“Triple image-sensing technology” can't make up for the tiny pixel size, but continuous autofocus is up there with the best.

Sony is one of the few major Android makers that still focuses on megapixel count to woo potential buyers, equipping the X Compact with a whopping 23 MP sensor. It also added laser-assisted autofocusing and RGBC-IR sensor (Red Green Blue Clear – Infra Red) white balance meter aids next to the LED flash for the first time. This “triple image-sensing technology” is supposed to make the already fast Predictive Hybrid Autofocus system now even faster, and colors more accurate. There is also a new swipe-based camera interface – one swipe left and you go into a manual mode, or swipe right and enter video mode or the camera apps like Sony's augmented reality extension.

On first brush, Sony's camera sounds impressive just by reading the terminology - 1/2.3” Exmor R image sensor coupled with 24mm wide G Lens and BIONZ image-processing engine. Whew. On second look, however, it is still a small sensor with smallish 1.1 micron pixels squeezed tightly.

Thus, while the actual photos are decent in daylight, with fine amount of detail, especially the 23 MP shots (the phone takes 8 MP photos in the default Intelligent Auto mode), they are noisy, and said detail a bit soft and mushy, especially towards the corners. The X Compact offers a far cry from the jolly, saturated “Sony colors” that its cameras used to be associated with. Instead, the photos usually come out mostly natural, with just the right dose of saturation.

Despite the RGBC-IR sensor, sometimes the white balance tilts too much to the bland, colder side, or is overly warm. The handset often overexposes brighter highlights in scenes with trickier dynamic range – like shooting against the sky as a backdrop - and is not nearly as quick to focus and shoot as the “triple image-sensing technology” phrase would suggest.

The low-light snaps are not very impressive, either – they relay the scene colors with a colder than accurate note, and there is quite a lot of digital noise visible, even without zooming in. The LED flash seem powerful enough to illuminate a close scene.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Compact 1.8
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) 2.9
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact 3
No data
No data
Apple iPhone 6 1.9


The 1080p (30/60fps) video capture that the X Compact is capable of displays largely credible color representation, but lacks somewhat in sharpness and detail. Exposure adjustments while panning around are relatively slow to come, too, with some skipped frames and rolling shutter artifacts clearly visible as smearing with fast moving objects like the cars on the roundabout we shot our samples at.

The footage, however, is saved somewhat by Sony's excellent continuous autofocus system that can rival Samsung's hardwired Dual Pixel tech. Just look how it instantly focused on the white phone we raise in front of the lens in the sample below, and how quickly the sensor refocuses on the background once we take the near object out of the frame.

Sony also offers its SteadyShot 5-axis digital image stabilization which works well in keeping the footage afloat during abrupt movements of shaky hands. The phone also offers stereo audio recording while filming, though the audio capture itself is on the average side as the mics need a bit more pick-up strength.


Sony uses its own Album gallery, duplicating Google Photos, and its own app is prettily laid out, with an easy to navigate yet comprehensive catalog structure, and a number of editing options for your pictures or videos. The video player is capable, too, with rich codec support.

Besides pretty visuals, the music player offers a variety of equalizer presets and sound modes to take full advantage of the smorgasbord of audio features that Sony stuffs in its phones, starting from the S-Force Front Surround speakers, to the high-res lossless audio support. However, the headphone and speakers' output strength leaves something to be desired.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Compact 0.37
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) 0.54
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact 0.35
Apple iPhone 6 1.017
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Compact 68
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) 69
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact 75
Apple iPhone 6 74.5



1. WAusJackBauer

Posts: 456; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

So why did it get such a low score?

3. libra89

Posts: 2335; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

This. It doesn't seem to be too bad as I might have thought originally. Still overpriced though.

10. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Thank you PA for giving it less than a 7. My request has been fulfilled!

26. JC557

Posts: 1926; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

They didn't improve much if anything over the previous generations especially their cameras. They make some really good sensors but damn they suck at implementing them in their own devices.

28. cheetah2k

Posts: 2319; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

For once I agree with iPA's scoring. No IP rating is a fail. The screen isnt as bright as the Z5C, and the SD650 is a major letdown.. I give up on Sony.. They are lost... lost in space

2. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Im impress phonearena! cant wait for 6/10 with XZ

4. syam7863

Posts: 74; Member since: Sep 15, 2016

Frankly, i click on this article, so called review just to read the comments. Can't wait for 100/10 rating for IP7/IP7+. Not saying that IP7/IP7+ are bad. They are good, really good. But things are getting more and more ridiculous.

5. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Hm... GSMarena scores a much lower battery life that great cannot be a word used to describe it. But seriously, only 12GB free out of the 32GB of storage is insane! That's taking away 20GB...about 65% gone. Wow!

9. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

They said 12Gb taken away, not 12gb left? And GSMArena's battery testing method and phonearena's are completely different. You can't directly compare their scores.

11. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Oh, yeah... My bad.

17. Djz89

Posts: 447; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

73 hours is not bad, not great, but it could be much worse.

6. guests

Posts: 196; Member since: Jun 19, 2016

PA is preparing to give full mark to iphone 7, that's why every other phone must be given low score to promote the superiority of their beloved brand. I'm expecting Ray S to come up with the review.

7. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

The review and the score don't add up. Why does it get such a low score?

15. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

$500 for a phone with S650? V10 with 808 that runs circles around this is $300. That's why.

18. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014


19. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

No offense, you're talking trash. Add LG V10 to the benchmarks and be amazed. And this phone is a good 80 GBP cheaper than the V10.

22. donrox

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 18, 2014

Was the v10 priced at 300$ at launch? And is the v10 a 4.6" phone? Hmmm

25. hansip87

Posts: 231; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

808 runs circle around 650 with cortex a72 core? You're kidding me right?

31. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

When you are an iPhone user and dont know android world you should not talk. SD650 trash the 808 in ALL aspect from cpu to gpu to battery usage. Sorry.

8. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015


12. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Got more features than the iPhone yet it got a 6.8. Imagine what the iPhone will get for a rating.

13. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

9.2 let's bet on it

27. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

*at least 9.2

29. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Almost spot on.. 9.3

14. rht89

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 21, 2016

Well, now I know, why shouldn't I rely on review scores. just look at specs , features etc from reviews. If possible get a hands on experience from store. Then decide and buy.

16. Djz89

Posts: 447; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

The price is a little high, but the phone does deserve more than this. But, I am not surprised.

20. enzotarece

Posts: 87; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

Phonearena dont care wat score u give to sony me na tap buy them tek that u all are disgrace to the tech world

21. drahcir02

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 03, 2016

That's expected from PA.

23. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

PA didn't include why it has more charging time

24. mixedfish

Posts: 1570; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

"The X Compact offers a far cry from the jolly, saturated “Sony colors” that its cameras used to be associated with." Since when have Sony ever gone for saturated colors? They have also preferred neutral 'lab' even the flagship pro-ish cameras I own like DSC-RX1, A7mk2 have the some characteristics.
Xperia X Compact
  • Display 4.6" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2700 mAh(14.1h 3G talk time)

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