals of the X Performance (hereby shortened to XP). 

The Xperia X Performance
The Xperia X Performance

The XP has specs that you would actually expect to see in the (hypothetical) Z6 — the latest and greatest Snapdragon 820, a 1080p (Full HD) display, 3GB of RAM, and a 23MP camera. With the Z5 already far ahead of most of its competitors, the Z6 was (is) widely expected to be an iterative upgrade with just the processor and display changing. It seems, though, the XP has incorporated the major part of that upgrade — the processor.

Let’s discuss the X vs Z line later, however, and first have a look at just what this new line of phones has to offer.

Design

Design 2

Both criticised and praised for having a nearly identical design across the board, Sony’s new X line provides no surprises. There is a slight difference with the curved corners, but largely there has been no change in the design.

Dance

The chassis of the X series is also all-metal like the Z-series, and has a smooth, matte finish to the back. Only the XP is dust and waterproof, though, being rated at IP68 (up to 30min submersion in 1m deep water). The other two are only splash-proof for minute amounts of water.

Finally, the X series also feature a nanoSIM card slot, though only the X and XP have the same fingerprint sensor that made its debut with the Xperia Z5 — something that we were huge fans of.

Display

Display

In a curious move, every single of the X devices have 5 inch IPS LCD panels. The only differing factor between them is that the Xperia XA has a 720p resolution, whereas the X and XP clock in at 1080p.

As we have seen in Sony’s current offerings, the display is already pretty damn good, so I would expect the very same from the X series as well.

Internals

qualcomm-snapdragon-820

Only when it comes to the internals do we begin to see a major difference in the X series devices, with each device offering a different class of System on Chip (SoC).

The weakest SoC is in the Xperia XA, which houses the MediaTek Helio P10, paired together with 2GB of RAM and just 16GB of internal storage. These specifications put the XA firmly into “lower mid-range” territory, with specifications similar in class to what we have seen with the C series.

X series

Next up on the rung is the Xperia X, with a slightly better Snapdragon 650 SoC, but with 3GB of RAM. What is of special interest is that the X is the only device out of the three to offer a choice between 32 and 64GB storage options. These specifications seem to match up with the M series in terms of class, but are also pretty powerful — this SoC is more powerful than the Snapdragon 808 we saw in the LG G4, LG’s previous flagship.

Finally we have the Xperia XP, which has a flagship-grade Snapdragon 820 — used in both the brand new LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7. It is paired with 3GB of RAM and given 32GB of storage. This is extremely similar to what a Z6 would (will) look like.

Camera

Camera

The Xperia X camera includes an all-new Predictive Hybrid Autofocus, created in collaboration with Sony’s Alpha α DSLR engineers. Simply click on the subject to focus and then this new tech will predict the objects motion, keeping it in focus throughout.

Between the three X series, the only difference is in the XA’s cameras. While both its cameras are lower-grade compared to its other X brethren — 13MP and a smaller 1/3″ sensor versus 23MP and a 1/2.3″ sensor — it does have one trick up its sleeve. Even though its front facing camera is just 8MP instead of 13MP, it is equipped with its own LED flash to light up your selfie-ready face.

Between the other two X series devices, they share the 23MP, f/2.0 module seen in the Z5. What is different between them is the front-facing camera, which gets a bump from 5.1MP to a massive 13MP. This is not to mention the aperture is extremely wide at f/2.0, and this coupled with the (relatively) large 1/3″ sensor will mean your low-light selfies should look amazing.

Battery

Sony Xperia Z5P - 10

Next, we come to the battery. The Xperia XA has the smallest capacity at 2300 mAh, followed by the X with 2620 mAh, and then the XP with 2700 mAh. While these are all smaller capacities than we saw in the 5.2″ Xperia Z5, they do need to power a smaller display, not to mention the wizardry that Sony always manages with their smartphones (S810 devices excepting).

What’s new is that Sony is now using Qnovo’s Adaptive Charging technology to extend the life of your battery. Qnovo’s QNS adaptive charging software measures the battery health in real-time and continuously adjusts the charging current. This results in a battery lifespan that is twice as long – in practice, this means around 800 charge cycles before the battery loses capacity versus 300-500 currently according to Forbes.

Launch date and Pricing

The four colours of the Xperia X series
The four colours of the Xperia X series

Sony has announced that we’re only going to be able to get our hands on the X series in June, which is really far away and makes us ask why they would reveal the device this far in advance. It will be available in four colours — White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold and Rose Gold — and be available in both single SIM and dual SIM variants. No word on pricing as of yet, however.

The Z series is getting replaced

The Xperia Z5
The Xperia Z5

As I have been noting above, the XA, X and X Performance devices are devices that are very similar to existing options. To let all these devices exist alongside each other would be an extremely foolish decision, for it will almost certainly end up confusing the average consumer. It is probably for this reason that Sony has decided to axe the Z series in favour for the X.

In the aftermath of the launch, Sony’s Germany arm confirmed on their Facebook page that the X series will be replacing the Z series.

Facebook

However, this was directly contradicted by Sony’s PR team who tweeted the following after the Xperia X line’s launch.

Finally though, Sony Mobile executive Jun Makino and Sony Mobile themselves released statements confirming the demise of the Z series to end any further debate. It’s official, the Z6 is no more.

The Xperia Z line has reached its culmination – Xperia X series represents a new chapter and evolution of our product strategy.

– Sony Mobile

So, with this cleared up, will you be getting an Xperia X device, or will opt for another?

Well, you have until June to think about, and as we wait let’s hope Sony gets around to clarifying this situation in the interim. Meanwhile, have a look at an introductory video that explains what the X series is about.

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