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Sony Xperia X review: high price for mid-range

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The new Sony Xperia X arrives alongside the XA and, in some countries, the X Performance, a trio that slays the Z series. The Xperia X is the middle child of the three new models, and its market positioning is complicated: it's more expensive than its predecessor, the Z5, but technically less lavish. Here we take a close look at the Xperia X’s strengths and weaknesses.

Sony Xperia X


  • Fast performance overall
  • Slightly above average battery life


  • Poor gaming performance
  • Too expensive
  • Not water-resistant
  • Camera mode uses a lot of power
Sony Xperia X
Sony Xperia X
Sony Xperia X: All deals

Sony Xperia X release date and price

The Sony Xperia X release date in the US is June 26 and it will come with 32 GB of internal memory and in four color variants: rose gold, lime gold, black and white. Whichever color you choose, the Xperia X price is set at $549.99.

The device will soon be available to pre-order from Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo Video and Reagan Wireless, and will arrive with a free 128 GB MicroSD card.

If you are willing to purchase without a contract, you should keep the Xperia Z5 in mind as an alternative as it costs roughly the same amount, has better gaming performance and is water-resistant.   

Sony Xperia X design and build quality

The design of the Xperia X marks an improvement over its predecessors. It feels less angular than the Xperia Z5 and its glass back sees the addition of a layer of non-slip coating. Thus Sony addresses important weaknesses while maintaining the brand's signature design aesthetic, ensuring that the device is easily recognizable. Unfortunately, Sony ditches water resistance, reserving this benefit for the beefier Xperia X Performance model.

androidpit sony xperia x back
The Xperia X is not as slippery as the Xperia Z5. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Xperia X maintains Sony’s well known design language, Omni-Balance. The Xperia X thus has a smooth rear with a round-edged aluminum frame.

androidpit sony xperia x power button
The Xperia X: unmistakably Sony / © ANDROIDPIT

The buttons are mounted exactly where they are on the Sony Xperia Z5. The volume rocker and physical camera button are found on the right side. While on the left side of the frame, you will find the SIM and microSD card slots. Making use of the latter, the 32 GB of internal memory can be expanded to up to 200 GB.

androidpit sony xperia x sim sd slot
The MicroSD card slot is not waterproof this time around. / © ANDROIDPIT

Although little has changed, appearance-wise, on this 5-inch smartphone, the Sony Xperia X still makes a good impression.

Sony Xperia X display

Sony relies on a Full HD Triluminos display. Its maximum brightness is an above-average 700 candelas per square meter, so it remains readable even in bright sunlight. Automatic adjustments and optimizations provide good contrast and saturated colors.

androidpit sony xperia x camera menu
The Xperia X's display is superb, as you'd expect from Sony. / © ANDROIDPIT

Sony Xperia X software

The Xperia X leaves the factory running Android 6.0.1 marshmallow. This will please many Xperia users who do not yet have the latest Android update. It also comes with Sony’s in-house UI, Xperia UI, slathered over the top. The software is loaded with several apps, many of which you probably won’t use, and none of which you can uninstall.

sony xperia x 7
The Xperia X runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Xperia X is expected to see monthly security updates into 2018. Also, it is expected that the smartphone will be an early adopter of Android N. After all, Sony is one of the first OEMs to participate in the Developer Preview of the new version of Android with the Xperia Z3.

Sony’s Xperia UI provides a special phone and contacts app, a different email client, and Stamina mode, which is designed to save power. Furthermore, in the Settings menu, you will find special memory optimizations that automatically clear the app cache for you and free up space. Most of these extensions are useful; however, being able to uninstall all the pre-installed apps would be a very welcome option.

Sony Xperia X performance

Sony has done a good job of optimizing the performance on the Xperia X. The operating speed in everyday life is extremely fast. Benchmarks show, however, that the gaming performance is only about half as good as on the Xperia Z5.

  Vellamo Metal Vellamo Multicore Geekbench 3 Single Geekbench 3 Multi Basemark X 1.1 High
Sony Xperia X 2156 2316 969 3104 13192
Sony Xperia Z5 1983 2708 1256 4098 26308

The Sony Xperia X is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, which is technically very similar to the Snapdragon 808, with two sets of high-speed cores. It has powerful Cortex-A72 architecture, however, which is not to be found in the Snapdragon 808. Therefore, the CPU performance in some applications is an improvement over the Snapdragon 808; graphics performance is, however, significantly lower. 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory set this device more in the mid-range, and do not offer enough for an asking price of 599 EUR.

sony xperia x 8
The gaming performance of the Xperia X is lacking. / © ANDROIDPIT

Sony Xperia X audio

The Xperia X has loud, forward-facing stereo speakers. The sound quality is good and YouTube videos and video conferences both sound clear. The included headset sounds very good, being well shielded from outside noise. Thanks to several microphones and noise suppression, calls are clear and intelligible.

Sony Xperia X camera

The main camera of the Xperia X takes true-color, high-contrast images that look great at first glance. It also shoots above average videos thanks to reliable stabilization. In poor lighting conditions, the images may come out blurred. The selfie cam makes exceptionally detailed images, but fails in backlit surroundings.

androidpit sony xperia x camera flash
23 MP, Exmor RS, f/2.0 / © ANDROIDPIT

In daylight, the 23 MP main camera takes stunning images with painterly qualities. Details can become washed out, but the results, for a smartphone camera, are very strong. Videos are a highlight, as they come out very steady thanks to digital stabilization. So you can record yourself walking and the video looks like you’re travelling on rails.

xperia x camera daylight crop to fit
The details in daylights shots give Xperia X photos a painterly appearance. / © ANDROIDPIT

The selfie camera leaves a mixed impression unfortunately. Firstly, image stabilization, like that found in the HTC 10, is missing. Secondly, the 13 MP camera takes the most detailed and most saturated selfies I have seen for some time. But then it fails in backlit conditions. In Sony’s defense, I have only taken successful backlit selfies using the iPhone SE; even the highly acclaimed Galaxy S7 Edge falls short in this area.

androidpit sony xperia x front camera
13 MP, Exmor R, f/2.0 / © ANDROIDPIT

Browse our test images in full resolution:

The camera app, as always with Sony, is more of a marketplace. You can add to it, with free and paid apps, things such as more camera effects. However, since the camera saps a lot of battery, we advise against the constant use of the device as a camera phone, unless you have a power bank to hand.

xperia x camera apps
The camera app is a glorified app market. / © ANDROIDPIT

Sony Xperia X battery

The battery life on the Sony Xperia X, under heavy use, is around one-and-a-half days. The average screen-on time is approximately seven hours, which is not bad, but still well below Sony’s two-day battery life claim, which is only theoretically achievable with moderate use of a weakly illuminated display.

The Sony Xperia X is equipped with a 2,620-mAh battery, which has a quick charge function. You can continue to use any Sony accessories you might have: the Xperia X is charged through a Micro-A port. In under two hours, the battery is fully charged. Using the camera app with a bright display will see the battery discharge at about the same rate.

Sony Xperia X technical specifications

Final verdict

The Sony Xperia X out of place. Its formidable predecessor, the Xperia Z5 may be disappearing from store shelves, but it remains in our memory, and it is clearly a better purchase than the Xperia X, thanks to a lower price, better performance and water-resistance. The battery is also larger on the older device, and the gaming performance is better, placing a decisive cherry atop the icing on the cake.

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  • $1,199.99
  • $999.99
  • $799.99
  • $1,799.99
  • $1,799.99
  • from $999.99
  • $999.99
  • $699.99
  • $449.99
Go to comment (10)
Eric Ferrari-Herrmann

Eric Ferrari-Herrmann
Senior Editor

Eric has been with AndroidPIT since 2014. He’s writing articles and reviews for the German website. Topics are mostly privacy and new technology but there's also the occasional piece on environmental sustainability.

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  • HUSSAIN AL Jaberi 1
    HUSSAIN AL Jaberi Jul 25, 2016 Link to comment

    This is not Sony Xperia phone! I own Z5 Premium and I can tell that X Performance is downgrade, my next smart phone will be the upcoming Samsung Note 7

  • Barath Avinash 2
    Barath Avinash Jun 8, 2016 Link to comment

    same hearing issue, overpriced

  • Parvind Chahal 21
    Parvind Chahal May 31, 2016 Link to comment

    another garbage from sony

  • Jordi Terrats Molina 1
    Jordi Terrats Molina May 26, 2016 Link to comment

    This review sucks. Gaming performance can't be better, the battery lasts more than the galaxy S7, for instance, which is 200$ more expensive. And has the best camera ever.

    • 2
      Andreas Larsson May 27, 2016 Link to comment

      Your comment sucks, this review is right. And no the camera is good at best, definitely not great

  • 21
    Peter Harwood May 26, 2016 Link to comment

    I've got a z5 and it's very good never had any problems with Sony experia range and the z series were as good a phone as you could get,but i definitely won't be buying a x series not even if i could get hold of the xperformance just not worth it,one question to Sony where the hell are you going?

    Deactivated Account

  • 2
    Mr G May 26, 2016 Link to comment

    Sony shoots self in foot again... they could be so great if a) they weren't so greedy and b) just got some basics right. Why did the z5 not sell, it was one year to late.

    Deactivated Account

  • McNeil 9
    McNeil May 25, 2016 Link to comment

    I think the X series , best suits my needs. A great camera and perfect size!!! *I should start saving* lol

  • Alex 17
    Alex Apr 26, 2016 Link to comment

    That sounds interesting Omar!Great Article thanks for Posting :)

  • 31
    Deactivated Account Apr 25, 2016 Link to comment

    £549..!!! mid range that's gotta be a joke right..
    couple of months ago I paid towards my daughter's Z5 premium, which was just under £450 for a UK spec device with full warranty.

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