Sony Xperia TX Review: The Bond Phone Just Makes Me Sad

James Bond movies have always done an amazing job at making me feel great. They're always so enjoyable, so fun, so cool. Bond's latest adventure, Skyfall, has all but departed from cinemas now, and we're left with a sense of whimsey from the world's best gentleman spy and a swathe of gadgets we can pick up for ourselves in the real world, like the Sony Xperia TX. Don't be fooled, however: all this phone will make you is sad.

What Is It?

The Xperia TX has been released globally as a tie in to Skyfall, the latest James Bond picture. The TX is an Android smartphone with a 4.6-inch, 1280x720 screen running at 323 ppi. It has a dual-core 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a 13-megapixel camera.

What's Good?

Let's get one thing straight: on the surface, the Xperia TX is amazing. It looks great on paper, feels good in your hand and electrifies the senses when turned on. Whoever is building Sony's hardware needs a medal because despite the awful software on the TX that eventually rears its ugly head, I'd still think about living with this phone every day. It's better looking than any Bond girl you can think of.

The battery produces an admirable day's worth of performance, the camera yields some top photos and the whole thing just fits together like James Bond and his Aston Martin: like it's all meant to be.

What's Bad?

It's a tale as old as time when it comes to Xperia: no matter how good the hardware is, you will always be let down by the software. The Xperia TX is no exception.

It feels flat, sluggish between screens and when opening apps, slow, crash-prone and ultimately disappointing. Sony's Timescape UI looks exactly the same as it did back in 2009. It's 2013. Time for something fresh, perhaps?

All this software, placed unthinkingly on top of some decent hardware, yields a Geekbench 2 score of 1566. To put that in perspective, it's damn near the same score that Geekbench manages to squeeze out of the HTC One XL, and just under the Samsung Galaxy S III: two phones that were great this time last year.

The distinct lack of 4G hardware is the icing on the cake here. It's available through Vodafone on a $50 plan which is both too expensive and too precarious given the network's previous reputation. The Xperia TX is a hot mess.

Should You Buy It?

Honestly, if you're a veteran Sony Xperia user, you don't need me to tell you that it has a software problem that makes it difficult to love. If you're one of the rare folks that doesn't care regardless — and I know you're out there — the Xperia TX is a joy. It's built brilliantly and it's as striking as an Armani suit and an Omega watch.

If you're a stickler for fast software, though, avoid the Xperia TX. Saying that made me sad, because the TX could have been so goddamn good.

If anything, the Xperia TX makes me want a great looking, great running Sony phone even more. It has a solid pass mark on the hardware and specs alone, if only it could get the software right, rather than producing a slow, jerky, out of date, crash-prone mess. Above all, it makes me want the Sony Xperia Z, because it just might be able to deliver on what Sony is more than capable of: an incredible phone.


Comments

    After owning an xperia play this review comes as no surprise.

      i seem to agree...Sony seem to be under dimensioning phones...after i had a Xperia Play, went to the Galaxy Nexus and and now S3 4G, would not dare recommend another Sony phone.

      Dual-Core/Quad-core...who cares...
      1G Ram is not enough for a phone anymore.

      The S3 4G sits comfortably with 2G ram and even comparing to the S3 with 1G, 2G should be minimum now

        My problems are dodgey touch screen and with the bundled uninstallable apps I've got 40mb free straight out of the box.

          I saw one of these at a Vodafone shop in Brisbane, and tried to unlock it. WTF, the screen sensitivity was really bad.. I thought it was me, even my wife could not unlock it. I told the Voda rep and she just shrugged at me....

          If it was me, I'd wait for the Sony Z, but going by what Sony has done with the TX I'd be very cautious TBH... The Z is another phone with great specs, but what of the phones of the past? How much DNA will the Z share?

          I've had a lot of phones over the last year including the tacky cheap feeling SGSIII, and I ended up settling on the Razr HD. I bought it off a Telstra customer, unlocked it and disabled the 2 Telstra apps and using it on Vodafone. To be honest it doesn't have the fluidity of the SGSIII's touchwiz, but replace the launcher with Nova or even a stock free Jellybean 4.1 launcher from the playstore, and you're laughing! Best phone I've used, premium feel and that Kevlar back that just keeps me drooling :) Its also coated inside and out with a nano splash proof coating, just for good measure :)

        1GB RAM is not enough for an Android phone, perhaps ... :P

        I still have my Xperia Play and while I'll probably upgrade later this year when my contract expires I can't complain about it much at all. Hasn't really skipped a beat. The physical controls alone are worth it but I haven't found the software that bad either.

        Last edited 21/01/13 3:13 pm

    The whole premise of "SkyFall" was Bond getting old-school - so in a way, the message of the movie was "don't buy this phone".

    Aww, and its a shame because the Bond girls often die quickly now too. Metaphor for the phone? Perhaps better if the phone were bootloaded with something different. Such a shame :(

    I don't really know how to take this: i have a friend that got the go, and his phone doesn't seem bad at all. The screen resolution isn't great but the software runs fine and I was actually impressed with how the phone compares to my IPhone. Especially considering that it costs a fith of what the IPhone does..

      My misses has the GO also. The stock launcher is so slow, it drags down the performance so bad. I updated her phone to the HK 4.04 firmware (to get rid of the Optus firmware) and it works a bit better. Replacing the launcher again works a treat, it actually works well.

      Pity Sony are just bad at software.. oh, and Android updates too..

    Is it me or does the TX in the picture look really wide?

    Last edited 21/01/13 5:38 pm

    I heard about all these unfortunate problems but sony said that the new software from the xperia z it on its way, hope it will run great. The xperia z by itself is great, the only let down is the huge screen which cannot be handle by everybody

    Same old story.

    I remember my M600i (it was Vesper's phone in Casino Royale), great hardware, crap software.
    When Sony finally updated it, 3 didn't pass the update on.

    It's such a pity they can't get their crap together.

    If Sony get tapped on the shoulder to build the Nexus 5 (with 4G and not ridiculously big) I'll be seriously looking to leave iOS behind.
    Sadly, I've got a hunch it will be Motorola who gets the next Nexus.

      Next nexus will be HTC then huwaei. It's already been confirmed by google.

    I got an Xperia Arc S last year, just after Sony released the ICS upgrade for it. It was pretty good value at the time for a mid-level phone running ICS. Similar story: top-notch hardware and build quality, But DAMN, that Sony skin.

    I know it's not for everyone, but rooting and custom-ROMming is the best thing you can do for Sony hardware. It seems like they're pretty keen on becoming a Nexus manufacturer (releasing Xperia S binaries to AOSP), a move which I would definitely support.

    Hello from Poland!!!

    Thanks for the review Luke although I am fan of Bond watches I would never invest my money in a Sony smartphone. Their notebooks on the other hand are pretty cool and reliable as well.
    Unfortunatelly I must totally disagree with the author of this article There is not a smartphone on this planet that could ever beat the stunning Hale Berry in ´´Die Another Day´´.

    Bart
    www.appocalypse.mobi

    I have the tx and it craps all over the s3 as far as software goes. The s3 and its awful touchWIZ software is terrible. The tx is quick, responsive and reliable. The same can not be said for the s3 (which is also plagued by faults at the moment. Apparently it's one if the most returned phones due to faults currently)

    Xperia TX is a super phone. I had not a single problem, that mentioned in the review. Super fast phone loads app ultra fast. Very smooth and high quality gaming performance.

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