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FM Edition:

The Xperia X is a high-end handset from Japanese manufacturer Sony. It’s attractive, with a mix of specs that tick the high and mid-to-high boxes.

The 5-inch screen is crisp, full HD with bright, popping colours. Even though some of the icons in the Sony-layered Android user interface are perilously finely detailed, they show clearly and the contrast is good. It runs the latest Android Marshmallow operating system.

The X packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor that is on par with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro, but not as powerful as the 820 version you would find in the Samsung Galaxy S7 or LG G5, among others. Combined with 3GB RAM, it’s snappy enough to manage everyday tasks without lag.

The cameras are generous, with the rear camera boasting 23MP, and 13MP on the selfie camera. It takes clear and detailed snaps in good light, but the zoom introduces quite a lot of visual noise. The X retains the Sony-associated dedicated camera button on the side.

Sony says the 2 620mAh battery will give up to two days’ use, but with medium to heavy use this was significantly reduced. Still, it lasted into the second day happily, and the standby time seems great.

I like the little "start here" function on your home screen after first start-up. It gives you an "Introduction to Xperia", based on what your previous phone’s operating system was.

Tech-savvy users seem to pride themselves on an ability to jump between operating system and device brands. But there are some learning curves that aren’t always immediately apparent.

I use an iPhone and was happily surprised by the final prompt in the tutorial, suggesting that I turn off iMessage. That makes loads of sense, but it might never have occurred to me in the tech-joy moment of setting up a new device.

Also in that tutorial space is a handy "Work with Xperia" tutorial that will take you through adding your corporate Wi-Fi, e-mail account, VPN and more.

The handset is heftier and thicker than that of some competitors, but it feels great in the hand — sturdy, not too slippery and good depth for grip.

And I know I’m a slave to the trend here, but I really like the rose gold review unit. It’s also available in white, black, and "lime gold".


Pros: 23MP camera, user-friendly Android overlay and tutorials
Cons: No 4K video recording
Price: R11 999
For more:
Cool factor: ***
Usability: ****
Value for money: ****