Do we have a good one for you today – two new devices, the Sony Xperia X Performance take on the Lenovo Moto Z Force. These two models are the top-of-the-line for their respective models, but one is just a little more flagship in specs. Both devices use an all-metal design, but look entirely different. The Xperia X Performance uses a metal backing that feels like plastic – it even looks like plastic. The Moto Z Force has a back that looks different – it has fine lines across its back, a protruding camera, and exposed metal contacts for the optional Mot Mods or custom backings you can order. The devices do share many of the same internal parts or specs, but the overall feel of the devices are different. We will look at those similarities now, and then later we will look at each device to try to determine a winner of this specification comparison.
The Sony Xperia X Performance and the Moto Z Force do not have any physical similarities – with a 1/2-inch difference in display size they gain their size difference. Even the displays are different technologies and different resolutions. The Xperia Z Performance uses a scratch-resistant glass, while the Z Force uses ShatterShield to protect it against drops. Once we get inside the devices, we can see where they ‘play nice’ – both use a Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor and an Adreno 530 GPU for graphics. There is a 32GB variant of each device and room to expand via a microSD card. The camera areas are quite similar, with the Z Force maybe winning in this category. They both have non-removable batteries that offer some sort of rapid charge capabilities. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.2 on the Xperia X and v4.1 on the Z Force), GPS, NFC, and a USB connector – microUSB v2.0 on the Xperia X and the newer Type-C reversible on the Z Force.
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 X Performance
The large bezels on the top and bottom, the rectangle shape, and the FHD display resolution are all things that describe a Sony smartphone and the Xperia X Performance does nothing to veer off course. This year they went from a metal and glass design to an all-metal design, but it still manages to look like a Sony device, but leave it to Sony to create a metal phone that looks and feels like plastic. Sony did round the sides a bit to make the Xperia X Performance easier to hold. Another strange Sony factoid is that they put out two models of the Xperia X – one for the US without a fingerprint sensor and an international version with a fingerprint sensor. Does that make any sense at all? Then, we are talking about Sony.
The Xperia X still uses an FHD display even on the Performance model – a 5.0-inch IPS LCD – with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which works out to 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Sony did go with the 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz. It is packing 3GB of DDR4 RAM and an excellent Adreno 530 GPU to handle the graphics. The Xperia X Performance comes with 32GB of internal memory, which is expandable to 200GB via a microSD card.
Sony carried over its 23MP camera sensor, with an aperture of f/2.0, 24mm, Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF,) and LED flash. In the front-facing camera (FFC) area, Sony did jump the 5.1MP to a large 13MP, giving it an aperture of f/2.0 and 22mm lens for excellent selfies and video chats. A 2700mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 2.0 capabilities supplies the power.
The Sony Xperia X Performance retains the dual stereo front-facing speakers, offers up Hi-Res audio for earphones, and keeps the IP68 dust and water resistance. There is no fingerprint sensor in the US version, but the international version should work on limited US networks – check with your carrier. The Xperia X measures 143.7 x 70.4 x 8.7mm and weighs in at 164.4 grams. The colors Sony is advertising are White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold, and Rose Gold and the Xperia X will cost you about $675 - $700.
Lenovo Moto Z Force
So far, Lenovo’s takeover of Motorola is producing some very fine examples of smartphones, in fact, most would be surprised at the power, features, and high price of the Z Force. There are some differences between the Moto Z Force and Moto Z to justify the higher cost – the Z Force offers a larger battery, the ShatterShield display, and better camera than the Moto Z. These devices are introducing us to a new vocabulary term – a Moto Mod. Unlike the LG G5 Mods that go up inside the device, Moto Mods simply snap on the back of the phone via magnets – which means small contact points are showing when no mods are in use. This design also allows the user to add backings of different materials to give it a great look and overall a much better way to support the idea of a modular on a smartphone.
The Moto Z Force sports a nice sized 5.5-inch AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 535 PPI. Lenovo retained ShatterShield – a 5-layer design that has proven that it does work. Lenovo grabbed the best processor out there, the Snapdragon 820 quad-core with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz and the Adreno 530 GPU to handle any graphics you can throw its way. The Z Force packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and offers up to 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory that is expandable with a microSD card.
Lenovo apparently takes the camera more seriously than Motorola – the Moto Z-Force uses a 21MP sensor with a large aperture of f/1.8. The Moto Z Force uses laser and phase detection autofocus (PDAF), a dual-tone flash, and OIS. The Moto Z Force uses a 5MP FFC with a f/2.2 aperture, LED flash for selfies and video chatting. The Moto Z Force uses a 3500mAh non-removable battery that has one of the fastest chargers – 5v/5.7a TurboPower 30 charger that can charge the Moto Z Force battery 50-percent in only 20 minutes. If you want more battery power – one of the ‘Mods’ increases the battery by 2200mAh and adds wireless charging capabilities as well.
The Moto Z Force is a great device – just remember it can utilize Moto Mods, the second is that it does lack a 3.5mm earphone jack, and lastly, it is a Verizon exclusive. What is nice about the Moto Mods is that you go nowhere inside of the device, as you do on the LG G5, since they merely snap onto the back with magnets. The Moto Z Force does not include the standard 3.5mm headphone jack but handles headphones via an adapter that plugs into the Type-C reversible port to accept earphones – a better sound, but you have to remember to carry around an adapter. It measures in at 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm and weighs in at 163 grams. It comes in four colors - Black/Gray, Black/Rose Gold, Black/Gold, and White with pricing at $720 exclusively on Verizon.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
This comparison was a no-brainer for me – the winner is the Lenovo Moto Z Force. It not only has a larger display but also uses the QHD AMOLED technology for a much better-looking display. It uses their ShatterShield technology to prevent screen damages from drops. The Moto Z Force has an extra gigabyte of DDR4 RAM, uses the faster UFS 2.0 memory, and both share excellent cameras. The Z Force has a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device and authorizing mobile payments. It also has a larger battery and quick charge capability.
The Sony Xperia X Performance is overpriced at $700 – although it offers an excellent build quality – it only has a 5-inch, 1080P LCD display that just does not provide the quality viewing of the AMOLED QHD display on the Z Force. It does have the IP68 rating, while the Z Force is more of a nano-coating that they do not even advertise. One thing the Xperia X Performance has going for it is a great sound – the dual front stereo speakers offer up a loud and firm sound. For not having a QHD display, it has less than average battery life. The camera, while taking quality photos during the day, photos are less than average at night, and it offers no 4K recording.
When a smartphone demands a $700 price tag, it should have much more going for it – certainly a fingerprint sensor and a larger, more robust display. For $720, the Moto Z Force just offers so much more than the Xperia X Performance.