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Sony Xperia 10 Hands-On: A New View for Midrange Phones

BARCELONA — Sony is slimming down its selection of midrange phones for 2019 — physically and figuratively. The Xperia 10 and 10 Plus replace the Xperia XA series of old, and thanks to Sony’s newfound affinity for 21:9 aspect ratios, they are quite literally the candybars of candybar phones.

Sony reckons the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus’ unique proportions make them well-suited for watching films as they were intended. Many movies are produced at 21:9, and certain streaming services, like Netflix and YouTube, support the aspect ratio on a film-by-film basis.

Both handsets are equipped with full-HD+ LCD displays at 6 and 6.5 inches, dual-lens rear cameras, 4K video capture and Android 9 Pie out of the box, and preorders begin March 18. Here’s a closer look at how they’re shaping up:

Sony Xperia 10 and 10 Plus Specs

Model
Sony Xperia 10
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
Price
TBA
TBA
Display (Resolution)
6-inch LCD (2520x1080)6.5-inch LCD (2520x1080)
CPU
Snapdragon 630
Snapdragon 636
RAM
3GB
4GB
Storage
64GB
64GB
microSD?
Yes, up to 512GB
Yes, up to 512GB
Rear Cameras
Dual: 13-MP, 5-MP bokehDual: 12-MP, 8-MP bokeh
Front Camera
8-MP
8-MP
Battery
2,870 mAh with PD charging3,000 mAh with PD charging
Size
6.14 x 2.68 x 0.33 inches6.57 x 2.87 x 0.33 inches
Weight
5.71 ounces
6.35 ounces
Colors
Black, Silver, Navy, PinkBlack, Silver, Navy, Gold

Premium Looks

Like all Sony’s phones, the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus are remarkably minimalist in their design. There’s a single slab of anodized aluminum covering the back and wrapping softly around the frame, meeting a slice of Gorilla Glass 5 with minimal bezels on the bottom, left and right sides. The phone’s forehead, however, is quite large, and houses the earpiece and front-facing camera.

Sony has returned to a staple of its older handsets with the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus, opting for a side-mounted fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button, in lieu of a rear-facing reader. Given that the Xperia XZ2 and XZ3 series placed their rear sensors awkwardly low, we don’t mind Sony reverting here.

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Best of all, these scanners will be functional in all Xperia 10 models, sold in every territory — so you can dismiss any worries that the company will deactivate the feature for North American customers like it used to back in the day.

These are smart-looking midrange handsets, though the 21:9 aspect ratio and thick upper bezel may not be to everyone’s liking. Both models are available in Black, Silver and Navy, though the 6-inch Xperia 10 gets an exclusive Pink option, and the 10 Plus can be had in Gold. Unfortunately, only Black and Silver will be offered in the U.S.

Dual Cameras for Everyone

No matter which Xperia 10 you buy, you’ll get a pair of cameras on the back. However, they do differ slightly between the 10 and 10 Plus.

The 6-inch model combines a 12-megapixel primary shooter with a 5-MP one strictly for depth, while the 6.5-inch Plus variant bumps the resolution of the main sensor down to 12-MP, though the sensor itself is of a higher quality. Meanwhile, the secondary bokeh camera is bumped up to 8 MP and gains 2x optical zoom capabilities as well.

Both handsets can capture 4K video — a rare feat for midrange phones — and shoot in a display-filling 21:9 aspect ratio. They can also reach ISO 12,800 for better low-light performance. That’s not quite as high as the Xperia XZ2 Premium’s ISO 51,200, but again, a good sight better than most of Sony’s competitors in the space.

Under the Hood

Sony is turning to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 630 and 636 chipsets for the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus, respectively. The 630 is a somewhat dated processor at this point, so we’re a bit skeptical of its performance — especially considering it’s been coupled with 3GB RAM in the Xperia 10. The 10 Plus gets the higher-spec Snapdragon and an extra gigabyte of memory, for a total of 4GB.

In our brief hands-on time with both phones, the Xperia 10 Plus and its Snapdragon 636 chipset was good enough to run Gameloft’s Asphalt 9 smoothly, albeit at a lower resolution so it could fill the entirety of that expansive 21:9 panel.

On the battery side of things, the Xperia 10 makes do with a 2,870-mAh power pack, while the 10 Plus gets a bump up to 3,000 mAh. The 10's smaller battery has us concerned about longevity upon a charge, though at least both handsets will be able to top up again very quickly, thanks to USB Type-C Power Delivery charging.

Outlook

The Xperia 10 and 10 Plus look as respectable as any of Sony’s mid-tier offerings, but there’s still much we don’t know.

How will the 21:9 aspect ratio affect daily usage? In a sea of mediocre dual-camera budget phones, will the Xperia 10 series actually stand out? And of course, how much will the phones cost? Last year’s XA2 launched at $349, and although it can be had for much cheaper now, the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus will have to be exceptional if they inch any closer to the $400 mark.

Look forward to our full impressions and testing when we receive the final versions of both phones in the coming weeks.

Credits: Tom's Guide