'hard to keep a steady hand' - subjective
Sony Xperia TX Android phone
James Bond 007's latest smartphone has a distinctive design, but lacks any real wow factor
Sony is using its link with the latest James Bond flick to push its newest flagship Android phone, the Xperia TX. The "official smartphone of the James Bond movie Skyfall", the Sony Xperia TX has an excellent display, a good UI overlay and a distinctive arc-style design. However, it offers little that we haven't already seen on rival devices, making it a good smartphone that lacks any real wow factor.
- Distinctive, arc-shaped design
- Excellent display
- Some nice UI features
- Disappointing camera
- Average battery life and no 4G
- Plastic design feels cheap
The Sony Xperia TX has an excellent display, some nice UI features and a distinctive arc-style design. However, it offers little that we haven't already seen on rival devices, making it a good smartphone that lacks any real wow factor. Given this is supposed to be James Bond's smartphone, it also feels a little cheap.
Where to buy
Priced from: $ 345.87Selling at 2 stores
- $345.87 - Xperia TX LT29i Mobile Phone
- $346.15 - Xperia Tx Smartphone Hd Mobile Phone - Pink Mobile Phones
A distinctive, arc-shaped design
Sony and Sony Ericsson before it has had limited success in the Android market, but the company certainly knows how to design a smartphone. The Xperia TX features Sony's almost iconic arc-style design, also seen on the previous Sony Xperia S. The design is simple yet elegant and features a flat front with a curved back in an arc-like shape. This unique shape immediately sets the Xperia TX apart from rival models and also makes the phone comfortable and easy to hold. The shape fits nicely in your hands and especially lends itself to one-handed use, though it annoyingly rocks from side to side when placed on a flat surface like a desk or table.
Weighing 127g and measuring 8.6mm thick at its thickest point, the Sony Xperia TX compares relatively favourably against the competition when it comes to dimensions. The top, bottom, back and sides of the Xperia TX feature a matte-style plastic finish that is very kind to fingerprints, though the same can't be said about the front of the handset which quickly becomes a glossy fingerprint magnet. The slightly raised, glossy edges surrounding the front are a nice touch and we also like the chrome strip that runs along the edges.
Oddly, Sony has positioned the small power key on the left side of the Xperia TX, towards the top. This layout significantly favours left-handed users over right handed ones. The only other buttons on the handset are a volume rocker and a dedicated camera key, both on the right side. We found the volume rocker a little too small, making it easy to accidentally press the wrong key, while the camera button is positioned a little too close to the bottom of the phone. The standard micro-USB port is positioned on the right side, which doesn't play nicely with in-car cradles (now a legal requirement in New South Wales).
Further, while we like its weight and ergonomics, the Xperia TX's plastic design doesn't feel as premium as we'd expect it to, especially given this is supposed to be James Bond's weapon of choice. It's a nice design but not one we could see any 00 agent using on a daily basis.
Perhaps the best feature of the Sony Xperia TX is its 4.6in display, which has a 720p resolution of 1280x720. It's bright, clear and displays very sharp text with no visible aberrations. It also has excellent sunlight legibility outdoors. We found it brighter than a Google Nexus 4 when compared side-by-side. The colours on the Xperia TX also appear more vibrant than its LG counterpart, though sometimes at the expense of oversaturation. The Xperia TX can't display the same deep blacks as the Nexus 4, though.
The 4.6in screen is shorter in width than the likes of the Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S III and this makes Xperia TX easier to hold and use single-handedly. We also like Sony's abolishment of physical shortcut keys. Instead, the Xperia TX uses on-screen back, home and multitasking buttons just like Google's stock Android user interface. These keys are responsive and change orientation when the phone is rotated into landscape mode.
A polished serving of Ice Cream Sandwich
The Sony Xperia TX initially comes with Google's 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' version of Android, though Sony has promised an upgrade to the latest 'Jelly Bean' version in early 2013. The company has a very questionable track record when it comes to Android updates, so we can only hope it delivers on its promise as soon as possible.
The lack of the latest version of Android isn't a huge downside as the Xperia TX provides a pleasing user experience. It has five home screens for live widgets (though these annoyingly can't be removed or more added), a main menu that can quickly arrange apps in various orders, including most used and recently installed, and a lockscreen where new messages and missed calls can be opened directly by swiping them. The look and feel hasn't changed too much from Sony's previous Android phones, but the UI is relatively smooth and fast. We didn't experience any notable lag or slowdown during basic tasks.
The Xperia TX has a few new UI features. We like the toggles in the notifications window which allow you to activate sound profiles, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and mobile data, though we'd have appreciated the ability to edit these. The "small apps" feature is also notable, allowing you to open basic pop-up apps like a calculator, timer, post-it notes and a voice recorder. These apps can sit on top of other apps allowing you to, for example, browse the Web or type a message with the calculator sitting on screen. Third-party developers can create further small apps, but at the time of review there was only two available in the Google Play Store.
We've been critical of Sony preloading its phones with bloatware, but the Xperia TX comes with a few apps we appreciate. The Walkman music player has a number of sound enhancement settings along with an attractive and clean interface. The new gallery app (called album) can sort image and video files by date or geotagged coordinates on a map and ties into the look and feel of Sony's UI overlay. We also like the Smart Connect app, which allows you to set rules when accessories are connected or at preselected times. As an example, you can set the phone to launch the Walkman app and immediately begin playing a certain music track whenever you connect your headphones. Other pre-loaded apps such as PlayNow, Timescape and Sony Select are simply a waste of space but they can easily uninstalled or disabled from the app menu in settings if you wish.
The Sony Xperia TX comes preloaded with Sony's music streaming service, Music Unlimited. For $12.99 per month it allows subscribers full access to Sony's music catalogue, which currently boasts "millions" of licensed songs from major record labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music.
One thing we wish Sony didn't change was the on-screen keyboard. It's functional and also has handy, Swype like functionality that allows you to draw over letters in a single motion to type words. However, it's word prediction isn't as accurate as Google's stock ICS keyboard and there's no option to switch to that keyboard. The spacebar also becomes too small when you switch on "extra" comma and full stop keys, which are a must.
Disappointing camera, no 4G
The Sony Xperia TX comes with a 13-megapixel camera with single-LED flash and there's also a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls. The rear camera takes decent quality images with notable detail levels and reasonable colour reproduction, but it works far better in outdoor lighting than indoors. Most our our indoor test shots suffered from excessive image noise and often appeared dull and dark. The Xperia TX's camera also records full HD 1080p video, though it is hard to keep a steady hand in order to avoid unstable recording.
One notable camera feature is the camera app itself, which is fast and functional. It takes little over a second to open the app from the lock screen (by pressing and holding the physical camera button) and the app itself has plenty of settings to tinker with including smile detection and a panorama mode. The camera key also works well and allows you to focus your shots with a steady hand. We did notice, however, that when you switch the camera to the maximum 13-megapixels (it's set to 10 by default) it takes almost a second longer to open from the lock screen.
The Sony Xperia TX isn't a 4G smartphone so it only works on Australian 3G networks. With most rival models now supporting 4G connectivity as a standard feature, this is a disappointing omission.
The Sony Xperia TX has a 1750mAh battery which does seem a little low for a device with a 4.6in display. We found battery life a little below average and struggled to push the phone through a full day of use. If you're a less frequent user you may be able to get closer to a full day of use, but the Xperia TX isn't going to win any awards for power consumption. The battery is removable and replaceable though, so users worried about power can easily purchase a second battery.
The Sony Xperia TX sells through Vodafone in Australia.
• The ties that Bond: Sony calls on 007 again for Xperia TX smartphone
• Sony Xperia S review
• Sony Xperia go review
• Sony Xperia Sola review
• Sony admits 'retail disadvantage' with Gingerbread Android phones
did you change the scene settings to NIGHT PORTRAIT for that android picture?
why it is showing not registered on network , when i try to make calls
when will it be available? in the Philippines in particular
Is it going to work in the T-mobile network?
I am unable to generate video call from my xperia TX. Do i need to use any software?
- Light weight, no lag, quick UI, beautiful display
- Camera, external button placement, file management
- • • •
I used to own an old Iphone 4. I thought it was a quick, beautiful functioning phone until (after my abuse) it died. The Xperia was a nice change. It has a beautiful screen and the colours and even the brightness and screen legibility while outside is gorgeous, as compared to my old Iphone anyway. I found the camera to be really lacking, taking noisy photos and dark ones at that, with a horrific front camera (I do a lot of phone-skyping). The UI is extremely quick and even large files or apps open almost immediately. The automated checking of email is extremely useful, especially as I have to daily check three email accounts, and my phone checks all three of them hourly.
The messaging system like any smart phone is still really nice. The keyboard is lacking unfortunately as I often close the keyboard or hit another button expecting the space bar to be larger. Because of this I removed the added period and comma buttons which makes punctuating messages and emails harder, but better than not having any spaces.
Auto correct doesn't seem to quite follow the words or hand movements as well as my iphone did, but it doesn't change things like "do" to "so" and vice versa.
My biggest problem is the change from apple to android as I am used to having menus within apps, each thing has its own app in Xperia, which for me, makes it difficult to find use for these four pages of apps and you're not able to delete them. There seems to be multiple apps for the same purpose as well? I haven't quite sussed it out yet.
Another problem I have with this phone is the fact that any photos I do take seem to save over the older ones, so I have say 6 copied of a photo of my cat, and they have taken over important things like my work roster. But, I think this is a problem with my individual phone and am going to take it to have a look in store (it's only a week old :( )
I also like that the new message/email symbol stays at the top of the screen until you read that specific message. I never forget I have a new message anymore. The lack of front facing buttons is also nice because I am not longer accidentally reopening the homescreen instead of just holding the phone. The lock/on/off button is too high for my tastes and seems like it would be better for a left handed person (not me), and the volume buttons a little too small. The camera button is often forgotten and accidentally hit due to its low placement. I'm also unsure why the screen does not light up upon a new message, but that may also be a setting I havent figured out.
All in all, this phone functions much better than my Iphone, but lacks the useability and simplicity for some one who is not used to this OS, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.
- The design quality, the camera, hardware, the everything
- Too big for my taste
- • • •
Although this phone is too big for me, it gives me an irresistable wanna have feeling. I had it in my hand a few days ago, and it was definitely something special with it, a huge step forward in design compared to former Xperias, Galaxy's, One's etc, the build quality was also just amazing. The display was great, the new multitasking UI as well. Further, I am looking forward to see reviews of its camera, since it seems to be a new filosophy(?) there from Sony, using the double size for the sensor compared to Xperia S and much more space also for the optics. Pictures taken was MUCH better than Xperia S!
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GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
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My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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