Devices in your pocket come with increasingly unique features and designs. Whether that be a notch, folding displays or ones massive curves, it’s hard to tell gimmick from genuine feature these days.

Sony, however, has been something of a non-entity in the space for a while now. Whether the blame should be laid at the higher price point the brand plays in or a simple lack of innovation from Sony is unclear, but something needed to be done.

While the subject of today’s review, the Sony Xperia 10, doesn’t play in the premium space that flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or Huawei P30 do, it does present us with a new look at Sony and we are rather impressed with what the firm has done with this smartphone.

With that having been said, there are some aspects of the handset that still have us wincing.

Weird decisions

For some incredibly bizarre reason the Xperia 10 boasts a 21:9 aspect ratio. The translation of this is that the handset is rather tall and thin. While this doesn’t affect the usability in anyway, applications look rather cramped in this form factor.

What Sony really wants you to do with this handset is watch movies and while we get that impression, our experience has been mixed. Why? Well because while movies are a joy to watch on this display, YouTube videos aren’t given that creators dictate the resolution their video appears in.

Much like the S10, zooming into YouTube video so that it takes up the entire display results in the picture being cropped with the top and bottom of the picture being cut off.

The speakers are also located in such a way that holding the phone comfortable blocks the only speakers on the handset.

The fingerprint scanner on the side of the handset is still a feature and we still don’t like it.

Simply put, the button is too low a profile to accurately get a correct reading on the first try, every time and we wish Sony would use either of the bezels on the handset or its backside to place the fingerprint scanner.

Performance

Those are, however, our only real issues with the Xperia 10 as elsewhere Sony has built a remarkably solid handset.

Inside is a Snapdragon 630 chipset rocking an octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU running at 2.2GHz. Paired with this is 3GB of RAM and the overall experience is good.

Single core performance comes in at 895 on Geekbench which is in-line with other handsets in this price range and multi-core at 4 084.

Apps launch quickly and switching between them is a quick enough that you shouldn’t feel like you’re waiting for the CPU to realise what its job is.

Performance in games is fine and while we thought the weird aspect ratio of the handset would hurt the Xperia 10, playing games is rather comfortable. There are oddities in some games. For instance, Hearthstone had some of its UI elements stretched but that is hardly a deal breaker.

Battery

Inside the Xperia 10 is a 2 870mAh battery and while it sounded small at first, we’re impressed with the life we squeezed from it.

On average we noted a screen on time of 11 hours with this sometimes stretching to 14 hours depending on what we’re doing with the handset.

The Xperia 10 charges up quickly however with a charge taking little over an hour to get the battery to full.

Camera

At the back of the Xperia 10 is a dual lens shooter with a 13MP and 5MP sensor.

This is a slight bump up from the camera configuration we saw in the Honor 10 Lite and the results are close.

We found that images captured in low light are slightly better than the Honor 10 Lite and we didn’t get as much over-exposure as we did when shooting in dark environments with sunlight streaming in from one side of the snap.

Overall the camera is decent and with the ability to shoot 4K video at a 21:9 aspect ratio is something unique though we don’t consider the phone a “must buy” because of it.

A gallery of images follows below with all images were shot in a 21:9 aspect ratio. Just keep in mind that our site naturally compresses all images to reduce data usage.

Conclusion

We’re impressed with the Xperia 10. Sony has crafted a solid device that has a few irks that remain as relics from previous Sony smartphones.

We’re not fans of the fingerprint scanner on the side of the handset but it works so we’re not going to count that against the phone. The aspect ratio is a bit jarring at first but after a few days you will start to get used to it.

Performance is decent and you will only notice a slow-down if you are an app fiend that doesn’t close apps regularly.

The best part is the price. At R6 499 the Xperia 10 won’t break the bank and honestly, you’re getting a very competent device for that price.

Overall the Xperia 10 is a good handset and receives a hearty recommendation from us. Good job Sony, you have us excited for the Xperia 1.

Devices in your pocket come with increasingly unique features and designs. Whether that be a notch, folding displays or ones massive curves, it's hard to tell gimmick from genuine feature these days. Sony, however, has been something of a non-entity in the space for a while now. Whether the blame should be laid at the higher price point the brand plays in or a simple lack of innovation from Sony is unclear, but something needed to be done. While the subject of today’s review, the Sony Xperia 10, doesn’t play in the premium space that flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or Huawei P30 do, it does present us with a new look at Sony and we are rather impressed with what the firm has done with this smartphone. With that having been said, there are some aspects of the handset that still have us wincing. Weird decisions For some incredibly bizarre reason the Xperia 10 boasts a 21:9 aspect ratio. The translation of this is that the handset is rather tall and thin. While this doesn’t affect the usability in anyway, applications look rather cramped in this form factor. What Sony really wants you to do with this handset is watch movies and while we get that impression, our experience has been mixed. Why? Well because while movies are a joy to watch on this display, YouTube videos aren't given that creators dictate the resolution their video appears in. Much like the S10, zooming into YouTube video so that it takes up the entire display results in the picture being cropped with the top and bottom of the picture being cut off. The speakers are also located in such a way that holding the phone comfortable blocks the only speakers on the handset. The fingerprint scanner on the side of the handset is still a feature and we still don’t like it. Simply put, the button is too low a profile to accurately get a correct reading on the first try, every time and we wish Sony would use either of the bezels on the handset or its backside to place the fingerprint scanner. Performance Those are, however, our only real issues with the Xperia 10 as elsewhere Sony has built a remarkably solid handset. Inside is a Snapdragon 630 chipset rocking an octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU running at 2.2GHz. Paired with this is 3GB of RAM and the overall experience is good. Single core performance comes in at 895 on Geekbench which is in-line with other handsets in this price range and multi-core at 4 084. Apps launch quickly and switching between them is a quick enough that you shouldn’t feel like you’re waiting for the CPU to realise what its job is. Performance in games is fine and while we thought the weird aspect ratio of the handset would hurt the Xperia 10, playing games is rather comfortable. There are oddities in some games. For instance, Hearthstone had some of its UI elements stretched but that is hardly…

TL;DR

Score - 8

8

Impressed

After playing fourth or fifth fiddle for the longest time, Sony nails it with the Xperia 10. The performance is solid, the camera is great and the battery life is awesome. The weird 21:9 aspect ratio takes some getting used to but once you start using it you hardly notice it. This is a very good handset from Sony and we're excited to see what the flagship Xperia 1 brings to the table.

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8