Do we have a good one for you today – the HTC 10 takes on the new Sony Xperia X, where we have the ‘old’ metal design of the HTC 10 going up against the all ‘new’ metal Xperia X. The Sony smartphones have used a metal and glass design for years, so many were shocked when the new Xperia X showed up with an all-metal body. HTC has been using all metal for a few years, but finally updated its look to a more modern sculpture with a chamfered look. Sony also did away with another trademark – gone is the IP68 dust and water resistance. They, unfortunately, kept another trademark – the same 1080p display, while all other flagships, including HTC, have long since moved on to a QHD display. Let’s look at some of the similarities between these two devices before we look at each one individually.
The HTC 10 and Sony Xperia X do have some things in common – their physical size for starters is very close, with the HTC 10 weighing in at only 8 grams more. Their displays are very close in size – 5.2-inches for the HTC 10 and 5.0-inches for the Xperia X – they also use the same technology, but different resolutions. They both use a 64-bit Snapdragon processor, but entirely different models with different GPUs for graphics. The both offer 32GB/64GB models with expansion via a microSD card. They both have stereo speakers and have Hi-Res audio for your earphones. Both use a non-removable battery with Quick Charge (v3.0 in the HTC 10 and v2.0 in the Xperia X). They have most of the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a USB port (v3.1 Type-C on the HTC 10 and a microUSB 2.0 on the Xperia X). The HTC 10 has a fingerprint sensor – the US version of the Xperia X does not have a fingerprint sensor, but the international version does include one.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
HTC is like the ‘little engine that could’ – it keeps plugging along as HTC’s management tries to figure out what consumers are looking for in a smartphone. They hit a homerun with the HTC One M7 and its all-metal case, but with the One M8 and One M9 models, they seemed to flounder around trying new things, but never able to hit that next homerun. Fortunately, for us, the HTC 10 looks like another homerun. Their all-metal body has a bold, new look, it sports a QHD display, includes the best processor currently on the market, finally, a great camera, BoomSound Hi-Fi, and 4GB of DDR4 RAM with expandable memory.
The HTC 10 sports a 5.2-inch Super LCD5 QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and an incredible 565 PPI. HTC went for the best processor they could with the Qualcomm 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core with dual cores clocked at 1.6 GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15 GHz. Paired to that is the excellent Adreno 530 GPU, which can handle the most demanding graphics you can throw its way. The HTC 10 packs 4GB of the faster DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory that is expandable to 2TB via a microSD card.
HTC has tinkered with its camera for years and this year they finally have all of the right pieces in all the right places. True, they are using UltraPixels – this is also the path that Samsung took with their Galaxy S7 series – but this time around they have a nice sized 12MP sensor. This larger size sensor allows it to capture more light and image for better low light pictures. HTC did not stop there – they added laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash, a large aperture of f/1.8 and finally OIS. HTC took care of their front-facing camera as well with a 5MP sensor, but also added the large f/1.8 aperture, wide-angle lens, OIS, and even included a screen flash to ensure great selfies and video chatting. A 3000mAh, non-removable battery powers the device and it comes with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 – which will give you up to a 50-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
At first glance, it appears that HTC left out its BoomSound dual front-facing speakers, but that would only be half the truth. HTC added their fingerprint sensor on the bottom front rather than on the back. This design took up the space where one of the speakers resided, so they moved the ‘woofer’ to the bottom of the device, and the high-end sounds originate from the earpiece. To differentiate from the two, HTC renamed the popular BoomSound to BoomSound Hi-Fi. HTC also included Hi-Fi circuitry for great sounding music for your earphones. The HTC 10 measures 145.9 x 71.9 x 9mm and weighs in at 161 grams. It comes in Carbon Grey, Topaz Gold, and Glacier Silver and it will cost you about $650 with 32GB of memory.
Sony Xperia X
After a long bout with a metal frame and glass front and back, the new Sony Xperia X is now an all-metal device that still looks the part of a Sony smartphone. Sony retained its basic rectangle shape with a wide top and bottom bezel. Sony has always built a quality device, however, the new metal backing does look and feel like plastic. Gone with the glass and fingerprint magnet is the IP68 certification as well. Slight modifications to smooth up the edges create a nice look and make it easier to handle the device. Another interesting note is that the designated U.S. unlocked version is missing the fingerprint sensor, which makes no sense at all. The Xperia X also included a mid-range processor, rather than the Snapdragon 820 and they are still pushing a 1080p display.
The Xperia X sports a 5.0-inch IPS LCD Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a respectable 441 PPI. For their latest device, Sony bypassed the newest Snapdragon 820 and went with Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 650-hexa-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.8GHz and a quad-core clocked at 1.4GHz. It packs 3GB of the slower DDR3 memory, because of the limitations of the Snapdragon 650 processor. The Xperia X has 32GB of internal memory, which is expandable to 200GB via a microSD card.
Sony did keep the same excellent camera used on their Xperia Z5 – a 23MP with f/2.0, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF,) an LED flash, and no OIS. However, it did not fare as well in our testing as it did on the Xperia Z5. Sony increased the FFC from 5.1MP to a huge 13MP with an aperture of f/2.0 and 22mm lens for selfies and video chatting. Powering the Xperia X is a smaller, 2620mAh, non-removable battery with Quick Charge 2.0 capabilities.
Sony made a big move going to an all-metal design, and while metal will not shatter like glass, the user has to give up a few perks like no wireless charging and no more IP68 certified dust and water-resistance – once a Sony staple. The Xperia X does retain the dual stereo front-facing speakers.
I have stated this in my last Xperia X comparisons, but it bears repeating – the Sony Xperia X, model F5121, is the US model and it does not come with a fingerprint sensor, yet model F5122, which is the International model, does come with a fingerprint sensor. The one redeeming feature is that both of these models use the same spectrum, so it should not matter which model you use in the U.S. – so pick up an International model and get yourself a fingerprint sensor. The Xperia X measures 142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9mm, weighs in at 153 grams, and comes in White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold, and Rose Gold. It will cost you about $550.
...And The Winner Is...
Regarding specifications, I have to pick the HTC 10 as the winner of this comparison. The HTC 10 has a QHD display versus the FHD on the Xperia X; the HTC 10 uses the much more advanced Snapdragon 820 processor/Adreno 530 over the X’s Snapdragon 650/Adreno 510, one gigabyte more of faster RAM, a great camera setup, and a larger battery. The HTC 10 simply out-specs the Xperia X in every area.
Sony smartphones have a loyal following – small, but loyal – and I would probably be a fan (I love Sony stereo equipment) except that Sony never seems to go all of the way when they build a smartphone.
Yes, I know the Xperia X is not a Xperia X Performance, but even that top model has the same 5-inch FHD display, the same camera, still only 3GB of RAM and a 2700mAh battery – with its main distinguishing feature, the Snapdragon 820 for a $700 price tag.
Back to the Xperia X – the model destined for the U.S. does not even have a fingerprint sensor, but the European model does? See what I mean – Sony sells to their loyal followers, but has a tough time attracting new users.
With the HTC 10 priced at $625 and the Sony Xperia X priced at $550, you are only looking at a $75 price difference for much better specs. The HTC 10 is worth the extra pocket cash, and until Sony decides to start building phones that can compete with the other flagships, it will be hard for them to attract new buyers or carriers – people love the name Sony, but those people also want more in a smartphone.