So far the focus of MWC 2016 has, as expected, very much been upon Samsung and LG, but true to form Sony has also been in attendence at the Barcelona expo an unveiled a range of surprising new Xperia-branded smartphone handsets; dubbed the Xperia X series.
The three devices are the Sony Xperia X, the Sony Xperia X Performance, and the Xperia XA.
At a quick glance all three handsets look very similar, and very familiarly Sony in that signature angular style, but on closer inspection these are distinct devices with specific purposes, functions, and market segments in mind. They all have in common the 5in display size with an edge-to-edge design featuring slightly curved edges (hello Samsung Galaxy edge!), plus Android Marshmallow 6.0 with Sony's own UI on top.
Above: Xperia X Performance
Both the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance have 1920 x 1080 pixel Full HD resolutions, while the Xperia XA, the little brother of the group, has a 720p HD resolution.
The clue is in the name for the Xperia X Performance, which is the heavy hitter using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 64-bit processor, with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage and microSD card support. It also features a 23MP rear camera with Sony's hybrid autofocus, and a 13MP front-facer for selfies. Meanwhile, the battery cell is rated at 2,700mAh.
The Xperia X has pretty much the same spec line-up, except it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 64-bit processor instead. The Xperia XA, meanwhile, has a MediaTek MT6755 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB onboard storage, microSD support, a 13MP Sony Exmor RS camera, an 8MP secondary and a 2,300mAh battery.
As of February 23, a little more info has been revealed regarding the pricing and availability for Sony's Xperia X crop. The most immediate and somewhat disappointing thing to get out of the way is that the Xperia X Performance, the most powerful and therefore interesting member of the group, will apparently NOT be available in the UK or Germany, and potentially other European regions as well. The word comes via Sony's own promotional material for the handsets; the UK-facing promo explicitly mentions the Xperia X and Xperia XA but leaves out the Xperia X Performance - it is also absent from promo material being sent out by UK carrier networks.
XperiaBlog directly spoke to a Sony rep asking about the Xperia X Performance UK and German availability and was told, "will be available in most global markets with a key focus in Asia (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan)," which is a bit of a non-answer really, which in our experience means "no".
That's the bad news. The good news is that we now have some idea of pricing for the two Xperia X handsets that WILL come to the UK, Germany, and the rest of Europe. Both Xperia X and Xperia XA handsets have been listed on the German branch of Amazon with price tags of €599 and €299 respectively, which is roughly £467 and £233 for us Brits. Considering the Xperia X isn't even the most powerful member of the trio, based on those prices we do wonder how much the Xperia X Performance would cost if it was made available in the UK and Europe!