The Xperia 10 IV is the latest mid-ranger from Sony, but as with so many other Xperia phones, there are question marks over whether it can live up to its price tag. The light and narrow frame provide enough room for a deceptively large battery, and UI features such as side sense make for effortless multitasking. However, laggy cameras and staticky speakers do make for some rough edges. Is the Sony Xperia 10 IV the right phone for you? Find out in Android Authority’s Sony Xperia 10 IV review.
What you need to know about the Sony Xperia 10 IV
- Sony Xperia 10 IV (6GB/128GB): £429 / €499 (~$515)
The Xperia 10 IV is the latest mid-ranger from Sony, making minor improvements to the Xperia 10 III and coming in well below the flagship Xperia 1 IV in the 2022 Xperia family. As with its predecessor, this phone is currently only available in the UK and Europe, with no word on a potential release date in North America. The main differences between the third and fourth Xperia 10 phones are that the latter has a bigger battery (5,000mAh compared to 4,500mAh) and an upgraded chipset, moving from the Snapdragon 690 to the Snapdragon 695.
Additionally, the Xperia 10 IV has some updated protection. The familiar and narrow 21:9 display is now covered by the stronger Gorilla Glass Victus rather than Gorilla Glass 6, helping to further “scratch-proof” the screen. However, the scrolling experience is still on the slow end, with a refresh rate locked to 60Hz. Most competitors in this range offer higher refresh rates, such as the Moto G 5G and Nothing Phone 1 at 90Hz or the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G and Poco F4, which both have 120Hz displays.
The backside of the Xperia 10 IV features the same trio of cameras found on the Xperia 10 III: a 12MP primary sensor, 8MP telephoto, and an 8MP ultrawide lens. However, there is one disappointing downgrade with video recording maxing out at 1080p compared to 4K on the previous generation.
A dedicated 2x zoom camera, Gorilla Glass Victus protection, a headphone jack, and IP68 water resistance rating help set the Xperia 10 IV apart from other mid-range phones.
Sony has promised three years of security updates and two years of Android software updates, with the phone eventually getting Android 13 at an unconfirmed date. These commitments are modest for a budget phone. While not as plentiful as big names like Samsung or Google, they are in line with the number of updates you’d expect from OnePlus or Motorola and surpass those offered by the likes of Poco or Redmi.
There’s only one configuration of the Xperia 10 IV, but there is space for a microSDXC card to expand the storage, shared with the SIM slot. It also carries a headphone jack — increasingly a rarity on any modern smartphone. You have your choice of four colors for the Xperia 10 IV: Black, White, Mint, and Lavender.
As part of Sony’s push towards sustainability, there is no plastic packaging, and it does not come with a charger or USB cable. Yet, a lot of folded paper takes up the space inside the box, making us wonder why Sony didn’t downsize the packaging to fit the phone.
The most impressive aspect of the Sony Xperia 10 IV is the killer combo of a big battery in a compact and lightweight frame. I could use the phone for nearly two full days of light use with occasional web browsing and messaging without ever charging, thanks to the long-lasting 5,000mAh battery.
Benchmark results aren’t great for a 2022 mid-ranger, but we’ve seen similar results from other Snapdragon 695 phones like the Nord N20 and Moto G Stylus 5G — two phones that still perform just fine in daily use. While you can get much more powerful phones in this price tier — particularly the Google Pixel 6a or Apple iPhone SE — if you aren’t putting the phone through intensive strain, the day-to-day performance isn’t a deal breaker.
The tall 21:9 OLED display screen makes for pleasant viewing. The colors out of the box are slightly oversaturated, however, you can tweak the colors in the settings to your preferences, which is a plus. Streamed content looks crisp, and wide-screen video will fill out the frame. Gaming, on the other hand, doesn’t always impress. Demanding games like Genshin Impact are playable but don’t expect super smooth frame rates. It’ll also struggle to sustain heavy and will run hot within the hour.
Not everyone will be a fan of the narrow six-inch screen, but I found it very easy to handle and access any apps with one hand. The phone is so slim that it could slide right into my pocket beside my daily driver, a bulky Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it’s lightweight enough that you’ll hardly even feel it beside your thigh.
The most impressive aspect of the Sony Xperia 10 IV is the killer combo of a big battery in a small, lightweight size.
The new Xperia phones have a stock-like Android 12 interface. Basic Android features such as Multi-window switch and Pop-up window are a bit more pleasing to use on this tall display. Multi-window lets you split your screen between any two apps, so you can enter information from your notes into another app without switching back and forth, for instance. Pop-up will overlay a small window over any app, so you could watch a video while reading this article, for example. Both of these really benefit from the additional vertical real estate.
There is excellent audio support, especially while using Sony’s 360 Reality Audio with compatible headphones. The headphone jack is a nice touch, but if you’re going wireless, there’s LDAC for high-resolution audio over Bluetooth connections at up to 990 kbps at 32 bit/96 kHz and DSEE Ultimate to upscale more hi-quality to your compressed music.
When it comes to protection, you get some truly high-end specs in a mid-range handset. The front display is shielded by Gorilla Glass Victus, which we typically only see in flagship phones. For instance, the new Pixel 6a only had Gorilla Glass 3, and the most you can normally expect at this price is Gorilla Glass 5. Combined with the plastic back, this is a pretty sturdy cushion for hitting the floor.
Additionally, the Sony Xperia 10 IV has impressive water and dust resistance, spec’d to meet IP68 standards. That means you can submerge the phone underwater at a depth of up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. Again, this is a cut above the competition that is typically rated for IP67 or lower.
What’s not so good?
While the sound quality through headphones or earbuds with the Xperia 10 IV is superb, the external speaker is pretty poor. There are no stereo speakers, just a single bottom-firing loudspeaker which is too quiet at low to mid volumes and sounds very scratchy at max volume. This makes trying to show a video to multiple people nearly inaudible.
One of the more contentious specs is the 60Hz refresh rate, which feels outdated and sluggish. The screen judders are most noticeable when scrolling through web pages or app feeds. Many modern mid-tier smartphones now have 90Hz and 120Hz displays, and it’s disappointing that Sony hasn’t upped its game here. While it may have been a trade-off for the battery life’s longevity, having the option would’ve been nice.
The lack of stereo speakers, a slow 60Hz refresh rate, and underwhelming camera quality cause a few raised eyebrows at the Xperia 10 IV’s asking price.
The phone supports USB Power Delivery charging up to 20W, but you’re looking at around a 2.5-hour charge time from zero to 100%, even with a fully compatible adapter. That is extremely slow compared to the competition. The Galaxy A53 5G has the same battery size yet only takes 85 minutes for a full charge, and the iPhone SE refills in about an hour with the benefit of supporting wireless charging.
I also found the side fingerprint scanner pretty unreliable — a surprise for an Xperia phone, as they usually get these right. In fact, it only actually worked to unlock my phone once or twice, even after rescanning my fingerprint. When it reads it wrong, or if you accidentally touch different parts of your fingers, the phone will lock you out for 30 seconds, which can get frustrating. I found it best to disable the feature and use a pin code instead. Speaking of fingerprints, the downgrade from a glass finish to plastic means the backside of your phone will inevitably get smudged with fingerprint grease.
Sony Xperia 10 IV camera review
The Sony Xperia 10 IV has three rear cameras — the same as the Xperia 10 III — except that the primary sensor now has OIS image stabilization. On first impression, the Xperia 10 IV noticeably lags before and after snapping a shot. The lag is even worse when using the pinch-to-zoom feature, as the lenses take a second or two before catching up with your fingers, which can be annoying when trying to gauge the right distance. This is one area where the relatively low-power Snapdragon 695 chipset shows its weaknesses.
The primary 12MP camera is rather inconsistent. Most notably, colors are more saturated here than in other lenses, and objects of varying sizes and distances become blurred. During the day, there was at times too much exposure, making the sky appear white instead of blue. It didn’t help that the preview image in Sony’s Camera app wasn’t very clear and only worsened under bright sunlight. White balance was also hit and miss, struggling especially in low-light conditions.
Having a dedicated telephoto camera is extremely rare at this price. Despite its humble hardware, the 2x optical zoom is surprisingly reliable in various environments. This was my preferred camera on the Xperia 10 IV, delivering sharper details and warmer-looking colors than the primary. The dynamic range and exposure are far better than comparable budget camera phones with only digital zoom.
The Sony Xperia 10 IV’s primary camera is pretty poor, which is a shame when the telephoto offers something genuinely useful for a budget shooter.
The 8MP ultrawide camera was also more robust than the primary, showing fairly well-balanced highlights and shadows without overblowing the colors. It can get a little soft and warped around the edges, but the performance isn’t bad. The Auto HDR feature also seemed more accurate on the ultrawide than the main one, which is the opposite of what we’d expect.
The Sony Xperia 10 IV’s night images are decent so long as you are near some artificial light. For example, it can lift shadows around neon signs making them legible at night, but shooting in pitch black darkness would make the primary focus indecisive, automatically switching between different focal lengths. The ultrawide would produce too much noise with a more noticeable softening effect. Out of the three, the telephoto lens performed the best with night mode, lifting shadows and bringing out sharper details.
You’ll have no trouble taking selfies suitable for social media using the front 8MP camera, although the beautifying effects of the portrait filter can be overkill. I didn’t notice much difference using the slender face or eye enlargement options, but the soft skin filter made my facial hair too blurry. The extremes of the skin brightness effects ranged from making me look ghostly pale to an almost sickly green, but perhaps these options aren’t meant for me.
Sony also sacrificed the ability to record 4K video. The rear camera now tops out at 1080p at a measly 30fps, which would be disappointing even for phones that sit well below the Xperia 10 IV’s asking price. Perhaps to cover up the downgrade is the “Creative” mode, which shows you samples of various filters applied over whatever you’re pointing your camera at, allowing you to experiment with different looks before hitting record.
Sony Xperia 10 IV specs
|Sony Xperia 10 IV|
1,080 x 2,520
60Hz refresh rate
21:9 aspect ratio
|Processor||Qualcomm SM6375 Snapdragon 695|
12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.8″, PDAF, OIS
8 MP, f/2.2, 54mm (telephoto), 1/4.4″, PDAF, 2x optical zoom
8 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 16mm (ultrawide), 1/4.0″
Front: 1080p at 30fps
Li-Po 21W wired charging
|Sensors||Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, proximity, compass|
|Network||GSM / HSPA / LTE / 5G|
|SIM||Single SIM (Nano-SIM or eSIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Dimensions and weight||153 x 67 x 8.3 mm|
|Colors||Black, White, Mint, and Lavender|
Sony Xperia 10 IV review: The verdict
While the Xperia 10 IV is a decent phone for everyday usage, Sony is ultimately charging too much for what it offers when considering the overall value. The battery life is superb and packed into a light, easy-to-use phone. But for the price of £429 in the UK (just over $500), it lacks in some crucial areas, and it frequently feels like it’s behind the times in essential respects.
The Xperia 10 IV gives you a long-lasting battery in a thin, lightweight frame, but the slow refresh rate, below-average camera quality, and scratchy speakers make this phone feel out of date.
The weird thing about the Xperia 10 IV is how wildly imbalanced it is. It has some unexpected flagship specs, such as Gorilla Glass Victus, a telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, an IP68 rating, and a headphone jack, many of which you just don’t find at this price. But the performance is mediocre and the primary camera — the one which generally gets the most usage — is pretty poor. The speakers aren’t great, the charging is painfully slow, and the screen is only 60Hz. Ultimately, this phone feels lopsided and doesn’t add up to a complete package.
Perhaps the Xperia 10 IV has enough going for it to appeal to wired audio purists or those who want a slim, affordable, lightweight phone. But suppose Sony had given this phone a little extra love and polish. In that case, it could have been well-rounded enough to contend with the heavy hitters, such as the Google Pixel 6a (£399), Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (£399), or the Nothing Phone 1 (£399), all of which have the upper hand regarding camera image quality and performance, not to mention slightly cheaper price tags.
- High quality sound
- Long-life baterry
- Water resistant
The Sony Xperia 10 IV combines a large-capacity battery with a super lightweight, hand-fit design and a water resistant case. The Xperia 10 IV also comes with a triple-lens camera ultra-wide angle that will capture your best memories with a dedicated 2x zoom. The bright 21:9 OLED display along with the powerful speakers give a formidable experience and the Gorilla Glass Victus will protect against most scratches.