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Sony Xperia 10 and 10 Plus Review | A True Widescreen Phone With Exceptional Headphone Sound

Watch movies the way they were meant to be viewed, albeit on a mobile screen.

Here’s our review about two very interesting handsets from, the Sony Xperia 10 and the Xperia 10 Plus. The Sony Xperia 10 Series is unique in the fact that the screens are set at extremely wide 21:9 screen aspect ratio.

Sony Xperia 10 series 1

Standout design

As with most Sony handsets, it’s an interesting design which stands out from the crowd. The screen aspect makes the phone feel very long and slender, and actually feels very nice to hold. A nice touch is that the screen extends all the way down to the bottom to give you more of a full screen experience. Although this is at the expense of an extra large bezel at the top, which houses an eight megapixel front-facing camera, as well as all the necessary electronics for the screen, which will usually be housed in the bottom bezel. We think it gives it a really nice, contemporary look. The design elsewhere is reminiscent of the ‘omni-balanced’ design, which did split opinion amongst people with the XZ1.

The round edges make it very comfortable to hold and like the XZ1, the Xperia 10 Series features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. It’s not quite the same as the previous side-mounted scanners that we’ve seen from Sony as it does not double as a power button. Strangely, Sony have placed the volume rockers on the lower part of the device, which I do see the logic to as it’s such a tall device, although it does take a little bit of getting used to.

Sony Xperia 10 series 2

The body is finished in a matte plastic. I think I would have liked to have seen a metal finish, at least for the Plus model.

We have all the buttons to the right hand-side and across the top you’ll find the headphone jack. Underneath there is a USB type-C port and what looks like two down-firing speakers, but unfortunately sound only comes out of one of them.

And then of course on the back we have the dual camera system.

Cameras & Video

For the Xperia 10 Plus we’ve got a 12 megapixel main sensor with an eight megapixel with 2x optical zoom for backup. The 12 megapixel uses Sony’s ‘Exmor RS for mobile’ technology, which gives it extremely good low light capabilities, with its fast f 1.75 lens and excellent high ISO performance, the maximum being 12,800. It is a surprisingly capable camera system producing extremely good results.

Sony Xperia 10 series 4

 

The Xperia 10 actually has a higher megapixel count for its main camera. Although it doesn’t use the Exmor type imaging sensor from the Plus. It’s a 13 megapixel main sensor with a five megapixel depth sensing camera for portrait shots.

Both phones are capable of shooting in 4k Ultra High Definition at 30 frames per second. And you do have the option to shoot in that 21:9 aspect ratio, which will give your movies a cinematic feel when you view them back on a regular 16:9 screen.

Obviously viewing this content back on these phones will fill the screen, which is great, but it does bring me to one slight issue that we have, and that’s when you want to watch back 16:9 content. Most things that we watch with providers like YouTube are shot in a 16:9 screen format so when viewed back on this 21:9 screen, it will give you rather large borders to the left and to the right. You can pinch the screen to fill it, but this will be at the cost of quite a large portion of the screen at the top and the bottom. Most smartphone screens are not 16:9, so most people will be familiar with this problem, but unlike an 18:9 or 19:9 screen, you do lose quite a lot of the image if you choose to fill the screen. It does work both ways however, not everything is 16:9 and most movies are actually shot at 21:9, so for watching films, the Sony 10’s are going to give you a nice full screen experience which you can’t get anywhere else at the moment.

Handy for apps

But also this screen’s form factor lends itself more to many of the other tasks that we do with our smartphones, such as scrolling through social media or shopping apps. If you really think about it, it makes perfect sense to have a phone with this display style. We really like it here at Direct Mobiles. We think it’s great that Sony have produced something a little bit different, which makes apps that we’re already familiar with just that little bit more usable.

Sony Xperia 10 series 3

Power

Under the hood, we see more differences between the Xperia 10 and the 10 Plus. The Xperia 10 runs on the Snapdragon 630 chipset with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, which is upgradeable on both phones to 512GB. The Xperia 10 also has a 2873mAh battery.

The Xperia 10 Plus runs on the Snapdragon 636 mobile platform and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, and has a slightly larger battery at 3000mAh. Both phones are running Android 9 and the battery life is ample for most people to get through the day.

The software is very similar to what we saw on the Sony Xperia XZ3 and even features the Side-Sense which offers you a quick access menu by just double tapping on the side of the screen.

And the screen being flat, it seems to be a little bit easier for me at least, to activate the Side-Sense than it was with the curve screen on XZ3, and it is a very handy feature to have.

Sony Xperia 10 series 5

Screen

Neither of these devices feel like a big phone, which is probably something of an illusion. The Xperia 10 Plus has a 6.5 inch IPS LCD screen and a smaller Xperia 10 is working with a 6.1 inch IPS screen, and yet they seem much more compact and more pocketable than the two devices that they’re replacing, the XA2 and the XA2 Ultra.

Sound

A point that is definitely worth noting if you’re interested in either of these two phones is that the sound quality coming out from the connected headphones, whether that be through the headphone jack or through Bluetooth, is exceptional. I think it’s great that Sony offer excellent sound quality, even in their low-end models.

The sound quality through the speakers isn’t really up too much. But through the headphones, it is definitely the best sound I’ve heard in any smartphone all year. So if you are a music lover, it’s strongly recommended that you check out these phones.

Overall

We love the design of the Xperia 10 Series. It’s different and a little bit quirky while still managing to be functional. The older Snapdragon 630 and 636 chipsets that are found inside these devices, I wouldn’t say that they were slow but they are definitely not as fast as other devices that are in the same price range. But other than that we love everything about this phone.

Great looks, great screen, excellent sound, a brilliant camera. If it was just a little bit faster, then it would be a highly rated phone in our eyes.

Yet still for the money, it’s still a very good proposition. For most people, this will be a good buy, but for the power users it might be one to avoid and you may be better off looking at something like the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus instead.

You can compare the latest Sony Xperia 10 and 10 Plus deals here and watch the full video review below.

Let us know what you think of the Sony Xperia 10 series in the Comments below.

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