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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, 1280×720 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.

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