Sony wants to forever banish blurry photos from your smartphone. The electronics giant’s Xperia X, due out this summer for an undisclosed price, features intelligent autofocus tech that tries to predict where the subjects of your photo will move next.
Specifically, the camera on the Xperia X offers what Sony calls predictive hybrid autofocus. Train the camera on a body in motion — say, your kids frolicking in the park — and the Xperia X anticipates where they’ll head next, keeping that object in focus for when you take the shot.
To demonstrate the predictive autofocus feature at its Mobile World Congress Booth, Sony set up a table with motorized balls rolling around a table in unpredictable patterns. If I tapped on one of the balls on the Xperia X’s screen, it would remain in focus as I followed its movements around the table. It’s a canned demo, sure, but in the wild, it should translate to fewer shots you have to trash because your subject moved suddenly.
That’s not the only intelligent feature Sony is building into its Xperia X lineup. The phone will also feature Qnovo’s adaptive charging technology, which continuously monitors battery health. Sony says that can double the lifespan of a battery, which means your phone will be able to retain its ability to hold a charge longer.
Out of the box, Sony says the Xperia X will feature up to two days of battery life, thanks to the smart battery management features built into the phone.The Xperia X features a 5-inch 1080p display with a 23-megapixel camera on the back and a 13-MP camera up front. The X runs on a 64-bit Qualcomm 650 processor with 3GB of RAM and will either offer 32GB or 64GB of storage, depending on whether you opt for the model with a dual-SIM card slot. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Xperia X felt solid in my hand, if a little boxy when compared to the tapered, curved phones currently in fashion. I did like the X’s assortment of colors — black, silver, rose gold and especially rose lime — which are accented with a striking metallic finish.
The Xperia X isn’t the only phone in this new lineup that Sony will roll out later this year. A high-spec version, the Xperia X Performance, and a mid-range model, the Xperia XA, will also offer feature autofocus and adaptive charging technologies.
The X Performance packs a beefier Snapdragon 820 processor. A Sony rep told me the phone will also be water- and dust-resistant. Its battery will be comparable to the 2,620 mAh pack powering the Xperia X, and camera specs will be the same between the two models.
The Xperia XA offers more modest specs (and presumably, a price tag to match once Sony unveils pricing later this year). The 5-inch phone offers a 720p display, though it spans from edge to edge. You’ll find a 13-MP camera on the back and an 8-MP camera up front. Inside, a MediaTek Mt6755 Pro and 2GB of RAM power the XA, which will offer up to 16GB of storage.
When the phones do ship later this summer, you’ll be able to use them with the Xperia Ear, an earpiece that Sony’s also planning for a summer release. Dismiss this a Bluetooth headset at your own peril, Sony says, as the Ear features a proximity sensor that can detect when you put the device in your ear and greet you with weather information, upcoming appointments, and missed calls. Put the device in your ear as a call is coming in, and the Xperia Ear is smart enough to know you want to take that call over the earpiece.
The Xperia Ear responds to voice commands, so you can tell it to send messages and make calls as you walk. (A sony rep told me the Xperia Ear interacts with seven different messaging apps, including Line and WhatsApp.) There’s also a button on the side of the device that lets you toggle between functions with long and short presses.
Pricing hasn’t been set on the Ear. Sony was showing off different versions of the earpiece in the same colors as the Xperia X phones.