Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Introduction


Sony's got a new breed of smartphone in town, with the Xperia X lineup arriving to offer shoppers a variety of feature and performance options (with an emphasis on camera capabilities and battery life), all tied around a unified design. Of all those new models, the Xperia X Performance comes in as the best-equipped of the bunch, though as we noted in our recent review, even it's not without its trade-offs.

Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
While Sony's no doubt looking to steal a little market share from its Android competition, any smartphone that wants to make a name for itself is going to have to survive comparison to Apple's iPhone juggernaut. We already put the standard Xperia X up against Apple's reigning flagship, and now we're giving the same treatment to the Xperia X Performance, as it goes head-to-head with the iPhone 6s.

Design


The look and feel of metal-enclosed smartphones is hard to beat, with a premium aesthetic that plastic simply can't touch. Apple's really been nailing the metal construction for a while now, while Sony is turning its attention back to the material after a stint working with glass. The good news is that the Xperia X Performance looks like a million bucks, and its lack of antenna lines is an improvement over Apple's design.

That said, Apple implementation is more than a little bit better overall. For one, the iPhone's metal extends around the phone's edges, so your fingers are always in contact with it; Sony bows out for its edges and goes with a metal-looking plastic. And while Apple's back panel feels nice and solid, Sony's gives the impression of a thinner, less resilient metal sheet.

Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

As for buttons, Apple gets points for its physically separate volume keys and mute switch, while Sony delivers a really low-mounted volume rocker that's in an easy-to-reach spot (if you're right-handed), as well as an always-welcome camera shutter button. Buttons on the iPhone 6s tend to be clickier overall, while those of the X Performance feel a bit shallow.

Unfortunately, Sony's recessed power button takes a bit of getting used to, and we're still sore that the US edition of the Xperia X Performance ditches the integrated fingerprint scanner – an area where the iPhone is the clear winner.

 

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Front view | Side view
Sony Xperia X Performance
Sony Xperia X Performance
5.67 x 2.76 x 0.34 inches
144 x 70 x 8.7 mm
5.82 oz (165 g)

Sony Xperia X Performance

Apple iPhone 6s
Apple iPhone 6s
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s




Display


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Both the Xperia X Performance and iPhone 6s offer some powerfully bright displays, and while the panels are configured a little differently – Apple going with a 4.7-inch screen in a 750 x 1334 resolution, while Sony choosing a 5.0-incher at 1080x1920 – the initial experience isn't far off between the two.

When we start really analyzing screen output, though, Apple starts taking a clearer lead, delivering a _phone_ whose display boasts superior color accuracy. Sony's way off especially when it comes to green hues, and the screen's white balance tends towards the too-cool end of the spectrum.

And while it's a tune you've no doubt heard over and over by now, we've got to give credit to the iPhone 6s for its force-sensitive touch screen. Similar functionality is slowly creeping over to the Android side of the tracks, but Sony's not there quite yet.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s 554
(Excellent)
6
(Good)
1:1593
(Excellent)
7056
(Good)
2.21
1.47
(Excellent)
3.23
(Good)
Sony Xperia X Performance 547
(Excellent)
5
(Excellent)
1:1419
(Excellent)
8433
(Poor)
2.27
4.9
(Average)
6.9
(Average)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Introduction


Sony's got a new breed of smartphone in town, with the Xperia X lineup arriving to offer shoppers a variety of feature and performance options (with an emphasis on camera capabilities and battery life), all tied around a unified design. Of all those new models, the Xperia X Performance comes in as the best-equipped of the bunch, though as we noted in our recent review, even it's not without its trade-offs.

Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
While Sony's no doubt looking to steal a little market share from its Android competition, any smartphone that wants to make a name for itself is going to have to survive comparison to Apple's iPhone juggernaut. We already put the standard Xperia X up against Apple's reigning flagship, and now we're giving the same treatment to the Xperia X Performance, as it goes head-to-head with the iPhone 6s.

Design


The look and feel of metal-enclosed smartphones is hard to beat, with a premium aesthetic that plastic simply can't touch. Apple's really been nailing the metal construction for a while now, while Sony is turning its attention back to the material after a stint working with glass. The good news is that the Xperia X Performance looks like a million bucks, and its lack of antenna lines is an improvement over Apple's design.

That said, Apple implementation is more than a little bit better overall. For one, the iPhone's metal extends around the phone's edges, so your fingers are always in contact with it; Sony bows out for its edges and goes with a metal-looking plastic. And while Apple's back panel feels nice and solid, Sony's gives the impression of a thinner, less resilient metal sheet.

Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

As for buttons, Apple gets points for its physically separate volume keys and mute switch, while Sony delivers a really low-mounted volume rocker that's in an easy-to-reach spot (if you're right-handed), as well as an always-welcome camera shutter button. Buttons on the iPhone 6s tend to be clickier overall, while those of the X Performance feel a bit shallow.

Unfortunately, Sony's recessed power button takes a bit of getting used to, and we're still sore that the US edition of the Xperia X Performance ditches the integrated fingerprint scanner – an area where the iPhone is the clear winner.


Front view | Side view
Sony Xperia X Performance
Sony Xperia X Performance
5.67 x 2.76 x 0.34 inches
144 x 70 x 8.7 mm
5.82 oz (165 g)

Sony Xperia X Performance

Apple iPhone 6s
Apple iPhone 6s
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s




Display


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Both the Xperia X Performance and iPhone 6s offer some powerfully bright displays, and while the panels are configured a little differently – Apple going with a 4.7-inch screen in a 750 x 1334 resolution, while Sony choosing a 5.0-incher at 1080x1920 – the initial experience isn't far off between the two.

When we start really analyzing screen output, though, Apple starts taking a clearer lead, delivering a _phone_ whose display boasts superior color accuracy. Sony's way off especially when it comes to green hues, and the screen's white balance tends towards the too-cool end of the spectrum.

And while it's a tune you've no doubt heard over and over by now, we've got to give credit to the iPhone 6s for its force-sensitive touch screen. Similar functionality is slowly creeping over to the Android side of the tracks, but Sony's not there quite yet.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s 554
(Excellent)
6
(Good)
1:1593
(Excellent)
7056
(Good)
2.21
1.47
(Excellent)
3.23
(Good)
Sony Xperia X Performance 547
(Excellent)
5
(Excellent)
1:1419
(Excellent)
8433
(Poor)
2.27
4.9
(Average)
6.9
(Average)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Unlike some Android OEMs, Sony's not trying to reinvent the wheel with its implementation of Google's mobile platform, and the company makes the wise decision to do very little to change how Android works. That results in a clean, familiar experience that users should be quick to pick up – while delivering a handful of tweaks sufficient to justify the effort: things like colorful new takes on system icons. Sony really encourages users to make the most of their home screens, streamlining the addition of shortcuts to suggested apps, and providing some convenient widgets for things like its music player and Lifelog activity tracker.

UI of the Sony Xperia X Performance - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
UI of the Sony Xperia X Performance - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
UI of the Sony Xperia X Performance - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
UI of the Sony Xperia X Performance - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

UI of the Sony Xperia X Performance


With iOS 9, Apple's also giving us a familiar platform, and one well-honed over the years. With less of an emphasis on customization, and more attention being paid to strict UI organization and logic, iOS 9 presents a more sterile, yet remarkably easy-to-approach smartphone environment. There are still polarizing decisions found here, though, such as some camera settings being buried in a Settings app sub-menu, instead of being found in the Camera app itself.

iOS on the iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
iOS on the iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
iOS on the iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
iOS on the iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

iOS on the iPhone 6s


Processor and Memory


With a Snapdragon 820 at its core, Sony's Xperia X Performance should be one very capable handset, and by and large we aren't let down. Even up against Apple's A9, Qualcomm's chip holds its own, and benchmark tests showed a back-and-forth where the iPhone and Xperia X Performance traded wins against each other.

Subjectively, Apple does have a very noticeable edge in overall pace and fluidity, probably due to how well-tuned iOS is for the company's hardware.

Sony's phone has an extra gigabyte of memory on Apple, but you likely won't immediately feel its impact. Maybe more relevant is the storage situation, with Sony offering a single 32GB option to Apple's 16GB, 64GB, and beefy 128GB configurations. But while Apple may win with built-in storage (for shoppers willing to pay up), Sony gives users the ability to add hundreds of additional gigabytes by way of microSD card, and the phone's no-tool-required card tray makes swapping them a snap.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 131223
Apple iPhone 6s 59075
JetStream
Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 46.553
Apple iPhone 6s 118.91
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 58
Apple iPhone 6s 59.1
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 31
Apple iPhone 6s 56.1
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 2245
Apple iPhone 6s 2139
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 2299
Apple iPhone 6s 2539
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 5346
Apple iPhone 6s 4421
View all

Internet and connectivity


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Safari vs Chrome is a comparison we've seen before, and Sony's not doing anything with the Xperia X Performance to change our expectations. While browsers are largely a matter of personal taste, it's worth noting Apple's advantage of Safari's killer JavaScript speed.

Similarly, connectivity options don't deliver much in the way of surprises: both models provide the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options we look for, and despite the Xperia X Performance's metal back, Sony manages to come through with NFC support again – albeit using the phone's face as you tap and pay.

Apple gets convenience points for its reversible Lightning interface, while Sony's not quite ready to graduate from microUSB to the world of USB Type-C.

Sony does miss out on cellular support being quite as broad as it could be, with the Xperia X Performance skipping CDMA compatibility with Verizon and Sprint – though if you're an AT&T or T-Mobile fan, you're still in good shape.

Camera


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Sony really wants to believe it has a killer camera on the Xperia X Performance, and while it does a lot right, it just can't hold a candle to Apple's camera. While Sony's 23MP sensor has pixels to spare, and boasts advanced focus auto-tracking modes, the image quality just isn't there.

Initially, Apple's pics might look a little washed-out and desaturated compared to Sony's, but spend a little more time comparing the output from these two cameras and you'll find that the Xperia X Performance is delivering far too narrow a band of exposure, while the iPhone 6s really does let you see everything in the shot – even without HDR engaged.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Sony Xperia X Performance 1.6
1.8
No data
No data
Apple iPhone 6s 1.7
1.9
485
293
View all

Sony gives users a slightly wider field of view from its camera, but everything looks so much nicer through Apple's lens that it quickly emerged as our favorite.

Apple also demonstrates camera superiority when it comes to low-light performance, and while both phones produce some decent pics with the help of their LED flashes, the iPhone 6s is able to do without a flash at all in conditions where the Xperia X Performance demands it.

Sony does manage to come through when we're talking about camera software, and its manual mode is a joy to fiddle with; in contrast, Apple's camera app feels a bit too dumbed-down. Both apps can be accessed quickly though various shortcuts.

Sony's camera app - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony's camera app - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony's camera app - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony's camera app - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Sony's camera app


Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 6s - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 6s


In terms of video recording, Apple's got the advantage with its support for 4K footage. That's a real shame, because there's no good reason why the Xperia X Performance shouldn't be able to shoot UHD video – and that it doesn't is nothing less than a huge oversight on Sony's part.


Multimedia


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Sony hooks the Xperia X Performance up with its own media apps, including a gallery with fun-to-rearrange thumbnails, and a functional, if not particularly game-changing music player. Considering the company's media chops, we're happy to not be let down here. If you're looking to stay particularly ahead of the curve, you can even sign up to get early beta builds of the media-gallery Album app.

Apple, meanwhile, takes advantage of its role as a platform leader to deliver one extremely well-integrated multimedia experience, baking playback controls into its UI and doing its darnedest to covert iPhone owners into Apple Music subscribers.

Sony Xperia X Performance - Music players - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Music players - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Apple iPhone 6s - Music players - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Music players - Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Sony Xperia X Performance

 

Apple iPhone 6s

 

Music players


Even with dual front-facing stereo speakers, the Xperia X Performance manages to let us down in terms of its audio output, with particularly weak performance on the low-frequency end of the spectrum. Apple's speaker may not look like much, but it's the champion here when it comes to delivering really satisfying sound.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6s 0.986
Sony Xperia X Performance 0.38
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6s 69.6
Sony Xperia X Performance 67.9
View all


Call quality


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Voice calls may hardly be the main use of mobile phones these days, but that doesn't mean we're about to take their support for granted.

Both the Xperia X Performance and iPhone 6s deliver acceptable voice-call quality, and while neither happened to really wow us with exceptional fidelity, the Sony handset manages to just barely edge out Apple's model with its well-balanced, intelligible audio.

Battery


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s
Sony's got a 1,000mAh lead on Apple with battery capacity, but the combination of a slightly larger screen and a processor that just doesn't feel as intimately adjusted for optimal performance results in a situation where the iPhone 6s can keep on going for an extra hour or two after the Xperia X Performance has run out of juice.

There's a plus side for Sony in all this, as while its 2,700mAh battery may not go quite as far as Apple's 1,715mAh component, the Xperia X Performance is able to take advantage of quick charging, and using the included adapter the phone was able to achieve full charge in just over two hours – while the iPhone still had another half an hour to go before reaching 100 percent.

That trade-off represents a balancing act that's going to weigh more or less on less on your purchasing decision depending on just how hard you push your phone throughout the day, but we wager more users are going to prefer the iPhone's longer battery life to the Xperia's slightly speedier charging.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6s 8h 15 min (Excellent)
Sony Xperia X Performance 6h 1 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s 150
Sony Xperia X Performance 129
View all

Conclusion


Sony Xperia X Performance vs Apple iPhone 6s

Looking at all these comparisons individually, Sony's model ended up coming a lot closer to competing on the same level as Apple's market-leader than we ever expected it might, and even where one phone pulled ahead of the other in all the various aspects we considered, the gap was quite narrow at times.

But while the Xperia X Performance puts on a solid showing, it's impossible to ignore the iPhone 6s's superior display, better audio performance, extended battery life, and higher build quality.

Had Sony's phone come in priced $100 or so less than the iPhone, we might be able to start overlooking some of those issues – and if we were flirting with $500, the Xperia X Performance might even start looking like a worthy alternative.

Unfortunately for Sony, it's decided to sell its phone for more like $700, instead. And with iPhone 6s pricing starting at just $650 (albeit for the lowly 16GB model), it's hard to see Apple's phone as anything other than the indisputable winner here.