Sony Xperia X Review
After three years of leading the company’s high-end smartphone lineup, Sony has finally discontinued the Xperia Z series. It marked the end of an era but also paved way for the arrival of new family – the Xperia X. Representing its mid-range department is the Xperia X with a Snapdragon 650 CPU, 3GB RAM, fingerprint scanner, and Android Marshmallow.
Design and Construction
The Xperia X sports a different build compared to the Xperia Z smartphones that came before it. Instead of the usual glass back, it now has a metal body that is almost unibody. It’s not a bad thing as it enforces that premium feel and you don’t have to worry about another glass panel breaking in case you dropped it.
Up front is a 5-inch display with Full HD resolution. Above it are the earpiece/loudspeaker with the notifications light behind it, 13MP camera, and light sensor. Down below is the loudspeaker. Mounted on top of it is a scratch-resistant glass curved edges.
On the left is a flap that reveals the hybrid-SIM (nano) slot tray. Situated on the right are the power/lock button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner, volume keys, and the dedicated two-stage camera button.
Up top are the headset jack and microphone, while down below are the microUSB port and microphone.
Looking at its back, you’ll see the 23MP PDAF camera, LED flash, and Xperia branding.
On hand, the Xperia X feels very premium for a mid-ranger. The curved metal frame matches the curved edges of the glass for that seamless feel. It’s cool to the touch while the matte finish makes it less slippery on the hands and resistant to smudges and fingerprints. As for water- and dust-proofing, sad to say the Xperia X doesn’t have it.
Design-wise, the Xperia X has some noticeable differences compared to the Xperia Z. However, the changes felt like tweaks rather than improvements. If you put it beside the Xperia Z family, particularly the Xperia Z3, it would definitely feel at home.
Display and Multimedia
Sony went for a 5-inch screen-size on the Xperia X. A different approach from a the usual 5.2-inch in older Xperias. It might look like a minor downgrade but choosing a smaller screen size makes up for a more compact device. Another pro here is the display quality. With 441ppi up its sleeve coupled with Triluminos display tech and X-Reality engine, and you’re carrying one of the nicest display’s around – rich and vibrant colors, nice contrast, and good viewing angles. The only downside here is the lack of Gorilla Glass protection which is now common to devices of this price range.
Sony has always marketed their smartphones for multimedia consumption, that said, the Xperia X features good front-facing loudspeakers that is capable of producing loud and crisp sounds with stereo effect. It’s not going to replace your trusty external Bluetooth speaker but it’s a joy to use if you’re into watching YouTube videos without a headset on.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software department is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with some tweaks from Sony. Icon design remains the same and uses the old but trusty app drawer.
Out of the box, it comes pre-installed with Spotify, AVG Protection, and SwiftKey Keyboard. The rest are Google apps and Sony’s own like Lifelog, Movie Creator, Sketch, and TrackID.
Storage-wise, the Xperia X has plenty at 64GB. Less the system apps and you’re left with around 45GB of usable space which is still ample. You can further expand it via microSD using the second SIM slot or via USB OTG if you prefer.
Sony has been known to put cameras with large megapixel count in their smartphones especially for high-end ones. The Xperia X is no exception with its 23MP shooter with Phase-Detect autofocus. It’s quick especially in bright conditions and can hold its own in dim environments, although we noticed that it struggles when it comes to shooting macros.
Colors are good especially when it comes to reds, greens and blues, and has decent contrast and sharpness. The 13MP front camera on the other hand has autofocus and wide-angle lens. Quality is good but a bit on the soft side. Take a look at the samples below.
In-camera features are plenty as well as comes pre-installed with apps such as AR effect, Sound Photo, Style Portrait, Creative effect, Sticker creator, Face in Picture, Sweep Panorama, and Timeshift video. There’s also a manual mode if you want more control.
As for video recording, you’re limited to Full HD video recording up to 60fps. Like with the images, it has good quality with sharp details. Watch sample below:
Performance and Benchmarks
Doing the heavy lifting is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core CPU clocked at 1.8GHz, Adreno 510 GPU, and 3GB RAM. It’s not flagship specs but it’s more than enough to keep things running smoothly for the Xperia X. Animations and transitions are smooth, apps launch fast, and can handle a handful of backround running apps. Gaming-wise, it managed to breeze through Asphalt 8 with no lags or crashes. There’s some slight warming on the upper mid part but not to much to be uncomfortable.
Check out the benchmarks below:
* AnTuTu – 73,243
* Quadrant Standard – 30,028
* Vellamo – 2,541 (Multicore), 2,394 (Metal), 4,832 (Chrome)
* 3D Mark – 862 (Sling Shot using ES 3.1)
Connectivity and Call Quality
Connectivity-wise, the Xperia X got everything covered with dual-SIM support (hybrid), 4G LTE Cat.6, WiFI, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, FM Radio, and a fingerprint scanner. Speaking of the fingerprint scanner, the placement is a bit awkward since it’s placed at the right-hand side instead of the rear or front like most devices. You can easily unlock it with your thumb by holding it with your right hand but might take some getting used to.
As for calls, quality is good as we can hear and be heard clearly even when in a noisy environment. Like with mobile data, just make sure you’re in an area with healthy coverage.
Providing power for the Xperia X is a 2,620mAh battery which should raise a few eyebrows. Considering its positioning and asking price, it would have been more enticing if it had at least 3,000mAh. However, when we tested its longevity using PC Mark, it was rated at 11 hours and 42 minutes which is good.
On our video loop test (Airplane mode, 1080p video on loop, headset plugged in, 50% brightness and volume) it was able to last for 10 hours and 38 minutes which is still above average. And with our time with it mostly on WiFi, heavy social media app usage, and light to mid-heavy use of the camera, we were able to make it last for 8 to 9 hours.
If you want to squeeze every bit of juice from the Xperia X, you can use its power saving features, namely Stamina mode, and Ultra Stamina mode. With all that said, the Xperia X has good battery management despite the sub-3k mAh battery.
If you look at the specs, the Xperia X is a top-notch mid-ranger with features found on flagships – premium build, nice design, capable CPU with plenty of RAM and storage, fast LTE, fingerprint scanner, great display quality, and capable camera. However, when you look at its asking price, that’s where things get a bit ugly. At Php29,990 it’s on the expensive side, considering that it doesn’t have water-proofing, 4K video recording, or larger battery. This aspect also makes it vulnerable to competitors that pack the same, if not better, specs at a lower cost. You can read our Top Smartphones Under Php30K (Mid-2016) article here. To conclude, the Xperia X is a good upper mid-range phone, it’s just not priced competitively.
Sony Xperia X specs:
5.0-inch Full HD Triluminos display, 441ppi
1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core CPU
Adreno 510 GPU
64GB internal storage
up to 256GB microSD
23MP PDAF rear camera w/ LED flash
13MP front camera
4G LTE Cat.6
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, aptX, LE
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9 mm
White, Rose Gold, Lime Gold, Graphite Black
What we liked:
* Premium build
* Nice design
* Great display
* Good camera
* Above average battery life
* Starts at 64GB storage
What we dislike:
* No water- and dust-proofing
* No 4K video (but we might be nitpicking)
* Not competitively priced considering competitor’s offerings