Review: Sony Xperia X

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Sony Xperia X (9)

Sony have being doing a lot the past years with their 6 month release cycle on new flagship devices, and while their offerings included excellent specs, with fantastic cameras and elegant designs, it just seems with each new device bringing only incremental updates, they weren’t really able to showcase anything new or worthy of an upgrade over the previous device.

This year Sony have decided to pull back a little and are launching a new line-up of devices under the X series. The series is there new flagship line up, but are aimed at providing decent specs, with a solid design. At least, that’s the impression these devices give, if nothing else.

Today we’re taking a look at the Xperia X, which lies just under the Xperia X Performance. It shares some similar specs and design, so let’s take a look at them below.

  • Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)
  • Display: 5″ Triluminos display, 1080p resolution (441ppi)
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 650 (2x A72 + 4x A53 cores); 3GB of RAM
  • Memory: 32GB, expandable with microSD cards
  • Rear Camera: 23MP/2160p with 1/2.3″ sensor, f/2.0, Predictive Hybrid AF
  • Front Camera: 13MP camera
  • Networking: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, standard microUSB 2.0 port, GPS receiver, 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Modem:
  • Dimensions:  142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9 mm
  • Battery: 2,620mAh

 

First thing we must note is the lack of any IP rating for water proofing/resistance. Sadly this is a shock because that has been apart of Sony’s design focus for a lot longer than the other big companies out there. While the Xperia X performance does still include it, the Xperia X itself doesn’t feature it.

The other specs are pretty solid, with the camera being a pretty beefy offering at 23MP with a 1/2.3″ sensor and f/2.0 sensor. The chipset isn’t Qualcomms fastest, but shouldn’t have any problems providing a solid performance, so will take a closer look at the benchmarks later. For now, let’s take a closer look at the phone itself.

The Xperia X

Sony Xperia X (5)

 

Sony Xperia X (4) Sony Xperia X (2)

We can still see the past few years of Sony design sticking around. The Xperia X features a uniformed design with smooth corners with a metal housing.

Sony Xperia X (6)

 

Sony Xperia X (3) Sony Xperia X (1)

The right side has the MicroSD and NanoSIM slot, and the left side has the power button, volume rocker, and camera button. The power button also features the fingerprint sensor, which works extremely well and responses quickly.

Sony Xperia X (8)

Phone UI

Sony haven’t changed much with regards to their UI, and thankfully like previous devices, it’s fairly straight forward and pretty close to vanilla Android. While some changes are welcome, we’re actually happy to see the rather vanilla UI that offers easy navigation and smooth performance.

Sony Xperia X UI (1)  Sony Xperia X UI (4) Sony Xperia X UI (3)

Sony Xperia X UI (6) Sony Xperia X UI (2) Sony Xperia X UI (5)

Camera UI

Sony Xperia X Camera UI (1)

Sony Xperia X Camera UI (3) Sony Xperia X Camera UI (4)

Sony Xperia X Camera UI (5)

The camera UI has been updated a good bit, and now Sony are making swipe navigation the main aspect for changing modes. Simple swipe up or down to change modes. Shooting Photo or Video does require a mode change and settings are different depending on the current mode your using. Sadly that requires a bit of effort each time you launch the app.

sony-xperia-x-camera-ui

The app itself can also be a bit laggy sometimes and most likely suffers from the less than stellar chipset used. Device temperature also caused some issues at times with the camera shutting down certain features and in some case the camera itself when the device became too hot.

While manual mode is available, most shots will be taking using the Auto mode, so below are photos taken using the phones Auto mode with the resolution set at 23MP.

Photos

The Xperia X includes a 23MP camera with pretty solid features like HDR and Stabilisation. Since the Auto mode doesn’t give control over HDR being on or off, everything is left up to the phone to decide. Below are just a few images we took using the camera.

Sony Xperia X Photo (1) Sony Xperia X Photo (4)
Sony Xperia X Photo (8) Sony Xperia X Photo (7)
Sony Xperia X Photo (2) Sony Xperia X Photo (6)
Sony Xperia X Photo (3) Sony Xperia X Photo (9)

Videos

Now it’s time to look at some videos taken with the Sony Xperia X. The device does not support 4K video, but does do 1080p at both 30 and 60fps. We also turned stability on and off during the 1080p@30fps to give you an idea of how it looks with and without it.

1080p@30fps

1080p@60fps

Benchmarks

Now it’s time to check out the performance numbers of the Xperia X and see what kind of speed the phone has to offer. Below are all the popular benchmarks currently available and each gives numerical figure for just how well the device performs. So let’s check them out.

3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited 17929
Antutu 6 77942
Geekbench 3 Single-Core 1512
Geekbench 3 Multi-Core 3918
Vellamo Metal 2442
Vellamo Multicore 2411
Vellamo Browser (Chrome) 5111
PC Mark 6057

The numbers above show the device performing pretty well. Intensive tasks are likely to take a toll on the device at times, but overall things should run pretty smooth.

Most of the UI itself was very smooth, but like we mentioned above we did notice some issues when using the camera app, with bits of lag and issues taking photos or recording video, as where performance was clearly an issue. We also noticed a few times where the camera app itself would shutdown after warning use the device was getting too hot.

Battery life

Battery life is one of the more important features of any smartphone. While the size of the battery is a huge factor here, other hardware and even software play a big roll in keeping things going for as long as possible.

Below is our battery test with our usage aimed at medium-high.

Phone Calls20-30 Minutes
Text message/Chat/EmailsThroughout the day(checking) and 20-30 sent
Photos10-20
Video recording20-30 Minutes
Internet browsingThroughout the day(around 30-40 minutes total)
Gaming30 Minutes
YouTube/Netflix30-40 Minutes
ConnectivityWiFi and 4G; mostly 4G
Screen Brightness50-percent

While we would have liked to have gotten more out of the device. Overall we were left with 24-percent out of our 12 hour period of usage. We have definitely seen better from a lot of devices, and sure enough like always some small tweaks to brightness and others could go a long way to increasing the usage of the device.

Conclusion

It’s time to wrap up our review on the Sony Xperia X and give our final opinion on the device and the direction Sony have taken with their latest series.

Design

Design has been a pretty consistent factor with Sony, as throughout the years we have only seen subtle changes made with every new device. That being said, were happy to see Sony make improvements.

The Xperia X features a mostly metal housing with glass panel on the front. The design is elegant, but not so much unique. It’s a very comfortable device to hold and doesn’t feel as large as the display actually is, which is great. The metal back does increase the notice of how hot the device can get when using the camera or doing something that requires a lot of performance.

Display

The included 1080p IPS doesn’t jump out on paper and honestly doesn’t swipe away their previous devices, which also had similar quality displays. That’s not to say the display is a negative, but not an upgrade or improvement either. The quality and colour reproduction is great and we can’t imagine anyone thinking otherwise.

Camera

Camera technology is definitely one of Sony’s strong suits, and we can safely say the included 23MP offers amazing photos and great video quality with stabilisation and HDR photos. Sadly, the only negative is the Camera app, which can be a little tricky to navigate and doesn’t give you a lot of options when not using complete manual mode. Due to the lack lustre chipset, we also got a good dose of lag and slow downs when using the camera.

Performance

The Xperia X doesn’t include the top level Snapdragon 820 chipset like it’s brother the Xperia X Performance. There were some noticeable times that the lesser chipset needing some time to perform tasks, and the camera definitely takes its toll on it. Heat is also a concern with the device even warning about temperature being an issue at times (mostly in the camera) and shutting down features to keep it cool enough, or drastically shutting down the camera altogether.

Most of the phone was a smooth experience, but overall some issues will be noticeable with the lack of a more performance chipset.

Battery life was decent, but nothing better that what we have seen before and there will be times where you need to implement some of the included battery optimisation features, which do actually work well to give you longer battery, but also lessen the functionality of the device, but such is battery saving.

Overall

Sony’s has been pushing out new devices consistently over the past few years, but each new device hasn’t succeeded in bringing anything substantial to the market over their predecessors or competition. The benefit of a six month release cycle remains to be seen.

While the Xperia X is a solid device, it still doesn’t offer anything new compared to previous Sony smartphones. The design is a step up, but only in a small way, and is negated by the lack of any form of water/dust resistance, which is sad because Sony did it best for years.

We feel the Xperia X has a slight identity crisis and has trouble justifying its existence. Sony didn’t include anything new, but in fact removed some important features, and sadly not in an effort to bring the Xperia X into a mid-range price market, but more to offer a slightly cheaper and stripped down alternative to the Xperia X Performance, which does include higher performance and water resistance.

The Xperia X comes across as an okay enough device, but is mostly a cheaper alternative and probably aimed at making the more expensive Xperia X Performance look better. Ultimately there is no real reason for the Xperia X to exist, or at least not at the current price tag. Sony’s previous Xperia Z devices in some cases come across as a much better deal, and still include water resistance and fantastic cameras, negating the need for the Xperia X altogether.

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