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.
[irp posts=”4430" name=”IFA 2016: Sony Xperia X Compact hands-on”]
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.
Nokia 3.2 Hands-On: Basic but classy
Nothing fancy but really speedy
Nokia has been stepping up its lineup of budget smartphones. Early in 2019, the brand launched a plethora of budget smartphones that are under the Android One program. One of the budget-friendly smartphones introduced was Nokia 3.2. Eager to have that Nokia experience, I took the phone out for a spin.
It’s cheap… but classy
I had high hopes when I first got the Nokia 3.2 in its box. Seeing it earlier in MWC 2019 made me appreciate its look and vibe. Compared to other budget smartphones, it’s classier and sexier. However, the phone feels a little bit downgraded when compared to its predecessor.
Nokia the 3.1 with an aluminum frame, a plastic back, and corning gorilla glass while the 3.2 used only a polycarbonate unibody design. Its plastic back is smudgy and slippery, but the phone has a tighter grip, thanks to its subtle curved edges towards the front.
Even its buttons are subtly protruding on its sides. On the left is a dedicated Google Assistant button, and on the right are its power buttons and volume keys.
Found on its back are the 13-megapixel main camera, LED Flash, and fingerprint scanner. On the other hand, its top side features a headphone jack, while the micro USB port and speaker grilles are found on the bottom.
It also features a 6.2 inches LCD panel on its front display, with a tall 19:9 ratio. It might be disrupting, but the Nokia 3.2 still sports a small notch, housing its 5-megapixel selfie camera capable of AI face unlock. Even though it might be bigger and taller this time, the Nokia 3.2 is definitely a joy to hold.
Stock Android on a budget
The saving grace for Nokia’s disappointing build (at least for me) is its clean version of Android One. That means there’s no bloatware to take up your limited memory and storage.
Additionally, the Nokia 3.2 comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box. This makes it feel faster than its competitors in the budget segment despite having a 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Fortunately, it provides a microSD card slot up to up to 400GB of storage.
An entry-level performance
Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 429 processor, the Nokia 3.2 performs better compared to its predecessor which carried a MediaTek chipset. In addition, its GPU runs on Adreno 504.
This made the Nokia 3.2 handle graphic-intensive games like Mobile Legends even if it was set on the highest graphics setting possible. There were no delay and lag spikes, ensuring smooth gameplay all throughout.
Decent cameras for your everyday needs
Featuring a 13-megapixel main camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture, the Nokia 3.2 takes decent photos. Depending on the lighting, both of its cameras can either take a vibrant, lively reproduced color during daylight or a slightly desaturated photo on indoor and low-light conditions.
Of course, we can’t really expect budget smartphones to have flagship-like cameras. It won’t have quick auto-focus or any fancy features like blurring your background, but it’s the compromise we’re getting when we follow our tight budget. At the very least, make use of natural light and other camera tricks to improve your photos.
Lasts longer than your partner
If there’s one thing I enjoyed with this smartphone, it’s the humongous battery. Packing a 4000mAh battery, the Nokia 3.2 can definitely last a day on a single charge. It can handle your multimedia use and everyday tasks throughout the day, yet it will still have enough juice left to carry you through the night.
However, for a phone carrying a huge battery, it charges slowly at 10W. This phone might just be good for those who love to charge their phones overnight.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Nokia 3.2 is a contender in the budget segment. It might have a disappointing build and design, but the phone packs with power, performance, and speed, thanks to Google’s Android One program.
With a starting price of PhP 7,990 (US$ 154) for the 3GB/32GB model, Nokia loyalists will find this a real treat. For people looking for a secondary phone, or a primary phone with no frills and just functions to handle your everyday needs, the Nokia 3.2 could be your GadgetMatch.
However, there are still far better options in the budget category, like the Redmi Note 7 and Realme 3. If Nokia wants to come back in its former glory and capture people looking for an affordable powerhouse, they need to join the battle and beat Realme and Redmi in their game, just like Samsung bending over to compete in the tough budget battlefield.
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