With its large 21:9 screen, the Xperia 10 Plus promises a cinema-scale experience on the go.
It's becoming increasingly common for smartphone manufacturers to develop two versions of their phones these days: a regular model and a "Pro" or "Plus" model with a bigger screen and often more RAM or a faster processor. It's an approach designed to capture both the regular smartphone buyer as well as folks who want the biggest and best device money can buy.
Per its announcement at MWC 2019, Sony is joining in on this trend with its latest batch of Xperia smartphones. Alongside the Xperia 10, Sony revealed a souped-up Xperia 10 Plus that follows the standard "Plus" approach to a T: more screen, more RAM and a more powerful processor.
6.5-inch full HD display
21:9 aspect ratio
The Xperia 10 Plus doesn't stray too far from the design of its smaller sibling. It, too, boasts an ultra-tall 21:9 display, matching the aspect ratio used by modern filmmakers when producing movies for theatrical release. This, combined with the Xperia 10 Plus's larger 6.5-inch screen, makes the phone particularly well-suited to watching videos on the go or multi-tasking across different apps side by side.
However, that increased screen real estate does come at a cost. The Xperia 10 Plus measures in at an imposing 167mm tall, which is a whole lot of phone to handle. Bear this in mind if you've got smaller hands or you find your phone frequently slipping out of your pockets.
Sony is a company with decades of experience in the high-end audio space, and that experience informs the design of the Xperia 10 Plus. Along with support for high-resolution audio formats like FLAC and LPCM, the Xperia 10 Plus can use Sony's Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HX) technology to improve the quality of standard-resolution audio files like MP3s. While this doesn't magically cause MP3s to sound as good as their FLAC counterparts, it can have a noticeable effect on the clarity of a song.
With phones as large as the Xperia 10 Plus, it's all too easy for a minor bump or slip to cause serious damage to the fragile screen. It's fortunate, then, that Sony has armoured the Xperia 10 Plus in Corning's Gorilla Glass 5, protecting it against accidental falls and scratches.
Dual-lens 12MP/8MP rear camera
21:9 video recording
The camera is another area where the Xperia 10 Plus outperforms its smaller sibling. On its back, you'll find a dual-lens array consisting of a 12MP wide-angle lens and an 8MP depth-of-field lens for applying a Bokeh effect to your photos. While that wide-angle lens has a slightly lower resolution than the lens on the vanilla Xperia 10, it benefits from a finer f/1.75 aperture and Sony's Exmor RS image sensor.
However, what gives the Xperia 10 Plus a real leg up over its competitors is its ability to record video in 21:9. Shooting in 21:9 not only lets you fit more of the world into each scene, it lends your videos a cinematic quality particularly appealing to up-and-coming filmmakers. And for videos where the ultra-wide perspective doesn't make sense, the Xperia 10 Plus supports alternate aspect ratios including a 1:1 mode designed for sharing on social media.
Speaking of social media, the Xperia 10 Plus houses an 8MP front-facing camera with an 84-degree wide-angle lens for taking selfies. That wider lens makes it well-suited for group shots, too.
Snapdragon 636 is a solid mid-range processor
4GB of RAM is a nice improvement over the Xperia 10
Sony has packed quite a bit of extra power into the Xperia 10 Plus compared to the standard Xperia 10. The processor has seen an upgrade from Qualcomm's Snapdragon 630 chipset to Snapdragon 636 and the RAM has increased from 3GB to 4GB. Together, these improvements should make for a noticeably smoother experience on the Xperia 10 Plus, especially when multi-tasking.
For a rough idea of how the Xperia 10 Plus will perform, it's worth looking to the Nokia 7.1. Like the Xperia 10 Plus, the Nokia 7.1 runs on the Snapdragon 636 platform, though the Australian model only includes 3GB of RAM. Nevertheless, when we tested the Nokia 7.1 in our review, we found it delivered solid mid-range performance that measured up well against the competition. Specifically, it offered marked gains in both gaming and general app performance over the Nokia 6.1, a Snapdragon 630-powered handset that shares a lot in common with the regular Xperia 10.
Under typical use, this should ensure that the Xperia 10 Plus remains snappy and responsive. That 4GB of RAM should be especially beneficial when running multiple apps side by side on the Xperia 10 Plus's large screen, giving it a significant advantage over the stock Xperia 10 and its 3GB of RAM.
Support for fast-charging
Sony's smartphones aren't typically known for having power-packed batteries, and sadly the Xperia 10 Plus doesn't change this. Its 3,000mAh battery places it at the low end of modern smartphones, especially when compared to similarly large handsets from the likes of Samsung or Huawei.
That said, 3,000mAh is a notable increase from the 2,870mAh battery in the Xperia 10 which should offset the increased power drain from the Xperia 10 Plus's larger screen and faster processor.
Looking again to the similarly specced Nokia 7.1, we can get a good idea of the kind of battery life the Xperia 10 Plus should deliver. As we noted in our review of the Nokia 7.1, battery performance was decidedly average, sitting right in the middle of the pack compared to other mid-tier handsets. However, the Xperia 10 Plus has a significantly larger screen than the Nokia 7.1, which is likely to increase its power drain even further and result in lower-than-average battery life.
Once the Xperia 10 Plus's juice runs out, you can at least get back in action quickly thanks to its support for fast-charging via USB Power Delivery (USB PD).
Pricing and availability
The Sony Xperia 10 Plus will release internationally in April 2019
Sony has not provided an Australian release date or any pricing information yet
Matt Sayer is a writer for Finder, covering all things technology and telecommunications. Along with reporting on events like CES and Mobile World Congress, he has produced comprehensive guides for popular products like smart speakers and graphics cards. He has a Bachelor of Computer Science from RMIT University and is passionate about helping Aussies leverage technology to better their lives.
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