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Why the Sony Xperia X could be the best phone of 2016

With the Xperia X, Sony is bringing premium-quality features that everyone wants to the masses. Here’s why the Sony Xperia X could be the best Sony smartphone in ages and possibly the best phone of 2016.

Sony used MWC 2016 to launch its new X series of smartphones, the Xperia X, Xperia XA and Xperia Premium (which is hitting the US but not the UK). And while most tech lovers were creaming themselves over the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 (which to be fair are bloody nice and super shiny), Sony’s Xperia X family seemed to get a lot less attention.

And that’s a shame, because the Xperia X is a very smart move from Sony that could see it shifting a lot of mobiles.

Update: We’ve now fully reviewed the Xperia X, as well as the Xperia XA, so check out what we thought of Sony’s lastest smartphones.

Sexy flagship phones like the G5 and S7 are great if you’ve got sacks of disposable cash stuffed under your mattress. But for most people, the priority is to spend as little as they can on their monthly contract while grabbing the best possible handset within their means.

Previously, this used to mean compromising on what features you could afford. Perhaps you could get a phone with a half-decent screen for just £20 a month, but you’d be forced to make do with a crappy camera, for instance. However, 2015 saw the rise of several smart and affordable phones that rivalled the Moto G for value for money, including the British-made Wileyfox Swift and Storm, and Huawei’s new Honor range.

We’re expecting 2016 to be an even bigger year for mid-priced mobiles, as we already explained in this feature here. After all, Qualcomm’s latest dinky mobile chipsets can handle premium camera tech, Full HD displays and ‘PC-class’ graphics, on a seriously tight budget – something that simply wasn’t possible before. And the Sony Xperia X, which sports the Snapdragon 650 for a solid media and gaming experience, could be one of the most enticing handsets of the year if Sony gets its pricing right.

On paper, the Xperia X actually doesn’t sound too different to the rather splendid Xperia Z5 flagship from 2015. You still get a Full HD Triluminos screen, this time a 5-incher which means it’s a wee bit sharper than before (443 pixels-per-inch), with Sony’s X-Reality tech on-board. There’s Hi-Res audio support too, something most premium phones discount, so you’ll get top-quality visuals and sound for your movies and music.

You also get Sony’s excellent 23-megapixel camera, now with the fantastic predictive hybrid autofocus tech that keeps your subject sharp even when they’re jumping around like a loon. And there’s a very capable 13-megapixel front-facer, which comes packing SteadyShot image stabilisation and a wide-angle lens for group selfies. Sony has even rammed in the same excellent side-mounted fingerprint sensor as the Xperia Z5, making the Xperia X reassuringly secure while speeding up the time required to unlock your handset.

In a nutshell, you get all of the best bits of a premium phone that consumers demand – dependable camera, gorgeous screen and hopefully long battery life too – but in a more affordable form.

Sony is hoping to achieve the lower price point by sacrificing some of the more expensive and unnecessary elements of the Z5 flagship, such as the water resistance and 4K video. And if the Xperia X comes in significantly cheaper than the Galaxy S7 and LG G5, it’ll immediately be a very attractive alternative.

Read next: Sony Xperia X vs Xperia XA vs Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia X Performance

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