Sony Xperia X Compact Hands On-5

Sony’s latest Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact were only just announced at IFA, but the two smartphones are already gradually making their way on to some store shelves. However, it appears that the company is tinkering with their features on the way to the US. An important feature is missing from the spec sheets for both of the handsets over at Sony’s official US website – there’s no mention of the fingerprint scanner.

Sony appears to have removed the fingerprint scanner from the power button of its US models, leaving the handsets missing a major feature that will be available in the same smartphones in other countries. This is especially disappointing as fingerprint scanners have been a staple of flagship smartphones for years now. Sony hasn’t given a reason for the decision either, which is bound to infuriate customers further and further dent the company’s reputation in the US.

This news isn’t so surprising though, Sony previously removed fingerprint scanning capabilities from the Xperia X Performance, Xperia Z5, and Xperia Z5 Compact when these models launched in the US. Again, the company didn’t provide a reason for the decision.

These latest phones from Sony’s Xperia X range are expected to begin appearing in Sony’s typical Western markets this month. The Xperia X Compact has already landed in the UK, and the US release is now right around the corner. Will you be picking up an US Xperia XZ or X Performance, despite the lack of a fingerprint scanner?

Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer at Android Authority, covering the latest trends in consumer electronics and hardware. In his spare moments, you'll probably find him tinkering with audio electronics and programming.
  • Jarvic Suguitan

    Wow, nobody has been expecting this?! this is old news.

  • Pedro Obengar

    it looks like sony does everything to sell no phones!

    • joanna_kennedy

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      dasd

  • Folks are suggesting that a PATENT ISSUE is responsible for why Sony supposedly can’t activate the fingerprint scanner for American Xperias, and a large sum of money’s supposedly involved. That has to be it, that’s literally the only justifiable explanation…

    • balcobomber25

      Sounds like a BS excuse to me. There are $100 phones selling with fingerprint sensors, the licensing costs can’t be that much.

      • Do you REALLY think it’s just that easy and cheap to pay your way towards utilising tech from an existing patent? Entire Companies go bankrupt when they lose a case involving a key patent…

        • balcobomber25

          Companies go bankrupt because they use a patent without permission and have to pay millions in royalty and legal fees. Companies that use patents legally have no issues. Any company can apply for an use a patent, and in cases like this the cost per phone isn;t much in the grand scheme of things. Most phones sold today use patents from other companies and pay royalty fees on those patents.

          Patent Disputes is an often an excuse companies and their fans use for either being cheap or making dumb decisions.

      • Peter

        It’s not that easy – patents are massively complex. It’s just a ‘fingerprint’ scanner. You can even patent the shape, the position, the way it works etc. Someone must have a patent in the US – which is not valid elsewhere – which prevents Sony from implementing it without having to pay a hefty licensing fee.

        • balcobomber25

          It’s not that difficult to see Sony, and its fan’s, are using this as an excuse to justify another in a long line of terrible decisions. Sony has made several of them in an attempt to squeeze as much money out of consumers as possible while providing them with inferior products.

          Patents are very complex, but every other brand even those that are 100th the size of Sony are able to figure the out and acquire the necessary licenses to launch their phones with fingerprint scanners in the US, many using the same technologies from the same companies. The licensing fee’s for patents aren’t nearly as much as you seem to think they are. In 2014, according to Slashgear the average total cost for all patents and licenses for a $400 smartphone was $120. The average cost per patent/license broke down to about $3-10.

          • Jihaad Boonzaier

            You’re pulling that fee out of your arse.

    • Wolf0491

      I agree. Xperia is only phone I know that uses the fingerprint sensor on the side power button like this. Must be why a lot have it on back.

      • TechTonic

        but the Nextbit Robin also has the finger print on the side power button and it’s been able to sell in the US. and it’s not as expensive

        • Wolf0491

          Hmm I didn’t realize that. The only reason everyone here assumed this is reason is because the US model literally has a working fingerprint sensor in the phone that is turned off via software.
          It wouldn’t be first time Sony didn’t give a phone a feature because scared of patents. When androids were rather new they had the X10 come out without multi-touch because everyone was scared of apple lawsuits. Well that phone ended up getting pinch to zoom etc thanks to xda.

        • Maybe a different implementation? Well, just because two products seem to function and look alike doesn’t mean they ARE alike, that’s the funny thing with patents. What seems to not violate one, it actually does.

    • Peter

      It must be that. There is absolutely NO reasonable explanation for it otherwise.

  • HobgoblinTruth

    Alcatel Idol 4’s didn’t have it in here Europe and it also had something to do with patents.

  • Kanoosh

    “where there’s a will, there’s a way” .. and sony does not have the will to make it in the american market.. they must have a grudge against us or something lol.

    you can put a fingerprint scanner wherever and have different types of shapes.. i think this is sony being stubborn again because they can’t have it their way, so they won’t have it ANY way.

    sucks because a lot of people would of loved to own a sony phone by now… pfft.

    • Jihaad Boonzaier

      Yes they just need design a new phone for America. That must be so cheap. /s

  • balcobomber25

    Does this really surprise anyone? Sony’s executives are the equivalent of a group of monkeys flinging poop at a wall. Their decisions often make little to no sense and go in the opposite direction of what consumers want. In fact I think they share an executive team with LG.

    • Except when it comes to Playstation and BRAVIA, they do well against Samsung, Vizio, and Microsoft.

      • balcobomber25

        Sony lost 5 billion on the PS3 and has been losing billions on the Bravia brand for years. PS4 has been a massive success for them though.

    • Jihaad Boonzaier

      You’re a business genius?

      • balcobomber25

        Don’t need to be a business genius to understand how bad Sony is messing up.

  • Anas Amla

    Sony Mobile division is mad utterly mad. When the ditch the Z series You would think they gonna up with a new way of marketing their products and a good cycle of phones but they made it even more worst. Especially with the X compact. Sometimes you wonder just WTF are they trying to do with their Mobile Division.

  • dysb

    I bought an intrernational version of the Z5 because of this. Scanner works so great I can’t imagine buying a US version.

    • Wolf0491

      I think it works in US version as well if you flash international firmware on it. Just saying. I always buy international as well though :)

    • Glyn Wilkinson

      Ditto! 😁

  • This is madness.

  • Mohammad Hussain

    In the future at Sony HQ:

    Hey u guys think the people in America really need a screen?

  • daftrok

    It’s because us Americans are fat and their stubby pudgy fingers won’t work with the side fingerprint scanners.

    • TechTonic

      you’re not funny

    • Rinne Tensei

      Lolwa BC

      • Mahesh

        Oye BC! Indian?

        • Rinne Tensei

          Haan BC

  • Dawud

    It’s probably a really stupid reason Sony is doing this. Otherwise they would have come out with statement by now. No excuse is really a good one for this though.

  • Replicant Jason Booth

    Way to remain competitive Sony! Ditching a feature All of your rivals have with no explanation.

  • misio87

    Why do they even bother to sell them in the US ?

  • Glyn Wilkinson

    This is why you should buy the unlocked international version. I bought my unlocked Z5 and it came for Singapore, is the dual SIM model and was about $20 less than Best Buy. Oh, and has the fingerprint scanner on the power button.

  • Tom Anders

    first mhl is no longer supported then some models dont have water proofing and now no finger print scanner . I skipped the Z5 and kept my Z3 due to issues with battery and over heating. Now they improve those problem areas and start dropping practice useful features. Anything but sony is looking good right about now.

  • Dawud

    It’s amazing Sony gets away with this. I know it’s not illegal but I’m just curious which US carries or store chains actually think it’s ok sell these disabled phones to customers. And the really irritating thing is they probably won’t even give a discount on their already overpriced phone that is missing the fingerprint scanner.

    • Peter

      It’s most definitely enforced by the US patent office which must have awarded a patent to some other company, which is only valid in the US, and Sony refuses to comply ( which I applaud them for ). The fingerprint scanner is in those model – it’s simply disabled so it must be a licencing issue, otherwise they would not include the hardware at all.

  • Such a weird decision. It doesn’t make any sense.

  • Android Guy

    i think sony must just not like america or something cuz i dont see any reason y they just of removed the fingerprint scanner for Us versions

    • Jihaad Boonzaier

      America can be annoying

  • johala02

    The only reason I can imagine its must be some patent issue in the US market, that involving high cost? USA have different laws on software patents then the rest of the world.
    And maybe thats why see more innovation in China and other countries in smartphones now. Its are a strange situation with companys that have no real business can live on “patent trolling” and so on.

  • Peter

    I bet this has something to do with patents/licensing. It’s exactly the same phone and the fingerprint reader is most likely there – just disabled. Since in every other region it’s not an issue – I somehow suspect Apple or some other manufacturer has some kind of patent in the US which would require Sony to pay a hefty licencing fee which they refuse to do.

  • balcobomber25

    What are you trying to prove with posting a random patent? We already know the patents exist (that is not the only one either), the question is why Sony was too cheap to acquire the patents.

    • Jihaad Boonzaier

      Apparently you aren’t aware of the financial position of their mobile division. So go read about it. You have no idea how much they would need to pay to use it. PS my SONY has a finger print sensor

      • balcobomber25

        Apparently you aren’t aware of how Sony got into that financial position, by making boneheaded decisions such as this one. Offering products that don’t compete with your competitors but still charging as much as your competitors is one of the reasons Sony Mobile has struggled for years. Another reason is one you alluded to, your phone has one, these phones don’t. That is two different models that need to be manufactured on separate line which costs even more money.

        • Jihaad Boonzaier

          It’s the same phone just one component is different. It could also be disabled with software

          • balcobomber25

            It could be or it could be manufactured without it, we don’t know that until someone does a teardown of it. If it is manufactured without it that is an extra cost as it is made on a separate assembly line.

  • Dawud

    Yes I see how you & others have alluded to patent issue but this makes it even worse. Sony has been dealing with this issue since the Z5 came out last year and they still have not fixed it or explained the real reason. Must be that Japanese Corperate Pride. I wonder if someone had to run themselves through with a sword after they realized there was a patent issue.