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Practical and innovativePosted
Overall, a very practical phone with lots of value in the mid-range category. It is a new design that most will be a little surprised by at first appearance but upon use will find it to be very practical and effective. As a Sony fanboy I both love this phone and find it a little lacking. Read on! Unboxing: The boxing is surprisingly minimal, most Sony phones in the past have felt high end with packaging and included options. This one is very bare bones. The Box is low quality materials and inside you will find the phone, a charger (more on that later), USB-c cable, and simple documentation. Nothing else. Design: The phone was rather shocking to hold upon first impression. This phone measures 6.5” diagonally with a 21:9 display. It is larger than most phones but is surprisingly easy to use even with one hand. The build quality is above average but with a few quarks. The body feels like it is a higher end poly-carbonate with some metal accents. It feels highly durable and after a few days of use is completely scuff and scratch free. The body does not gather fingerprints very easily. There is no wireless charging included but does support NFC near the top of the phone. The screen is Gorilla glass 5 and all the buttons are perfectly placed. Since the phone is very tall, the volume is on the lower half, finger print reader is on the middle of the right side in perfect thumb position and the power is just above that. I would have liked to see the power button combined with the fingerprint reader, but this is minor. What I was annoyed by wit the design is twofold. First, the buttons are almost flush with the body making using the volume rocker a little difficult since there is little haptic feedback. This button should stick out a little further to make it easier to use. Second, there is no waterproofing. You can see this when you pull out the SIM tray, in there you will be able to place a single SIM (on the I3223 model sold by best buy) and a micro SD card slot supporting 512 GB. In the tray there are zero rubber gaskets so you would not want to drop this in a toilet. It feels solid enough that there would be little issue with rain and splashes but do not submerge this thing (I am not going to test it). Wireless: Wireless is pretty good. I was thinking that in stepping down to a mid-range phone I might be sacrificing wireless performance, but I have had zero issues. My home Wi-Fi is FIOS and supports 200 Mbps up and down, I get at best 169 Mbps down and 126 Mbps up. Using T-Mobile in the Seattle area I get about 79 mbps down and 10 Mbps up. The snapdragon 636 processor is cat x12 supporting up to 600 Mbps which isn’t too bad but not as amazing as the latest flagship phones. There is no 600 MHz support but does support 700 MHz. I have had no Bluetooth issues as the phone supports Bluetooth 5.0 along with all the important codecs for audio (aac, aptx, aptx-HD, LDAC). NFC works well with google pay and for file transfers, no complaints here! Display: The display is average in overall quality. Black levels are pretty good for LCD (no AMOLED here) but colors just seem a little dull to me. You can change the level of saturation in the settings with three levels of but it just never seems to wow me. As the screen resolution is 21:9, the resolution should be 1080x2520. This is strange at first but once you try out multitasking with two apps such as twitter and a YouTube video, or turn it sideways to watch a movie, you will become a believer! Movies are shown in exactly the aspect ratio they were meant to be seen in. If your video is 4:3 or 16:9 you will side bars on the side but 21:9 is what most major movies are shot in. Multi-tasking is extremely efficient with a screen of this size and you will love being able to truly have two apps running side by side (in portrait or landscape) in what feels like two full sized phones. The screen feels durable with Gorilla glass 5 and should do will with time, I would still recommend a screen protector for scratches though (no issue after three days though) Camera: I want to get more out of the camera, but it is very hit or miss. I will upload a few sample photos in this review, one good one bad for examination and so you can see it’s limits. On the plus side, there are two lenses, one 12 MP main camera (27mm) and one 8 MP (53mm) 2 zoom camera. The main camera is not too bad but lacks HDR ability so check your lighting. Detail is good. Sony tends to not use a lot of noise reduction so you will see a lot of noise in your photos, this is somewhat unprocessed looking, but some people might prefer this. The 2x zoom camera is lacking in my opinion. It has issues with focusing in all but the best of lighting and should not be used often if you ask me. Both lenses lack OIS which is a huge issue for me as this could have taken the cameras far. Bokeh is pretty good using both lenses to determine depth. The bokeh photos are using the telephoto lens so you will need to stand a little farther back to get a good one. Edge detection seems pretty good to me so far. The selfie camera is average. It is far superior to past Sony selfie cameras stepping up to a 8MP one this time. Again, there is no OIS and only one lens so bokeh can have a few edge issues from time to time. It is very poor in the dark but looks pretty good in the day. Detail isn’t too bad, but focus can sometimes be an issue. DO NOT take a photo with a bright light in the background in any of the cameras as you will have massive issues lighting. Video is average and uses electronic image stabilization. It works well in 1080 but is not as effective in 4k. 4k is very interesting on this phone as it supports 21:9 aspect ratio. If you plan on filming in this cinema ratio this could be of good use. The same HDR limitations apply to video as well. Audio: If you like high resolution audio this is a great phone for you! There is a headphone jack!!! Very rare these days. The phone supports 24-bit/192 kHz audio and also has LDAC for wireless streaming. With micro SD card support, this phone might be a great option for anyone with a library of HD audio FLAC files (also supports other lossless formats). On the downside of audio, there is only one speaker on the bottom. It is not the worst one I have heard but it isn’t the best either. It sounds kind of tiny but does have decent volume. There is little bass so if you are watching a movie, toss on some headphones. I am surprised they didn’t do stereo speakers or up the quality on the one speaker since video is a huge draw of this phone, a good speaker matched with 21:9 display would be amazing. Everyday use: I am overall happy with everyday use. First, battery life is not bad with a 3000 mAh battery, these is a good amount of optimization with the software that it will get you through the day just fine. I found games will drain the battery quick though. Performance is pretty good using the Snapdragon 636 processor. It is no beast and provides a stutter every so often but in normal usage, it is snappy. 4GB of ram helps a lot too. The device uses Android 9 Pie so it feels pretty efficient on this device as it is mostly stock interface. There is little bloatware other than the Xperia Lounge app and AVG pre-installed. You can delete these though. Gaming performance is pretty good. I mostly play C&C Rivals and Galaxy of Heroes and I have experienced no issues here. It might not be able to handle high end games like Asphalt 9 at max settings though. The device fits into male jean pockets easily but I would be concerned if your outfit has female sized pockets since it will easily stick out of said pocket. The form factor got a lot of questions on the street since most people have never seen a device of this form factor. One huge concern I had that can be mitigated is the included charger. Since there is no wireless charging, you will rely heavily on your included charger. The problem is that it is 5V / 1500mA. This comes out to 7.5 Watts of charging. This phone supports quick charge 3.0 and PD 2.0 (I believe) so why they included a non-quick charge charger is beyond me other than cost savings. Throw this charger away and use an old quick charge capable charger. It takes forever to charge with this charger! I tried it with a LG charger I had lying around with 16.3 and 9 watts options and it charges at normal quick charge speeds. I also tried it with my 45-watt PD laptop charger and again got much better results than the included charger. Benchmarks: Memory / storage performance is pretty good. Past Sony phones have had limits on how fast the data speed is on external memory (was capped at around 35 MB per second I believe). No limitations on this phone. I tried benchmarks on Androbench receiving 81.77 MB/s read and 34.67 MB/s write on a 200 GB UHS-1 card. The internal storage of 64 GB eMMC obtains 287 MB/s and 192 MB/s write. Not too shabby! Geekbench showed single core scores of 1348 and multi-core scores of 4818 Antutu scored 117279 Summary: Good overall phone, great for video, high-res audio and multitasking. Do not use if you rely on a phone camera and speed.
I would recommend this to a friend
Impressive and Stylish with small shortcomingsPosted
I’ve been a big fan of Sony products especially of their mobile division that used to go by Sony Ericsson back in the day. What differentiated Sony phones back then was on how stylish they were and their added media capabilities whether it was the 3.5mm jack or FM radio with MP3 support before the iPhone made it a norm. So how does the Xperia 10 Plus stand out from the strongly competitive mid-range market most of it has to do with the tall display. For my usage, I set it up exactly the same as my Note 9 except for some apps due to storage limits. I replaced the home launcher with Nova launcher and restored it with a backup from my Note 9. My apps placement and widgets are exactly as they were on my Note 9. I did this because I wanted to use the Xperia as I would using my Note 9. Let me tell you not once during my usage did I wanted to run back to my Note 9 even with some small performance hiccups. I’m not saying this will replace your flagship phone but it will feel like one for those looking for a device that won’t break the bank. Media consumption on mobile devices has been increasing and Sony knows how important a display can make or break a device. The resolution is an FHD+ 1080 x 2520 pixels 422 PPI density that is stunning for a mid-range device. It’s a bright color display that can hold his own against some of the top mid-range displays. The display almost takes up the entire phone except for the large chin on the top. Bezels below the chin are thin. Sony does provide 3 color gamut options from off (no image enhancement), Standard Mode (enhances images for photos and videos) to Super Vivid Mode that dials up the saturation and gives you those punchy colors you typically find on AMOLED displays. Since my previous phone was the Note 9 right away I went for Super Vivid Mode. It won’t beat the Note 9 display with those inky blacks. Even though it’s an LCD the blacks are still pretty good without that gray shade you typically find on LCD displays. The aspect ratio is 21:9 which most films are recorded. There are pros and cons to this Aspect ratio. Pros: You can comfortably use 2 apps at once without that cramped feeling. No black bars on most movies. Since the width is short you can somewhat use it 1 handed. Sony does offer a convenient way to shrink the display by double tapping the home bar. The extra screen space displays a lot more information especially on websites and Social Media apps. Cons: About 60% of the time you will be needing two hands to use the phone. Shrinking the display does help but I doubt it you will want to be doing that constantly trying to reach those top corners to close an app or access the menu. Media that is not recorded in the 21:9 ratio will have significant black bars or crop out a lot more to fill in the entire screen. Some apps outside of YouTube or Netflix don’t have a zoom in option which leaves you with black bars. Hopefully, Sony can release an update and give it a system-wide zoom in option like Samsung did when the S8 first came out. Just like media, some apps will show black borders and for now, I wasn’t able to find an option to full screen the app as I do on my other phone. For media consumption, you will want to plug in some headphones or use Bluetooth headphones. Even though there are 2 grill speakers located on the bottom is still a single speaker. Most devices that have a single bottom firing speaker aren’t that great but they sound much better compared to Xperia 10. The Xperia 10 Plus speakers sound tinny and could benefit from some more loudness. At max volumes, they start to crackle. Battery Life Battery life has been amazing even though the battery capacity is 3000mAh which is on the small side for a large device. I honestly expected the battery to be terrible since even on smaller devices with that capacity my experience has not been good.. Either way, unless you’re pushing this device hard like gaming or live streaming you should be happy with the results. My average screen on time was over 5 hrs with some days coming at 6.5 hrs. Typical day usage for me is in between light to heavy usage and consist of Social Media browsing from FaceBook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit and Discord. I also have 3 email accounts sync to my Gmail app. With some music streaming from Spotify or Sirius XM app along with some Bluetooth headphones pair for most of the day. I would also video stream about 3-5 hrs from Netflix or YouTube. For gaming, my daughter likes to play Roblox on my phone which sometimes goes over an hour. Even on heavy days usage I still end up with over 5 hrs of on screen time. If you ever find yourself without access to a charger Sony has your back with 2 Stamina modes to help extend that battery life. Charging speeds are on par as my Note 9. Performance and Software Performance out the box it's good for the most part. For the first 2 days, I use the phone with the stock launcher but eventually switched over to Nova launcher which I prefer due to the customizations options it provides. It’s not the fastest device when it comes to opening apps I still noticed a 1-2 second delay on some of the core apps like Gmail or Android messaging app for texting. There’s room for improvement and something that can be fixed via an update. For an almost stock Android build those hiccups should only be present when opening big games likes PUBG or Fortnite. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 636 pair with 4gb of Ram. Even though it’s not as powerful as the 855 it still has plenty of power for a smooth experience that for now seems to be more of a software optimization issue. Overall it’s just minor issues that are not a deal breaker since for the most part it’s been a positive experience that can only get better. I believe most of the bad feedback was due to the software the phone shipped with before the latest update which is 53.0.A.4.79 as of this review. Sony did a good job of releasing a quick update to address those performance issues. I have not had any major issues like system lockups or apps crashing. Overall it’s almost a complete android stock with some slight adjustments for specific Sony features. Some of those features are the display shrinking and the side sense feature. The side sense is a bar on the side of the screen that predicts your most used apps similar to the edge feature on Galaxy Phones for quick access to those apps. For navigation buttons, you have access to Android Pie Gestures or the 3 button setup home, back, and overview. There is a slight learning curve to the Gesture set up. Tap to go the home screen, Long Press to summon Google Assistant, Swipe up to enter the overview screen, Long swipe up pulls up your app drawer, flick right to switch to the last app used, swipe right to browse opened apps, and back button to return to the previous screen. For bloatware, there’s not much that comes with the phone besides some Sony-specific apps that you have the option not to install during the set-up process. As for security features, you don’t get a fancy face ID scanner or ultrasound fingerprint scanner under the screen. What you do get is a good old fast reliable fingerprint scanner located on the right side in between the power button and volume button. It’s a good size even with a case I have not had any issues with recognizing my prints. I would like to see some extra features like being able to bring down the notification area with a swipe as other phones do with their fingerprint scanner. Build quality is excellent even though the back is made out of plastic. It’s a matte black that looks more like the iPhone 7 back finish. Unfortunately, there is no wireless charging. Overall I like the look of the phone. It’s like a holding a Hershey’s chocolate bar that is slightly taller than a Note 9. It has that Sony candy bar style that's been a trademark of their devices for the last couple of years. Cameras On the back, you have a 12 MP + 8 MP dual camera and 2x optical zoom with an 8mp front face camera. The couple of pictures I took came out looking pretty good. You can also take a wide picture with the 21.9 aspect ratio and record too. You can also record with 4K resolution with both Aspect Ratios 16:9 or 21:9 along with FHD at 60fps. The front facing camera pictures came out looking good too. For video recording, the max resolution is FHD along with the option to record in 21:9. For nighttime photos, they came out ok with some noise on them. Sony also a mode called AR that allows you to take pictures or record video, with moving on-screen objects from different scenes like a dinosaur island or space. My kids had a blast going through all the different scenes available on the AR mode. Most of them are free with some costing around $2.99. Overall is a good camera with the weakness being nighttime pictures. Call Quality and Data/Wifi Signal Call quality has been good no issues with dropped calls on the T Mobile network. The phone does a good job of holding on to an LTE signal. Areas of poor coverage were normally my signal drops to 1 bar with the Xperia 10 drops down to 2-3 bars instead just enough to be able to still browse the internet. WiFi signal is good with speeds reaching around 200mb. My final thoughts on the Xperia 10 Plus has been mainly a good experience. It’s slim to hold but too tall to operate with a single hand. The only cons were some minor performance issues with core apps and the below average speaker. My favorite feature of the phone is the display especially when consuming media that is recorded in 21:9. If you’re like me and consume most of your media on your phone this should be a top pick. Battery life has been impressive and that’s only with a 3000mAh just imagine how much better it would have been if Sony would have included a bigger battery. The Xperia 10 Plus it’s an excellent daily driver device that is also stylish.
I would recommend this to a friend
I think Sony is on to something here...Posted
This is a long review, the longest I have ever posted, because this phone may be the answer to a lot of people’s prayers, but because this is a new design, there is the potential for some regretful buying decisions. If you are considering this phone, or any of the new Sony Xperia phones (10, 10+, Flagship Xperia 1) – read the reviews, ask questions, watch the unboxing and review videos on Y**Tube, get your hands on one if you can, and then make an informed decision based on whether this phone meets your particular needs, or not. There are certain features of this phone that I really appreciate, and after a few days of learning the best ways to deal with the “tall and skinny” screen of the phone, it has become a pleasure to use, not the least for the sake of having something new and different. Start comparing mid-range phones and there are ‘good’ and ‘not so good’ specs in different areas for all of them – figure out what you want and understand that mid-range phones have differences. Be aware that the specifications aren’t the whole story for how a phone performs in YOUR hands. To get started, IF you like the following features, keep reading: 1 – view movies in wide screen 21:9 aspect ratio with no bars on the top and bottom. 2 – view more “scrollable” information on the screen when browsing 3 – use 2 apps at the same time (split screen) and really have a complete view of both apps with plenty of room Like these features? Then the Xperia 10 Plus may be just what you are looking for, and there is no other phone like it on the market. The Sony Xperia line (10, 10+, and flagship Xperia 1) all have the 21:9 aspect ratio and are perfect for viewing wide-screen movies and some of the more current TV shows. Video from streaming services and ‘regular’ TV and older movies will have black bars on both sides. You can “zoom” these to fill the screen, but that inevitably chops off the top and bottom with predictable results. The tall screen makes it easy to go “split screen” with enough room to actually and usefully have two apps going at the same time. For example, I can have a Y**Tube video going on top of the screen and while watching that can be checking email or going through a web site on the bottom. Once you see how well that works with this tall screen, you may experience the “where have you been all my life” syndrome and start figuring out all the neat ways you can make use of this new experience. The tall screen does NOT create much of a problem with reaching up up up to the top to get the full functionality of the phone. Sony has added an overlay “SideScreen” function that allows you to “tap tap” a small and unobtrusive sidebar that quickly pops out your favorite apps and most-used drawer items right by your thumb and very easy to reach. There is also a “One Handed” mode where you “tap tap” the home button and the entire screen shrinks down to a smaller size to put the whole screen within easy thumb reach, and then you can quickly “tap” to restore the full size of the screen. You can adjust the size of the reduced screen to your personal preference, and you get full access to all screens on the phone – just think of it as a perfectly functioning mini-phone-screen to help you get around to what you are after. This took longer to explain than to use it, and it is EXTREMELY quick and easy and honestly makes moving around the screen easier than the “just like everyone else” sized screens. OK the other stuff on the phone – real quick: SCREEN QUALITY – great. As good or better than anything I have seen from mid-range phones. I guess the specs on pixel density and whatnot matter but as I look at it - the colors are crisp, the images are smooth, the small print is perfectly legible – looks great to me. Movies look fabulous! AUDIO – mono speaker on the bottom. Would be great to have stereo for videos and games but this is a mid-range phone, so can’t have it all for this price. Speaker jack if you like, and Bluetooth buds, phones, and external speakers all connect and work fine. Sony has put some very nice audio software (Sony, right?) in the phone so you can tweak it until you get it the way you like it. CAMERA – some mid-range phones have a better camera, some do not. Two lenses on the back and a decent selfie lens on the front. Photos and videos can be shot in the 21:9 ratio, although viewing them on another phone with different ratio will give black bars or cut some off. If that’s a big problem for you, then don’t shoot photos or videos in 21:9 and just set the phone to the ratio you want to use. Half the reviewers seem to think the camera is great, half the reviewers think no so great. If you are buying a phone for the camera, then you aren’t buying this one anyway. BLUETOOTH – connects fine, works well, nothing special – about the same as everyone else. PHONE CALLS – 4G LTE works fine – about the same as everyone else. OS – just about vanilla Android 9 Pie, with some Sony overlays to help with screen navigation, and that’s about it. No bloatware. SPEED – Snapdragon 636 – better than many mid-range phones, not a powerful gaming phone. Respectable chipset with 4GB RAM and works smoothly for everything I have tried including some light gaming. Apps open instantly for the most part and running couple apps on split-screen is smooth. To me is it buttery smooth. If you are wanting a flagship with an 800 series Snapdragon, why are you looking at this phone anyway? BATTERY – lots of chatter from the reviewers about the 3,000 mAh battery – “too small” and “should be bigger” and whatnot. OK other phones have the same battery and some have larger in the mid-range models. My phone gets unplugged at 5:45 AM to start the day. I came from a 3,000 mAh “old” phone that was usually out of juice by 3:00 – 4:00 PM, if I was lucky enough to last that long. Bought an extra charger to keep at work to top it off around lunch to make it through the day, and that was with light use. The Xperia 10 Plus is in my hand as I write this review and it has 50% at 7:00 PM and I have been fiddling around with it all day getting used to it and watching video during lunch and trying out some games when I get the chance… much more use than ‘normal’ and also I like a bright screen. Whatever is going on with the processor and Sony’s adjustments to the OS or whatever they do to get the battery to last longer – it works just fine! I do not see having battery problems getting through the day and will be happy to re-charge every night. If you want a phone that goes 2 days without a charge and use it constantly – this ain’t it. INTERNAL MEMORY –