The Xperia X has a homemade, 23 MP 1/2.3" sensor with 1.12 micron pixels. It has an aspect ratio of 4:3, and the lens carry an f/2.0 aperture, so at least on paper we wouldn't expect wonders from such a setup. To help with focus performance, the Sony Alpha team ensured the X offers its Predictive Hybrid Autofocus tech for quicker locks. Up front, we've got a very generous, 13-megapixel Exmor RS sensor with wide, f/2.0 lens. The camera can be launched with the dedicated two-stage shutter key on the side, which comes in handy for quick snaps.

On the software side, we're treated to an experience identical to that with the Xperia Z5. The camera app is more minimalist than before, and offers easy and quick operation. The specialized modes that are included out of the box are Face in picture, Style Portrait (various filters and effects), and Timeshift video (slow motion), while extra shooting regimes can be downloaded through the camera app.

The iPhone 6s has a 12-megapixel shooter with a smaller, 1/3" sensor, but bigger, 1.22 micron pixels. The lens carry an f/2.2 aperture, and there excellent digital image stabilization. The clean, unobtrusive interface sports all the staples, like HDR shots or Panorama, as well as Apple's venerable Live Photos, aka GIFs with sound.

When it comes to quality, the iPhone tends to deliver warmer colors than needed, while the Xperia X goes a tad colder than reality, but not to the same extent as the iPhone, whose snaps often appear yellowish. Most people prefer the warm side of the spectrum, but we'd rather have spot-on, credible colors that are closest to what's in front of the lens. When it comes to detail resolution, the iPhone has the upper hand, as the images from the Xperia are sometimes softish and lacking definition in comparison. As for exposition and dynamic range, the Sony phone tends to snap photos that are a step brighter than the iPhone's, sometimes resulting in blown-up highlights and overexposure, while the 6s usually nails even the hardest dynamic range scenarios.

Indoors and at night, the Xperia X's tendency to overexpose the shot is the biggest reason for the iPhone's photos to look better in comparison. Light sources get overblown, detail gets smeared despite the “noisy” ISO levels, and overall a night shot looks as if it's taken at dusk on the Sony phone. Indoors, brighter objects shine too much, losing any visible detail in the process, just look at the flower vases, or the white shelves.

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 1.7
No data
No data
Apple iPhone 6s 1.7

All in all, the X sports a run-of-the-mill camera, while the iPhone has an excellent one. The camera on the Xperia X does have some advantages over the iPhone 6s, however. For instance, it has a much wider field of view (which isn't necessarily an advantage, but in some cases, it can be), allowing it to see more of the scene from the same distance – both horizontally and vertically. This could be of use when taking photos of picturesque sceneries or in tight spaces. As for the Predictive Hybrid AF on the Xperia X – well, both phones are extremely snappy to focus and take a shot, but as you can see from our Camspeed test, the iPhone is still faster to point and shoot.

We do have an axe to grind with the Sony phone, though, and it is that it heats up pretty fast when recording 60fps video on a hot summer day, and gives a rising temperature warning. We can understand this phenomenon if we had a Snapdragon 810 inside, and were trying to capture 4K footage, but 1080p and a midrange chipset? This can easily lead us to the thought that Sony's thermal management is not up to par on the Xperia X, while the iPhone had no such issues in the same strenuous conditions.


Sony offers the stock Google Photos gallery, which has a bunch of editing features, as well as cloud storage with auto-sync. That same syncing connection sometimes makes the gallery take forever to load if you are on a slower connection, if you have turned it off. Apple's iPhone offers a variety of top-notch editing options, both for pictures and video, which work like a charm.

When it comes to video playback, Sony fires up its own player, which has rich playback and editing options built in, while the iPhone's video playback is somewhat limited in the number of formats and features it covers.

In audio playback software, we'd call it a draw, as Sony has the excellent Xperia music player to rely on. Granted, it is not as integrated in the UI as Apple's Music streamer, but it offers more equalizer and audio quality settings to play with. As for the audio quality – Sony dropped the front-facing speakers it had on the Z-line, relying on a single speaker like the iPhone. The iPhone 6s' speaker manages to output the more solid sound overall – deeper and clearer.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Sony Xperia X 0.37
Apple iPhone 6s 0.986
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Sony Xperia X 70
Apple iPhone 6s 69.6



1. eN16HTMAR3

Posts: 253; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

"Rich and quality app ecosystem" has nothing to do with the actual phone. Google Play is just about as well rounded as the Apple App Store and shouldn't be considered a "plus".

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7361; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

iPhone arena keeps calling the 650 Qualcomm chip a mid range CPU. However the 650 is sporting 2 cortex-A72 cores which are faster than A57 cores. Not to mention the 650 is actually faster than a SD 808 processor and it's GPU is comparable to a SD 810. So this processor is no slouch. I always shake my head when they do graphics benchmarks with displays from a lower resolution iPhone 6S. The Xperia X is pushing more than two times the number of pixels on its full HD display. Plus phonearena has always given Sony a bad rap.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

SD650 is mid-ranger nowadays, since its noticeably below flagship level (SD 820) just like last year's SD808 compared to SD810

6. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Agree with most of that. But Sony gets a bad rep because their on phone give Sony a bad rep.

8. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

I agree with you on ppi!!!!!! +100 sgodsell my Xperia Z5 premium has 881 ppi no device out there has that, that I'm aware of?? And the 4K display is flawless not bad for a unlocked version i think t mobile should had jump on this device!! Funny thing I have t mobile the Z5 out does my iPhone 6S plus and my iPhone is from t mobile, the representative at the store saw my Z5 and offered to buy from me i say nope!! also with my SD card in the Z5 beats my memory in my iPhones 128 gab but i had the Z1S and Z3 in the past and kinda gave up with Sony as t mobile did but the Z5 was a shocker from Sony, ya lots of Sony haters out there but try the Z5 and think twice, I reall don't favor iOS or OS or a device maker or the looks of a device, if a device performance is good I'm on it no matter iOS or OS I'm thinking Samsung note 7 too and even iPhone 7 pro 256 gb if that pans out true but won't know till September's apples say!!

5. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I agree. when you are talking about physical comparison of a phone, the applications are not part of that deal. We are just comparing the hardware capabilities heads up.

14. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I hate to burst your righteous bubble, but iOS apps are indeed better than their Android counterparts. Case in point examples: Pinterest updated it's iOS app months ago with several new features which have yet to be released on Android. Case in point #2: There are over 100 enterprise apps exclusively available on the App Store (important in corporate setting). Let's be real selection is a major part of your phone experience. Appleo offers better quality apps whileA Android offers better hardware.

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31029; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I have almost all the same apps on my Note, and IPhone, and can say with 100% certainty...the iOS versions kill the android versions. It's a known fact, devs develope for iOS first over android, for financial preference, and it's easier. The eco system may not be the actual phone, but it sure as hell ties into massively. These trolls know that, but try to tear down Apple in any way they can. That said, they're two great devices, with the two best eco systems.

17. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

I hate to burst yours but there is no proof that IOS apps are better than their Android counterparts, lots of Apple propaganda to try and uphold one of the last remaining iPhone, IOS myths maybe, but no proof. For every app that is in the Apple store and not in the Android, there is one in the Android and not in the Apple. If you take that comparison to the natural conclusion Android wins because it has more apps.

20. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

ColinW your right the apps in iOS and android some are the same but different when you use them I'm currently using a iPhone and LG V 10 and time to time a Sony Xperia Z5 premium and yes versions do differ from iOS and OS aka I use the same app on iPhone as android and most apps do differ

21. therealestmc

Posts: 679; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

Anybody that's not a fanboy will tell you the iOS apps are more polished than the android. Oftentimes the android versions feel like straight port of iOS apps. There are no optimization whatsoever. You can deny that all you want by that is the truth.

22. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

I second that. I've been using Android since my very first smartphone and after playing with my friends' iPhones, I can really tell iOS apps are more polished and consistent with the whole iOS interface. Even some Android apps are just port from iOS and it's slow and unoptimized.

2. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

I'd say Apple on this one, but iPhone don't beat a Sony Xperia Z5 premium i have both the Z5 has 4K with 881 ppi Apple will never have, but I think Apple may get 4K soon and surprise us

7. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

mid-ranger vs flagship? 6/10 vs 9.3/10? the only comparable thing here is their huge bezels, and apple get the "King of Bezels" title again this year

12. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

That's what you get for slapping flagship price on a midrange phone.

23. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

So why not X Performance? It costs more than X.

24. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

Granted, both are uncompetitively priced, but X isn't that far from flagship price either. X Performance is even worse.

25. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

Less bezels is Samsung they have improved on that, Apple needs help on that, ditch the menu button and than Apple got to first base for starters

9. Jkr284

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 24, 2016

1. Snap dragon 650 is brilliant and is no slouch. I don't think in the real world anyone would notice a speed difference. Games don't lag. Faster and better quality chip in iPhone you say? Then why leave out my second point? 2. In the audio department there's no mention of Sony Hires audio support? Built in noise cancelling support? Come on this creams the iPhone audio chipped. 192-256kbps might be alright on the bus but at home/gym etc it isn't for a lot of people. 3. Signal strength of the xperia x destroys the iPhone and even the Samsung s7edge. No mention of this. 4.the power button is easy to feel. It works! Its no different than feeling for the iPhone home button. If your going to compare 2 phones the please learn to list the major pros and cons.

10. Hama22

Posts: 60; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

Are they even serious comparing these two?

11. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

Just noticed something here? Looks like Sony has the curved edge like the iPhone lol uhhhh ohhhh will Apple sue Sony for this??? lol

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 31029; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The main reason I'd never buy a Sony phone, is product support. Apples brick and mortar stores, combined with their product support kills it for me. I hate packing up stuff and shipping it. Walk into one of the 4 Las Vegas Valley Apple Stores, and walk out with a new iPhone...problem solved.

18. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

For you that works, for the majority of people that's not possible. Where I live it iPhones are the most difficult to get fixed, phone support is hopeless.

19. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Both Sony & Apple can't provide the best support & i live in Indonesia. Sony basicly has worst support while Apple is lacking support (no Apple stores here, & it's much more expensive than it should). When it comes to tablet Apple is my fave, but when it comes to smartphone i think Android like Samsung/LG is the best option here.

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 31029; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well I did say "the main reason I'd never buy". I'm smart enough to speak for me.

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