Sony always has a presence at MWC, and this year, it used its booth space to announce a new series of smartphones. The Xperia X and Xperia XA are the premium mid-rangers launched to combat the likes of Huawei and OnePlus’ affordable high-end phones…

The ringleader is the Xperia X, which has a full HD 5-inch IPS LCD display on the front, which is covered in glass with slight curves at the edges. The back is a seamless flat sheet of metal, and the phone has the trademark smooth rounded metal frame all the way around the edges. Like the Z5, the X has a fingerprint sensor built in to the power button. As you’d expect from Sony, the design is minimal and uncomplicated.

As you’d also expect from Sony, there’s a great camera on the back. This 23MP one can focus within the blink of an eye, has PDAF and 1080p video recording. There’s also an impressive 13MP front facing.

It runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with a relatively light Sony skin on top and is powered by a Snapdragon 650 processor, which they’ve paired with 3GB RAM and a 2,620mAh battery. This battery apparently lasts two full days per charge. There’s also a more high end model called the X Performance which has all the same specs, except it uses a Snapdragon 820 chip, and has a slightly larger capacity battery.

Despite the lesser specs, it was the Xperia XA that I was most drawn to at the Sony booth. It only has a 720p resolution 5-inch display and is powered by a Mediatek Helio P10 processor, but its design is beautiful.

The screen is virtually edge-to-edge and has sumptuous curves towards the frame. It has a great-looking rear panel with the same curves towards the edges. Because of its narrow size and design, it feels super-comfortable in hand, like it belongs there. Like most Sony’s it has a dedicate camera button on the right edge, along with the power and volume keys. What’s more, it’ll come in four colors: Black, white, as well as rose and lime gold.

Despite being only 720p, the screen packs a punch. The (undoubtedly optimised) demo content were full of contrast and color. Other specs include 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable to 200GB), Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and a 2-day 2,300mAh battery. There’s also a 13MP camera on the back and an 8MP camera on the front.

Performance didn’t seem quite as snappy on the XA as the X, and that might be a deal-breaker for some, but it’s still a great looking and great feeling device.

While the devices themselves are nice enough, what they do clearly is paint a portrait of a company which doesn’t seem sure what it’s doing in the mobile industry anymore. Just a few months ago, it launched its flagship Xperia Z5 range, but only made them available in the States within the past few weeks (and without one of their best features).

Now, it’s launching phones which are sort-of high end, but not quite. They almost look as though they’re attempting to compete hardware-wise with the likes of the OnePlus X, except they’re almost certainly not going to be anything like as cheap as OnePlus’ smallest phone.

So the question remains: Exactly what are these supposed to be? Answer: Insert shrug emoji here.

Sony Xperia X Specs

  • 5.0-inch 1080p display (441ppi) – IPS LCD
  • Android 6.0.1
  • Snapdragon 650 processor (X Performance has SD820)
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB internal (expandable to 200GB)
  • 23MP f/2.0 PDAF + 1080p video
  • 13MP front camera
  • Stereo speakers (high res audio)
  • 2,620mAh battery (X Performance has 2,700mAh)
  • 142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9mm

Sony Xperia XA specs

  • 5.0-inch 720p display (294ppi) – edge-to-edge
  • Android 6.0.1
  • Mediatek Helio P10 octa-core
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage (expandable to 200GB)
  • 13MP camera with PDAF and 1080p video
  • 8MP front camera
  • 2,300mAh battery
  • 143.6 x 66.8 x 7.9 mm

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