Phone Comparisons: Sony Xperia X vs OnePlus 3

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – the Sony Xperia X takes on the OnePlus 3. Both devices look similar from the front, both are made out of metal, although the back of the OnePlus 3 has more rounded sides and a cleaner look. The OnePlus 3 has smaller bezels – Sony has always had large bezels, but for the most part both look the part of the premium smartphone. The metal used on the Xperia X has a very ‘plasticy’ look and feel to it – it’s a shame that Sony went to the trouble of switching to metal, but couldn’t make it feel like metal. The metal backed Sony also lost its coveted IP68 certification against dust and water. Both the Xperia X and OnePlus 3 retained their usual FHD display but are divided when it comes to the technology. Before we take a close look at each device, let’s look at some of their similarities.

The Sony Xperia X and the OnePlus 3 do not have many commonalities – the display size is different, which makes the over physical sizes differ. The displays are both only a Full HD resolution, but the Xperia X kept the old IPS LCD technology while the OnePlus 3 moved up to AMOLED – adding true blacks and better contrasts. They both use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but are extremely different models and even the RAM is doubled in the OnePlus 3. Both offer an internal memory option of 64GB, but only the Xperia X offers expansion capabilities. Both models have a great camera area and a non-removal battery with fast-charge. Each has the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a USB port (microUSB v2.0 on the Xperia X and the newer reversible Type-C on the OP3) for charging and data transfer.

An interesting note - the US version of the Xperia X does not have a fingerprint sensor, but the international version does come with a fingerprint sensor. Since both models use the same bands, just purchase the international one for use in the US.

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.

Specifications

Sony Xperia X

Sony made quite a few changes to the new Xperia X, but it will never be mistaken for anything but a Sony device. The large top and bottom bezels along with its ever present rectangular look are a dead giveaway. Sony did away with its traditional metal and glass design and went with a new metal back that looks and feels like plastic. This move to a metal back lost the Xperia X another longstanding Sony tradition – no more IP68 certification. While the Xperia X is basically a rectangle, Sony did soften the sides slightly making it easier to hold over long periods of time. Sony is putting out two versions – a US model in which Sony removed the fingerprint sensor, but then included one in the international version. Sony also bypassed including a top processor and opted for the mid-range Snapdragon 650 hexacore processor.

The Xperia X sports a 5.0-inch IPS LCD Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Sony simply does not want to switch to QHD for some reason – they can say it is about battery life, but everybody else (except OnePlus) is able to do it. Sony selected a mid-range 64-bit Snapdragon 650 hexacore processor with dual cores clocked at 1.8GHz and a quad-core clocked at 1.4GHz. It is packing 3GB of the slower DDR3 memory because of limitations imposed by the Snapdragon 650 processor. There is 32GB of internal memory, which is expandable to 200GB via a microSD card.

Sony continues to use the same camera brought over from the Xperia Z5 series with a 23MP sensor, an aperture of f/2.0, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF,) and LED flash, although, according to our review, it did not perform as well when we tested the Xperia X. Sony did make some changes to the front-facing camera (FFC) from 5.1MP to a massive 13MP and gave it an aperture of f/2.0 and 22mm lens for selfies and video chatting. A 2620mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 2.0 capabilities supplies the power.

A few notes on the Xperia X – it lost its IP68 certified dust and water resistance thanks to the new metal casing, however, the Xperia X does retain the dual stereo front-facing speakers. Another strange marketing move on Sony’s part that we mentioned earlier – the Sony Xperia X, model F5121, is the US model, and it does not have a fingerprint sensor. However, model F5122, which is the International model, does come with a fingerprint sensor. The redeeming feature is that 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. The full array of colors is White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold, and Rose Gold and the Xperia X will cost you about $550.

OnePlus 3

OnePlus is a smaller Chinese smartphone manufacturer and prides itself on producing a well-built device at a reasonable price, however, because of their low pricing, certain specifications are eliminated. We are happy to say that the OnePlus 3 is their most complete device yet and may not be a “flagship killer,” it is certainly able to stand toe-to-toe with other smartphones. The only two disappointments are the lack of a Quad HD display and lack of ability to expand its internal memory. The all-new metal design looks very similar to the rest of the OnePlus lineup – it is clean and solid, but nothing new or innovative.

The OnePlus 3 does not use a QHD resolution display, but OnePlus still improved the display area by replacing their dull IPS LCD with a new 5.5-inch FHD Optic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 PPI – baby steps. The OnePlus 3 uses the newest Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and another clocked at 2.15GHz and an Adreno 530 GPU providing the graphics. OnePlus then skipped over 4GB and went to a full 6GB of faster DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the much faster UFS 2.0 internal storage – the same used in the Samsung Galaxy S7 series. There are no means to expand memory on the OP3.

OnePlus took photos very seriously with the OP3 and upgraded the camera area with a new 16MP primary shooter that uses the fast PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), an LED Flash, a larger f/2.0 aperture, and both OIS and EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) to virtually eliminate shakiness. The FFC camera increased from 5MP to 8MP and kept the f/2.0 aperture for better selfies and video chatting. OnePlus included a smaller battery size of 3000mAh in the OnePlus 3, but they did include their new rapid charging system they call ‘Dash Charge’ that provides a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes.

Please note that the OnePlus 3 does not operate on as many US LTE bands, so make sure it will work on your network. The OP3 finally includes both a fingerprint sensor and NFC on the same device – allowing for authorizing mobile, or Android Pay purchases with a tap of your finger. The OnePlus 3 runs mostly stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box with OnePlus’ OS called OxygenOS on top. The OnePlus 3 measures 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weighs in at 158 grams. It will cost you about $400 USD for the 6GB/64GB model. It will come in Graphite, with Soft Gold arriving later.

...And The Winner Is...

The Final Word

This turned out to be an easy decision – the OnePlus 3 is the winner of this comparison. For less money, you get so much more. The OnePlus 3 has a larger display and uses the AMOLED technology. It has a much more advanced processor and GPU, more and faster RAM and uses the faster UFS 2.0 memory – although it is not expandable. The camera is top-notch, it has a larger battery and better looks.

The Sony Xperia X does have memory expansion and stereo speakers, but nothing else that would ingratiate itself over the OnePlus 3 – other than a larger price tag.

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