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Sony Xperia X vs Xperia XA vs XA Ultra vs X Performance: Which is best?

Our Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia XA vs Xperia X vs Xperia X Performance comparison review sees which of Sony’s new 2016 smartphones packs the best design, performance, battery life, camera tech and more.

Sony has already launched four new mobile phones in 2016, all part of its new ‘X-Series’ range. We’ve already reviewed the Xperia X and Xperia XA and gone hands-on with the Xperia XA Ultra and Xperia X Performance, and here’s how these handsets compare and which is best for you.

Sony Xperia XA vs Xperia X vs Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia X Performance: At a glance

Phone Xperia X Xperia XA Xperia X Performance Xperia XA Ultra
Screen size 5-inches 5-inches 5-inches 6-inches
Screen resolution 1920×1080 1280×720 1920×1080 1920×1080
Water resistant? No No Yes (in some markets) No
Fingerprint sensor? Yes No Yes No
Edge-to-edge screen? No Yes No Yes
Processor Snapdragon 650 Mediatek P10 Snapdragon 820 Mediatek P10
Memory 3GB 2GB 3GB 3GB
MicroSD support? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cameras 23/13MP 13/8MP 23/13MP 21.5/16MP

Sony Xperia XA vs Xperia X vs Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia X Performance: Video

Sony Xperia XA vs Xperia X vs Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia X Performance: Design and features

All of the Xperia X family are 5-inch handsets, with the notable exception of the slightly massive Xperia XA Ultra. This 6-inch beast is a serious hand-filler and very tricky to use with just one mitt, although it’s actually impressively thin given its size.

A big reason for that is the edge-to-edge display, which completely cuts out any surrounding bezels. This gorgeous bit of design was also found on the Xperia XA, but sadly not the Xperia X or Xperia X Performance.

One drawback of that edge-to-edge design is that the Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra don’t have a fingerprint sensor. You’ll need to use a traditional PIN or similar method to unlock, unless you want to activate Google’s Trusted Places or Trusted Devices features. Both the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance sport a fast and accurate sensor, for bonus security.

The Xperia X and X Performance may lack that gorgeous bezel-less design, but they’re still very good-looking handsets thanks to their metallic finish (which also makes them reassuringly hardy). However, only one of these phones, the Xperia X Performance, enjoys Sony’s trademark water resistance. Avoid dunking the rest in the bath, as they might splutter and die.

Sony Xperia XA vs Xperia X vs Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia X Performance: Screen and media

As mentioned above, the Xperia X, XA and X Performance all sport a 5-inch screen, although only the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance boast a Full HD resolution. The Xperia XA drops this to 720p, although all three phones still produce pleasingly sharp images. The X and X Performance also support Sony’s X-Reality engine, which helps to keep things nice and crisp, and their panels are also more vibrant – but the XA and XA Ultra’s colours can be made richer with the built-in Super Vivid mode.

The Xperia XA Ultra is again a stand-out phone, rocking a mighty 6-inch display. Visuals are pleasingly sharp thanks to the Full HD resolution, even though X-Reality is again missing in action. If you love watching video on the move, the XA Ultra could be the one for you.

All four Xperia X phones have microSD memory card slots, so you can quickly and easily expand the on-board storage and carry around loads of music and a massive movie collection. However, only the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance support Hi-Res audio and upscaling of lower-quality music tracks.

Sony Xperia XA vs Xperia X vs Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia X Performance: Performance and battery life

The Xperia X Performance of course boasts the most power of the new Xperia phones (as if the name wasn’t obvious), thanks to the Snapdragon 820 processor packed inside. That’s the same chipset found in the HTC 10, LG G5 and other flagships, and one of the most powerful mobile processors around.

That said, the Xperia X offers pleasingly smooth performance with the impressive mid-range Snapdragon 650 chipset. Everyday running is stutter-free, with only very occasional pauses as you switch between apps. The latest games also play with a dependable frame rate.

The Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra use a much more budget Mediatek processor, which means you do get delays as you attempt to fire up an application or load the camera. These phones will also show their age much sooner than the Xperia X and X Performance.

As for battery life, the Xperia X happily makes it through a full 36 hours on a single charge if you don’t go crazy, and even with plenty of use will get you through a full day before it needs recharging. The Xperia XA will only make it through 24 hours if you really go easy on it, and we’re expecting a similar result from the Xperia XA Ultra.

Sony Xperia XA vs Xperia X vs Xperia XA Ultra vs Xperia X Performance: Cameras

When it comes to camera tech, the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance both boast Sony’s brilliant 23-megapixel rear snapper complete with predictive focus, which can keep your subject nice and sharp even if they’re bopping all over the place. That’s definitely handy for those nightclub shots.

Check out our full Xperia X camera review for more info.

At the lower end, we have the Xperia XA’s 13-megapixel shooter which uses Sony’s image tracking software to keep your subject in focus. It’s far from perfect, but the Xperia XA’s camera is easy to use and holds up quite well to rival snappers like the Moto G4 Plus’ 16-megapixel camera.

Check out our full Xperia XA camera review for more info.

The Xperia XA Ultra sits somewhere in the middle of the Xperia X gang with its 21.5-megapixel camera, which also boasts Sony’s predictive focus tech. We’re yet to test the XA Ultra’s snapper in full, but stay tuned for our full review.

Swap to the front of each phone, and the Xperia XA Ultra boasts the most impressive selfie camera in this group. That mighty 16-megapixel snapper boasts an LED flash and can take impressive night shots, capturing both your mug and the background in clear detail (or so we’re told – stay tuned for our full Xperia XA Ultra review).

However, the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance’s 13-megapixel cameras are also some of the best in market, capturing impressive detail and realistic hues even in very low light. And again bringing up the rear is the Xperia XA, with a still-very-impressive 8-megapixel camera.

Check out our Xperia X-Series hub for our Xperia phone reviews, tips, comparisons and more. You can grab the Xperia X from O2 right now, from £30 per month.


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