Introduction


Sony is on an aggressive timeline: it’s releasing new phones every 6 months or so, but this time it’s different.

The Sony Xperia X is one of three new X series smartphones and the change from the Sony Xperia Z naming communicates that there is something more than just a slight bump in specs here. Indeed, there is: the Xperia X brings a reformulated design, a new camera sensor and a few other important changes.

And while the Xperia X does not feature the latest and most powerful Snapdragon 820 system chip, its premium price still puts it in about the same category as the best phones out there. Among those competitors, without a doubt, is the Samsung Galaxy S7: a phone of similar size and with similarly premium aesthetics. So how do the two compare? Let’s find out.

Design

Both have a stylish and beautiful design with no obvious flaws: the tapered back on the S7 makes it a slightly better in-hand fit, plus it has water-protection. Also, button placement on the Xperia X is terrible.

Sony has long been known for its excellent, stand-out designs: the Sony brand name itself is a synonym for high quality and elegance for many. However, the company’s last flagships from the Xperia Z series had very sharp edges and were a bit on the thick side.


Luckily, Sony went to the drawing board with the Xperia X: it’s not a radical re-design, but it addresses some of the nuisances of the Xperia Z5 design. It features beautifully smooth glass on the front, a stylish and durable metal back with the Xperia brand name etched, and all of that in a phone with no sharp edges that fits well in the hand. With no annoying visible antenna lines and all finished in one, unified color theme - from the back to the side and the front - the Xperia X is a true gem of modern smartphone design, balanced in every way.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 also features a very refined exterior. With a metal frame and glass on the back and the front, it’s beautiful, but maybe a tad less practical: the mirror-like finish of the back catches fingerprints very easily.

Then we have the buttons, so let’s start with the elephant in the room: the terrible button placement on the Xperia X. We don’t know who at Sony thought it was a good idea to put the volume rocker towards the bottom end of the side, but this awkward position makes it quite the annoying stretch to reach out for the volume keys. While the buttons on the Xperia X are a bit mushy (especially the lock key), the Galaxy S7 has very clicky and easy to press buttons. It shows attention to detail and that’s important. Speaking of buttons, one minor nuisance is that the Galaxy S7 home key on the front gets signs of wear and tear, even after about just a week of use. For all else, the S7 has a great design, with slight curves and tapered edges for great in-hand feel.

It’s also worth saying that the Xperia X and Galaxy S7 are very similar in size and weight.

Surprisingly, the Xperia X lacks one important feature – a fingerprint scanner. Sony has confirmed that the Xperia X won’t have fingerprint security in its U.S. version, while the international version is said to actually feature a fingerprint reader on the lock key on the side. The Galaxy S7 has a quick and accurate fingerprint scanner embedded in its home button up front. Naturally, the S7 is also a step ahead in the mobile payments game with Samsung Pay that work via the fingerprint scanner of the phone.

Then, there is waterproofing: the Galaxy S7 can take a short plunge in water and survive it, and that’s a great thing to have, while the Xperia X lacks such protection.


Sony Xperia X

Sony Xperia X

Dimensions

5.63 x 2.72 x 0.3 inches

143 x 69 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Sony Xperia X

Sony Xperia X

Dimensions

5.63 x 2.72 x 0.3 inches

143 x 69 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

The Xperia X has a 5” Full HD display with oversaturated colors and bluish whites, while the Galaxy S7 offers a 5.1” Quad HD screen that looks very good in Basic mode.


Here’s the deal with displays: we’ve reached a point where most devices these days have sufficient sharpness and the main difference in display quality comes from the way they show colors. Needless to say, both the Xperia X with its 5” LCD screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and the Galaxy S7 with its 5.1” Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels meet that sharpness criteria. The extra pixels in the Galaxy S7 make a difference only if you use the phone for virtual reality, or when you stare at it from very up close.

Both are also very bright screens that are easy to read outdoors even on a sunny day.

When it comes to the way the two deal with colors, though, there are some important differences. The Xperia X comes with colors that are overblown and lean towards the colder side. Sony allows you to select two other modes (go to Settings > Display > under Quality, tap on Image Enhancement) that seem to boost color even further and add contrast to images, but that does not make colors accurate, quite the opposite. You also have the option to manually tweak red, green and blue channels (go to Settings > Display > under Quality, tap on White Balance), which may come in useful. We recognize the fact that Sony has achieved high brightness and it’s worth pointing out how well finished and laminated the screen is, so that it appears nearly flush with the cover glass, but color reproduction is disappointing.

As to the Galaxy S7, its default Adaptive mode provides similarly inaccurate colors, but Samsung provides the useful Basic screen mode (go into Settings > Display > Display Mode, and change it there), that makes all the colors on the phone appear very well balanced to the sRGB mode. We recommend using this mode. It has the slight downside of whites appearing just a bit on the green side, but for all else, it gives a very well-balanced look to colors.

The Galaxy S7 also has the neat Always-on Display feature that shows you the time plus notifications, while the Xperia X lacks such extras.



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26 Comments

1. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

6/10 vs 9/10 unpopular midranger vs best 2016's flagship

2. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Wow! Midranger VS flagship, they should have wait for the X performance

7. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

But they have similar price, okay?

16. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

The don't have similar price really. It's just that the Galaxy S7 is already a few months on the market and therefore there are some good deals for it, whereas the Sony Xperia X retails at the moment in full price. The official price difference is these $150 that Phone Arena mentions. I actually find the price of the Sony not that terrible. It's significant less than the price of most traditional flagships and you pay a small premium for the Sony brand name and the good design and construction. Not that I like this phone particularly, but I find a premium of about $100 more over other midrangers (and $150 less than flagships) a rather normal price strategy.

17. maherk

Posts: 6768; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

$550 is still too much for midrangers. The Sony X is almost $200 more expensive than the A7 2016. $130 more than the Huawei P9 Just $70 cheaper than the newly released HTC 10. I can give you more examples, but the fact that the X is an overpriced midranger won't change.

23. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Really depends where you live. The Sony Xperia X retails for €599 in German Amazon and the HTC 10 €699. It's a normal difference between a flagship and an upper midranger even despite the fact that the HTC has been on the market for longer. In my country the Xperia X sells for €148 less than the price of the S7. And the S7 has had already it's first discount. And don't forget, the Xperia X is no real midranger but an upper midranger like the HTC A9.

3. serge327

Posts: 79; Member since: Aug 27, 2012

I saw low light in Xperia X did better than s7. Especially it's white balance.

4. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

This is the most stupid comparision I ever seen. Compare Midranger with Flagship? So what's the next comparision? HTC 10 VS Galaxy J3?

8. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

Your comment isn't smarter neither. HTC 10 and J3 have similar price?

9. mimicryXD

Posts: 175; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

they compare it bcos the Xperia X really a good phone but overprice and the user experience on Xperia X is top notch, in gaming and its well optimize. just check other youtube videos and clearly you will see how good xperia x and it even destroy HTC 10 in speed and in opening of apps.

5. Kumar123 unregistered

I believe even though xperia x is a mid-range phone ultimately it will give better user experience than S7. S7 is only better in camera otherwise X wins in almost everything.

11. Kumar123 unregistered

Now that I examined the photos in another tab I have to say camera of X is not that bad. Even in low light it held up against S7 quite well. Of course S7 is better camera overall but I think X's camera have better color and white balance. Unless you zoom in too much it will be fine but things will get ugly if you zoom too much on Xperia X. The real problem is the lens softness on xperia phone. I don't understand why do they have to put such a wide angle lens if they can't perfect the distortion, softness. It's time to use a better, newer sensor and sharper lens. And despite having small battery they comfortably beat S7. It's such a shame that they go with smaller battery. If it had 3000mAh it would have totally destroyed S7.

20. maherk

Posts: 6768; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

"And despite having small battery they comfortably beat S7" Where did you pull this out from? Because the article clearly state that it didn't, add to that the fact that it takes an extra 40 minutes to fully charge although it has a smaller battery. As always, showing your pure stupidity on any Samsung related article, not accepting the fact that Samsung are now pulling further ahead than your beloved Apple when it comes to smartphones. And please enlighten us how apart from the camera, the X delivers the better experience? Better screen? Nope Wireless and Fast charging? Nope IP certificate? Nope Better processor to handle heavy tasks? Nope And as mentioned above, not even a better battery life like you claimed. P.s: you can't answer back with facts so you reported my comment? Grow up lol

12. Jason2k13

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

So in other words you didn't read the article and just assumes the X is better in everything but camera? "And despite having small battery they comfortably beat S7. It's such a shame that they go with smaller battery. If it had 3000mAh it would have totally destroyed S7." So can we also talk about what if the S7 had FHD instead and a slower soc

15. Kumar123 unregistered

In other words you just assumed I didn't read the article and post this idiotic comment. Typical dumb samsung fanboi comment. Who said I need to agree with the article and can't not reach my own conclusion. No you can't talk about if the S7 had FHD and slower soc because samsung fanoboi always said how their QHD display is better than FHD display and how samsung's 14nm processor is better than other 28/20/16nm processor in efficiency. Ultimately the end result that is all it matters. The end results is samsung QHD display/14nm processor is a powerhoging display/processor and samsung fanobi like you is a joke and liar.

6. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

"This makes its images look a bit too beautified at times, and while it seems that this type of colors appeal to the general user, we are taken aback by those default color settings." Why is this a con? As you stated it appeals to the masses. Isn't that what a manufacture should appeal to. To have beautiful images from a smartphone camera is what everyone is in pursuit of and if a certain device has this capabilities it should not be looked at as a con. Again I understand that this maybe a subjective statement of the reviewer but any non savvy potential phone buy who happens to visits this site might be a bit confused by the statement "This makes its images look a bit too beautified at times.." because they will reason that isn't that what I want? Beautiful images. whats bad about that?

24. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

I like the saturated screen mode on samsung sometimes, but I like to turn it to basic mode or amoled photo most of time because photo looks more natural.

10. hansip87

Posts: 226; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

8 hr 57 minute is less than 6 hr 37 minute? is it me or..

14. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

everyone knows PhoneArena's battery test for the S7 and S7 edge were BS

13. SonyOwner unregistered

Yehey. Victor H. can now feed his family. Thanks to Samsung

19. maherk

Posts: 6768; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

"Daily usage so far shows that it is roughly in the same league as the S7, lasting maybe just a bit less in our prolonged usage." So you're admitting that your battery benchmark test is flawed?

26. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

It has always been flawed. Now it's just a formality to do it. Even they don't care about it. It's high time they do tests in various environments and not just do it in a one particular test. I think that's the reason their test fails so hard. My guess is it depends heavily on the SoC. That explains the poor lifetime on s7 since the 820 doesn't do very well on heavily CPU bound scenarios.

21. Xperia14

Posts: 1207; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

I'd go for the S7 because of the waterproofing and capacitive buttons, but I like Sony's software, design and fingerprint scanner so much better on the other hand. I can't choose.

22. Xperia14

Posts: 1207; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

Oh well, I'd probably pick the X as I can't stand Touchwiz. But I'm waiting for h2 anyways before buying a new phone.

25. xperiaZlover

Posts: 202; Member since: Nov 15, 2015

PA can't complain about Xperia X display. It seems even better than Z5 premium on marshmallow. Really vivid and overstaturated. 6 h screen on time withsuch a low battery is amazing as well. Well done sony.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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