Sony is in a state of transition. Walking away from the ultra-high end market, the Z line of phones is no more. The idea is to streamline, whittle back on “marketing bullet point” specs, but still deliver a device which meets consumer needs.

The Xperia X takes a step away from some of the more outlandish features found in previous Sony flagships. You won’t find a 4K display here, a 5″ 1080p LCD will satisfy most people. A bleeding edge Qualcomm chipset is great for gaming, but Sony took a step back here too, moving to a Qualcomm 650. And yet, alongside these more conservative offerings, Sony still saw fit to include a 23MP rear camera and 13MP front selfie cam, two of the most pixel dense offerings we’ve seen in this tier. Yet there are no options for UHD video recording.

It’s a curious combination of premium and mid-range pieces. Gorgeous build quality and an improved power button fingerprint sensor, balanced by 3GB of RAM and a 2620mAh battery. Will this design and build appeal to North American audiences, when the pricing for this handset approaches a premium tier?

To be sure, this is the fastest turnaround we’ve seen from Sony between launch and offering an unlocked handset for North America, units expected to be shipping from Amazon and B&H by the end of this month, but who is this phone really for? How do we properly communicate these compromises?

Well, first we have to get it out of the box…

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