+ Good camera
- A tad expensive
+ Decent battery life
- Mid range processor
+ Speedy fingerprint scanner
- Somewhat dated design
The Sony Xperia X combines almost flagship specs with an almost flagship price to strong effect. It’s not the best phone around, but it is one of the best Sony ones.
Full review and specifications for the Sony Xperia X
The Sony Xperia X is a bit of an oddity. In the absence of the Sony Xperia Z6 it’s the closest thing to a flagship Sony’s got this year, other than the Xperia X Performance, which isn’t officially being launched in the UK.
Yet it falls slightly short of what’s being offered by the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and thankfully comes in at a slightly lower price too, though at £459 SIM free it’s still distinctly expensive.
So it occupies a weird middle ground, above the mid-range but not quite at the top end and seems an odd choice for Sony to release. But unusual isn’t always bad, so does the Sony Xperia X have the X factor needed to stand out?
The Sony Xperia X is obviously a Sony handset, as it has the same angular OmniBalance shape as most other handsets from the company.
But the materials have changed slightly, with the back being made from brushed aluminium rather than glass or plastic. That’s sure to please some people and ensures the phone feels premium, but it doesn’t do enough to fix what’s starting to feel like an increasingly dated design. Sony is certainly proud of it though, as you can see in the design video below.
Sadly, the Sony Xperia X also isn’t water resistant, despite the fact that the Xperia Z5 and many other handsets from the company are. That’s a major omission, especially now that it has competition from Samsung and the Galaxy S7 in the water-resistant stakes.
But the Xperia X is fairly slim at 7.9mm thick and while it looks overly familiar it’s ultimately a pleasant design that feels good in the hand.
While the design of the Xperia X is flagship worthy the screen isn’t quite, as it’s a 5.0-inch 1080 x 1920 display. But while that’s dwarfed by QHD rivals like the HTC 10 it’s actually in line with Sony’s last flagship – the Xperia Z5. It’s also still plenty sharp at 441 pixels per inch.
The screen is high quality too, with wide viewing angles and impressive contrast, so whether you’re gaming, watching a video or just using apps it’s a great experience. It can’t quite match the vibrant colours of the Samsung Galaxy S7, but despite the lower resolution it doesn’t feel overly lacking.
Where 2015’s flagships like the LG G5 have typically used the powerful Snapdragon 820 chip, the Sony Xperia X is stuck with the more mid-range Snapdragon 650.
That’s a shame and it holds it back from being a real rival for those phones, especially as the differences are noticeable in use, with the Xperia X feeling relatively lacking in speed.
It’s still a fairly nippy handset though, especially if you’re not using it for anything too demanding and even if you are it will get the job done, it just takes a while longer to load image-rich web pages and high-end games.
3GB of RAM certainly helps – that’s less than the flagship standard of 4GB, but more than the 2GB you typically see on mid-range handsets. The processor is quite fast too, despite being mid-range, with two cores running at 1.8GHz and the other four clocked at 1.4GHz.
The camera is one of the best things about the Sony Xperia X, as it’s exceedingly generous in the megapixel count. On the back you have a 23MP snapper, while round the front there’s a 13MP one.
To put that into perspective the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge for example has a 12MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing one.
Now, megapixels aren’t everything, especially once you get above around 12 and in fact the rear camera on the Xperia X isn’t up to the standard of the (more expensive) Galaxy S7 Edge.
But it’s still well above average, especially for the price, and helped along by phase detection autofocus, which allows it focus quickly and accurately. While the front-facing camera allows you to capture detailed selfies that put many other snappers to shame.
The Sony Xperia X runs Android Marshmallow, which is the latest version of Google’s operating system, but it’s not an unadulterated version, as Sony has stuck its own UI over the top.
But while Sony’s interfaces are often quite heavy in this case it’s stayed very close to stock Android, mostly just adding a few easily-ignorable apps, like a Movie Creator and Sketch app.
Key features include a fingerprint scanner, which is housed on the power button on the right edge and seems as fast as any other out there.
The Sony Xperia X also supports Hi-Res audio, so you can listen to music in top quality, if you have high enough quality files.
The Sony Xperia X has a 2620 mAh battery, which isn’t one of the biggest you’ll find in a phone, but given the relatively compact screen and middling specs of the Xperia X it should be big enough.
And indeed it is, it probably won’t quite last you the full two days Sony claims it can but you should easily get over a day out of it even with quite heavy use.
The Sony Xperia X comes with a choice of 32 or 64GB of built-in storage, which given that there’s also a microSD card slot gives you plenty of space to play with.
It supports Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC, which coupled with its fingerprint scanner makes it fully set up to make the most of Android Pay and other contactless payment options.
The Sony Xperia X isn’t quite the Sony Xperia Z6, but given that it undercuts many other flagships by around £100 it doesn’t need to be.
That’s still a high price and could be hard to justify when you can get something almost as good, like say a OnePlus 2, for a lot less, or something quite a lot better for not a huge amount more, but within the very narrow slot it fits into the Sony Xperia X is a strong phone, especially if you’re a fan of Sony in general or want to be able to take quality selfies or play Hi-Res audio on your handset.
With solid performance, a premium if dated design, strong battery life, a great camera and high-end features like a fingerprint scanner, the Sony Xperia X ticks most boxes, it just doesn’t quite excel at most of them.
Dimensions (mm): 142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9
Weight (g): 153
Battery capacity (mAh): 2620
Colours: White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold, Rose Gold
Screen size (inches): 5.0
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixels per inch (PPI): 441
Processor: 1.8GHz hexa-core
Processor make: Snapdragon 650
Internal storage: 32/64GB
Expandable storage up to (GB): 256GB
Camera: 23-megapixel and 13-megapixel
Operating System: Android Marshmallow
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