Earlier today, a couple of rather exciting photos found on Picasa began hitting news sites showing what could be a leaked device called the Sony Nexus X. Of course, during Nexus season, any rumor or glance at a possible new device is always exciting, but sometimes it's worth while to take a step back and consider whether what we're looking at is actually what it appears to be. Our penchant for putting leaked images under the microscope led us to do a bit of investigating.

After taking a look at the Nexus X photos, we have some doubts about their validity. First, the photos – below are resaved versions of the originals downloaded from Picasa. To do your own analysis, grab the originals here.

resave2 resave1

What's Wrong

One of the first things we noticed about the set was the photo of the front of the device. Many things about it are believable – the system buttons, sensors, camera, and earpiece are all things that should be present. What's odd however is that the screen lacks a persistent Google Search bar (found on the purported LG Nexus) and the Play Store icon lacks a label (something that can usually only be achieved using a custom launcher).

These clues prompted me to take a quick look at the EXIF data for each photo (which can again be found at their home on Picasa). Here's a quick overview:

image image

What's interesting here is that the photo on the left was taken at 1:55 PM, while the screen's clock says 6:03. The photo was both shot and uploaded on October 13th, while its counterpart was shot October 14th at 5:47 AM and uploaded that same day at 12:47 PM.

Additionally, the shot of the front appears to be evenly exposed across the entire frame. This would not be entirely odd, except that there is no exposure bias, and it is generally a challenge (even on well-lighted surfaces) to take a good photo of a device with an evenly-exposed display when shooting with a mobile camera (in this case, the Galaxy Nexus). While the presence of a faint reflection on the screen may lend credence to the authenticity of the shot, if the device this photo is based on was switched off, popping a screenshot on top and changing the screen layer's blend mode could achieve this effect in < 30 seconds. Here's a super quick test image I made to illustrate this:


The photo of the back of the device is not without its own worries. My primary concern (other than the well-placed Google logo) is with the microUSB connector. While it wouldn't be surprising to see the microUSB connector on the side of the device, and a connector that caused a slight bump on the back of the device wouldn't be something to bat an eye at, there are a couple of problems.


First, the otherwise even highlight running across the corner of the device is interrupted even before getting to the connector. Second, the black level of the adapter itself is completely different from its surrounding sideband. The connector's edges are also curiously cut and sharp. Finally, the disruption in the shadow on the side of the Nexus X is not consistent with the shape of the connector itself. Notice that the highlight created by the supposed bump cuts inward as it approaches the connector itself.

So What Is It?

This one isn't so easy. Looking through GSMArena's list of every Sony-made phone in existence, the Xperia Ion comes closest, but the back of the pictured device is quite different.

Our best guess for the device these photos are based on is either design mockup, prototype, or other variant of the Xperia Ion. The front of the device is nearly identical (the Sony and Xperia logos can be knocked out in less than 2 minutes), and while the back features a strange chin, and different textures, it has a common Xperia camera/flash array.

While we can't confirm the identity of the photographed device, there appear to be a few too many things wrong with the images for this to be the real deal. While something of a let-down, it isn't at all uncommon for leaked images (photographic or otherwise) to lead us astray, and we shouldn't have too long to wait to hear of Google's Nexus plans, if late-October announcement rumors are to be believed.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

    The shadows were the biggest giveaway for me. Everything else in frame has a shadow from a light source out of frame, the phone does not. So either its been pasted in or its a vampire.

    • http://twitter.com/knokfirst knok

      if you look closely you can see a shadow/reflection. The first one its not that prominent because it has a rounded back so the edge of the phone is lifted from the table. but you can still see one to the left of the corresponding with the angle of the shadow form the headphones. also if you look at the table infront of the phone in the 2nd image you can clearly see a shadow/reflection of the phone as well.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I actually think the phone, for the most part, was in the original photo. The light source is a window adjacent to the desk we see in the frame. The headphones have a more stark shadow because they are closer to the light source, while moving the subject (the phone) farther from the light source diffuses the shadow. It is still there though.

  • Tommy Thompson

    I'm glad someone is pointing out these things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700380348 Hosam Mohamed Shafik

    I Believe Sony Can Do Epic Design Not That Crap

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

    ...This is awesome.

    And whoever faked this is a horrible, horrible person. *wipes tear*

  • LTame

    Not the most accurate Photoshop detector, but:http://fotoforensics.com/analysis.php?id=28d57547906dbce090e4e2a834ca78fbe1910dfa.53167

    Looks like the ELA shows both Google and Sony logos are photoshopped :P

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I considered including FF in the post actually. It's a great tool for quickly checking what's been done to images like these.

    • Ryan Stuckmaier

      I've never seen any definitive proof that FF does anything worthwhile. Plug any actual phone photograph and you'll always get artifacts around icons and logos. http://fotoforensics.com/analysis.php?id=a473dea10f850d35c3d089bb3fd18850a91f480d.65180

    • nobody

      you do realize you did take the jpeg that was recompressed by picasa web software? look at the exif and compare with this: http://fotoforensics.com/analysis.php?id=e3a218362c0e73abc40601858d0be09e9d53dcd8.688184

      Seems to be taken with GNex, but exif is the easiest to fake. In my eyes the usb connector looks pretty strange, the edge around it isnt smooth, the color of the side seems too light and the shadow seems unconsistent with it...

      • LTame

        Oops. Got that link from Reddit haha. Didn't try myself :|

  • Alchemy08

    Good to see AP not jumping to conclusions to say this is a “Would be Nexus device" great analysis.

  • Lien Wee Hoo

    The "Sony" at the back is definitely photoshopped, doesn't align at all to the phone body.

    • Simon Belmont

      This. That is what was bothering me when I first saw the picture.

      The alignment of the SONY logo is just plain bad. Also it looks faded, but not scuffed.

    • PhilNelwyn

      The perspective looks faked.

  • http://twitter.com/niwasiuk Nelson Wasiuk

    And the flash is weird too. It seems it's not the backcover for that phone....

  • http://twitter.com/niwasiuk Nelson Wasiuk

    BTW this phone it's totally screwed... I think its an old, production test device...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      That was my thought, as well. I was thinking an engineering prototype for the Ion.

      • http://profiles.google.com/borcegeorgiev Borce Georgiev

        Read my comment, then zoom the first picture to max and look at the bottom of the device.

  • bL4Ck

    i hope these are true, seriously, i'm not buying LG trash :(

    • Razormike

      Why? LG have great hardware, it's the software that lacks.

  • Imran

    the back of a remote contorl,

  • http://kit.im/ Kit F

    Android clocks are out of sync, news at 3:28AM

  • http://profiles.google.com/borcegeorgiev Borce Georgiev

    You've deserved the title Android MythBusters. One thing, the back of this nexus looks a lot like htc evo 4g; connector is 107,3% photoshop added and the most important - giant fu** you all sign(like this http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nwX8WbopOhY/T7He2Bzwc_I/AAAAAAAAAMc/S7WP7kuFFGw/s1600/Phelan_FuckYou_72dpi_20cm.jpg) at the buttom. So - mystery solved, case closed. FAKE

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Did you make this, Borce?

      • http://profiles.google.com/borcegeorgiev Borce Georgiev

        Do I look like Photoshop geek ?

  • http://twitter.com/bugabuga Max Smolev

    I wonder if it's one of those "dummy display" phones. That would explain the screen oddities and slight misalignment or the plug :)

  • polishfreak

    One of the first photos of the lg nexus had no search bar...I think that one is gtg now.This at first glance this one looks fake I mean who uses that wallpaper, and look at all that junk in the trunck...no buddy wants that thick of a phone nowadays.

    • Freak4Dell

      If it's not huge (as in screen size and more importantly, width), I wouldn't mind a thick phone. They fit better in the hand than super thin phones, plus they have some heft to them, making it feel like a more solid device.

      I really doubt that it won't be huge, though, if this thing even exists. I'm sure they'll stick an infinity inch screen on it like they do with every other good phone these days.

  • http://twitter.com/harshitpassi Harshit Passi

    I think these might be two different phones instead of a prototype! The front looks like an Xperia Ion while the back looks like an Xperia T. So either someone got their hand on a prototype between the two devices or they are two different phones completely!

  • perfectlyreasonabletoo

    The screen is slightly off from being parallel with the side of the device. In the first picture, the space between the left side of the "screen" and the bezel at the top is smaller than at the bottom. So yeah, pretty obvious fake. Sad to see some sites are running with it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tbartholeyns Thierry Bartholeyns

    The camera seems to be from a Xperia T device


    And the lower part reminds me of my old sony remote control :)

  • AnkitBhutoria

    A very in depth analysis that turned out to be true. A+++