The Xperia TX carries a lot of prestige as Sony’s latest flagship for the Asian market. It is a thing of beauty with specs to back it up. But does it have enough to take our eyes away from its competition? Let’s find out by reading our full review after the break.
Design and Build
Let’s start with the obvious. The front of the device is dominated by a 4.55-inch display. Above the display is the Sony logo, earpiece, front-facing camera, light sensor and notifications light. Unlike its other Xperia cousins, there are no capacitive buttons below the display, just the Xperia logo.
Right on top is the headset jack. At the bottom is the microphone. On the left side is the power/lock button and provision for a lanyard. On the right side is the microUSB port, volume rocker and a dedicated camera button. Flip it on its back and you’ll find in alignment the 13 megapixel camera, LED flash, microphone, Xperia icon and logo, and the speaker.
It is also worth noting that the buttons on the TX have a metallic finish so it doesn’t feel cheap or plasticky. It has a rectangular body with the surrounding bezel made of glossy plastic while sandwiched in the middle is a chrome strip that adds grip to the device. The curved backside is made of plastic but also has a metallic finish to it.
Overall, the TX is another proof that Sony really knows how to design an attractive device. It is thin, light and beautifully crafted.
The Xperia TX has a 4.55-inch display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 which calculates to a pixel density of 323 ppi. Mounted on top of it is a scratch-resistant glass which Sony claims to be shatterproof. The icons and texts are crisp and clear while the images and videos are sharp and vibrant thanks to the Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine. Viewing angles are great and has outstanding legibility even under direct sunlight.
The screen is very responsive and responds quickly to all of our touches. However, it still needs to improve on accuracy. When scrolling vertically or horizontally, the display often mistakes the swipe as an intended tap. This can be frustrating especially when browsing social media feeds or settings.
OS, UI and Apps
The TX runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box with Sony’s UI on top. There’s Facebook and Twitter integration that works great with Timescape. And like its Xperia cousins, you can change themes to suit your preference. Other than that you still get the usual five different home screens and three static soft keys (Return, Home and Recent) at the bottom of the display for navigating the UI. Tapping on the app drawer pulls out a 4 x 5 grid of apps.
The essential Google apps are present such as Gmail, GTalk, Google Search and YouTube. Chrome is not pre-installed so you might want to visit Google’s Play Store for that. Sony’s own apps are also present like Wisepilot, PlayNow, Xperia Link, Smart Connect and Timescape. If you want to discover Sony-recommended apps you can take a look at Sony Select. Other apps that come pre-installed are Office Suite, AASTOCKS, Neo Reader, Windows Live Messenger and ASTRO File Manager.
Overall, even with the touch inaccuracies the UI experience is still amazing. The Sony UI skin is one of the best out there. Animations and transitions are smooth and feels natural.
Camera and Multimedia
Sony didn’t hold back on the Xperia TX’s camera and equipped it with a 13 megapixel shooter. It supports seven different scenes, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection and sweep panorama. Because of the Mobile BRAVIA Engine, shots taken by the TX may appear vibrant and crisp when viewed on the device itself but view it on a computer monitor and you’ll notice that some of the images appear washed-out. Still, it managed to produce quality photos with great detail. Take a look at the sample shots below:
As for the video recording capabilities, the TX can record videos up to 1080p at 30fps. It has continuous autofocus, video light and video stabilizer. Watch the sample video below in 1080p:
For its multimedia capabilities, it is apparent that Sony made sure that multimedia features on the Xperia TX stand out. Its music player is now replaced with WALKMAN. It has eight Equaliser presets, Visualiser, and the ability to edit and add media information with the help of Gracenote.
For movie playback, the TX arranges your movie files in a very neat catalog. Gracenote is also present to add information to your movies like a movie poster and synopsis. It even plays a snippet of the last movie you played and where you last left it.
As for sound quality, sound coming from the TX is loud and clear but really low on bass. And since the speaker is located almost at the bottom part of the device at the back there is a tendency that it will get muffled when held by your hands or placed on a soft surface. But place the TX on a hard, flat surface like a table, and the speaker works great. And because of the TX’s curved backside, it creates an arch that amplifies the sound.
Performance and Battery life
The Xperia TX has a 1.5GHz dual-core engine under the hood. To some that is a bit of a downer since the competition are now equipping themselves with quad-core processors. But in terms of performance the dual-core processor, backed up by 1GB of RAM, is just enough for the TX to do its tasks properly. Lags still exist of course, but not to the point that it becomes an annoyance. We were able to play Angry Birds Star Wars, Dead Trigger and Shadow Gun: DeadZone with ease.
On benchmark results, the TX scored 8,198 on AnTuTu, beating the Samsung Galaxy Note. On Quadrant Standard, it took the top spot, beating the ICS-running HTC One X. While NenaMark2 gauged Adreno 225 GPU at 59fps.
Battery life on the TX is good. The 1750mAh battery allowed almost two days of use with constant WiFi browsing, texting and calling. Use 3G internet instead of WiFi and you’ll end up with less than a day of juice. Crank up your use with gaming and movie playing and the battery will dry out in four hours.
The Xperia TX is a good combination of aesthetics and performance. However, it would have been nice if Sony bumped up the processor and ironed out the inaccuracies in the UI. For that I’m expecting the Jellybean update (which will arrive next year) to deliver the much needed software improvements.
So, did the Sony Xperia TX take our eyes away from the competition? Yes, but after a while you’ll start considering better options like those with better specs. All in all the TX is great smartphone with an impressive set of hardware given its dual-core status. If you like the design and you don’t mind the processing power, I’d definitely recommend it.
Sony Xperia TX (LT29i) specs:
4.55-inch display @ 720p resolution
Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine
Qualcomm MSM8260A Snapdragon S4 Krait 1.5GHz dual-core
Adreno 225 GPU
16GB internal storage
up to 32 GB via microSD
HSPA+ 42.2 Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, Hotspot
Bluetooth 3.1 A2DP
FM radio tuner
GPS with aGPS support, GLONASS
13MP rear camera, LED flash
1080p video recording
1.3MP front-facing camera, 720p video
1,750mAh Li-Ion battery (removable)
Android 4.0.4 ICS
131 x 68.6 x 8.6 mm
What we liked about it:
* Great design and build
* Good camera
* Great display
* Nice multimedia features
* Good battery life
What we didn’t like about it:
* Touch inaccuracies
* Slow update roll out