Phones

Sony Xperia X: A tad pricey

The Sony Xperia X is a solid piece of work and the phone's design is also pleasing.
The Sony Xperia X is a solid piece of work and the phone's design is also pleasing.PHOTO: SONY
The Sony Xperia X is a solid piece of work and the phone's design is also pleasing.
The Sony Xperia X is a solid piece of work and the phone's design is also pleasing.PHOTO: SONY

It sits between the mid-range and the high-end

The Sony Xperia X is the flagship phone of Sony's refreshed Xperia range and successor to the Xperia Z5. It was first announced at the Mobile World Congress in February this year, and launched here last week. The phone is a solid piece of work, with a responsive camera, good storage and a distinctive aesthetic.

But at $848, it also feels overpriced. That price tag puts it in a tricky spot - it is not cheap enough to qualify as a mid-range phone, but it does not have the specs of a truly high-end device.

The Xperia X does have some nice numbers on its spec sheet. It comes with 64GB of internal memory, which is great for storing media, and 3GB of RAM.

It also has a hybrid SIM tray, with a second slot that can hold either a second SIM card or a microSD card (of up to 200GB).

The phone's design is also pleasing, with Sony's signature boxy lines and a 2.5D glass front, plus a fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button on the right edge of the phone.

However, despite all that, the Sony Xperia X does not feel like it warrants an $848 price tag.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $848

    PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 650

    DISPLAY: 5-inch Full HD 1080p

    CAMERA: 23-megapixel, 1/2.3" sensor, F2.0 and 24mm lens (rear); 13-megapixel, 1/3" sensor, 22mm lens (front)

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.0

    MEMORY: 64GB storage and 3GB RAM

    BATTERY: Non-removable 2,620mAh

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

It is running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor, which is firmly mid-range. A comparable chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 can be found in the Oppo R9 Plus ($769), and the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) which retails for US$480 (S$642).

Instead of metal, the back and edges of the phone are made of polycarbonate, which does not have a very premium feel.

The battery life of the phone is on the low side of average, with a 2,620mAh capacity battery. This is lower than last year's Xperia Z5, which shipped with a 2,900 mAh battery. With regular use, I found that the battery was completely drained by evening.

The Xperia X's 23-megapixel rear camera is fast, with the lag between pressing the Quick Launch button and snapping a shot a mere 0.6sec. This makes it great for capturing shots in the moment.

Sony's predictive hybrid autofocus is also great, and can track and capture moving objects well.

However, I found that the camera does not have great dynamic range. It does well when there is an even amount of light, even in low light conditions. But where there is a great contrast in lighting, it struggles, even when manually setting an area to focus on.

For instance, I used the camera to take pictures of people under a spotlight, and their faces kept looking washed out, no matter how I focused. The same happened when I took a picture of a sunset at the beach. Instead of capturing the texture of the sky, I got a homogeneous bright patch.

•Verdict: The Sony Xperia X feels like a mid-range phone with a high-end price.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'Sony Xperia X: A tad pricey'. Print Edition | Subscribe