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Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4: First look

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4: First look
Clearly, Sony isn't playing around. Its newly-announced flagship handset, the Xperia Z1, is shaping up as a high-end smartphone worthy of attention – a smartphone that seemingly has the potential to cause a splash on the market. But Sony's latest and greatest will be met by some heated competition once it is out, of course. Samsung will be one of the players to beat, and the run against the Galaxy S4, which has been selling by the millions worldwide, will be tough. 

Nevertheless, the Sony Xperia Z1 has a lot to stand out with when compared to the Samsung Galaxy S4

Design


Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4

First of all, the Sony Xperia Z1 looks pretty sleek with its perfectly flat front and back sides, and the metal trim around the sides is an excellent finishing touch. If that's not enough, Sony has not forgotten to ensure its Z1 smartphone carries an IP rating. That guarantees it will resist well against dust or water damage. The Samsung Galaxy S4, on the other hand, looks and feels quite a bit less premium, but it is still a good-looking device overall. Moreover, its rounded corners make is much easier to handle, while the Z1's sharp corners might not appeal to everyone. 

Display


Both the Sony Xperia Z1 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 come with 5-inch 1080p screens delivering about the same level of image quality. However, these panels are fundamentally different. While the Galaxy S4 has a Super AMOLED HD display, the Xperia Z1 is equipped with a so-called Triluminos screen, adopting tech that its maker has borrowed from its TV division. Nevertheless, both screens look great in person, delivering pretty colors even at an angle. 

Processor


When it comes to internals, the Sony Xperia Z1 definitely has the upper hand. It is equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 SoC, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 makes do with a Snapdragon 600 chip or an Exynos silicon in select markets. Both SoCs are very fast, of course, but those seeking the ultimate in processing power will be more strongly attracted towards the Z1. 

Interface


The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes running Android 4.2 out of the box, and so does the Sony Xperia Z1. Hopefully, Sony and Samsung will release update for their handsets in a timely manner, but at this time, there is no information on when that might happen. Both handsets run custom versions of the platform in effort to enhance the experience for the end user. The Samsung Galaxy S4, however, might be a step ahead in that respect. Its TouchWiz UI does not only look somewhat better, but also adds tons of handy features. Don't get us wrong as the Z1's UI is definitely good, but it could have been slightly more refined.

Camera


Now for the more interesting part, the camera on the Sony Xperia Z1 seems very promising and we won't be surprised if it ultimately ends up being better than the one on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Sony has thrown a 20.7MP cam on its Z1 smartphone, with "G Lens" optics and an Exmor RS sensor. With its help, Sony's newest flagship promises not only outstandingly good photos, but also silky-smooth 1080p videos. Having a dedicated camera shutter key is another perk that the Galaxy S4 doesn't offer. 

Expectations


So while the Sony Xperia Z1 isn't radically better than all the other high-ends out there, the Galaxy S4 included, it does stand out with its rich feature set, promising camera, and premium design. Many of the imperfections that bugged us about its predecessor, the Xperia Z, have seemingly been obliterated, so the Xperia Z1 now has a much better chance at making a significant impact on the smartphone market. But is it better than the Galaxy S4? Well, it is a bit too early to say, and further in-depth examination will be required to answer that question. The good news is that the Sony Xperia Z1 brings it on, so the clash with Samsung's fines will sure be heated.


58 Comments
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posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:41 12

1. PunyPoop (Posts: 741; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Look at that! Beautiful device isn't it? (Xperia Z1) No more "Poor viewing angles" trolls, it's time for... BEZEL TROLLS!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:48 18

8. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Look at those ugly bezels on the Z1!

(Just for you PunyPoop.)

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:50 8

11. PunyPoop (Posts: 741; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


I love it Smurf! +1 for you, you have proven that you're really a troll! Keep it up ;)

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:59 2

18. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


lol lets just say sony has a bezel fetish in the same way samsung has plastic fetish..honestly though dont you think if the bezels were like the xperia zl the z1 wuld look much better.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:05 9

21. AnTuTu (Posts: 892; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)


S4 or Note 3 any day. Z1 looks ugly :(

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:09 4

23. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


Nothing is uglier than your profile pic.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:11 3

25. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


You can't talk since you don't have a profile picture to begin with.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:20 3

33. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


Unfortunately, you can't stop me.
BTW, no pic is better than ugly pic.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:09 2

24. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6599; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


may be beause its a FULL WATER PROOF Phone u dont like the bezel then don't bother buying it. it only have huge bezel because they put a big battery in it

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:11 2

26. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Note 3 has a bigger battery, bigger screen, and is slightly bigger than the Z1. Excuse?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:18 6

31. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


Can you show me any waterproof phones with bezelles body?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:18 1

32. ahomad (Posts: 158; Member since: 15 May 2012)


sony has bigger camera sensor and water proof!!!

posted on 24 Jan 2014, 21:57

58. shakeel234 (Posts: 1; Member since: 24 Jan 2014)


listen i know you must be a samsung fan but the reason for the bezels on the top part is because of the large camera sensor just like the samsung galaxy s4 zoom had a big hump and the nokia had as well well sony didnt want that the wanted a phone thats smooth and can fit in your pocket with out making your pocket look weird and the bottom bezel is more like if your watching movies and your hand hand hits that home key or back key by mistake no sony wanted to make a phone that makes u watch movies with out any harm and the sony has awesome material unlike the samsung with cheap plastic ever since samsung has been copying apple and many other brands and some times sony distributes their lens and sensor to samsung and many other companies thats why no company never filed law suit against sony coz they know why samsung and apple has always been fighting so yah thats my excuse -__-

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:14 3

27. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


Bezels is not a problem for sony. They have proved it with the ZL. If water resistance is what makes the bezel bigger, Z has smaller bezel. They put that bezel in Z1 for a purpose.

posted on 06 Sep 2013, 05:23

56. RH234 (Posts: 15; Member since: 21 Aug 2013)


Those are not bezels. The bottom is a palm rest

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:49

9. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5878; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


How about carrier exclusivity? Nokia had to sell to MS because they weren't making sales. They might have been able to hold out longer if they hadn't done the STUPID carrier exclusives. Sony should learn from VZW.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:32 5

41. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


Samsung fanboys are hilarious

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:39

45. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


There's a reason to why they are called 'trolls'

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:43 1

2. pwnarena (Posts: 945; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


i can't really help not complaining about that awful wallpaper. sony, are you blind? can't you see your wallpaper is ruining your display?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:17

29. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


Calm down..you can always put your favourite wallpaper. I dont have to tell you this.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:21 1

34. pwnarena (Posts: 945; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


no. it's about that product looking bad in the promo photos. that's my concern. i'm worried about how others will perceive it because of sony's stupid decision to keep that wallpaper. there's no problem with sony fans, obviously, but if your display looks inferior because of the wallpaper, it's really a big problem.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:33

43. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


+1 you have a point. I'm not a graphic designer but I do create my own wallpers. I like sony's wallpaper though and it looks pretty neat in real life than captured on camera.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:44 8

3. emadshiny (Posts: 1136; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


with the appearance of G2 and Z1, Sammy's this year flagship died soon!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:47 8

6. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


20+ million handsets sold sure says otherwise.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:51 5

14. emadshiny (Posts: 1136; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


That was only for first two months.
Read the comment correctly. you look so rushed and uneasy today.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:01 6

19. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


S4 and Note 3 will outsell both models by a landslide. Please get out of the distortion world and face reality.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:30

38. emadshiny (Posts: 1136; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


With the absence of Z1 in all US major carriers, S4 would have an easy job but if we compare them regardless of numbers you'll see that S4 can't face Z1 and G2 easily.
face the reality please.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:33 1

44. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


So now the Samsung fanboys use the "look at how it sell" argument ?? Samsung = Apple

posted on 12 Sep 2013, 13:29

57. gersont1000 (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


I'm a GS3 owner and love it, and yet I agree.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:47 7

4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Only thing the Z1 has over the S4 is the slightly upgraded processor and camera. Everything else gets crushed by the S4.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:05 7

20. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 870; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Please enlighten me on why's that? Screen is subjective as everyone has their preferences regarding LCD vs AMOLED if Sony fixed the bad viewing angles and bad contrast, the battery on the Z1 is bigger, it looks miles better than the S4. And no, selling better doesn't equal being better, if that was true than McDonalds would have the best food out there.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:17 2

30. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


The design on the Z1 is so plain it's actually a turn off. Plain and boring. If I want a glass/aluminum phone, I'll go get the iPhone 5S. I'm a Super AMOLED guy. I prefer how the S4 feels in the hand with the rounded corners. Also, the pattern (especially on the black model) looks beautiful. If the Z1 feels the same in the hand as the XZ, then I won't like it at all.

User preference though.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:57 1

49. buccob (Posts: 1490; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


All those reasons were your opinion... No facts or actual reasons backed by anything other than your personal preference...

In that same train of thought, I think the Z1 looks better, feel better for premium quality, and the IP58 gives it a bit better chances of survival from falls, water, etc, BUT the S4 does fit better in the hand...

I don't know why you insist on giving your opinion as the absolute truth... the S4 do not crush the Z1 in any aspect...

And having had the S3 myself I actually like Sony's user interface better... though it lacks some functionality that Samsung implements... (but this is also opinion)

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:16 2

28. imnotascammer (Posts: 47; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


Cant help but to feel a bit sad for you dude.. Are you being paid for defending Samsung everytime? Cmon, get a life. Lol!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:26 2

37. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I wish I did. That way I wouldn't have to pay for Medical school.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:23 2

35. ahomad (Posts: 158; Member since: 15 May 2012)


haven't you seen the display comparison between S4, Z1 and G2. Z1 and G2 crushed the S4. So now Z1 has upgraded processor, better camera, bigger battery, better display, more powerful speaker and water/dust proof and everything else is crushed by S4, oh wait...!!!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:33 2

42. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Spring phone vs. Fall phone.

Processor - Tie (S800 vs. 5410)
Camera - Z1
Battery - (Can't be determined yet)
Speaker - (Can't be determined yet, but if it sports the same speaker from the ZU, then S4)
Water / dust proof - If you care for it (only a very select do) then Z1
Display - User preference, though AMOLED is mine
UI - S4
Software Updates - S4
Support - S4
Color Options - S4
Size - S4
Exclusive Apps - S4
Accessories - Tie

I'll just stop there.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 15:00 1

50. buccob (Posts: 1490; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


If only a select few care for water/dust protection, how come the S4 have a S4 Active variant? wouldn't that mean that there is a noticeable amount of people looking for that feature on a high end phone?

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 04:28 1

54. YodhaMali (Posts: 41; Member since: 05 Jan 2013)


Processor - Z1 (S800 trumps Exynos 5410)

Display - Z1 (Color reproduction of Triluminos Display is better than the oversaturated colors of AMOLED)

Camera - Z1 (S4 doesn't stand a chance)

UI - Z1 (Have a good time with the cartoonish TouchWiz UI comprising pathetic and pedestrian look icons)

Software Updates and Support - Get the fcuk out of your cave and get to know about Sony stepping up their update rollout intervals.

The only thing about Galaxy S IV better than Xperia Z1 is its physical size, but alas!... the cheap plasticky feel ruins it totally.

Lastly, I wonder if you ever feel ashamed of holding a cheap plasticky crap in your hands compared to a premium phone with the person next to you. If you didn't yet, you should.

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 09:47 1

55. ahomad (Posts: 158; Member since: 15 May 2012)


I am not trying to troll or start a fight here, be excuse me for saying that you are trolling. things where sony is better than samsung you didn't think is important (such as display and water and dust proof, I am sure every single one wants water proof phone but some might not want to ONLY if it has disadvantage such as making the bazel bigger but you can't use the same point twice when saying water proof isn't important and then say the size is)

and again some of Samsung advantages are exaggerated
UI is personal preference
software update and support are the same thing
exclusive apps, there is not many if any as you can get anything in XDA
and more importantly is that S800 is SIGNIFICANTLY more powerful than 5410

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:31 3

40. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


lol he mad, Z1, better cpu, better screen, better camera, better materials, water/dust res......enjoy your S4 toy phone with your child made UI

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:47

5. Saamic (Posts: 119; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)


The smartphone market is getting really exciting this fall :-)

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:48

7. Saamic (Posts: 119; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)


Motorola better step up their game

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:49 3

10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8717; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Motorola is nowhere to be found in the high end market anymore. It's all Samsung, HTC and Sony running the show.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:51 3

13. PunyPoop (Posts: 741; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


... and LG

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:54

16. emadshiny (Posts: 1136; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


Replace HTC with LG...

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:50 1

12. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5878; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


What game? Moto's game seems to be focused on the middle tier of the market. This Sony is aiming a little higher.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:56 1

17. pwnarena (Posts: 945; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


and nokia was unceremoniously sold to the demons at microsoft.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:44

46. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


My condolences to Nokia.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:51

15. Yankchef (Posts: 76; Member since: 03 Feb 2012)


Great now let's see if it will actually be on carriers

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:08 2

22. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6599; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


TWO GREAT DEVICES as for me getting the Z1

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:23 2

36. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 824; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


GS4 still holding its own VERY well :)

I certainly wouldn't move to a Z1 from my GS4 as there are aspects where the GS4 is better, Interface being a major one, I'd rather spend my money on the Note 3. :)

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:31 4

39. TMach (Posts: 372; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


I can smell the bias already! The "first look" review on GSMArena is much more professional. Quite clear to everyone that this smokes the S4 even in pre-release mode. All the criticisms made of the XZ have been well and thoroughly addressed. Been following this phone for a while and the only reason I might not get it is size, will wait to see it in the metal, so to speak. Oh yeah, to the wedded to one manufacturer trolls, currently holding a Black Mist S4 so don't even think about it. I keep an open mind and will go with the best option for me although my main reason for the S4, at the moment, is the fact that I have my 64gb sitting in the micro sd slot! By the way, this article is factually incorrect as the SGS4 has 4.2.2 OUT OF THE BOX not 4.3 and, as it is, mine has not even been updated to 4.3! Such lazy journalism........biased much? At the moment, between this and iPhone for my upgrade as not convinced by the build quality of the LG G2, loving its looks though! As for bezel trolls comments, put this beast next to the iPhone5 and the bezels are pretty much the same size! Meh.....!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:46

47. Lyngdoh (Posts: 225; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


As usual, PA will always keep Samsung aheah of competition.
4.3 out of the box, my as*!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:57

48. monkeytown (Posts: 108; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)


"Quite clear to everyone that this smokes the S4 even in pre-release mode"

sorry, but stopped reading there

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 17:18

51. Ant34 (Posts: 193; Member since: 10 Aug 2013)


Honestly, the Z1 looks like it should be in the phablet category.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 18:11

52. SonyCraperiaSucks (banned) (Posts: 25; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)


Still, despite Trilumouis Display, the S4's display still looks more like paper from an angle, while the Z1's looks kinda washed out compared to front on, improvements are there, but it is still disappointing.

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 01:34

53. Taters (Posts: 3288; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Too big. Should have waited until they could make it smaller than the Xperia Z before attempting the larger sensor. Sony should have known that if the tech wasn't there for the Xperia Z, it's not going to be there for the Z1, unless you are super balling and can spend money like water like Apple and Samsung.

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