The Sony Xperia X is a high-quality phone and if this is where the story ended, all would have been fine. But no, Sony decided to overhaul its well-known flagship lineup, mid- and low-end too, and replace them all with the X-series.
The Xperia X Performance is clearly eyeing the Z5's spot at the top. And the XA Ultra is the C6 Ultra in all but name. But where is the Z5 Compact's successor? And how come the Xperia X takes over from the M-series, but at a much higher price tag?
Currently, the Xperia M5 costs about half as much as the Xperia X. Sure, it's not as good in most areas but is better in some. More importantly, if you want a premium device, the Xperia Z5 is about 25% cheaper than the X.
It's fair to say that the current price tag of the Sony Xperia X doesn't stand scrutiny. Right now, a Samsung Galaxy S7 or an LG G5 is cheaper, the HTC 10 is only slightly more expensive. Those aren't the phones that the X competes with, the X Performance maybe, but not the X.
So, let's look at the real competition instead. The story of the HTC One A9 sounds very similar to that of the X. HTC wanted a fresh start and launched a premium midranger ahead of the true flagship. And like the X, the A9 omits a trademark feature of its predecessors - in this case, the stereo speakers.
The One A9 has that old-school HTC look (a throwback to the HTC One) with an all-metal body. It also has a 5" 1080p screen, a quality AMOLED, and it arms its 13MP camera with OIS. The selfie camera is also a throwback to the One - a 4MP UltraPixel. Sure, the chipset isn't blazing fast and the battery isn't as good, but the A9 puts beauty before brawn.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is a first-class midrange alternative to the small S7. It packs a 5.2" 1080p Super AMOLED screen and 13MP OIS camera in the metal and glass shell. This one gets much better battery life, though again the chipset is nothing special.
The Huawei Honor 7 is serious about imaging. A 20MP 1/2.4" sensor is paired with an f/2.0 lens and on the front is an 8MP camera. The phone itself boasts a metal unibody and a 5.2" 1080p screen.
You can even try going bigger with something like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. It has a 5.5" 1080p screen and is powered by the same Snapdragon 650 chipset as the Xperia (there's a version with MediaTek too). It has a 16MP f/2.0 main camera and a 5MP selfie cam, 24-bit/192kHz audio support, a metal unibody with a 4,000mAh battery inside.
The Sony Xperia X is a great upper-midranger. The high-res camera, stereo speakers and robust chipset do set it above the average midrange crowd. But so does, in a bad way, its exorbitant asking price. The market is full of flagship wannabes and the Sony Xperia X is perhaps better than most. But even if it was the best, something about the attitude seems wrong. It's almost as if Sony is looking down on the competition: "Phew, they just look expensive."