This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.

For the second week in a row, Xperia is gaining momentum with a rush of new products. Sony Mobile has announced a new mid-range phone, the Xperia 8 Lite, which is a "budget Xperia" mainly aimed at MVNOs. The selling price is expected to be around 30,000 yen.

Xperia 8 Lite announced as a device for MVNO

As you may have noticed from the name of the device, the Xperia 8 Lite is based on the mid-range Xperia 8, which was mainly handled by sub-brands like Y! Mobile and UQ mobile last year. The Xperia 8 was also sold by au on the major carriers. As you can see from the photos, the design of the Xperia 8 Lite at a glance is almost identical to the Xperia 8.

The Xperia 8 launched as the fall/winter 2019 model; pictured is the Y! Mobile version

In addition to looks, the specs have more in common. For example, both models feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset, a 6-inch display with the same 21:9 aspect ratio as the new Xperia 1 and later series, 4GB of memory (RAM) and 64GB of storage (ROM). The Xperia 8 Lite is also unchanged from the Xperia 8 in that it supports so-called Japanese specifications such as mobile wallet, water and dust resistance.

The main specifications of the Xperia 8 Lite. It seems to have almost the same as the Xperia 8.

For better or worse, but the camera is also the same as the Xperia 8. On the back, there are dual 12-megapixel and 8-megapixel cameras. It's configured as a standard and 2x for optical zoom, and it also supports background blurring, which takes advantage of the difference in focal lengths of the two cameras. However, due to its mid-range nature, you can't expect the image quality of the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 that were introduced in the same decade. Recently, even mid-range models are coming out with larger sensors and better image quality, so you might not expect too much.

Equipped with dual cameras, background blurring is also possible.

So what exactly makes the Xperia 8 Lite a "Lite"? According to Sony Mobile, the difference with the Xperia 8 is that it does not support "DSEE HX", DSEE HX is a technology to restore the sound range lost in the compressed sound source and play back in high-resolution quality. So while it has a 3.5mm earphone jack, some of the music playback features are a downgrade from the Xperia 8.

It has a 3.5mm earphone jack, but is not DSEE HX compatible

The other "Lite" element is the color range. In addition to black and white, the Xperia 8 lineup included orange, which was impressive for its bright and strong colors, and blue, which was pale and gentle, but the Xperia 8 Lite comes in two basic colors, black and white. It's a shame that the playful colors are gone, but we can see that the company has tried to reduce costs by narrowing down the number of colors.

Only two colors are available: black and white

As a result, the price has also become "Lite", and as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the price is around 30,000 yen, which is an amount that can be aimed at the middle of the mid-range model. At the time of its release, the Xperia 8 was in the upper 50,000 yen range for Wai Mobile and the mid 50,000 yen range for UQ Mobile, but since some time has passed since then, it seems that it has become a cheaper setting from the launch. Some MVNOs offer discounts at the very end of the regulatory limit with a new contract, so it's a good fit for users who want a reasonably priced device.

Despite some of these differences, the contents of the Xperia 8 Lite are almost identical to the Xperia 8. The Xperia 8 Lite seems to be the device that re-climbed the Xperia 8 for Xperia MVNOs. Since the original Xperia 8 was limited to sub-brands and au only in terms of sales channels, this looks like a nice addition to the options for MVNO users. It seems to be one that users who have been using Xperia on a major carrier will choose when they move to an MVNO.

However, the new series of Xperia is already in its second year, and the Xperia 10 II, the de facto successor to the Xperia 8, has already been released. The Xperia 10 II is being aggressively marketed by major carriers and sub-brands, and in some cases, you can buy it for around $30,000, including discounts. Given that the Xperia 10 II is a big improvement in terms of features, especially the camera, we honestly wanted this one to be widely available to MVNOs as a SIM-free device.

The Xperia 10 II, which is essentially the successor to the Xperia 8, is being handled by Docomo, au, and Y! Mobile.

Conversely, the Xperia 8 Lite is a device for those who want an Xperia that is more of a price priority anyway, rather than those differences. This price point in particular, despite the SIM-free volume zone, is about to see a major reshuffling of manufacturers due to Huawei's shrinking sales channels as a result of increased U.S. sanctions and ASUS' departure from mid-range models. With OPPO, Xiaomi, Motorola, and others focusing their efforts on this market, we can see that Sony Mobile wanted to make a move on this market.

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.