Sony Xperia X Review — Right Phone, Wrong Market

Intro

When Sony was rumoured to be announcing the Xperia X series, fans of had dared to raise their hopes a little. The Snapdragon 810 had relegated the previous two flagship devices to a decidedly far lower level than what we had seen before with the Xperia Z3, Z2 and Z1.

When the X series was actually announced, though, there was quite a bit of confusion and disappointment. We got three phones — the Xperia X Performance, the X, and the XA. After immense uncertainty, these phones were eventually revealed to be replacing the Xperia Z line entirely. While the logic had a sound basis — it would serve to consolidate Sony’s haphazard naming scheme (C, M, Z) — it ignored the fact that this would undo a lot of the hard work spent in building their flagship series’ reputation.

The Xperia X (left) and XA (right)
The Xperia X (left) and XA (right)

The Xperia X would be the mid-range device of the series, being powered by the Snapdragon 650, while the XP would be the flagship-tier with the 820 (but only a 1080p display and 3GB of RAM). This was not too bad — par for the course for Sony who make baffling decisions — but the clincher was yet to come.

The Xperia X, a mid-range device, costs more than the OnePlus 3, a flagship device
The Xperia X, a mid-range device, costs more than the OnePlus 3, a flagship device

The Xperia X would launch in Singapore with a starting price of S$848. Eight-hundred and forty-eight dollars. That, my friends, is LG G4 money. Flagship money. Pricier than the OnePlus 3, pricier than the Xiaomi Mi 5, pricier than even the Z5 Compact. Pricier than any other device with the mid-range Snapdragon 650. Just what does Sony see in this phone? Let’s see if we can find out.

Specifications

Display Full HD (1080p) IPS LCD, 2.5D Curved Glass
Processor (SoC) Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, Hexa-core (4 x 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 & 2 x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A72)

Adreno 510 GPU

Memory/Storage 3GB/32GB or 64GB with microSD expansion up to 256GB (hybrid second-SIM/micro-SD card slot)
Camera 23 MP (f/2.0), 1/2.3″ sensor size, phase detection autofocus, 1080p/60 FPS video

Front-facing 13 MP, f/2.0, 1080p/30 FPS video

Battery 2620 mAh, non-removable
Weight and dimensions 153g, 142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9 mm
Miscellaneous Dual-SIM hybrid slot, NFC

Pros:

  • Curved glass is fantastic to swipe on
  • Fingerprint sensor is faster than any other device, including the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6S
  • The S650 is a pretty capable chip — more powerful than the Z3’s S801
  • The device charges really fast

Cons:

  • ‘STAMINA’ mode isn’t really the old STAMINA mode
  • No waterproofing
  • No Gorilla or Dragontrail glass, leading to poor scratch and shatter protection
  • Slippery
  • Not value for money at all

In truth, given the S$848 price, I could go on quite a bit about the cons. It’s display is only 1080p, it only has 3GB of memory, its battery capacity is miniscule, etcetera etcetera. And I probably will, but I’ll try my best to humour Sony and treat it like it is priced like the mid-range device it actually is.

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