Tuesday, 21 June 2016 22:48

Does X mark the spot for Sony Mobile’s new Xperias?


Sony Mobile has launched its new Xperia X Series smartphones in Australia, with three models, the Xperia XA, Xperia X and Xperia X Performance, due this and next month.

Depending on the model you buy, you get "the world’s best autofocus on a moving object", the "world’s most stable video capture on the Xperia X and X Performance", "the world’s narrowest 5-inch smartphone" and a great "low-light selfie camera" on the Xperia XA.

John Featherstone, managing director of Sony Mobile Oceania, said: “Smartphone users expect more from their cameras, whether it’s faster speeds and sharper images or better pictures in low-light. These are all areas that we have concentrated on for the X Series.”

Seeking to differentiate from the usual competitive suspects, Sony says its designers "researched premium materials, texture and curvature for the most natural palm fit", resulting in "a premium finish with a curved glass display and a rounded, continuous frame, delivering a familiar form that feels comfortable in the hand".’

Sony’a superlative descriptions continue, with the company stating that each model is "made to fit seamlessly in your hand", with "a refreshing look and feel with a continuous colour surround with four colour choices – on-trend metallic hues; lime gold and rose gold as well as graphite black and white".

A premium finish is said to be "visible across the entire range, with Xperia X depicted by its seamless metal back, Xperia X Performance by its stylish hairline finish and Xperia XA by its borderless edge-to-edge screen".

The company says its "unified design concept is extended on the super mid-range Xperia XA, which features a stunning edge-to-edge display that is as pleasing on the eye as it is in the hand".

As the world’s narrowest 5-inch smartphone, Sony proudly boasts that "it features a distinctive and beautifully integrated edge-to-edge display that stretches the full width of the phone without imposing on the size of the handset".

The step-up models, the Xperia X and X Performance, are said by Sony to "offer the smartest and fastest camera yet, with quicker response times, a smart capture technology that goes from standby to capture in a fraction of a second, and the world’s best autofocus on a moving object thanks to Sony’s unique Predictive Hybrid Autofocus camera technology".

So, how was this ‘Predictive Hybrid Autofocus’ developed?

It was created "in close collaboration with Sony’s α (alpha-series) camera engineers, and works by tracking an object and cleverly predicting its movement to produce clear, blur-free shots".

It’s part of Sony’s 23MP rear camera that "also features SteadyShot stabilisation for recording smooth videos and minimising 'shaky cam' effects, resulting in the world’s most stable video capture".

Sony also boasts that its "Xperia X and Xperia XA offer up to two days’ battery power from a single charge, enabling users to listen to more music, talk for days and stay out longer without worry".

Then there’s Sony’s new smart battery management system, called "Qnovo Adaptive Charging, which maintains battery health while charging to make the battery last up to twice as long over its lifespan".

By integrating Qnovo technology, Sony says this "enables the charging process to be much smarter, using a patented adaptive charging approach that monitors battery health in real-time and continually adjusts battery charging current".

Here Featherstone added: “There really is something for everyone in the new Xperia X Series. Design-focused users, who prefer a sleek device that fits perfectly in their hand, will be delighted by the stylish Xperia XA, while those looking for a handset that strikes the perfect balance between features and affordability will love the X. For power users, who want the best of everything, the X Performance ticks all of the boxes.”

Bonus movies offer

Sony is also offering 12 "bonus movie downloads" valued at over $235 as a special Xperia X Series launch offer. Sony says "users download their content to keep, and can choose from a range of over 100 Sony Pictures titles from latest releases through to back catalogue films", with the offer "redeemable through the Xperia Lounge app, which comes preloaded on the handsets".


The Xperia X, Xperia X Performance and Xperia XA models "each have a range of matching Style Covers in corresponding colours including Style Cover Flip, which incorporates a protective cover with flip front, Style Cover Touch, which lets you access your favourite smartphone widgets through a smart window without needing to open the case, and Style Cover, a protective back cover with rounded edges and a beautiful finish".

Sony says "these covers will be available in all of the colours that match the X Series handsets through Sony directly, Sony Kiosks and Sony Centre. Additionally, Telstra will be ranging covers for the X Performance at launch".

Sony will also be "ranging other accessories for all of the X Series handsets, with details, pricing and availability to be announced shortly. The existing DK52 charging dock and Digital Noise Cancelling headsets designed for the Xperia Z5 series handsets are compatible with X Series and are available through Sony directly, at Sony Kiosks, Sony Centre and Telstra".

Australian ranging and price

Pricing is yet to be announced, but the Xperia X will be available from Vodafone on 29 June, and from Sony direct earlier from 23 June.

The Xperia XA will be available through Vodafone and Virgin Mobile, and the Xperia X Performance will be a carrier exclusive through Telstra; these handsets are expected to be available within the next month, and pricing details will be updated closer to the release date.

Here are the spec differences between each model:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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