BARCELONA: WE WEREN'T EXPECTING Sony to announce any smartphones at MWC this year, but the firm surprised us with the launch of the Xperia X series comprising the Xperia X, Xperia XA and Xperia X Performance.
The Xperia X appears on first impressions to be a mid-range phone with its Snapdragon 650 chip and Full HD display, but Sony told us that the handset is the premium sibling to the lesser-specced Xperia XA and comes with the firm's best mobile camera sensor to date.
Many will have hoped to see the mooted Sony Xperia Z6 instead, but the firm has hinted that the X series will replace the current Z-branded line-up.
Like most Xperia smartphones, the Xperia X is a premium-feeling piece of kit. The smooth metal exterior doesn't look quite as special as the glass-encased Xperia Z line-up, but the brushed aluminium case makes for an expensive-looking and feeling device. It comes with Sony's side-facing fingerprint scanner, and will be one of the quickest out there if it's anything like that on the Xperia Z series.
It's by no means the thinnest of smartphones at 7.9mm, but this chunkiness gives the handset a satisfyingly robust feel in the hand, as if it could withstand a tumble or two.
The Xperia X has a 5in 1080x1920 display which seems somewhat lacking compared with the QHD screens on the newly announced LG G5 and Galaxy S7, and in particular when pitted against Sony's own 4K-screen Xperia Z5 Premium.
Still, this Full HD screen will keep the price down, and proved more than capable under the harsh MWC show floor lights. Everything looked plenty sharp enough thanks to the display's compact size, and Sony's Triluminous display technology makes sure colours and blacks pack a punch.
Software and performance
The Xperia X is powered by Google's Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, not that you'd know it by looking at the device. Samsung and LG have stripped back their custom Android skins, but Sony's has become the most overbearing by far. Homescreens are littered with widgets for services such as Sony's music player and Lifelong health service, while the device is chock-a-block with pre-loaded apps. As well as Sony's usual app offering, there's some dodgy looking ones on there too, including something called QSensorTest and another called Debug Menu.
Powering this full-on UI is Qualcomm's hexa-core Snapdragon 650 processor with 3GB RAM. There's also a 2,260mAh battery which Sony claims will outperform more expensive handsets with its promise of two days on a single charge.
Sony said that the Xperia X uses the firm's most advanced phone camera yet. It has the same 23MP sensor as the Xperia Z5, but comes with the company's new predictive hybrid autofocus technology that can apparently predict the way your subject moves in order to take the perfect photo.
We've yet to test the sensor fully, but the camera certainly lived up to Sony's big claims during our time with it on the showroom floor.
On the front of the Xperia X you'll find a 13MP camera and 22mm wide-angle lens, which proved one of the clearest selfie-cams on the market during our brief time checking our make-up.
It's hard to get excited about the Xperia X until we know how much it will cost. Things start to get interesting if it's around £350, but if it's priced similarly to the Galaxy S7, for example, the Xperia X is going to struggle to compete with its Full HD resolution display and Snapdragon 650 internals. µ