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Samsung Galaxy A5 vs Sony Xperia X vs iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Sony Xperia X vs Apple iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style: Which is best for me? We compare the Samsung Galaxy A5 6, the new Sony Xperia X, Motorola’s Moto X Style and the dinky iPhone SE, to see which of these feature-packed phones is best for you.

The smartphones in this round-up are cheaper than most premium handsets, but still offer a flagship experience. We’re talking smooth performance, dependable cameras, decent battery life and bonus features like fingerprint sensors, which you typically won’t find on mid-range mobiles.

Can’t afford Samsung’s Galaxy S7? Check out the Galaxy A5 (2016) instead. The Sony Xperia Z5 just out of your price range? There’s always Sony’s brand new Xperia X. If the iPhone 6s is just too much coin, then perhaps the iPhone SE will suit, while Motorola offers the excellent Moto X Style for about the same price.

But which of these mobiles is best for you? Here’s our full comparison review.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Sony Xperia X vs Apple iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style: At a glance

Phone iPhone SE Moto X Style Galaxy A5 2016 Xperia X
Screen size 4-inches 5.7-inches 5.2-inches 5-inches
Screen resolution 1136×640 2560×1440 1920×1080 1920×1080
Fingerprint sensor? Yes No Yes Yes
OS iOS 9.3 Android 6.0 Android 5.1.1 Android 6.0
Storage 16/64GB 16/32/64GB 16GB 32/64GB
microSD cards? No Yes (up to 128GB) Yes (up to 128GB) Yes (up to 200GB)
Processor Apple A9 Snapdragon 808 Snapdragon 615 Snapdragon 650
Rear camera 12MP 21MP 13MP 23MP
Front camera 1.2MP 5MP 5MP 13MP

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Sony Xperia X vs Apple iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style: Design

When it comes to shapes and sizes, you couldn’t get a much more diverse bunch than these four phones.

If you’re after a hand-filling handset that boasts a big screen and the rest, then check out the mighty Moto X Style. This 5.7-incher definitely strays into phablet territory, bulging out of your pocket and demanding double-handed use at all times. It’s also the most customisable mobile here, allowing you to construct your own colourful creation if you order through Motorola’s website. There are loads of bright finishes to choose from, so your new blower really stands out.

At the other end of the scale, you have the diminutive iPhone SE. This tiny 4-inch phone is one of the most compact mobiles you can buy, making it the perfect fit for smaller hands. You can also slip it easily into pretty much any pocket or dinky handbag, despite its chunky frame. And of course the SE is gorgeous, rocking an old-school Apple design (thanks to the company’s enthusiastic recycling of old handsets) complete with a typically sleek metallic frame. Don’t forget the fetching ‘rose gold’ model, either.

The Sony Xperia X and Samsung Galaxy A5 sit neatly in the middle, with typically attractive designs. The A5 looks much like Samsung’s Galaxy S6 flagship from 2015, while the Xperia X isn’t far removed from Sony’s Xperia Z5 flagship phone, also from 2015.

None of these phones are water-resistant sadly, so if you’re hoping to have a splash in the bath while checking your Twitter, best look elsewhere (like the Xperia Z5 Compact). Likewise, none of them feature a back that can be peeled off to access the battery.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Sony Xperia X vs Apple iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style: Screen and media

Media fans should definitely check out the Moto X Style, which boasts a mega-sized 5.7-inch IPS screen. Not only does the size of it make for comfortable video viewing and web browsing, it’s also a Quad HD display, meaning you get the sharpest images in this round-up. High-def movies look fantastic, as do games and anything else you get stuck into.

That’s not to say that the Xperia X and Galaxy A5 displays won’t satisfy. The X boasts one of Sony’s best screens to date, with a wide colour gamut and a Full HD resolution that keeps things nice and crisp. And the Galaxy A5’s Super AMOLED panel is also a Full HD screen, with even more eye-popping vibrancy.

We also really like the iPhone SE’s sharp and attractive display, but at just 4-inches it’s a bit too tiny for prolonged viewing. It’s also quite tricky to type on if you’re already used to 5-inch handsets.

And the iPhone SE has another disadvantage when it comes to media chops. While the other phones here boast microSD support, so you can expand the limited storage with a memory card, the iPhone SE has no microSD slot. That means you’re stuck with whatever storage you stump up for.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Sony Xperia X vs Apple iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style: Features

If security is a big deal for you, the Samsung, Sony and Apple phones here will be your best match. All three boast responsive and accurate fingerprint sensors, for quickly and securely unlocking your handset (and paying for stuff, in some cases, using the likes of Apple and Samsung Pay). Sadly the Moto X Style doesn’t have a scanner, so you’re stuck with PIN-style unlocking (or Android’s Trusted feature).

All of these phones come with their own forms of remote phone location, cloud storage, virtual assistant and other standard mobile features. Of course, the iPhone SE runs Apple’s iOS software, with its own App Store and the rest, while the other mobiles here sport Google’s Android OS. If you’ve already invested in one of these ecosystems (i.e. bought apps and media through Google or Apple’s online stores) then you’ll be best off sticking on that platform, to avoid losing your purchases.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Sony Xperia X vs Apple iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style: Performance and battery life

When it comes to benchmarking tests, the iPhone SE is hands-down the winner. That Apple A9 processor won’t be out of date for some time, running the latest games with blistering speed and even ably handling on-the-fly video editing.

That said, the Sony Xperia X, Samsung Galaxy A5 and Motorola Moto X Style also boast smooth everyday performance and can play the latest games with a solid frame rate. However, they’ll also likely show sign of ageing earlier.

As for battery life, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is the victor, offering a mighty 48 hours of playtime away from the plug. The Xperia X and the Moto X Style will go for 36 hours on a single charge, while the iPhone SE comes pretty close. As for media playback, the Galaxy A5 and iPhone SE can stream media for roughly ten hours before dying, while the Xperia X and Moto X Style only manage around six hours.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Sony Xperia X vs Apple iPhone SE vs Motorola Moto X Style: Cameras

We’re happy with the cameras on all four of these phones, although they have their individual strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the Xperia X boasts Sony’s predictive focus tech, which helps the lens to snap onto your subject quickly when they’re prancing about. And the iPhone SE can record 4K video, which makes it pleasingly future-proof (assuming 4K isn’t dead in a couple of years).

Check out our full Galaxy A5 2016 camera review, iPhone SE camera review, Xperia X camera review and Moto X Style camera supertest for photo samples and in-depth analysis.

If you’re all about the selfies, you can’t go wrong with the Xperia X. Sony’s 13-megapixel front-facing camera is incredible in low light, capturing bright, natural shots while the rival phones here can only manage grainy, ugly snaps. Of course, in stronger light all four cameras perform well, so you’re fine if you’re shooting selfies out in the sun. Just bear in mind that the iPhone’s front-facer is a mere 1.2-megapixel effort, so you don’t get as much detail.

Read next: Should I buy the Galaxy A5 (2016) or the Galaxy S6?

You can grab the iPhone SE from O2 right now, from £29 per month.