Review: The Xperia TX Is A Sad Reminder Of What Sony Used To Be

Written by Tony Ibrahim     08/01/2013 | 00:03 | Category name i.e.PHONES

Sony's Xperia TX is the company's first attempt in years to compete head on with Samsung and Apple. But is it a strong contender or just an ode to the company's successful cybershot and Arc phones?

Design

The Xperia TX marks the return of Sony's famed arching body initially popularised by the aptly names Xperia Arc. Whereas the Xperia S bulged from the seams, this smartphone curves inwards, ergonomically accommodating a person's brace.

At 8.6mm thin and 127 grams, there's not much to hold. But its curvaceous spine is undermined by cubic corners that leave it uncomfortable in the hand. Worse yet, the smartphone's unlock key resides at the top, far away from the on-screen menu keys and, if you're right handed, it's less convenient than some other rivals.


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On the front, it has a 4.55 inch screen equipped with the same 720x1,280 resolution of a high definition TV. This gives the smartphone a noteworthy 323 pixel-per-inch density and the snugly packed pixels make for a precise user experience, effortlessly interpreting your selections and gestures.

 

 

Hardware

Beneath the skin purrs a 1.5GHz dual core chipset, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, with the option of adding an expandable memory card. Admittedly the innards aren't tomorrow's cutting-edge technology, but they'll handle the Android 4.0 OS diligently. Sony's version of Android remains the best dressed in our opinion and since we've last seen it on the Xperia S, it has gained a few new trinkets. The music player remains the same, but is now joined by a thematically consistent browser, gallery and task manager.


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Performance will improve when Sony's Jelly Bean 4.1 upgrade becomes available.

Music

The Xperia TX retains the music player we first saw on the Xperia S but the marketing geniuses have labelled the blue suite "Walkman." It might be familiar, but we certainly won't criticise Sony for including a functional media player, one that enthusiastically retrieves relevant track information from the internet and is intuitively simple.


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Camera

All Sony smartphones model proficient cameras—usually. Although the Xperia TX features a 13MP rear camera, images often appear grainy and are, at best, ordinary. This is a real let down for Sony who usually deliver some of the most impressive smartphone cameras.


The camera interface is detailed and simple


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Although the gallery organises images chronologically, you can revert to photo albums by simply tapping the icon in the top right. Furthermore, pinching the screen will enlarge/shrink icons.


@9MP


@9MP


@9MP


@9MP

Fortunately it gains some points when it comes to capturing videos, which are recorded in 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. The fact it features a physical shutter key also works in its favour.

The videos are replayed in Sony's own video player rather than the stock Android offering we're familiar with.


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Conclusion

In all, Sony's Xperia TX is a good phone that will capably handle your day to day needs. Sony's refined Android skin is not only the best looking (bar stock Android), it's also one of the most functional. And yet we can't get over the fact there's something missing.

The Sony smartphones before the TX used to prioritise the experience ahead of function. Take the Xperia Arc S, whose metallic-esque back was a downright fingerprint magnet. But every time we looked at its slender body, metallic paint and chromed keys, we were entranced. It's the same story with the Xperia S; it may have had a voluptuous body, but that transparent element was undeniably striking.

With the Xperia TX, Sony has been uncharacteristically restrained and, although we like the TX, no part of us will miss it. That's a shame.


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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Great Screen and high pixel density; Sony's Android skin is the most attractive; Camera shutter key;

Cons:

Cubed corners undermine the arced spine; Camera quality is underwhelming, particularly for a Sony smartphone;