Powerful phone all-round
Quite keenly priced
Shame it isn't waterproof
Ability to record 4K video would have been nice
We could do without some of the pre-installed Sony apps
- Chunky for a new smartphone
- Water-resistant for peace of mind
- We've held more 'premium-feeling' phones
The Sony Xperia X is cheaper than most high-end phones. And with its mid-range spec sheet, it suggests that Sony is edging away from competing with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5.
But make no mistake: with rounded corners and a lozenge-shaped power button, this is definitely a Sony Xperia smartphone.
There are some changes from the Xperia Z5, though. The Xperia X has an aluminium back and plastic sides, unlike the Z5 which features metal sides and a glass back.
It feels a bit less 'premium' as a result. But it also means that the Xperia X is easier on your fingers while you're using it.
- Fingerprint scanner is handily located on side, within on/off switch
- Buttons are positioned in awkward places
- Older USB technology means charging isn't as fast as it might be
In true Sony style, the fingerprint sensor is built into the power button on the side of the phone. It works like a charm. Just press the button to unlock the handset, it's that quick.
The volume and camera buttons are low down the right-hand side of the device, which means they're more awkward to reach than if they were higher.
Our review handset also came in an offputting lime gold colour. We'd definitely have preferred the rose gold or black.
||Metal and plastic
- Not always-on
- Lower resolution than rivals
- Sharp enough
The Xperia X's screen is a Full HD display, which means a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. Seeing as that's stretched over 5 inches, you might think that images would look a little grainy. But you'd be wrong. Everything's nice and clear, with sharp edges and bright colours.
Sure, it's not as crisp as the 4K screen on the Xperia Z5 Premium. And it even looks a little bit dim in comparison when placed next to Xperia phones with 2K screens. But it's perfectly fine for web browsing, photo viewing and watching films.
- Good snaps in decent light
- Plenty of manual controls if you want to experiment
- Struggles in low light
Sony's smartphone cameras are always some of the best around. That's hardly surprising – it's been making digital compact and SLR cameras for years now.
The Xperia X packs a huge 23-megapixel sensor, and a 13-megapixel front-facer for selfies and video calls.
For the most part, both perform very well. In good light, the main camera is super-quick to focus, and the colours are spot on. But in low light, things aren't quite so rosy.
It takes much longer to focus, for starters. The lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS) is also made apparent, with some blurriness in dimly-lit snaps.
By default, the camera takes 8-megapixel photos, but you can switch to the full 23-megapixel mode very simply by tweaking the settings.
Be warned, though. This mode is a little more cumbersome. It doesn't capture images as quickly as with 8-megapixel stills, and zooming in isn't instant.
You can also tweak all the manual controls you like by swiping to the manual mode in the camera.
Lastly, unlike the Xperia Z5 the X can't record video in lush 4K, which is four times higher defintion than standard HD.
That's maybe a little bit annoying, but not a deal-breaker given that 4K TVs still aren't the norm.
|Optical image stabilisation
Performance and battery life
- MicroSD card slot, so you can expand storage
- Average battery life
- Interface is simple and easy to get to grips with
Sony has kitted out the X with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core processor. This packs a punch, but isn't as quick as the Snapdragon 820 found in some top-of-the-range phones.
The 3GB of RAM certainly helps, though – the X moves through whatever tasks you throw at it without so much as a shrug.
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow comes as standard, with Sony opting not to put too much of its own stamp on Google's operating system.
Some of Sony's own apps – like Xperia Lounge – come preloaded, and the apps are arranged on separate pages that you swipe between, instead of the pure Android's one long scrollable page.
Sony's skin comes with its own downside, however.
Like any phone that features even a lightly customised version of Android, you'll be stuck waiting for the update to Android N when it becomes available. That's annoying.
The Xperia X boasts a 2,620mAh battery, which, given the 5-inch screen, isn't all that big.
It's enough to power the phone through a full day of fairly intensive use. Just don't expect it to last two days.
|OS and version
||Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Xperia UI
Value for money
SIM free, the X costs £459. That's cheaper than most high-end Androids, though its specs and suite of features do reflect this.
Want it off-contract? Expect to pay a shade over £28 per month, with no upfront charge.
- Good, but not great, camera
- Decent battery life
- Very quick fingerprint scanner
- Expandable storage
- Ridiculously powerful selfie camera
- Some questionable colour options
- Well built, but feels less 'premium' than rivals
- More affordable than really top-end phones
- Very good performance
The X is a decent phone without being a stellar one.
It doesn't even succeed given its lower-than-usual price – the OnePlus 2 and new Moto G are better buys if you're on a budget.
As such, unfortunately the X falls between two stools.
Head to our dedicated page to compare Sony Xperia X deals.