I’m seriously at times amazed at the people who are in charge of Sony Mobile. One of the most peculiar announcements when the Xperia X family was unveiled was that Sony would not be offering the Performance model in the UK and Germany. This always struck me as an odd choice, seeing how Germany and the former EU member UK (too soon?) are one of the richest countries in the region. Why would you not offer your best and most expensive device there?
Luckily Sony eventually shifted course and announced the release of the Xperia X Performance in the UK, albeit in limited availability. Now they’ve done the same for Germany.
With the Xperia X now out in many countries, a lot of you will likely be comparing it against the Galaxy S7. Even though a better comparison is likely between the X Performance and S7, the reality is that a lot of countries might not be getting the Performance edition, and if they are, it will be at a later date. For those curious about how the two phones compare, the following video does a good job at comparing the pros and cons of each device.
In early May, there was word that Sony might be bringing the Xperia X Performance to UK. This was notable because initially Sony Mobile had officially stated that the UK and Germany would not be receiving their new flagship smartphone. With the Xperia X having just launched in Europe, Sony has now confirmed that the Xperia X Performance will indeed be coming to the UK.
The only device in the Xperia X family to have IP65/IP68 certification is the Xperia X Performance which left many who lusted for the Xperia X a little burned. After all, the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Premium both had water- and dust-proofing so the removal of these features from the Xperia X felt odd at best. However like Apple and the iPhone 6s which is waterproof despite it being advertised otherwise, the Xperia X might be as well.
The Sony Xperia X is finally here as it begins to arrive in Europe with the US and Canada rollout right around the corner. The entire Xperia X family marks a restart of the company’s mobile efforts in many ways. Though Sony won’t say it, the philosophy with the phone has been fairly straightforward – keep what most would appreciate/use and improve upon it while stripping away features that a majority never bothered using. For those comparing it to the Xperia Z5, it most certainly means compromises.
Yes, 4K video recording is gone. So is its water- and dust-proof housing. But that doesn’t make the Xperia X a downgrade in any shape or form. When looking at the Xperia X, we first have to step back and consider a few facts. Is 4K recording nice? It sure is, yet the reality is that the majority of consumers don’t own a 4K TV or computer so recording 4K is utterly useless for them. The same is true for a design that incorporates a water- and dust-proof housing. Again is it nice to have? Of course it is, but most smartphones out there don’t have this feature (looking at you iPhone, though iPhone 6s did quietly incorporate this) and it hasn’t affected sales one bit.
But perhaps if you’re going to take away one thing from all of this, it’s that the Xperia X wasn’t designed for you. Sony designed the Xperia X family for consumers who either own older Xperia devices or those who are coming from other brands like Samsung, LG, or somebody who is entirely new to Android. Would they be happy if Xperia Z5 owners decided to purchase the Xperia X? Of course they would be, but they didn’t design it to please them. It’s like the philosophy Apple has with their ‘s’ models. Do some upgrade from iPhone 6 to 6s? Sure, but the goal is entice somebody with an iPhone 5 or 5s to upgrade.
So that aside, what do you get with the Xperia X?
With the Xperia X starting to get into customer hands in Europe – with the US and Canada rollout right around the bend – new details are beginning to surface about Sony’s 2016 fleet. One such tidbit is the lack of Small Apps across the entire Xperia X line which acted as widgets on your home screen. They included the ability to easily access a calculator or timer without fully launching an app.
Like the US, Canada will be getting the entire Sony Xperia X family which consists of the Xperia X, X Performance, XA, and XA Ultra. Just last week, Sony began rolling out the Xperia X to Europe and Canada won’t be far behind with the first handsets shipping in late June. However unlike the US, there so far doesn’t appear to be any pre-order goodies but at least they’re getting plenty of carrier support which includes:
In late May, Sony’s social media arms accidentally unveiled the Xperia E5, only to pull it back within a short few hours. This obviously meant that a new budget phone was around the bend and Sony has now officially confirmed that. Sony plans to launch the Xperia E5 in late June when it will be made available in European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and African countries. No surprise that North America is not on that list.
Please let this be an isolated incident.
Sony Xperia phones have often been criticised for heat issues, especially around the camera. The Sony Xperia Z3+ was notorious for suffering from heating problems, but many recent Xperia models have also suffered from force shutdowns on the camera when video recording. It was disappointing to hear that the Xperia X models would not support 4K video recording, and it looks like optimising thermal performance was one of the key reasons for this. Well it looks like the Xperia X may have issues even with 1080p video recording judging by the video below Check out how the Xperia X performs versus the Samsung Galaxy S7.
That feeling when a new firmware update is finally available from Sony
If you’ve got an Xperia Z5, it’s time to fire it up as a new firmware update (32.2.A.0.224) is now available.
Sony Mobile has begun to roll a new firmware update for the Xperia Z5 family with build number 32.2.A.0.224 (from version 32.1.A.1.185). At the time of writing, the update is available to the Xperia Z5 (E6603), Xperia Z5 Dual (E6683) and Xperia Z5 Compact (E5803, E5823), but we expect the Xperia Z5 Premium to go live shortly too.
Just a heads up for our European readers. As of yesterday, the Sony Xperia X became available for purchase though you’ll have to wait till late June for the Xperia XA and early July for Xperia X Performance. According to Sony, not all countries will get the Performance variant like Germany, though the UK, which was previously on the list of countries set to not receive the Xperia X Performance, might still end up getting it. Confusing, right? Well, that’s Sony Mobile for you.
Sony Mobile is doing something unprecedented for those of in the US and no, they haven’t signed on a carrier partner – I did say unprecedented and not miracle, after all. For the first time in recent history and perhaps a first ever, the entire new range of Sony Mobile products (read Xperia X family) is coming to the United States following in the footsteps of other countries. For those unaware, when we do get new devices from Sony Mobile (and we don’t always get every variant), it tends to be many, many months after their global rollout.
So let’s talk more details shall we?
As I’ve noted a few times, the Xperia X family is a completely new way for Sony to look at mobile. It’s certainly been a divisive one for Sony Mobile fans, but it’s for a good reason: the long term stability and outlook of Sony’s mobile efforts. Chris Barraclough writing for recombu:
this new mobile range represents a fresh mantra for Sony Mobile, namely ‘if it ain’t essential, drop it’. By keeping the premium features that consumers demand and trimming the less popular stuff, Sony has managed to cut the price of the Xperia X to make it cheaper than most other flagship mobiles, including last year’s Xperia Z5.
The Sony Xperia X Dual and Xperia XA Dual are coming to India, but they won’t be cheap.
Sony Mobile India has announced pricing of the Xperia X Dual and Xperia XA Dual, but like everywhere else, they don’t come cheap. The Xperia X Dual has a recommended price of Rs. 48,990 (£498, €655, $730), whilst the Xperia XA Dual has a recommended price of Rs. 20,990 (£214, €281, $313). The Xperia X Dual will be available from 7 June, whilst the Xperia XA Dual will be available towards the end of June.
Luckily, Sony is at least enticing users with some pre-order goodies though I’m not sure how long that goodwill will last before the cost sets in.
The Sony Xperia X and Xperia X Performance have already been priced for Europe where they’ll begin to appear later this month. After their Euro invasion, Sony plans to bring the new handsets to Taiwan where they’ll be receiving favorable pricing and options.