Now that the dust of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 has settled we'd like to thank the GSMA for a great event as well as everyone who managed to meet us in person; it was a pleasure to put names to faces. In this weeks blog, we're going to continue where we left off last week with the latest Samsung Galaxy S7 flagship and look at more of the headlining devices from MWC, specifically the new Sony Xperia X series, which has three announced models, the Xperia X, Xperia X Performance and Xperia XA.
Sony Xperia X
At MWC Sony informed us that their current flagship brand, the Xperia Z series, would be replaced by the new Xperia X series. The Xperia Z spanned over 7 generations, was the first mobile device to bring IP certification for water and dust resistance to a mainstream audience and was lauded for battery life, camera quality and Sony's trademark Omnibalance design. An official at Sony said "Whilst the Xperia Z series was all about bringing the best of Sony’s advanced technologies to smartphones, Xperia X series is based on bringing smart, adaptive Sony user experiences across camera, battery performance and hardware / software design."
Although the X series is touted to replace the discontinued Z line, the current crop of models cannot compare to the high end Xperia Z5; as the Z5 is only a few months old this leads me to believe that the X models will slot in under the Xperia Z5 for now, to avoid too much buyer confusion. Once the Z5 is formally retired I'd expect to see more impressive Xperia X models rearing their heads. The first of the trio of devices we're going to look at today is the Sony Xperia X, the standard X model and mid range device. The Xperia X comes with a 5" inch, 1080p Triluminos display and the casing holds one single, continuous colour. It's worth noting that Sony have ditched the glass back panels in favour of metal exteriors.
Powering this unit is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, one of the latest mid range chipsets. 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage as well as a MicroSD expansion slot all come as standard. Sony have always supplied great cameras and the X series looks like no exception; you'll get a 23MP rear camera with Predictive Hybrid AF and a 13MP selfie camera. Other notable features include Hi-Res audio and stereo speakers - one thing that even the feature laden Samsung Galaxy S7 doesn't get. The Xperia X runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, colour options include graphite black, white and two shades of gold, lime or rose. Pre-orders are available now and the device costs €599.
Sony Xperia X Performance
The Xperia X Performance is, as the name suggests, a souped up version of the Xperia X. Whilst it still doesn't compare to the high-end Xperia Z5 in several areas, most notably the display, it does pack some impressive hardware. Like the Xperia X the X Performance also has a 5" screen, in fact the display is exactly the same; there's no 4K screen option like you get with the older and bigger sibling, the Xperia Z5. You get the same seamless painted metal back and bevelled screen as the Xperia X, but this time the black and white models have an exclusive hairline finish as well as the brushed metal back that comes on all X Performance colour options.
The biggest differences between the X and X Performance are internal. Sony have gone for the latest Snapdragon 820 chipset this time, with the smaller screen to power we'd fully expect it to trump the Xperia Z5 in benchmark tests and earn its Performance moniker. The memory options, camera features and audio quality do not differ from those provided with the standard model. The one other extra on the Performance model is an IP68 certification, meaning it's dust proof and can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. With these specs, the Xperia X Performance could be considered a small flagship, or a very top end mid-ranger. Availability looks to be limited to Asia and the USA for now, most likely so as not to impact the sales of the Xperia Z5 in Europe, where it still has a strong presence.
Sony Xperia XA
The last and least of the bunch is the Sony Xperia XA. If the X Performance is a beefed up variant of the Xperia X then the XA is a slimmed down one, naturally aimed at more casual or budget conscious consumers. If we had to slot it in somewhere we'd place it firmly on the border between low and mid-range devices, which then starts to clash with some of Sony's other phones, such as the Xperia C and M lineups. Once again we're presented with a 5" screen but this time the resolution has been dropped to 720p, it's quite apparent that while the X Performance really just had a few key improvements, the Xperia XA has been severely mauled in comparison with the standard model.
The Xperia XA has lost the metal finish on the rear of the device, it also loses the stereo speakers. All being said and done the biggest difference is found with the camera; the rear one drops down to 13MP and the selfie to 8MP, a big drop compared to the 23MP/13MP found on the other models. Internally the XA takes another hit. The cheaper MediaTek MT6755 chipset has been used, the amount of RAM drops to 2GB and the internal storage drops to 16GB. Thankfully there's still the MicroSD slot to make up for that. This may all sound dire until you hear that it's only half the price of the Xperia X at €299. At a distance it would be hard to tell the models apart, so if you want the look without the cost the Xperia XA is for you.
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