Sony Xperia X review

Alex Kidman 2 August 2016 NEWS

Quick Verdict
There’s nothing "wrong" with the Xperia X, but we’d want more for our money than the Xperia X can deliver.

Strengths

  • Clean design
  • Good battery life
  • Integrated side fingerprint scanner
  • Good camera optics

Could be better

  • No waterproofing
  • Performance isn’t its strong suit
  • Front-mounted NFC
  • Not quite mid-range pricing


Sony’s Xperia X has good battery life, but it needs more to really stand out in the crowded midrange Android space.

The Sony Xperia X is the difficult "middle child" of Sony’s Xperia X series. It’s not quite as premium, or as premium-priced as the Sony Xperia X Performance, but it’s not quite as budget-friendly as the Xperia XA either. Priced at $899, the Xperia X is meant to be the bedrock of the Xperia X family which essentially replaces the older Xperia Z family in Sony’s Android lineup. But does it live up to that billing?

Buy the Sony Xperia X

Buy the Sony Xperia X from Amazon AU

If you're after a mid-range handset with strong battery life, Sony's Xperia X has you covered.

View details
Sony Xperia X
Screen size 5in
Storage 32GB
Weight 153g
Processor Snapdragon 650
Rear camera 23MP
Front camera 13MP
Battery 2620mAh
Resolution 1920x1080
Display density 440ppi

XperiaX_FP_450

Upsides: Why you’d want the Sony Xperia X

  • Clean design: The Xperia X isn’t quite the looker that the Xperia X Performance is, but it’s equally not quite as cheap-looking as the Xperia XA. The design is smooth although some of the colour choices are, depending on your tastes, questionable. More on that below.
  • Good battery life: We were notably disappointed in the battery life of the Xperia X Performance, but the slight step down in processors has made the Xperia X a true contender in this space. Anecdotally it’s easy to get a day’s worth of battery life out of it, and in the Geekbench 3 battery test, with screen dimming enabled the Xperia X shines:
    Handset Geekbench 3 Battery Test Duration Geekbench 3 Battery Score
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 11:55:00 7150
    Huawei Mate 8 11:14:40 6659
    Sony Xperia X 10:40:40 6406
    Samsung Galaxy S7 10:01:20 6013
    Samsung Galaxy Note 5 9:18:00 5580
    Huawei P9 8:26:30 4948
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 8:24:10 5041
    Apple iPhone 6S Plus 7:48:10 4681
    LG G5 7:36:10 4561
    iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case 7:21:10 4407
    HTC 10 6:54:30 4145
    Sony Xperia X Performance 6:46:51 4068
    Google Nexus 6P 6:39:20 3754
  • Integrated side fingerprint scanner: Sony continues its trend of side-mounted fingerprint scanners. It’s a really sensible spot for a fingerprint scanner for verification and unlocking purposes, and it works well on the Xperia X.
  • Good camera optics: Sony makes the vast majority of camera optics for smartphones you’re likely to buy, excluding a few outliers such as the Huawei P9. It shouldn’t be a shock then that it saves the good stuff for its own phones. The Xperia X’s autofocus is fast, and the inclusion of a dedicated shutter button makes it easier to eliminate camera shake while taking shots.

XperiaX_Front_450

Downsides: Why you might not want the Sony Xperia X

  • No waterproofing: Waterproofing was a feature of the Z series phones, but in 2016 Sony’s decided it’s a feature that you’ll only find in the Xperia X performance.
  • Performance isn’t its strong suit: The Snapdragon 650 processor in the Xperia X is a step below the Snapdragon 820 found in the Xperia X Performance, and that’s fair enough; the Xperia X Performance is meant to be the pinnacle of Sony’s flagship range. The issue is that, for an $899 smartphone, the Xperia X just isn’t that nippy. We hit instances of application lag in real life, and this was backed up by the Xperia X’s benchmark performance in Geekbench 3:
    Handset Geekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better) Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better)
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 2169 6446
    Huawei P9 1736 6357
    Samsung Galaxy S7 2156 6240
    Huawei Mate 8 1738 6092
    LG G5 2305 5243
    Sony Xperia X Performance 1988 5198
    Sony Xperia Z5 2076 5165
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 1492 4893
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 1324 4626
    Google Nexus 6P 1251 4597
    Samsung Galaxy S6 1347 4569
    HTC One X9 892 4558
    Apple iPhone SE 2538 4455
    Apple iPhone 6S 2540 4410
    Apple iPhone 6S Plus 2491 4391
    HTC 10 1942 4191
    Sony Xperia Z5 1358 4134
    Samsung Galaxy Note 5 1111 3686
    Sony Xperia X 1452 3499

    The Xperia Z5 – last year’s phone – outpaces the Xperia X, and that’s not a good thing.

    The same issue is present in gaming benchmarks, with the Xperia X being outperformed, often by quite a margin, by the rest of the premium or high mid-range smartphone pack:

    Handset 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Result
    LG G5 29597
    Apple iPhone SE 29276
    Samsung Galaxy S7 28903
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 28402
    Apple iPhone 6s 28171
    HTC 10 27392
    Sony Xperia X Performance 26125
    Google Nexus 6P 24703
    Sony Xperia Z5 19197
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus 17981
    Huawei Mate 8 17947
    HTC One X9 16877
    Sony Xperia X 16648
  • Front-mounted NFC: Like the Xperia X Performance and Xperia XA, Sony's opted to put the NFC chip on the front of the Xperia X. It points this out with a sticker, so you can't miss that it's there, but the problem with this is that for contactless payments such as Android Pay, it means you can't see the screen when you make a payment.
  • Not quite mid-range pricing: The Xperia X sits between the Xperia X Performance and the Xperia XA, but its pricing suggests a much stronger lean towards the performance side of the equation. That’s a hard sell at this particular price point. Many of the competing flagships can be had outright at these kinds of prices, offering superior performance than the Xperia X can afford.

XperiaX_Back_450

Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?

Sony has tried for a three tier strategy for the Xperia X series, with the Xperia XA as the budget alternative and the Xperia X Performance as the true "premium" phone. Unfortunately for the Xperia X that really does make it the difficult middle child, especially considering that $899 price tag. That kind of money could relatively easily pick you up the LG G5, HTC 10 or even appreciably close to the excellent Samsung Galaxy S7 if you can find a good deal.

There’s nothing hugely "wrong" with the Xperia X, but at $899 we’d want more for our money than the Xperia X can deliver. Sony’s nicely evolved its visual design processes with the X series phones, but beyond looking nice in the hand there just isn’t enough there in day to day use to get excited about.

Where can I get it?

Sony sells the Xperia X through its online store. You can also find it at a variety of other online retailers like Kogan and amaysim.


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