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Get more out of your stylish Sony with these Xperia X tips and tricks

Sony Xperia X
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends
The refined design of this Sony smartphone is a real attraction. Once you pick it up, you’ll find it’s so comfortable to hold that you might not want to put it down again. But look past the exterior of the Sony Xperia X and you’ll find a wide array of handy features and functions. If you’re interested in unraveling its mysteries, then you’re in the right place. It’s time to take a look at some Xperia X tips and tricks.

Xperia X articles you may find helpful:

5 handy Xperia X tips

How to get to know your new Xperia

If this is your first Sony phone, then you’ll appreciate the introductory tips and hints. You should get context sensitive pop-ups explaining various phone functions and you can also run through a beginner’s guide to Sony-flavored Android. If you want to review this help, head to Settings > Introduction & Tips. If you get fed up with these pop-ups, you can also toggle Xperia Tips off in this menu.

How to quickly find apps

Xperia X Search apps
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill / Digital Trends

You’ve got a standard app drawer on the Xperia X and you can tap and hold on an app icon to move it around your home screens, but there’s also another easy method of finding what you want. Simply swipe down anywhere on your home screen and you’ll get a list of recently-used apps and a search box. If you tap the three vertical dots at the top right on this page you can choose Settings and open up the Home screen settings menu. In here you’ll find the ability to change icon sizes, icon appearance, show or hide names in the app dock at the bottom, and a few other handy options.

How to save battery life

The 2,620mAh battery in the Xperia X is far from the biggest around, but Sony and Google offer a few tricks to help you maximize it. Since the Xperia X runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, it supports Google’s Doze feature. It’s designed to automatically restrict apps running in the background in order to preserve battery life. Sony also offers Stamina mode in Settings > Battery. You can choose to have it kick in when your Xperia X battery hits a predetermined level. Tap the wee cog next to Auto-start at % battery to select and it will restrict GPS, vibrations, image enhancement, rendering performance, and background syncing.

Sometimes, you’ll want to ensure that an app continues to sync in the background regardless of power saving settings. You can do this by going to Settings > Battery, then tap the three vertical dots at the top right and choose Battery optimization. You can tick boxes to choose apps that you’d prefer to stay on all the time.

How to use the Xperia X with the PS4

Xperia X Connect PS4
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill / Digital Trends

If you open up the PlayStation app in the app drawer, you’ll find an option to Connect to PS4. This allows you to employ the Xperia X as a second screen device or even engage in a spot of remote play.

You may also want to take a look in Settings > Device connection where you can set up a PlayStation Dual Shock 4 controller to work with your Xperia X.

How to manage storage

Sony has included something called Smart cleaner on the Xperia X. It’s supposed to automatically shut down infrequently used applications and free up storage space by deleting unnecessary files. If you go to Settings > Storage & memory, you’ll find how much storage space you’re using and see the option to turn off Smart cleaner. Tap the three vertical dots at the top right and then Advanced to get the standard Android Storage and Memory pages. If you tap on Storage you can tap Cached data to delete it all at once, or scroll to the bottom to explore your file structure.

Display and camera tips

How to stop the display turning off

Xperia X Smart Backlight
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill / Digital Trends

When you head into Settings > Display, you’ll see a Sleep setting that turns the display off automatically when it’s inactive. The default setting is five minutes, but you’ll probably want to turn it down to save battery life. However, they may be times when you don’t want the display to turn off because you’re looking at it. What you need is Smart backlight control, also found in Settings > Display. Turn it on and the Xperia X will not turn off the screen as long as you’re holding it in your hand.

How to quickly launch the camera

You’ve got a few options when you want to launch the Xperia X camera in a hurry. The most obvious method is to hold down the dedicated shutter button. If you’re on the lock screen, you can simply drag the camera icon at the bottom right corner into the middle.

If you prefer, you can also launch by pressing the power button twice. Turn this on in Settings > Display and scroll down to toggle on Press power button twice for camera.

How to tweak the display

Xperia X Display settings
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill / Digital Trends

Sony has a lot of experience with display technology and you can use its software to enhance the display on your Xperia X. Take a look in Settings > Display > Image enhancement. To make things sharper, X-Reality for mobile is on by default, but you can turn it off or opt for the Super-vivid mode which really makes colors pop. If you tap on the image or video at the top, you’ll get a side-by-side comparison, so you can really see what each mode changes.

How to focus

Xperia X Focus
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill / Digital Trends

The physical shutter button on the Xperia X also allows you to focus if you squeeze it lightly. It saves you from having to awkwardly adjust your fingers to focus or capture the shot.

You can also set a subject to focus on by tapping on the screen. You’ll see a box appear around the subject and, once fixed, you can move the Xperia X around and the focus will stay firmly on your chosen subject.

How to use manual mode

There’s a 23-megapixel shooter in the Xperia X, so you should be able to capture some great photos. The Superior auto mode is on by default, but you can delve into the minutiae of camera options by tapping the M icon on the left hand side of the camera app. In Manual mode you can select a scene type from the menu on the right hand side, or you can tap on the sliders icon and set each element of your shot up exactly how you want it.

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Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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