TALL, DARK, AND HANDSOME
The result is a tall, but narrow phone. It looks attractive and proves very comfortable to handle. If you’re a fan of Sony’s design language, then you’re going to like the look of the Xperia 10.
There’s a USB-C port flanked by speakers on the bottom, a 3.5mm audio jack up top, and a power button, fingerprint sensor, and volume rocker on the right side. Lest you forget this is a budget phone, the back and sides are a single piece of polycarbonate with a metallic sheen. There’s a horizontal dual-lens camera suite at the top with the flash above.
My review unit is navy, but you can also get this phone in classic black, pink, or silver.
Switching from the Moto G7, I found the Sony Xperia 10 much more comfortable to use one-handed. Put them side by side and they look like Laurel and Hardy.
You get a 6-inch IPS LCD screen with the Xperia 10 and, because of that 21:9 aspect ratio, it has a resolution of 2,520 x 1,080 pixels. It’s slightly sharper than both the Nokia 7.1 and the Moto G7. That aspect ratio coupled with Sony’s video processing know-how makes it ideal for watching movies, which are generally filmed at 21:9. Though it’s worth noting that TV shows and some other content will have black bars at the side.
The screen is one of the highlights of this phone and I found that the aspect ratio worked well for reading on the web, as well as for movies and gaming. The contrast is good, and it’s plenty bright for outdoors legibility. There’s a Super-vivid mode in the display settings if you prefer a saturated look, but the colors are vibrant enough out of the box. Until OLED screens start coming to budget phones, this is as about as good a screen as you’ll find in this price category.
Before moving on from the design section, a quick word on the vibration motor. It seems like an odd thing to highlight, but the vibrate function in the Xperia 10 is terrible. When I first turned the phone on, I was concerned it had been damaged in transit because of the asthmatic vibrate on start up. It’s obviously an area where Sony economized.
LACKING IN HORSEPOWER
The Sony Xperia 10 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor inside with 3GB of RAM. This processor is getting a bit long in the tooth and it shows. While swiping around feels slick, there are noticeably long pauses when loading games and switching between apps. The camera app also froze on me a couple of times.
I played Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes and it ran without issues. PUBG:Mobile took forever to load, but it ran without a problem, albeit on the lowest quality graphical setting. If you want to play demanding games, then the Xperia 10 is not for you.
Both the major competitors for the Xperia 10 — the Nokia 7.1 and Moto G7 — have slightly newer, more powerful processors, and an extra 1GB of RAM, and you can feel the difference it makes.