Sony Xperia XZ2 vs Apple iPhone X: the weigh-in

Which has more of the flagship X-factor

01 March 2018
by Stuff Staff

Apple’s iPhone X currently sits at the top of the smartphone price scale, dangling its dazzling design and top-end specs above the competition – but it’s too far out of reach for those of us who’ve already splurged out gadget pocket money elsewhere.

As great of a phone as Apple put together, spending $1000+ on a smartphone just isn’t necessary. You’re welcome to, of course – but you can get a lot of smartphone for a lot less money than that. And that’s the category where Sony’s new Xperia XZ2 is likely to fall.

With a $790 price tag expected in the Middle East you get a lot of horsepower yet slightly more modest design and components, there’s easily a few hundred bucks between these handsets.

So if you’re considering one of these phones in the coming months, should you splurge big on the iPhone X or be responsible and consider Sony’s latest? Here’s how this comparison shakes out right now based on the specs and our hands-on time with the Xperia XZ2.


Both of these handsets are obvious, top-tier flagships: they’re glass and metal monoliths with front and back glass, along with aluminum on the XZ2 and stainless steel on the higher-end iPhone X.

But the XZ2 has a much more common look amongst Android phones. It’s a little bit Pixel 2 XL-ish from the front, with a tall screen and a fair bit of curvy bezel. We like the shift away from Sony’s old boxy aesthetic, but it looks a bit anonymous among today’s Android flagships.

That’s certainly not true with the Apple iPhone X, which might be divisive for its camera notch on the front but wows with its gorgeous all-screen front. This is one of the best-looking phones on the market today, and distinctive in a way that the Xperia XZ2 unfortunately isn’t.


These screens aren’t that far off in resolution, although Apple has a slight advantage: the iPhone X screen is 2436×1125, while the Xperia XZ2 comes in at 2160×1080.

And the 5.8in iPhone X screen also has the benefit of being an OLED panel – and a damn stunning one at that, thanks to manufacturer Samsung. It’s right up there with the Galaxy S8 in terms of contrast and colour, plus it’s incredibly bright. Paired with the bezel-lite design, it looks absolutely wonderful.

Sony’s screen can’t help but pale a bit by comparison, as a 5.7in extra-tall (18:9) LCD that looks a bit ordinary alongside the iPhone X. It’s capable of upconverting standard HD video into HDR, which is a neat trick, but overall the iPhone X screen has a lot more pop to it based on what we’ve seen so far.


The iPhone X lightly improves upon the dual-camera design of the iPhone 8 Plus, making it not only the best of Apple’s smartphone cameras, but also one of the best you’ll find on any phone today.

That’s thanks to the twin 12MP setup, which has f/1.8 wide-angle and f/2.4 telephoto sensors, both now with optical image stabilisation. These larger, faster sensors deliver more saturated colours and improve dynamic range.

The Pixel 2 has the slight edge on delivering best-of-the-best shots, but the iPhone X is right up near it, and most of your everyday snaps should be excellent. You also get the cool dual-camera abilities, such as Portrait shot blurring and bokeh effects.

We’re not sure what we’ll get from the Xperia XZ2 yet, however. It has a single 19MP sensor on the back, and while Sony’s smartphone shooters haven’t been top-of-class in recent phones, an image processing boost from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor could really enhance the results. We’ll see once we have an XZ2 in for review, however.

In any case, Sony’s phone has the edge on slow-motion video footage, capturing it at a staggering 960 frames per second – the iPhone X only does 240fps. That’s a fringe benefit, but hey, it’s something.


Sony’s phone opts for the latest go-to Android processor, the new Snapdragon 845 – and it offers more speed and efficiency than last year’s flagship-level Snapdragon 835. And with 4GB RAM within, it should be no slouch with games, media, and more.

But Apple’s own A11 Bionic chip remains unparalleled in sheer horsepower, beating anything that Android can offer in both single-core and multi-core scores. It goes a notch lower on RAM with 3GB, but iOS 11 is silky-smooth and there’s a lot of processing grunt available for glossy games and apps.

Ultimately, we suspect that the Xperia XZ2 will also provide a plenty swift everyday experience with Android Oreo, but it seems like Apple has a bit extra raw speed available to tap into as needed.


Apple’s iPhone X is a pretty capable all-day handset with its 2,716mAh battery, plus wireless charging is handy for quick top-ups. The Xperia XZ2 manages to pack in a bit more capacity at 3,180mAh and also has that lower-resolution screen to power, which could save a bit of power throughout the day. It also offers wireless charging.

In terms of capacity, the iPhone X offers 64GB and 256GB varieties, with the latter adding more to the eye-popping price. The XZ2 sticks with 64GB of internal storage, but has a huge perk with the ability to add cheap microSD storage to expand upon that tally.

The Xperia XZ2 also has a haptic feedback feature that provides a rumbling sensation that matches whatever music or game audio you’re playing on the phone… but that’s not something we expect to use much.

Meanwhile, the iPhone X has its TrueDepth sensor, which works very well for Face ID security but also goes a bit silly with Animoji. Sony doesn’t have anything like that, but its fingerprint sensor on the back probably does a fine job with security.


If these sound like two very different phones, well… we’re right there with you. The iPhone X is offers top-tier luxury, with flashy good looks, a gorgeous display, and plenty of power. Oh, and it’s $1000+, which is a hell of a lot to spend on a smartphone.

Based on our time with the Xperia XZ2 so far, it doesn’t seem to hit the same heights. The design is common, the screen seems to be a step behind much of its flagship competition, and there’s a bit less processing power compared to Apple’s A11 Bionic chip.

But it’s close enough in many respects, and while we’re still waiting to give it a proper once over, we suspect that price tag coming in at significantly less than the iPhone X may  be enough of a difference to make this decision a lot easier for many people.

The iPhone X is a wonderful device, but it’s more phone and excess than most people honestly need from a smartphone. But on the other hand, as the Xperia XZ2 does fall into the $700-800 range, there are seemingly more alluring Android phones around the same asking cost – plus there are cheaper ones that appear to be comparably specced (like the OnePlus 5T).

In any case, we’ll update this comparison once we’ve give the Xperia XZ2 a full review in the coming weeks. But for now, if your heart is set on the iPhone X, we doubt Sony’s phone can sway you away from its splashy perks. On the other hand, if you’re not sold on Apple’s expensive wonder, then hold tight for a little while longer.



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