The Sony Xperia X brings a Bravia, Triluminos, X-Reality display (hey, the names match!), 5" big with 1080p resolution. Sony won the sharpness wars with its 4K Xperia Z5 Premium, so the Xperia X is free to go for quality instead of bragging rights of a QHD display.
All those brand names really stand for an IPS LCD built on the Quantum Dot technology. It generates colors in a different way than vanilla LCD's and you can tell - even if you're used to AMOLED, the saturated colors of this screen look spell-binding.
Despite their surreal appearance, Sony managed to keep color reproduction fairly accurate - the display scores an average deltaE of 4.0 - that's more than the best in this regard (the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s), but it's still better than quite a few devices (the Xperia Z5, LG G5, and Huawei P9). It's really the white balance that's off (it has a blueish tint), the rest of the color reproduction stays mostly under a deltaE of 6. The biggest deviation was 9.4.
There are sliders to adjust white balance, but you need to have a calibration tool as you really can't do much by eye.
Sony also worked to improve contrast and the Xperia X scores 1,200:1, better than the 1,000:1 the Z5 managed and the 800:1 of the Xperia M5. This was largely done by improving the black levels, which are still on the high side. Even so, in the dark, you can get the brightness as low as 4.9 nits, a boon for late-night notifications when a bright screen would blind you.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
Sony does image post-processing in its gallery. You can turn it off, switch to X-Reality mode or go all in with Super-vivid mode (delivering self-described "surreal" images).
These modes sharpen images, boost contrast and (in super-vivid mode) enhance colors. You can get a side-by-side comparison to help you make your choice too.
The sunlight legibility marks a small improvement over the Xperia Z5 and M5. It's on par with, say, LG G5, but behind some mid-range AMOLED-packing phones.
The Display settings have a few additional perks. You can enable double-tap to wake (off by default), Glove mode (for cold winters) and Smart backlight control (keeps the screen on while you hold the phone).
The Sony Xperia X comes in single- and dual-SIM versions, ours is of the single-SIM kind.
For mobile data, LTE Cat. 6 (300Mbps down, 50Mbps up) along with HSPA as a fallback (42.2Mbps/5.76Mbps). You also get dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac (the Xperia M5 lacked ac), Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX and Low Energy, NFC and FM Radio with RDS (we know it's important to some people).
The Wi-Fi connection can be used for screen casting - either via Miracast or Google Cast. This goes great if you connect a DualShock controller, the Xperia X becomes a portable console. For cars, MirrorLink can connect to your head unit.
The microUSB 2.0 port (yep, no Type-C action from Sony in the foreseeable future) lets you charge the phone as well as hook up USB storage and accessories. MHL is not supported, there's no wired way to connect to to a TV.
Ask any Xperia owner about battery life and you'll hear good things. But the Sony Xperia X comes with a sealed 2,620mAh battery. Is it enough? That's the same capacity as the Xperia M5 and actually a bit less than the Xperia Z5 Compact (2,700mAh).
Note that the Xperia X is the first phone to launch with a Qnovo battery. It supports fast charging (Quick Charge 2.0 in this case)), but the company behind it claims it has a longer life and will last hundreds of charge cycles more than a conventional Lithium battery (especially one that's being fast-charged). This means that a year or two after you buy it, the X will continue to offer solid battery life while an aged regular battery will not be able to hold much charge (and this is important for a phone with a sealed battery).
Additional improvements, including a new chipset, help the Endurance rating to a good 67 hours. Not the best we've seen (Z3 Compact was a wonder), but we think it's actually an improvement over the Xperia Z5.
It comes down to the testing procedure - we used to set the brightness slider to 50% (which for the Z5 meant a low 90nits), but now we test all phones at 200nits. The only test the Xperia X loses compared to the Z5 is the browser test, but we think at equal brightness the Z5's lead will shrink.
In comparison, the LG G5 scored 60h (50h with Always On screen), HTC 10 did 66h, Sony Xperia Z5 73h, Huawei P9 75h, Samsung Galaxy S7 80h (49h with Always On).
Sony's Stamina battery saving feature comes standard here. It has two modes: regular Stamina, and Ultra Stamina. The first disables non-essential features like GPS and vibration, and takes performance down a notch, but the Xperia does remain a smartphone.
Ultra Stamina is for absolutely dire occasions when you don't expect to be able to find a power outlet for a prolonged period of time. Enable that and it's back to basics where you get a single homescreen with access to the dialer and contacts, text messages, camera and clock.
You can read more about the Xperia X battery life in our blog post.