LG and Samsung may be the talk of the town following their respective flagship releases, but it’s safe to say that neither OEM did a very good job with keeping things under wraps in the run up to their launch. However, one company that has taken us a bit more by surprise is Sony, who introduced an absolutely brand new series of smartphones earlier today, under the Xperia X moniker.

The three devices in the series range from affordable mid-range to high-end, and at MWC 2016, we got to spend some time with these smartphones. Here’s our first look, as we go hands on with the Sony Xperia X line!

sony xperia xa aa 10

The first device in the line, the Xperia XA, features a near bezel-less display with subtle curves on the sides, that give the phones a pleasant, pebble-like feel. The device is very light, weighing just 137.4 grams, and with a thickness of under 8 mm, the handling experience is really good. Of course, the 5-inch display means it isn’t the biggest phone around anyway, but the ultra-thin bezels help with reaching across to everything on the screen. The power button on the side returns to its signature round look, if only because of the fact that there is no fingerprint scanner here. The camera shutter also makes a return here, and is a big part of some of the better camera features on offer. As far as color options go, the Xperia XA comes in white, black, mint, and bronze.

sony xperia x performance and xa aa 2

The Xperia X and Xperia X Performance share essentially the same design as one another, and in fact, neither of these models come with the edge-to-edge display seen with the Xperia XA. Instead, the X and X Performance have a lot in common with the Xperia Z line when it comes to design language, with the major difference being the more rounded corners and sides, and of course a change to a full metal design. All three Xperia X family members share the same screen size and overall footprint, but the X and X Performance are significantly heavier than the Xperia XA, with the former weighing in at 153 grams and 164 grams respectively.

sony xperia x performance aa 3

Overall, the Xperia X and X Performance feel very much like what we’ve seen from Sony so far in the Xperia Z line, despite a few differences in design language. Sony has been criticized for releasing very similar devices on very short lifecycles, and while the X Performance is ostensibly the first in a series, it feels like a continuation of the familiar Z line.

sony xperia x performance aa 1

As previously mentioned, all of the devices come with 5-inch IPS LCD panels, but while the Xperia X and X Performance come with a Full HD resolution, the Xperia XA comes with a 720p resolution. Also returning is Sony’s Triluminos and X-Reality technologies, which pump up the color, especially when consuming media. Overall, these are fairly common, yet entirely competent displays that you’ll find little to complain about.

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The processing package is where the Xperia XA, X, and X Performance diverge. The Xperia XA comes with a MediaTek MT6755, an octa-core chip that is mostly been used in mid-range devices. The X jumps to a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, another processor geared towards the mid-range, while the X Performance graduates to Qualcomm’s latest and greatest, the Snapdragon 820.

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However, as far as performance is concerned, from the short time that we spent with the devices, we could really tell that they were running unfinished software. There were a lot of instances of lag throughout, even on the high-end X Performance, and the camera in particular was significantly buggy. Taking a few photos in quick succession on the maximum resolution resulted in the phone becoming unresponsive and warm, with a restart required after that. Of course, Sony will iron out most of these issues in time for the commercial release of the device, so we’ll have to wait for when we get our review units to give a final verdict with regards to performance.

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Another issue we encountered was the absence of any mention of the fingerprint sensor in the software, even though the Xperia X and X Performance come with one, embedded into the power button. As such, the non-final software prevented us from testing if Sony managed to improve the performance of the sensor incorporated in the power button, given that it wasn’t the best with the Xperia Z5 Premium.

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On the software side of things, all the devices are running Android Marshmallow, and returning is a mostly stock-like interface, with Sony’s well-known additions included. As mentioned though, the software on the phones we tested was not final, so we’ll abstain from talking too much about it.

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On the camera front, the X Performance and X comes with 23 MP rear shooters and 13 MP front-facing cameras, while the Xperia XA packs a 13 MP primary camera and an 8 MP front-facing unit. Given the mentioned software issues, we weren’t really able to try out the cameras very well though. We did try the X Performance’s Hybrid Auto-Focus feature, which allows you to tap on an object in your field of view, and have the camera focus on it and follow it around. When the camera didn’t jam up, the feature worked pretty well. The camera was able to follow the tracked object — Lanh walking around the room — pretty accurately, though fast movements like the wave of a hand were beyond its capabilities.

So there you have it for this quick look at the Sony Xperia X line! The Xperia X and XA are great additions to the competitive mid-range space, and can prove to be really good contenders as long as Sony gets the pricing right. The X Performance on the other hand is a bit of a puzzler, with it featuring what many essentially expected from the Xperia Z6. This may be Sony’s way of technically doing away with their bi-annual release cycle strategy, but the X Performance isn’t fooling anyone.

  • Exare

    Is it waterproof? Does it have the dust resistance rating? How about the corners of the phone? Are they still reinforced for shock absorption?

    I love that all metal design, it looks really nice. Where are the speakers though? My goodness I hope they’re front-facing.

    I’m really curious myself why they opted to stick with micro USB when USB Type-C is becoming so common in flagships. That irks me. Another point, the 1080p screen? I know 1440p is a little overkill on a 5″ device but let me tell you that they look gorgeous in person. Comparing my Nexus 5 to the Nexus 6 makes my phone look like a child’s toy.

    Give me the water/dust/shock-proofing, give me that Type-C and a 2K display then you can count me in. I was really hoping Sony would nail it this time but it looks like they’ve missed the mark for me. I’m still interested, but I’m scared they’ll release this dream phone of mine any day now with the frequency that Sony pumps out these little gems.

    • Exare

      I did a little digging here looking at some photos and it appears the speakers are front mounted. I was wondering if that’s what those slits were. For some reason I thought they were the mic/earpiece.

  • Exare

    Side-note here: I’m not sure if it’s my browser or your site but when those ad videos play at the bottom of this article it forces my page to scroll to it automatically. It’s seriously irritating, jarring, and frustrating when I’m reading mid-sentence and it interrupts me by dragging my screen to it.

    It did it to me three times while I was trying to type this comment.

  • Vinícius Azzolin

    I would love changing my Z2 for the X or XP. I love the Sony software and design, but usually they overprice their products.
    Just an observation because seems that all tech blogs come to a sense that what Sony does is always the same and not good. What, for me at least, doesn’t seem to be true at all and doesn’t bother me that much. It’s a matter of taste and if the product fulfill your needs. So, maybe lass hate and more focus on what really matters.

  • Exare

    Is it waterproof? Does it have the dust resistance rating? How about the corners of the phone? Are they still reinforced for shock absorption?
    *Edit: The X Performance is IP65 and IP68 rated so it is water and dust proof.
    “IP65 Enclosure – IP rated as “dust tight” and protected against water projected from a nozzle.”
    “IP 68 Enclosures – IP rated as “dust tight” and protected against complete, continuous submersion in water.”

    I love that all metal design, it looks really nice. Where are the speakers though? My goodness I hope they’re front-facing.
    *Edit: Speakers are front-facing. I’m blind.

    I’m really curious myself why they opted to stick with micro USB when USB Type-C is becoming so common in flagships. That irks me. Another point, the 1080p screen? I know 1440p is a little overkill on a 5″ device but let me tell you that they look gorgeous in person. Comparing my Nexus 5 to the Nexus 6 makes my phone look like a child’s toy.
    *Edit: X Performance has Quick Charging Micro USB, so that’s cool.

    Give me that Type-C and a 2K display then you can count me in. I was really hoping Sony would nail it this time but it looks like they’ve missed the mark for me, but only slightly. I’m still interested, but I’m scared they’ll release this dream phone of mine any day now, with the frequency that Sony pumps out these little gems that is.

    • Wolf0491

      Personally I would take the 1080P for better battery life. I have a G3 and a Z3 and much prefer the battery on Z3 compared to maybe a little bit better display. I’ve never watched anything on any 1080P phone and thought damn I wish this wasn’t shitty looking haha. But guess it could be important to some

      • Exare

        Neither have I. I just like how crisp those 2K displays look. Holy cow are they gorgeous. 1080p is just fine for a 5-incher, but oh how I’d like to see what it looks like at 2K with a screen that size. The pixel density would be so high you wouldn’t be able to see any of them!

        You have a point with battery life though. Unless they’d jam a huge battery in it or figure out how to keep that screen from sucking too much juice I would settle for Full HD. Screen-on-time is one of the most important things for me when choosing a device because I use my phone a LOT. My poor, tired Nexus 5 just doesn’t cut it at all with 2 hours at 50% brightness.

  • Jason C

    Why did they adapt Moto’s strategy? The biggest thing they didn’t do right was overpriced….

  • aaloo

    why would they not make the screen edge to edge for the higher end models (X and X performance). Doesn’t make sense. That is what makes the XA actually look nicer.

    • Wolf0491

      Maybe fingerprint scanner and IP68 rating takes up some space? not sure

  • Faran Rasheed

    What is Xperia X and X.
    Please correct the typo if i am not wrong :/

  • Markoff

    i love the design, if someone can confirm they are less than 67mm wide as i read elsewhere i am sold out unless they ruin it with Sony price, though i would be fine even with XA probably if it’s 2/16 expendable by msd

  • Dusan

    Get rid of those bezel already!

    • Lenard Catabay

      Bezels are part of the ergonomics of a high-end smartphone. Holding the phone without bezels might unintentionally launch a program.

  • Luctreebusch

    I don´t understand why the least premium device has the less side bezels. It´s weird

  • drasko

    complete waste of material, looks exactly like every Sony phone, z3 will be my last mobile phone. sony should look at the lg g5, thats what i call innovation

  • How come sonyuse the best looking design for the lowest end??? What’s inside the head of sony guys???

  • blim ey

    2016, and the camera still has no optical image stabilization? and your name is sony? wth?!!!

    • David Martrano

      Sony is pricing a mid-ranger for 549.00. It is a little overpriced I would say. I think the time has come to X sony out of the picture. Keep up with the market or get out. A very trusted brand gone to pot or just smoking it!!!!!!

  • Fadi Fakih

    What is the recommended charger to use with the Xperia X?