Despite releasing quality offerings for decades, Sony’s mobile presence in North America has never been terrific. The company has never excelled at making excellent mid-range smartphones, and for years it has found itself in the shadows of competitors such as Samsung and HTC. However, in recent times, it has looked to change this status quo and grab a chunk of that market as well.
Experienced Sony users may remember the first phone in the Xperia series, the Windows-powered Xperia X1, released in 2008. Well, eleven years later, Sony put out a magnificent mobile phone by the same name, featuring 4K HDR OLED technology. The marketing department called it the movie phone, aimed at those that want to stream Netflix and watch video entertainment from the palm of their hand. Though, for users on a budget, Sony offered Xperia 10.
Is it a good phone?
When did it come out?
How much it cost?
The Xperia 10 was released in early 2019 and is a decent product that you could purchase for around $350.
Is Sony Xperia 10 good for gaming? For simple to mid-range games, yes, it will run those well. Yet, when it comes to more-demanding ones, it will struggle. You will see frame rates drop below 20 FPS. Thus, Fortnite is out of the question, as it is not compatible, and so are other high-end games. It does support Arena of Valor and Marvel Strike, but you cannot play the latter in the 21:9 ratio.
All that said, let us go into greater detail in our Xperia 10 review below, analyze all elements, and learn how they contribute to your gaming experience when playing on this device.
Does it have Android? Yes, the phone comes with Android 9.0 Pie pre-installed, featuring Sony’s custom UI. It looks like stock Android, but it does have some changes. Side Sense is an optional shortcut panel that first launched with Xperia XZ3, and it lets you access your most-used apps. Sony calls it, AI that predicts your favorite apps. The OS also has some annoying and redundant features like custom music and gallery options, and you have Facebook and Netflix pre-installed on the phone as well.
Screen Size and Resolution
The screen size is one of the main selling points of this phone. Naturally, the display on the Xperia 10 is not as impressive as the one on the Xperia 1. It is still unique in that it is taller than most phones, as it boasts a six-inch FULL HD screen with an aspect ratio of 21:9.
Though many may see this as a benefit, the fact of the matter is that 21:9 content is not that easy to locate. When movies are concerned, this may not be much of a problem, but most games are not that wide. If you wind up playing a game that does not support the format, you will usually see a black rectangle on the right side of the screen. An issue in some games may be that the touch commands are still active in this section, even though there is nothing there. The good news is that you may find some newer titles at online casinos that feature games utilizing this ratio. It feels smooth to play real money slot casinos on such a widescreen.
The native resolution is 2520×1080, and the panel has a 457 PPI pixel density. In our opinion, this is more than fine for everyday use, as it is sharp enough according to our standards. The phone utilizes pulse-width modulation to regulate brightness. The flickering caused by this may cause headaches for some people at low frequencies. If you set the brightness at an appropriate level, this should not be a problem. However, prolonged gaming, while causing yourself eye strain, is an issue, so be careful.
Thanks to IPS technology, you get an excellent view, no matter the angle. There are no color changes, though there is a slight drop in brightness, which is acceptable.
Hardware and Performance
The phone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset. Today, this is a three-year-old, mid-range chipset, with 3 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which is on the low side for this price range. There is also a Qualcomm Adreno 508 GPU onboard.
The phone will not blow you away with its performance. Do not get us wrong, it is decent, but can get slow. It will run simple tasks just fine, but you will run into issues such as long load times, and crashes when attempting to run more complicated apps. As previously mention, frame rates when playing demanding games drop below what is acceptable for decent gameplay. When we played Asphalt 8, it took the x10 more than four minutes to open the app. Once our session began, the gameplay was full of skipped frames and the occasional stutter.
The reality is that there are cheaper phones out there that work better. If you are considering splurging extra and getting the Xperia 10 Plus, and are wondering – is Xperia 10 Plus better? The answer is a resounding yes. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC flash storage, and an integrated Adreno 509 GPU. You will see far better game performance on that device, but it still will not stack up with the top phones on the market.
Design and Controls
The Xperia 10 feels like a premium phone. Its case, though decent, is slightly cheap-looking. The phone has an aluminum unibody chassis, Gorilla Glass 5, and is somewhat light coming in at 162g. It has two physical buttons on the right-hand side of its frame. These sandwich a sensor, which helps distinguish these buttons when playing games. Nonetheless, most games nowadays utilize mainly the touch screen, which is very responsive.
We cannot complain too much in terms of design, as nothing concerning this aspect of the phone hinders you when playing games. One gripe may be that it feels a bit top-heavy, leaving us feeling like it may slip out of our hands.
When it comes to sound, you can listen to music or a game’s soundtrack and effects through the 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth headphones, or the device’s speakers. The first two work well enough, with the Bluetooth headphones connecting quickly, and showing an ability to maintain a connection at reasonable distances, but the mono speakers seemed shabby.
The phone features DSEE HX technology or a Digital Sound Enhancement Engine. It is Sony’s proprietary technology that upscales compressed files, so they sound better. Surprisingly, it works. The speaker can reach a maximum of 86 dB(A), and it has trouble with reproducing base tones, as expected.
All in all, the audio choices are satisfactory. Heck, they are better than anticipated. Though some gamers have complained claiming they hear cracking, popping sounds when playing games on the Xperia 10.
When discussing the battery on the Xperia 10, know that neither this one of the 10 Plus have distinctly large batteries. The phone has a 2,870 mAh cell inside, which is smaller than that present in most comparable phones. It features low power consumption but also has poor battery life.
If you are streaming video content on the Xperia 10, the battery should last you a tad more than eight hours. In some cases, it may go up to ten, if you lower the brightness slightly. At full brightness, it will fully drain in less than five and a half hours. However, what was surprising was that after one hour of playing Asphalt 8, the battery life went down by only 12%.
There are Stamina and Ultra Stamina modes that let you squeeze the battery slowly if you are willing to sacrifice performance. There is no wireless charging, but high-speed charging is also an option thanks to a power brick.
There is no doubt that this is an interesting phone and that it offers something unique for those that cannot afford or do not want to throw money on a high-end device. The tall screen, the widescreen, or however you choose to call it, with its 21:9 ratio, it is an intriguing proposition. The problem is that not all applications and games support it, and you are left viewing the content in 16:9, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of its main attraction.
Do not misconstrue, the display is a pleasure to use, and is bright enough in all environments. It is just that the Sony Xperia 10 does not feel like the total package. It is more a mishmash. Its performance is not exemplary, and it lags when multitasking, and grapples to play advanced games. If mobile gaming is an activity you enjoy, we recommend looking elsewhere for a product that will better suit your needs. In closing, if you were wondering – is it waterproof? No, it is not.