Sony Xperia X in-depth review - This X is a zzzz

Is it X or is it Z? When is an X not a Z? Look at the new lineup from Sony and you will realise there isn't really much difference between the two smartphone ranges... The X just looks like a ever-so-slightly tweaked and lower specced than the Z5... The design philosophy has remained unchanged from its previous iterations and apart from a few new colours the phone is available in, it is ultimately so similar to the previous ones that you would be hard pressed to tell them apart.

 Sony Xperia X Review - This X is a zzzz

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,5/27/2016 12:29:01 PM


out of 10



out of 5

Look and feel


out of 5

Ease of use


out of 5



out of 5

Battery life


Ergonomic design | Good sharp display |


Laggy | warms-up with regularity

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

 Sony Xperia X was launched alongside the Xperia XA and a host of accessories, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year. While the launch was still hot, rumours started circulating that the new X was just the Xperia Z6 that had been rebranded. Sony could neither confirm nor deny the rumours.  

I have used the phone for about three weeks now and found it easy to forget it is not a Z but an X. And I have to say, I liked using it more than I did any of the Zeds.


The best thing about the phone is that it is so grippable and easy to use one-handed. Also, Sony have done away with the glass back and the brushed aluminium does not pick up any prints. The phone is a flat rectangular slab and the edges rounded, giving it a very user-friendly profile. The fingerprint sensor is on the power button, sited on the right side of the phone and there is a dedicated camera shutter button further down its right profile. Bafflingly, the volume rocker is next to the camera button making it very difficult to adjust volume when you take a call on the phone.

 The phone is charged via a microUSB point and the SIM and microSD card are on the same tray at the top left of the phone while the camera lens and the flash are exactly where they have been on other Sony phones. 

The Xperia X is available in a choice of four colours and I am happy to say that as far as aesthetics go, Sony got them all right... Often a gold is more dung and a white so tacky that you want to shield it from your eyes, but the ones here are actually so covetable, you get a glimpse of the quality that they are able to produce.  

Processor and software 

It is a hexa-core Snapdragon 650 paired with 3GB of RAM that's on-board the Xperia X and while it is perfectly okay on paper, it struggles in practice. Try switching between the camera and back onto apps or try to play a game on your phone and you will realise what I mean. The lower-specced 650 means that the phone isn't as prone to over-heating as the Z5 or even the Z3 but it proves a major stumbling block in the success of this cautious handset.

It is frustrating to see a Sony handset do so badly, when you know what could have been. The fact that the Snapdragon 650 is critically underpowered for the level of multitasking that we do these days is a blow but when you put that together with the fact that it is almost £100 more than its similarly specced peer group, the mind boggles. 

Software-wise, it is Android 6.0 and it is supremely simple to delete the irrelevant apps that Sony have traditionally stuffed their phones with, and even though they have pared back the sheer number, there is still a fair few on there.

The Xperia X comes wth 32GB onboard and the user is able to expand the memory upto 200GB via a microSD card. 

Battery, display & audio aka media streaming on the Xperia X

The Xperia X does have a good battery but the battery software is very temperamental- not just incorrect estimates on how much longer the battery will last for but also ebbs and flows with scant reason. While video streaming, it lost 7 percent charge in 20 minutes over 4G which is an okay result but I would have expected better, especially because the size of the phone isn't massive.

Audio-wise, the Xperia X has high-res audio capabilites and given that Sony usually bundle an audio or video content with its phones- it guarantees an incredibly immersive experience while streaming because of the superior streaming quality.

While judging Shop Idol, I was told many times that the Sony phones have the same Bravia engine as is present in their tellies but seeing is believing and the pin-sharp screen with beautiful colour reproductions is one of the best. The 5-inch display, even though not the biggest, is incredible as it is Full HD and supremely vibrant with excellent viewing angles. Together with the brilliant audio capabilities, it makes for a great media consuming experience.


The primary camera is a 23-MP one while the front-facing one clocks in at 13-MP. There is no optical image stabilisation but Sony have made a massive song and dance about Predictive Hybrid Autofocus using which you can focus on a moving object and the focus will stay put even if the object moves away. In practice, it offered middling results. The pictures you take on it are neither as fantastic as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or Huawei P9 nor as fast as the iPhone 6S.

As we have come to expect from the Xperia X, the camera again disappoints. The auto focus works okay and in bright light, but the low light pictures come out grainy. If it is the camera quality you want to get the Xperia X for, I would ask you to train your eyes elsewhere, particularly the Huawei P9, which costs a similar amount but gives you incredible images. 

Sony Xperia X verdict

I will be honest- I really like the Xperia X. I love how it fits right into my hands, the fact that I can browse, text and chat one-handed. I also love how beautiful and premium it looks and the stunning screen. But that's where it stops, because it is a frightfully expensive phone, costing almost as much as the LG flagship G5. And even though the G5 is no beauty contest winner, it does have a top of the line processor, camera and display. 

Sony have been wise by trying to slip into the upper middle smartphone market, skirting the premium segment which is now being ruled by Samsung and Apple but it would have made more sense to have priced the Xperia X at about £100 lower.

Because at the end of the day, the X has a processor that is more than capable of day to day tasks but not the muscle to take on the heavies. It has a good camera but no optical image stabilisation and Sony's usual 2-day battery life but here it is a fickle beast. 

Fact of the matter is that while it is a fine phone, it cannot justify its price tag and with the range of phones available, am sure you will be tempted to look elsewhere.


Sony Xperia X Specifications


Price: £459

Operating System: Android 6

Dimensions: 143 x 69 x 7.7mm

Weight: 152g

Resolution: TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, X-Reality for mobile, Dynamic Contrast Enhancement

Display: 5-inch Full HD display with curved glass

Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 650, 64-bit Hexa-core processor

Camera: 23 MP camera with Predictive Hybrid Autofocus; 13 MP front camera for low-light selfies

Memory: Up to 32 GB flash memory* (Single SIM) and up to 64 GB flash memory* (Dual SIM): 3 GB RAM; Up to 200 GB microSD card

Battery: 2620 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Yes

Misc: Available in White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold, Rose Gold; LTE (4G)**/ LTE (4G) Cat 6 **; High-Resolution Audio