Do we have a good one for you today – especially for those Sony lovers – the Sony Xperia Z5 goes up against its replacement, the Sony Xperia X. Sony made many changes with their switch to the new moniker and design. Some fans will approve, and others will not be happy. For starters, Sony went from their tried and true formula of metal and glass on the Xperia Z5 to a new all-metal design that feels more like plastic. Despite the plastic-like feel, our reviewer did not miss the fingerprint magnet glass and felt the new model was 'solid, and well-balanced." Sony also did away with its waterproofing – another Sony staple and the battery life is not what it used to be, yet Sony still used the 1080p display resolution. Let's look at some of the similarities between these two devices before we look at each one individually.
Despite the model change, these two devices have a few things in common – for starters, the physical size and weight are very close, as are the display sizes of 5.2-inches for the Z5 and 5.0-inches for the Xperia X. Both displays are IPS LCD technology with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 428 pixels-per-inch (PPI) on the Z5 and 441 PPI on the Xperia X. Both devices use a 64-bit Snapdragon processor, but different models, although both offer 3GB of RAM and a variant with 32GB internal memory (the Xperia X also offers a 64GB version) and both offer expansion up to 200GB via a microSD card. The Xperia Z5 and Xperia X share the same 23MP primary camera and still no OIS. Both have front-facing stereo speakers and high-end audio for listening through earphones. All of the usual suspects are there – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.1 on the Z5 and v4.2 on the X), GPS, NFC, FM radio, v2.0 microUSB port for charging and data transfer. Both have a non-removable battery and offer Quick Charge 2.0. For some reason, Sony did not include a fingerprint sensor in their US version of the new Xperia X – which makes no sense at all.
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.
Sony Xperia Z5
A Sony Xperia smartphone is easy to spot – it will look like a rectangle block that is well constructed out of metal and glass. It will have a premium look and feel with good battery life, always an FHD display, never a QHD, and it will possess a great camera. Sony seems to have its problem with distributing its smartphones to the US. The Xperia Z5 follows that same recipe to perfection. The internal components are those used in early 2015 smartphones, but the Z5 was not available until December – another one of Sony's problems.
The Xperia Z5 sports a 5.2-inch IPS LCD Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which works out to be about 428 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Sony has something against QHD, and their excuse is to conserve battery life. The Z5 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The Z5 packs 3GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory but has the option to expand an additional 200GB via a microSD card.
Sony, known for its photo sensors and lenses, was an earlier adopter of great smartphone cameras, and that commitment continues today – even without using OIS. Sony used their new 23MP sensor on the Z5 and included phase detection autofocus (PDAF), a f/2.0 aperture, and an LED flash. Sony put in a 5.1MP for the front facing camera (FFC) and included a wide-angle for selfies and video chatting. A non-removable, 2900mAh battery, powers the Z5 that Sony claims will get you through two days. It incorporates Quick Charge 2.0 that will give you a 60-percent battery charge in 30 minutes.
The Xperia Z5 does have dual stereo front-facing speakers and is IP68 certified dust and water-resistant. It comes with a fingerprint sensor placed on the side of the device for unlocking the device and authorizing Android Pay mobile payments with Marshmallow. It measures 146 x 72 x 7.3mm, weighs in at 154 grams, offered in White, Graphite Black, Gold, Green, and Pink and will cost you about $500. The X5 will work on AT&T or T-Mobile networks in the US.
Sony Xperia X
The new Sony Xperia X model carries forward their Omni-Balance design with a few modifications – most notable is the new metal backing that looks and feels like plastic. Gone is the fingerprint magnet glass of years past, but along with losing the fingerprints, the Xperia X also loses its IP68 certification. Slight modifications to the edges create a smoother look and make it easier to handle device. The designated US unlocked version is missing one very important design feature – Sony removed the fingerprint sensor, which makes no sense at all, as mobile payments are starting to take off. Rather than put in a top processor, they chose a Snapdragon 650 hexacore processor – and Sony wonders why their devices do not sell well in the US, even when they designate one for the States.
The Xperia X sports a 5.0-inch IPS LCD Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, giving us a 441 PPI – the same display as the Xperia Z, only smaller. The brains of the Xperia X is a 64-bit Snapdragon 650 hexacore processor with dual cores clocked at 1.8GHz and a quad-core clocked at 1.4GHz. It packs 3GB of the slower DDR3 memory and 32GB of internal memory, which is expandable to 200GB via a microSD card.
The primary camera in the Xperia X appears to be the same one found in the Xperia Z5, but according to our reviews, the 23MP with f/2.0, PDAF, and LED flash, does not fare as well in testing as the Z5. The FFC increased from 5.1MP to 13MP with a f/2.0 aperture and 22mm lens for selfies and video chatting. A smaller non-removable 2620mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 supplies power.
The Xperia X retains the dual stereo front-facing speakers, but loses its IP68 certified dust and water-resistant that was a Sony bragging point for years. The Sony Xperia X comes in two models – the F5122, which is the International model with the fingerprint sensor, and the F5121, which is the US model without the fingerprint sensor. However, both of these models use the same spectrum, so it should not matter which model you use in the US. It measures 142.7 x 69.4 x 7.9mm and weighs in at 153 grams. It will be offered in White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold, and Rose Gold and will cost you about $550.
…And The Winner Is…
This decision was a tough one; however, I am picking the Sony Xperia Z5 as the winner of this comparison. Sony made too many decisions with their new US model that continue to show us why Sony cannot make a go of it in the states, which would desperately help their mobile sales. Going to metal was no big deal – it is my go-to preference – but sticking to the 1080p display, removing waterproofing, using a mid-range processor, and removing the fingerprint sensor as mobile payments are starting to take off does not make any sense.
The Sony Xperia Z5 has the same display (only slightly larger), a better processor, the same amount of RAM and expandable memory, the same primary camera, which seems to take better pictures according to our reviews. It has same dual stereo speakers, a larger battery – all for a few dollars less. So if you can handle the metal and glass construction that has served Sony well over the past few years, then it seems as though you are getting more for your money with the Xperia Z5.