Where did the Xperia 10 Plus come from?
If you’re at all familiar with Sony’s existing mid-range lineup, the Xperia 10 Plus might sound like somewhat of a left-field device. “Where was the Xperia 9?” I hear you cry. In truth, as part of an initiative to simplify its mobile arm’s messaging and bring things more in line with the likes of the brand’s Alpha camera range, Sony has changed tack and given its 2019 handsets a new naming treatment.
What was expected to be the Sony Xperia XZ4 is now the newly-launched Xperia 1 flagship, while the successors to the XA2 and XA2 Plus now take the form of the Sony Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus respectively.
The Plus shares some key traits with its smaller sibling but deviates from the recipe a little, with a more robust camera setup and more power.
Sony Xperia 10 Plus Pricing and Release Date
Sony surprised everyone when it unveiled the 10 series on stage in Barcelona during MWC, proclaiming that both phones would be available to purchase immediately. As such, the Xperia 10 Plus will set you back £349 and is on sale from February 25; the same is true of the standard Xperia 10 too (although it’s available for £299).
In the UK, carriers including EE, Vodafone, O2, Carphone Warehouse, Virgin, Sky Mobile, and Tesco are all onboard to stock the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus, with prices starting from £29 per month for the 10 Plus.
Sony’s focus with this year’s handsets is to bring a new perspective to things. Both Xperia 10s and the Xperia 1 all tote a 21:9 aspect ratio display, giving them all a slender footprint. Despite rocking an expansive 6.5-inch Full HD+ screen, the Xperia 10 Plus really doesn’t feel all that big, just tall. Very tall.
The top of the phone’s minimalist metal body rises high above your grasp and, despite thin bezels on three of its sides, the screen also features a sizeable forehead at the top.
Sony chose to forgo a notched display as this would negatively impact the usable screen real-estate, which is appreciated, but it’s still an undeniably imposing device that calls for (physically) deep pockets in order to fit.
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So why the change? With the growth in mobile video and streaming, Sony wanted to engineer phones that put entertainment first. When viewed in landscape, the 10 Plus’ aspect ratio is the perfect fit for film. The challenge here is that you have to seek out content that fits it natively.
During our pre-MWC briefing, the company cited that some 61 percent of movies on Netflix are natively presented in 21:9, while there’s even more compatible content on other services and from other providers: like Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and, of course, Sony Pictures.
The challenge is convincing users that there’s enough content to make buying the Xperia 10 Plus for its screen worthwhile. As much 21:9 content as there is out there, there’s arguably far more 16:9 video, which means, outside of those select films that are a perfect fit for the 10 Plus’ display, most will have to watch content with black bars on either side.
Whether or not the 21:9 aspect ratio is a good idea, as it appears on the Xperia 10 Plus, the phone is still very nice to look at. The Full HD+ resolution seems crisp and clean, and the LCD in use doles out pleasing colours. One other trick that such a tall display facilitates is split-screen multitasking that perfectly fits one app in portrait in 16:9 with a second 16:9 video playing in landscape above it.
It’s a talent that I first saw when Samsung launched the Galaxy S8. However, the extra screen height afforded by the 10 Plus means apps and UI elements fit far more comfortably here. Unsurprisingly, such an aspect ratio lets you see more content on web pages or anywhere else that uses a vertically scrolling design too.
Beyond the display, the internals powering the 10 Plus seem competent but unremarkable, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset (which should out-perform the Snapdragon 630 inside the smaller Xperia 10) and 4GB of RAM – disappointingly 2GB less than last year’s XA2 Plus.
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Battery capacity has taken a hit over last year’s mid-ranger too, jumping from 3,580mAh down to 3,000mAh. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology has been exchanged for the Power Delivery fast-charging standard too.
One major change for this class of Xperia is the introduction of a dual primary camera. The 10 Plus packs a pair of rear sensors; a 12-megapixel offering, backed up by an 8-megapixel unit which not only facilitates depth detection for Portrait Mode-style photography but adds 2x lossless zoom too. The second feature is unique to the Plus version of the Xperia 10, with the standard phone’s 13-megapixel/5-megapixel dual setup only able to offer depth detection.
With the extra power and the enhanced camera tech, this seems like the smarter choice between the two Xperias. Still, the price does put it in the firing line of some seriously capable rivals.
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