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Sony Xperia X vs Xperia Z5: What’s the difference?

We compare the Sony Xperia X and Sony Xperia Z5, to see what the difference is between Sony’s new 2016 smartphone and its last big flagship handset. Here’s our Xperia X vs Xperia Z5 screen, performance, battery life and features comparison review.

As we pointed out in our full Xperia X review, this new mobile range represents a fresh mantra for Sony Mobile, namely ‘if it ain’t essential, drop it’. By keeping the premium features that consumers demand and trimming the less popular stuff, Sony has managed to cut the price of the Xperia X to make it cheaper than most other flagship mobiles, including last year’s Xperia Z5.

So what’s the difference between the Xperia X and the Xperia Z5 and which is best for you? Here’s our full X vs Z5 comparison review to help you decide.

Xperia X vs Xperia Z5: At a glance

Sony phone Xperia X Xperia Z5
Screen size 5-inches 5.2-inches
Screen resolution 1920×1080 1920×1080
Water resistant? No Yes
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 650 Snapdragon 820
Memory 3GB 3GB
Storage 32GB + microSD 32GB + microSD
Cameras 23MP + 13MP 23MP + 5.1MP

Xperia X vs Xperia Z5: Design

At first glance, there’s not a huge amount to tell the Xperia X and the Xperia Z5 apart. Both phones rock a rectangular design, but the Xperia X is a smidgen smaller at 5-inches compared to the 5.2-inch Xperia Z5. That drop in size plus the Xperia X’s curvier edges make Sony’s new handset more comfortable to hold, while one-handed use is also easier.

Flip to the back and the Xperia X also sports a metallic rear, a change from last year’s frosted glass. That’s a good thing in our book, as the Z5 ended up with a pretty impressive crack across the back end after a rather pathetic drop onto carpeted flooring. The X is definitely hardier, and seems resistant to scratches.

However, the Xperia Z5 is fully water-resistant, able to survive a swim in a pool or an undignified dunking in the toilet. Sony culled the water resistance from the X in order to trim the price, although it’ll still survive a pretty nasty rainstorm.

If security is a big issue for you, the good news is that both of these phones boast a responsive and accurate fingerprint sensor built into the right edge. These scanners can be used to quickly unlock your handset, while keeping out any thieves or miscreants.

Xperia X vs Xperia Z5: Screen and media

The Xperia X and Xperia Z5 both sport a Full HD IPS screen, with the only notable difference being the size; Sony’s new Xperia X rocks a 5-inch panel, compared with the Xperia Z5’s 5.2-incher. In terms of clarity there’s no real change, while both phones support Sony’s X-Reality engine for sharpening images and the Super-vivid mode for boosting colour vibrancy.

As for the audio, both Xperias also support HiRes tracks and can upscale compressed tracks. To see how the speakers compare, check out our audio test video:

Both Sony handsets also have a microSD memory card slot, to expand the 32GB of on-board storage in case you want to carry around a massive media collection.

Xperia X vs Xperia Z5: Performance and battery life

Last year’s Xperia Z5 packed the very latest Snapdragon processor at the time, the rather troubled 810, which in its early incarnations suffered from overheating issues. Thankfully the Z5 only got toasty when shooting 4K video and was generally fine otherwise.

For the Xperia X, Sony chose not to use the most powerful Snapdragon SoC (the 820), instead opting for the Snapdragon 650. Despite this, the Xperia X is still very nippy, and in fact boasts better performance if the benchmark testing is to be believed. In our AnTuTu testing, the Xperia Z5 scored a modest 70691 while the Xperia X impressed with a solid 78325.

That said, both phones right now offer solid performance, with Android Marshmallow running smoothly and apps loading quickly. We’ve had no problem playing the latest games with dependable frame rates either. And the Xperia Z5 is the only handset here to offer side-by-side app multitasking via the Small Apps feature, something missing on the Xperia X.

As for battery life, both phones will last between 24 and 36 hours with regular use, which is solid enough for a modern mobile. The Z5’s battery life is slightly better, and you can expect around 7.5 hours of video streaming per charge, compared with the Xperia X’s 7 hours.

Check out our Xperia X battery life review

Xperia X vs Xperia Z5: Cameras

Both phones here boast a 23-megapixel rear camera and can capture beautifully detailed and colourful shots, which look great on a big-screen telly. However, the Xperia X boasts some new camera features that Sony has been beavering away on, including predictive focus to keep active subjects nice and sharp. And the Xperia Z5 can shoot 4K footage, something missing in the Xperia X – although both Xperias have Sony’s image stabilisation to cut down on judder.

When it comes to the selfie cam, the Xperia X is a clear winner with its 13-megapixel snapper versus the Xperia Z5’s 5.1-megapixel effort. Shots are crisper and cleaner and in low light the Xperia X shines, cutting down on grain while capturing impressively natural skin tones.

We’ll be bringing you a full Xperia Z5 vs Xperia X camera comparison soon. In the meantime, check out our Xperia X camera review for more info on the Xperia X’s camera features, plus full samples and analysis.

Read next: Xperia X vs XA vs X Performance vs XA Ultra

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