Sony's Xperia range of Android powered smartphones have, until very recently, culminated in the Xperia Z flagship model. The Xperia Z family have a stated objective from Sony to bundle together the best available components into the one device family, offering customers a "best of breed" model. As such, Sony's Xperia Z handsets contain top of the line chipsets, screens and in particular, cameras – although over the years we have seen different models offering different compromises for customers. Sony have also offered the straightforward model joined by a smaller "Compact" variant, which has included a very similar specification but typically with a smaller, lower resolution display. The Compact range of smartphones have also shipped with 2GB of RAM rather than 3GB as the full models have, associated with video memory and the full size models needing to maintain performance. Sony has a habit of releasing new flagship devices every six months and so we saw the Xperia Z, Z1, Z2, Z3, Z3+ and then Z5 over three years. These devices share several traits and unfortunately one of these is how the device overheats when recording video.
Sony have recently announced that the Xperia Z family has reached the end of the line with the Xperia Z5, Z5 Premium and Z5 Compact. The Z family has been replaced with the Sony Xperia X family of devices and again we have seen three models, although this time we're seeing the standard Sony Xperia X, premium Sony Xperia X Performance and less expensive Sony Xperia XA with a smaller display (but still measuring in at 5-inches). The Sony Xperia X is based around the six-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 System-on-Chip, which uses a big.LITTLE architecture. This combines a dual core 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex-A72 application processor as the higher performance tier with a quad core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cluster. There's 3GB of RAM and a choice of either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal memory, which is supplemented by a MicroSD card slot that can takes cards of up to 200 GB in size. There's a 23MP Sony main camera on the back and a 13MP front facing sensor. The device also ships with high definition 24-bit audio, stereo speakers and a 2,620mAh battery, which includes Qualcomm's QuickCharge 2.0.
The Xperia X, then, has an upper mid-range specification and a number of sensors and features borrowed from the Xperia Z. Unfortunately, one of these is the overheating camera. The embedded YouTube clip below shows that it only takes a little bit over three minutes before device functionality is impaired: the display is very jerky, presumably as the chipset is underclocked to reduce heat. The device is still recording, but after nine minutes the video party is over: the Xperia X shuts the camera down. The device is compared back to back with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and this demonstrates how both handsets do run warm, but the Galaxy S7 remains beautifully smooth during the video recording process and is perfectly happy recording video beyond nine minutes.
The fact that one or two of Sony's devices over the last few years have suffered from impaired video recording performance is disappointing, but with their brand new Xperia X having the issue, it's not good news in the least bit. Here's hoping Sony can release a patch or software update to help matters.