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X marks the spot for Sony's new Xperia X phones

Sony splashes down at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with a new range of phones, and a new Bluetooth earpiece.

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Aloysius Low
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Aloysius Low

Senior Editor

Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.

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3 min read

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Sony's known for its pretty-looking phones, and the Xperia X and XA -- two new devices unveiled Monday at Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona -- aren't the exception. They pack curved glass displays and a metallic rear that feels luxurious.

The phones run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with the Xperia X powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core processor. The Xperia XA gets the MediaTek treatment in the form of a slower octa-core MT6755 processor. These aren't top-of-the-line specs, but they should be more than sufficient for day-to-day use and light gaming. Sony's power management features are present, helping to extend your daily usage.

It's deja vu with the golden face of Sony's Xperia X (pictures)

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The Xperia X will have a predictive autofocus feature on its 23-megapixel camera, which anticipates your subject's motion and promises to take a clear, blur-free shot. On the other hand, the Xperia XA will have 13-megapixel rear shooter with hybrid autofocus object tracking, which I'm guessing isn't as good as what's on the Xperia X.

Key details

  • 5-inch display, with full HD on the Xperia X and HD on the XA
  • Premium stylings
  • Predictive autofocus or autofocus object tracking
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor or MediaTek MT6755 processor

Both phones are comfortable to hold, thanks to rounded edges that sit nicely in your palm. I like how the curved glass feels, but I did notice that the phones' performance was absurdly sluggish. This is likely due to the fact that these devices are pretty much prototypes and likely not the final product, but it's hardly a good first impression. Both phones are set to roll out worldwide this summer -- Vodafone in the UK pegs them as "coming soon" -- with prices yet to be revealed.

Also teased at the show floor at Sony's booth is the Asia-only X Performance, which sports the mostly same specs as the X, but uses a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and is water-resistant to boot.

A gorgeous edge-to-edge screen on Sony's budget Xperia XA (pictures)

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Hardware specs:

  • Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 (Xperia X); MediaTek MT6755 (Xperia XA)
  • Screen: 5-inch full HD (Xperia X); 5-inch HD (Xperia XA)
  • Dimensions: 5.62 by 2.73 by 0.31 inches (142.7 by 69.4 by 7.9mm) (Xperia X); 5.65 by 2.62 by 0.31 inches (143.6 by 66.8 by 7.9mm) (Xperia XA)
  • Weight: 5.39 oz (153g) (Xperia X); 4.84 oz (137.4g) (Xperia XA)
  • 3GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage (Xperia X); 2GB RAM, 16GB onboard storage (Xperia XA)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • microSD card slot
  • Batteries: 2,620mAh (Xperia X); 2,300mAh (Xperia XA)
  • Rear camera: 23-megapixel (Xperia X); 13-megapixel (Xperia XA)
  • Front camera: 13-megapixel (Xperia X); 8-megapixel (Xperia XA)
  • Fingerprint sensor on power button (Xperia X only)

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Xperia Ear

Sony also showed off the Xperia Ear, an earpiece that you wear all day that informs you of your schedule, news and weather. It responds to voice commands, so you can tell it to make calls, make an Internet search or navigate to a location. If you're worried about it chafing after wearing it for a full day, fret not -- the Ear uses soft silicone and is designed for all-day wear.

Three other concept devices were revealed here in Barcelona, too: the Xperia Eye, the Projector and the Agent. The Eye is pretty much a camera you clip on your shirt, much like those pet cameras, while the Projector is somewhat like the old Microsoft Surface tables where you interact with a projected image. The Agent should be a personal assistant, somewhat like Amazon's Alexa, but more intelligent and interactive, prompting you instead of waiting for your vocal cues. There are no planned release dates for these devices, and chances are we likely won't even see them anytime this year.

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sonyxperiaagent.jpg

Sony's Xperia Agent concept is supposed to be a virtual assistant, but there's no indication when it will go on sale.

Aloysius Low/CNET
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