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Sony Xperia X hands-on review | MWC 2016

Sony Xperia X hands on: Sony pulled the wraps off some surprisingly powerful mid-range handsets at MWC 2016, with the beefier of the two being the Sony Xperia X.

Both new Xperia X family phones are markedly similar and show off some new design ideas that serve as a natural progression to the OmniBalance aesthetic language we’ve come to expect from the company. Whilst previous Sony handsets typically favour a metal frame sandwiched between glass, the Xperia X is one of the first Sony handsets to boast an all-metal body.

Read next: Why the Sony Xperia X could be the best phone of 2016

The phone has a subtly brushed back and will launch in four muted tones (white, Graphite Black, Rose Gold and Lime Gold), with rounding around the edges offering a more comfortable feel in the hand. The device we tested out on the show floor was an early prototype, but the fit and finish already felt polished, with hardware controls like a camera shutter key, volume rocker and fingerprint sensor/power button, similarly to the ones found on the Z5 family.

Sony’s Xperia X also takes a nanoSIM and microSD cards up to 200G, slotting into a combined tray on the left edge of the phone, but unlike practically every Sony mid-ranger and above since last year, the X and XA don’t come with IP65 or IP68 certification (the Xperia X Performance will feature water and dust resistance in Asian markets however). This is a significant change of tact for the company’s premium devices, which have used their IP-certification as a standout feature amongst competitors, and one that’s designed to dramatically reduce the Xperia X’s cost.

Read next: Sony Xperia X vs Sony Xperia XA: What’s the difference?

One new design choice we are fans of is the curved glass display. The 5-inch Full HD panel is protected by glass that’s shaped to blend with the metal body, offering up a great feel under finger when swiping around the edges of the handset’s Android 6.0-based interface. Visuals are top notch too with beautiful colours, contrast and strong brightness, even amidst the harsh lighting of the convention centre.

If it weren’t for the on-paper internal specs you could easily mistake the Xperia X for a true flagship. There’s a 13-megapixel front-facer and a huge 23-megapixel rear-facing camera, both of which rely upon Sony’s Exmor RS sensor technology. Based on an initial play and the similarly image-savvy Z5 line, the X promises to be a mobile photography powerhouse.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 650 processor lies at the heart of the X, promising great performance and other highlights include high-res audio support and Remote Play for use with PlayStation 4.

We’re still waiting on more accurate pricing and availability information beyond ‘Summer 2016’, so stay tuned if you want to know more about this intriguing new smartphone.

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