Sony’s newest Xperia phone lineup has remained shrouded in mystery for months, but the Japan-based company thankfully saw it fit to unveil its newest handsets at the Computex conference in Taiwan on Tuesday. In addition to announcing retail availability for its long-awaited Xperia X, Xperia X Performance, and Xperia XA, Sony took the wraps off the Xperia E5 and Xperia XA Dual, two midrange smartphones headed for developing markets, and a higher-end handset, the Xperia X Dual, set to debut in India later this year.
The Xperia E5’s and Xperia XA Dual’s hardware skews distinctly toward the budget market, but managed to nab a few features from Sony’s higher-end handsets. The E5 and XA share the same rounded, futuristic aesthetic as their Xperia X sibling, and feature fingerprint sensors and 5-inch displays. But the compromises, unfortunately, begin to crop up from there. Unlike their pricier counterparts, both the E5 and XA sport plastic frames — instead of metal — with large bezels and flimsy power buttons. They’ve got 720p displays (rather than 1080p), too, plus MediaTek processors (as opposed to Qualcomm), a measly 1.5GB of RAM (in the case of the E5) or 2GB (XA) of RAM, and just 16GB of internal storage expandable via microSD. But the handsets’ specs aren’t all disappointing: the E5’s got a 13MP rear-facing camera and 5MP front-facing shooter, both of which feature flash illumination, HDR, and enhanced digital zoom, and a 2,700 mAh battery. The XA, meanwhile, packs a respectable 13MP rear sensor and 8MP front-facing camera and 2,300 mAh battery.
The E5 is bound for European markets and Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa later this year, and will retail for 200 euros ($222 U.S.). The XA is bound exclusively for India and will cost 20,990 rupees ($312 U.S.). It launches in the third week of June.
The Xperia X Dual, meanwhile, is cut from a slightly more premium cloth. It features a 5-inch 1080p display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 in a high-end enclosure, plus 3GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a 2620mAh battery. And its got an impressive pair of shooters under the hood: a 23MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and a 13MP front-facing snapper.
It’s set to debut on June 7 through Amazon India for 48,990 rupees ($729 U.S.).
The Xperia E5, XA Dual, and even X Dual may not compare in terms of specs to Sony’s premium phone lineup, but the key is affordability — for the most part. The E5, at a sub-$250 price point, is relatively competitive in the budget phone market, but the X Dual and XA Dual aren’t. The XA Dual, for example, packs a lower-capacity battery than the E5 for almost a $100 more, and the X Dual’s sky-high sticker price doesn’t exactly reflect its of its middle-of-the-range screen and processor. Whether Sony adjusts retail prices ahead of launch remains to be seen, but as it stands currently, the X Dual and XA Dual don’t offer much bang for your hard-earned bucks.
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