Sony Mobile announced three smartphones at Mobile World Congress 2019, all of which push a 21:9 aspect ratio display. The renamed Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus take over from the Xperia XA range falling into the mid-range sector, while the Xperia 1 takes on the place of the XZ Premium line. 

With almost £500 difference between the Xperia 10 and Xperia 1, what do you miss out on if you opt for a mid-range 21:9 aspect device compared to the premium option? Here are our first impressions of the smaller Xperia 10.

Design

  • 156 x 68 x 8.4mm, 162g
  • No IP65/68
  • Black, Silver, Navy, Pink

The Sony Xperia 10 has a metal unibody in place of the Gorilla Glass finish found on the Xperia 1 so you get a slightly less premium looking device, but it's still solid. The curved corners and rounded edges make for a lovely mid-range device, while the flat back is very Xperia with only the Xperia XZ3 offering a more curved rear.

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Like the Xperia 10 Plus and Xperia 1, the Xperia 10 is a tall device - much taller than competitors - though it is around 10mm shorter than the 1 and 10 Plus. It's also around 4mm narrower, whilst retaining the slender 8mm thickness, making for a lovely device overall. Both the Xperia 1 and the Xperia 10 are manageable with one hand, but the Xperia 10 feels made for one-handed use.

A dual rear camera is present in the centre at the top of the back of the Xperia 10, with Sony and Xperia branding present in the middle and bottom, respectively. On the front, it's pretty much all display for the Xperia 10, aside from the forehead above the display housing the front camera and speaker. This means there is no notch to interrupt the display experience, but as we have said for the Xperia 10 Plus, it means the Xperia 10 is taller than it perhaps needed to be. 

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You'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, as the Xperia 10 Plus, and there is USB Type-C at the bottom. The right-hand edge sees the dedicated camera launcher button along with a power button, volume rocker and Sony has brought back a side fingerprint sensor. Unlike past Sony devices though, the side fingerprint sensor is positioned separately to the power button. 

Display

  • 6-inch, LCD, 21:9
  • Full HD+
  • No HDR

The Sony Xperia 10 has a 6-inch display, which is 0.5-inches smaller than the Xperia 1 and the Xperia 10 Plus. Like the 10 Plus, it opts for a Full HD+ resolution and an LCD panel, meaning you'll get much the same experience as the larger model but on a smaller scale, which consequently should make things a little crisper.

The premium 1 model by comparison offers an OLED panel which is likely to offer punchier colours, and its resolution bumps up to nearly four times that of the Xperia 10. It also offers HDR and it comes with a feature called Creator Mode which aims to ensure you see content the way the director intended you to.

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The Xperia 10 offers the 21:9 aspect ratio though, which both the flagship Xperia 1 and the larger mid-range Xperia 10 Plus offer. This ratio is new to smartphones, though not new in general - it's the same ratio used in cinemas which means viewing content on this Sony device should be more immersive in terms of mobile viewing. There will be no black bars with compatible content for example.

We didn't get a chance to test the Xperia 10's display in depth, though based on what we have seen so far, we can understand the appeal of a 21:9 ratio. Colours appeared to be vibrant too and text appeared crisp. We will test the display in full when we get this device in for review though.

Camera

  • Dual rear (13MP+5MP)
  • 8MP front
  • Bokeh images

The Sony Xperia 10 comes with a dual camera on the rear, like the Xperia 10 Plus, though the specifications are different. The Xperia 10 combines a 13-megapixel sensor with a 5-megapixel sensor and while it offers similar features to the larger model including bokeh images and 4K video recording, it misses out on optical zoom.

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On the front, the same 8-megapixel snapper as the Xperia 10 Plus is present.

We didn't get a chance to test the Xperia 10's camera during our brief amount of time with it but it's good to see Sony jump on the dual-camera bandwagon - even if more sensors doesn't necessarily mean better images. Google's Pixel devices show how great image results can be with a single camera lens.

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Nevertheless, the only dual camera option Sony offered previously was the XZ2 Premium so it's good to see it change it up. We don't expect the same performance from the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus as the Xperia 1 given the flagship's triple camera system has been created with Sony Alpha, though we're hoping the dual setup delivers good results for its sector.

Hardware

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
  • 3GB RAM, 64GB, microSD
  • 2870mAh battery

The Sony Xperia 10 comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 platform under its hood, which is a slight step down from the Xperia 10 Plus. There's also a slight reduction in RAM at 3GB compared to the Plus's 4GB, though storage is the same at 64GB and there is microSD support for storage expansion up to 512GB.

Battery capacity is slightly lower than the Plus model too at 2870mAh, though as with the Plus model and the flagship Xperia 1, the Xperia 10 offers software to help, including Sony's popular Stamina mode. We'll of course test the performance of the Xperia 10 when we get it in for full review.

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In terms of audio, the Xperia 10 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack and it supports Hi-Res audio too, like the Xperia 10 Plus. It misses out on the Sony Dynamic Vibration system however, as the Xperia 10 Plus does.

Software

  • Android Pie
  • Multi-Window UI
  • Side Sense

The Sony Xperia 10 launches on Android Pie with Sony's bloatware over the top. This bloatware has been significantly reduced over the years, offering a much more refined experience, though it is still not stock Android.

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Some of Sony's software additions are great though - not all bloatware is bad - and a new feature has been added to make use of the 21:9 aspect ratio display. The Multi-Window user interface allows users to easily run two apps simultaneously - one at the top of the display and one at the bottom.

There are several ways to activate split screen, including asking Google Assistant to launch two apps in Multi-Window, as well as long pressing an app and selecting the split screen icon.

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The Xperia 10 also comes with Side Sense, a feature Sony introduced on the Xperia XZ3, allowing for easier access to frequent apps and better one-handed operation. We'll be diving a little deeper into all the features in our full review of the Xperia 10, as well as how well everything adapts to that new screen ratio.

First Impressions

The Sony Xperia 1 is the most exciting of the three Sony smartphones announced at Mobile World Congress 2019, offering all of the company's latest and greatest features. That's not to say the Xperia 10 should be ignored though.

For £299, the Xperia 10 gives you a lot of phone. Sure, it misses out on a few things such as waterproofing, a more premium finish and a faster processor, but it also delivers a 6-inch screen with the new 21:9 aspect ratio screen.

It's very unlikely to deliver the same experience as the Xperia 1 with its 4K HDR OLED display and stereo speakers, but that device is also £500 more. We're looking forward to testing the Xperia 10 properly to see whether £299 is all you actually need to spend to get on board with a 21:9 aspect ratio without too much compromise. 


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