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Sony focuses on the camera with its Xperia X lineup

The Xperia X and XA phones have all-metal bodies and minimal bezel.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
February 22, 2016
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It was a mystery what Sony was going to unveil at MWC this year, but now we know -- a new line of Xperia X smartphones and "smart products" to go with them. The Xperia X and Xperia XA aren't going to set any performance records, but Sony has tried to make them as compelling as possible in terms of design and photo features. As such, the mobile group worked closely with the engineers who created Sony's popular Alpha hybrid camera products. The result is a smartphone camera that focuses rapidly and accurately by predicting subject motion to eliminate any blur. Both phones also sport all-metal bodies with curved glass around the display "for a familiar form that feels comfortable in the hand," according to the company.

Sony is no doubt hoping the curved glass makes that squarish "familiar form" seem a touch more premium. The lower end of the two devices is the Xperia XA, which has a 5-inch, 720p display, 13-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera and a 64-bit MediaTek MT6755 processor aka Helio P10. Though the screen is hardly what you'd call high-res, it takes up a good chunk of the phone's total area, because the side bezels are virtually gone. Sony also says that because of its latest battery management tricks, the phone can go two days without a charge (the low-res screen certainly helps that as well.) As befitting its purpose as a camera-first phone, it also has expandable microSD storage to hold all your images.

Gallery: Sony Xperia XA | 13 Photos

The Xperia X model, meanwhile, features a 5-inch, 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 CPU and expandable SD storage. That device packs Sony's 1/2.3-inch, 23-megapixel Exmor sensor and also uses the Prediction Hybrid Autofocus developed by Sony's camera division to automatically track subjects and keep them in focus. Sony also says you can take selfies in low light thanks to the 13-megapixel front camera sensor. There's no word on the all-important pricing for the smartphones, but we imagine the devices will come at a premium over what their specs might suggest. We'll have more information on both the Xperia X and XA once we get our hands on them.

Although the X and XA both make compromises to (we hope) bring down the price, the X Performance is much more competitive. It's got all the goods of the X, but adds a Snapdragon 820 processor, 3GB of RAM, and waterproofing. It looks like this is the closest we'll get to a flagship from Sony at MWC, even if its 5-inch, 1080p display is lacking when compared to Samsung and LG's latest.

To go with the new phones, Sony has also launched the first device in its lineup of "smart products." The Xperia Ear is what Sony calls "a next-generation wireless earpiece" that does more than let you take a call. It can respond to verbal commands and let you search the internet, dictate messages or navigate using your smartphone. It will also provide information about your schedule, the weather and the latest news. To make sure it can do all that, Sony built it from soft silicone and gave it an all-day battery life. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and NFC.

Update: This article was updated after publishing to add details of Sony's Xperia X Performance.

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