The 13 megapixel camera on the back of the Xperia TX is meant to be the defining feature of the James Bond phone. And in some ways it is, but not as the stand out performer you may have hoped for.

The best thing about the TX's camera is its speed to the draw. Press and hold the dedicated shutter button - even from a locked screen - and the camera will boot up and take a photo in roughly a second.

Sony Xperia TX review

That's best in class perfromance that outshines the competitors by a country mile.

The catch is that when it comes to image quality, the Xperia TX struggles a little bit in low light. Okay, that may be harsh considering the f/2.4 lens is still embedded in a smartphone, but it's still a let down.

Even in average light conditions indoors, the photos appear to be a bit washed out and noisy.

Sony Xperia TX review

In ideal photography conditions, however, the TX shines. It's tough to say whether it outperforms the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the Nokia Lumia 920 for image quality, but it's still impressive for a phone camera.

Interestingly, the specified 13-megapixel resolution is only available for 4:3 ratio shooting, with the phone sticking to a 10MP 16:9 ratio as default. There's realistically not much difference between the two, at least as far as the naked eye can see.

Navigating through the camera's settings menu is a highlight, with easy graphics for toggling features like smile detection, flash, image resolution and geotagging.

There's also a sweep panorama shooting mode as standard, which works exactly the same way as every sweep-panorama-enabled Sony Cybershot camera on the market. Simply press the camera button and turn the camera in the direction shown on screen.

The front facing, 1.3MP camera takes photos, but should never be used for that. Instead, consider it exclusively for video chatting on the device. Which isn't a bad idea given it technically records at 720p.

Video

The rear camera, however, can record 1080p video effortlessly. Accessing video mode is done by toggling a switch after launching the camera function.

This is good for simplicity, but does raise some issues for anyone who likes the quick-launch button for the camera. By the time you've snapped a photo with quick launch, then toggled over to video recording, the moment may have already passed. Then again, it may not have, so who are we to judge?

Just like taking still photos, navigating through the video recorder menu is both easy and clear. The app offers control of recording resolution, scene modes, focus modes, exposure, white balance, metering and image stabilisation.

The image stabilisation isn't the best we've seen in a phone before, but it does the job pretty well.

Recording quality is again impressive during the day, but less than stellar at night, even with the night shooting mode switched on.

Sony Xperia TX review camera test

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Sony Xperia TX review camera

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Sony Xperia TX review camera

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Sony Xperia TX review camera

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Sony Xperia TX review camera

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Sony Xperia TX review camera

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