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OnePlus 5 vs Sony Xperia XZ Premium: quick look

Take a closer look at how the OnePlus 5 stacks up against Sony's flagship, the Xperia XZ Premium. Which one should you buy?
By
June 23, 2017

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is just one of the many flagships going head to head with the recently announced OnePlus 5. If you’re wondering what the most significant differences are between the two smartphones and what each of them uniquely brings to the table, this is the post for you.

To make your purchasing decision a lot easier, we’ll compare the OnePlus 5 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium in terms of specs, design, price, and more. We’ll take a closer look at their differences as well as some similarities and try to decide which one comes out on top.

Results are in: how good is the OnePlus 5 camera?
Features

Design

The Xperia XZ Premium features what Sony calls “Loop Design”. The smartphone has slightly rounded edges and a flat top and bottom, allowing it to stand up straight when placed on a table, for example. It has a metal frame and a glass back with a glossy finish that looks beautiful but is also a fingerprint magnet at the same time. It’s available in three different colors which are Luminous Chrome, Deepsea Black, and Bronze Pink.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 started the trend of a bezel-less design this year, which we’ll definitely be seeing more of in the future. Sony, unfortunately, didn’t opt for the same strategy. The bezels around the Xperia XZ Premium’s screen are quite big, especially the ones on the top and bottom. This means that the device has a larger footprint than a lot of its competitors, including the OnePlus 5. Something to consider if your jeans have limited pocket space.

As with the rest of the Xperia lineup, Sony’s flagship has an angular rectangular shape with sharp corners. You’ll find the camera with the flash module in the corner at the back, both of which are flush with the surface, while the power button with a built-in fingerprint scanner, the volume rocker, and a dedicated camera button can all be found on the right side.

The OnePlus 5 is a totally different device in terms of design. It’s made of aluminum, sports a more rounded body both on the edges and corners, and has a fingerprint scanner that is found below the screen. It also has a curved back, which makes it sit better in the hand. It resist fingerprints much better than the Sony but can be a bit on the slippery side.

You’ll find the dual-camera setup, which protrudes a little from the surface, along with a flash module at the back. The volume rocker is located on the left side of the device, below the alert slider. The power button is on the right side and so is the SIM card slot. The OnePlus 5 comes in Midnight Black and Slate Gray and is the thinnest smartphone the company has made to date — 7.25 mm. The Xperia XZ Premium, on the other hand, comes in at 7.9 mm.

Although it’s hard to determine a winner when it comes to design, we do like the more rounded look and the curved back of the OnePlus 5 as well as the slightly smaller bezels. Then again, the Xperia XZ Premium does stand out from the crowd a bit more thanks to the glossy back and features the side-mounted fingerprint scanner that’s easy to access when you pick up the device (assuming it’s enabled in your country). Both phones look much the same as their predecessors from the front and the backs of both resemble plenty of other devices, so there’s no clear winner where design is concerned, but at least the OnePlus 5 is more compact.

Specs

When it comes to specs, both the OnePlus 5 and Xperia XZ Premium can compete with the best smartphones currently available on the market. Sony’s flagship has a 5.5-inch Triluminos display with 4K resolution and HDR capabilities and is powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset. It was actually the first device announced (not released) with Qualcomm’s latest chipset on board.

It has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage that can be expanded for an additional 256 GB with the help of a microSD card. The device is equipped with a 19 MP Motion Eye camera that can capture super slow motion video playback by recording at 960 fps and comes with a 13 MP front-facing selfie snapper.

It packs a 3,230 mAh battery, has a fingerprint scanner on the side that I’ve already mentioned, and is water and dust resistant — IP68. In case you’re wondering, this means that it can be submerged in up to one and a half meters of water for around 30 minutes.

The OnePlus 5 also sports a 5.5-inch display but has a lower Full HD resolution. Just as with the Xperia XZ Premium, it’s powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset but offers more RAM as well as storage (depending on the model). The first version comes with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, while the other offers 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of space. However, there’s no microSD card slot on board, meaning that you can’t expand the storage.

OnePlus’ flagship has a dual-camera setup on the back featuring a 16 MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture and a 20 MP telephoto lens with an f/2.6 aperture. According to OnePlus, it’s actually the highest resolution dual-camera system on any smartphone on the market. There’s also a selfie snapper on board that has a 16 MP sensor and f/2.0 aperture. Be sure to read up on OnePlus’ 2x lossless claims just to be sure you know what you’re getting though.

At 3,300 mAh, the OnePlus 5’s battery is slightly bigger than that of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. It is, however, smaller when compared to its predecessor, as the OnePlus 3T features a battery with a capacity of 3,400 mAh. Despite this, the company claims that it will last 20 percent longer thanks to hardware and software optimizations, something we wouldn’t necessarily agree with, but we do note it has at least as good battery life as its predecessor. Other things worth mentioning are a fast fingerprint scanner that unlocks the device in 0.2 seconds, dual-SIM support, and Dash Charge technology that is one of the fastest on the market.

The OnePlus 5 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium have a few things in common including the same processor and screen size. There are, however, quite a few differences between them. The OnePlus 5 offers more RAM, a slightly bigger battery with the company’s popular and fast Dash Charge technology, and a dual-camera setup you can capture those fancy bokeh pictures with. The Xperia XZ Premium offers a higher resolution screen, is waterproof, supports expandable storage, and comes equipped with a camera capable of recording slow motion video at 960 fps.

OnePlus 5Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Display
OnePlus 5
5.5-inch AMOLED
1920 x 1080 resolution
401 ppi
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
5.5-inch Triluminos display
3840 x 2160 resolution
807 ppi
Processor
OnePlus 5
2.45 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
2.45 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
GPU
OnePlus 5
Adreno 540
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Adreno 540
RAM
OnePlus 5
6/8 GB
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
4 GB
Storage
OnePlus 5
64/128 GB
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
64 GB
MicroSD
OnePlus 5
No
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Yes, up to 256 GB
Camera
OnePlus 5
Main: 16 MP Sony IMX 398 sensor, 1.12 μm, ƒ/1.7 aperture, EIS, dual LED flash
Telephoto: 20 MP Sony IMX 350 sensor, 1.0 μm, ƒ/2.6 aperture

16 MP front-facing camera
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Main: 19 MP Motion Eye System, f/2.0, EIS, predictive phase detection and laser autofocus, LED flash

13 MP front-facing camera
Battery
OnePlus 5
3,300 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3,230 mAh
Software
OnePlus 5
Android 7.1.1 Nougat
OxygenOS
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Android 7.1 Nougat
Xperia UI
Water resistance
OnePlus 5
No
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
IP68 certified
Water resistant up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes
Dimensions
OnePlus 5
154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
153 grams
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
156 x 77 x 7.9 mm
195 grams

Software

Sony’s flagship runs Android 7.1 Nougat with the minimalistic Xperia UI on top. It brings a few unique features to the table including the built-in Themes engine that allows you to customize the look and feel of the interface.

Sony has also added some additional functionality that differentiates the Xperia XZ Premium from its competitors. These include Xperia Actions that can automatically change various settings of the device based on your habits and the time of day. To give you an example of how this works in real life, the feature can automatically adjust the screen brightness as well as the call volume when you go to bed. This means you don’t have to play around with the settings each night and then again in the morning when you wake up.

Another software feature is Smart Cleaner, which automatically deactivates unused apps and clears the cache to boost performance. Features like this have their detractors, but there’s no denying they’re still massively popular. Then there’s also Smart Stamina that predicts how long your battery will last and notifies you to activate Stamina mode if it thinks you’ll run out of power before the day comes to an end. Mmm…stamina.

The OnePlus 5 ships with Android 7.1.1 on board along with the OxygenOS on top. It offers an almost stock Android experience with a ton of customization options and features you can play around with. You can access “Shelf” by swiping right on your home screen, which gives you access to recent apps, contacts, the weather, and allows you to quickly take a note. It’s a handy feature to have, but you can always disable it in case you don’t like it.

There are a bunch of quick access gestures available like drawing an O on the screen while it’s turned off to launch the camera or a V to turn on the flashlight. Other screen gestures include S, W, and M, which you can program to launch an app of your choice or perform a specific function. Double tap to wake is also on board.

You also have the option of choosing between capacitive buttons under the display or the on-screen software buttons and can switch between them with a simple tap in the settings menu. If you read a lot of e-books on your device, you’ll be happy to hear that the OnePlus 5 includes what the company calls Reading Mode. It basically filters out blue light and adjusts the saturation, sharpness and brightness of the screen in order to offer a better monochrome reading experience with less eye strain.

When it comes to software, the OnePlus 5 arguably offers more features of use than its rival. Although both have a simplistic and light UI, the OnePlus 5 has more customization options and features that won’t get in the way if you don’t want to use them. Of course, the full Sony suite of apps and Playstation integrations might be something you’re deeply into.

Price

One of the biggest differences between the two smartphones is the price. As its name suggests, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium carries a premium price tag and can be yours for $799.99 in the US. In Europe, prices are quite different from country to country. In Germany, for example, you have to dish out around €750 to get it.

Although the OnePlus 5 is the most expensive smartphone the company has made to date, it’s still quite affordable, especially when you compare it to the Xperia XZ Premium. The version with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage retails for $479/€499, while the model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage will set you back $539/€559.

As you can see, the price difference between the two smartphones is quite big. The OnePlus 5 with 64 GB of storage is only 60 percent of the price of the Xperia XZ Premium in the US. That’s a lot, especially when you consider that both are flagship devices, with the OnePlus 5 even offering better specs in certain areas. All other things considered, the OnePlus 5 is a solid neck-and-neck competitor for the XZ Premium (except where display is concerned), but it costs $420 less. That’s very hard to ignore.

Final thoughts

The OnePlus 5 does have a number of advantages over the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. It has more RAM, is slightly smaller and lighter despite having the same screen size, and offers a bigger battery with the enviable Dash Charge technology, which promises to fully charge the device in around 90 minutes. It also arguably has a more modern design, is equipped with a dual-camera setup, and is a lot more affordable.

On the other hand, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium has a screen with a higher resolution, is IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, supports expandable storage, and features a 19 MP camera capable of recording slow motion video at 960 fps. Yes, it is a lot more expensive, but the price isn’t the only factor that has an impact consumers’ purchasing decisions, although it is an important one. One might also want to look at both OEMs’ update history, after sales support and so on to make a final decision.

If we compare the two smartphones in terms of value for money, the OnePlus 5 is clearly the winner. When it comes to design, determining which one comes out on top becomes a lot harder, as a lot of us have a different opinion on this topic. In terms of specs and features, both are high-end devices that have a few similarities and a couple of differences that make the question of which offers more hard to answer, although again we’d side with OnePlus. However, we leave the final decision of which smartphone is better to you, the readers, but if we had $800 and both of these phones to choose between, we know we’d be walking out with $420 cash still in our pocket.

Do let us know which device you think is better, the OnePlus 5 or Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.