In a surprise announcement at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sony said goodbye to its top of the line Xperia Z smartphone, unveiling in its place a trio of new smartphones collectively referred to as Xperia X.
Specs-wise the new Xperia X line isn’t going to be the most high end smartphone release of 2016 but Sony’s left just enough for the phones to be desirable.
On the X Sony is ditching its glass for metal. All 3 phones sport the familiar boxy Xperia frame, although these phones feel curvier and rounder and better in the hands.
Micro SD card and sim card slots still go on the left while the camera button, volume rocker, and power button are still on the right hand side of the device.
Instead of adding more features that you’ll hardly ever use, Sony says it added intelligence and improvements to key functions like battery and camera.
The Xperia X lineup boasts of Qnovo technology which promises reduced charging times increased battery lifespan, and smarter battery management.
It’s worth pointing out that Sony has put smaller capacity batteries onto its Xperia X line: the Xperia X Performance gets 2700 mAh, Xperia X 2620 mAh, and Xperia XA 2300 mAh. This resulted in thinner phones without sacrificing its promise of 2 days battery life. Although that’s not something we can test at the moment as the phones will not be officially released until some time between July to September.
Just like the Z5, the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance get a 23MP main camera, while the entry level Xperia XA gets a 13MP main shooter.
Sony also added a new camera feature called Predictive Hybrid Autofocus to the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance. It tracks a moving subject, locking focus even while it moves in and out of frame.
The new camera is also one of the fastest in the market today – launching and capturing moments straight from standby mode.
Front-facing cameras are also much improved now with 8MP on the XA, and 13MP on the X and X Performance. They take selfies just as good as the Samsung Galaxy S7 can, if not even better.
While specs-wise the Xperia XA is not as impressive as its big brothers, on the outside it’s actually the one that stands out with a display that’s flushed against its sides. It also looks like the leanest of the bunch because it doesn’t come with a fingerprint scanner.
The X and X Performance have fingerprint scanners built into their power buttons just like the Z5. You unlock by pressing your thumb against the button, which Sony says is the most natural way to unlock a smartphone.
The X and X Performance also have higher resolution displays, more RAM and better processors. The XA is powered by Mediatek Helio P10, while the X is powered by last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 and the X Performance the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820.
The X Performance being the most premium variant is sadly the only one that retains the signature feature of the Xperia Z line: waterproofing. The phone has an IP68 rating meaning it will last up to 30 minutes underwater up to depths of 1.5 meters.