Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3
Gaining even more steam just in time for its impending release stateside, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is no doubt going to be a major force to be reckoned with when it’s finally unleashed. Many prized smartphones stand in its way, but as we’ve seen thus far, it has the right guts, looks, specs, and performance to propel it to the top of the food chain.
Indeed, the Sony Xperia Z3 has been making the rounds for quite some time now, and through it all, we have to continue recognizing it for the qualities that make it a phone great. In the specs sheet, the older Xperia Z3 might have a disadvantage against the latest and greatest from Sammy’s camp, however, we just can’t count out the Xperia Z3 yet – more so when it bears some characteristics that are increasingly becoming less prominent amongst flagships.
The S6 takes charge with its dramatically different design, one that’s now premium in nature, but the Xperia Z3 is one of the last remaining flagships to offer a water resistant construction.
With every new Galaxy S release, Samsung has historically built upon the base by refining what's already there and adding some extra on top. With the Galaxy S6, however, the electronics giant has focused far more on the latter than on the former. To that end, instead of the plasticky shell of the Galaxy S5, Samsung has adopted a metal frame that hugs the device all over and nestles within two sheets of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 – one placed in front of the display, and the other to protect the rear.
Samsung didn't stop there, instead opting to carve several 'nano layers' into the shell. The result is a front and back that reflect light in slightly different hues depending on your viewing angle. Also, we can’t forget about some of the handset’s key features – like its improved fingerprint sensor, built-in wireless charging, heart rate sensor, and IR blaster. In achieving a higher degree of craftsmanship and premium design, the Galaxy S6, however, is stripped of some key design features that were once notable qualities with its predecessor.
And with that, we have to look at the Sony Xperia Z3 longingly and admire the fact that it’s one of the few, remaining flagships to qualify being regarded as water-resistant with its design. That’s a testament to say the least, since it doesn’t make too many sacrifices with its aesthetics and construction – it’s relatively slim and premium. It shares some of the same design characteristics as its rival, such as its premium glass surfaces and metal frame, though the Z3 is the noticeably bigger phone of the two.Still, it’s able to accommodate a handy, and always useful microSD card slot and dedicated shutter key. Not surprisingly, the Galaxy S6 earns adulation and commendation for its stark redesign, one that’s undoubtedly now deemed as premium, but we can’t neglect to forget about the Xperia Z3’s design either. Come to think of it now, it’s one of the most underrated smartphone designs out there. Despite that, the Xperia Z3’s hard lines makes it a bit awkward to handle at times, which makes the Galaxy S6 feel a ton more comfortable to hold.
Everything is just better with the Galaxy S6’s display.
Being almost a year newer has its advantages, especially knowing Samsung’s insatiable appetite for pushing the boundaries. Clearly within the flagship range, the Xperia Z3’s 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 LCD display has several good qualities about it, but it looks daunting on paper in comparison to the Galaxy S6’s dazzling 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display.
In all fairness, it’s quite difficult in deciphering the detail superiority of the Galaxy S6’s display over the Xperia Z3 when looking at the two from a normal distance – they’re both sharp and pleasing to the eye. Moving ever so closer, however, that’s when we begin to visualize the astounding level of detail produced by the quad-HD resolution of the Galaxy S6’s screen. For practical usage, though, there’s no denying that they’re both on equal ground.Now, let's talk about color calibration. With the Samsung Galaxy S6 set in the non-default Basic display mode, we're looking at a spot-on color temperature of 6550K (6500K being the desired optimal value), while the Xperia Z3 offers the very unsatisfactory 10324K. In real terms, this means that the Xperia Z3’s display is cold (or bluish) and that's especially visible with whites and various shades of gray. In comparison, Samsung's device offers realistic whites that are... well, white!
Were we to draw the line right here, the Xperia Z3 would only suffer a relatively small defeat, instead of being steamrolled as it is in reality. Indeed, the Galaxy S6's display also proves far better in terms of color accuracy, with essentially every shade hitting its desired target at every intensity level, while the Z3 falters significantly in comparison – the hue presentation is all over the place when referenced to the standard, as you can see in the color charts below. In reality, the S6’s panel replicates colors with accuracy, while the Z3’s screen tries to be more saturated and punchy, which, however, backfires significantly, resulting in a severely inaccurate screen.
Details and colors aside, the Z3’s LCD-based display shines strongly at 713 nits, making it especially easy to view outdoors with the sun present. Once known to be among the worse display technologies when it came to maximum brightness, Super AMOLED has taken a great leap forward in recent memory, as the S6’s Super AMOLED display musters up a respectable 563 nits.
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|
|Sony Xperia Z3||713
|Samsung Galaxy S6||563
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||56.1%
|Sony Xperia Z3||81.8%
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.
1. calim (Posts: 39; Member since: 09 Mar 2013)
Z3 should win because of battery time alone. A dead phone is just a brick until it's charged again.
17. mixedfish (Posts: 1152; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)
Indeed recharge time is an important consideration, now that you can't change the battery you DON'T want a fast charge time. Lest you fall victim of a faster deteriorating battery.
38. techperson211 (Posts: 1168; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)
These 2 are great phones but for me samsung removed a lot of features that are well known from them. Z3 on the other hand have a lot of unique feature such as noise cancelation, ps remote play, ip certified, good battery life, almost stock android and the external sd slot. Qhd is useless for that kind of sizes putting strain to battery. Camera no doubt that s6 is better but z3 is not far behind if you know basic photography and of course most of us is not and just want to point and shoot. Still for me z3 is the best choice here considering the price difference as well.
45. the_matchless (Posts: 64; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)
In case you are talking about fast charging, that's exactly what Samsung does and as you said it results in degradation in battery life. By the way its not a company specific feature its rather a Qualcomm feature so they all have it (visit qualcomm website and you'll find out). Yes S6 has a home brewed CPU alright but still what I mean to say is that they all have it. Sony has just not packaged the handset with a fast charger probably for the reason stated above. You may get a charger with higher MA and have the phone charged quicker.
3. SonyFindOneDroidple (Posts: 773; Member since: 11 May 2013)
Would also take up 2.6hrs more to recharge, so basicallly it will be idle/brick for 2.6hrs more..
7. ILikeBubbles (Posts: 525; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
perfect for people who let their phone charge overnight.. and the battery life is (should be) MORE than enough to last an entire day away from the charger.
16. FluffyBled (Posts: 471; Member since: 10 Sep 2014)
Not that perfect for people who play graphics intensive games a lot!
47. the_matchless (Posts: 64; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)
Have you owned a Z3? I guess not cause it at an average has 50% battery time left nearing bed time so how much gaming would you be doing? the whole night? IUKWIM
54. TMach (Posts: 450; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
Playing intensive graphic wouldn't be something you'd want to do on the S6, given the battery would be dead in less than a nano second...... Lol.
15. JunitoNH (Posts: 1609; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
Yes, also SD card and water resistant. The S6 to me, is an old design, reminiscent of the iphone 4 and beyond. In order for Sony to make a dent in the mobile market; they need to adjust their price structure.
24. oister85 (Posts: 473; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)
No, they need to stop been exclusive for some carriers and release they phone worldwide.
26. CamaroSS (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
Also loved how PA pretended to see a big difference in the display sharpness by deliberately skipping the 'pentile' resolution of the S6
Z3 -> Red SPPI - 424 , Green SPPI - 424, Blue - SPPI - 424
S6 -> Red SPPI - 408 , Green SPPI - 577, Blue - SPPI - 408
S6 is far from being much sharper than Z3 and can actually be less sharper than Z3 in some cases. But hey, that's PA for you =)
If you take LG G3 (much bigger 5.5" screen), it'd be much sharper than S6
G3 -> Red SPPI - 538 , Green SPPI - 538, Blue - SPPI - 538
But this time, PA would again deliberately ignore the 'pentile' part and label S6 sharper than G3. At least, we get entertained though.
Pentile QHD is in the same class as the 1080p RGB in terms of sharpness. If anyone pretends to see the difference between Pentile QHD & RGB 1080p, he should see 2x the difference between a RGB QHD & Pentile QHD.
30. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3714; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
"In all fairness, it’s quite difficult in deciphering the detail superiority of the Galaxy S6’s display over the Xperia Z3 when looking at the two from a normal distance – they’re both sharp and pleasing to the eye. Moving ever so closer, however, that’s when we begin to visualize the astounding level of detail produced by the quad-HD resolution of the Galaxy S6’s screen. For practical usage, though, there’s no denying that they’re both on equal ground."
Where exactly did they pretend to see a huge difference? That last sentence says it all. Stop exaggerating.
32. CamaroSS (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
"Moving ever so closer, however, THAT'S WHEN we begin to visualize the astounding level of detail ..." So they magically see the extra green sub-pixels, but don't see the missing red & blue sub-pixels.
LOL - stop whining & read before you paste.
33. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3714; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
I read it just fine. Please point out where I'm whining. I'll wait.
The obvious conclusion they came to is that there is no difference in practical usage, but all you could see was the one sentence. Keep your bias tucked in.
34. CamaroSS (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
Please point out where I'm exaggerating. I'll wait.
You're stuck with one sentence as well. Sharpness is objective. From a subjective viewpoint, you either see it or not - altogether. Keep your pain tucked in.
35. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3714; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
"Also loved how PA pretended to see a big difference in the display sharpness by deliberately skipping the 'pentile' resolution of the S6. "
Right there. Not to mention, it's two sentences, not one.
It's funny to me that you think this pains me in any way. This is the internet. I highly doubt I will be losing a wink of sleep due to this conversation. Keep trying though.
36. CamaroSS (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
'astounding level of detail' == big difference
It's funny to me that you think I exaggerated in any way. Well, This is internet, but reading helps!
56. TMach (Posts: 450; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
Just the usual bias in favour of the latest and greatest from a favoured manufacturer....!
51. the_matchless (Posts: 64; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)
LOLzzz true! they just pointlessly need a point to score... LOLzzz
53. Trex95 (Posts: 879; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)
I think I agree with you after I used every single Samsung flagship that comes with 1080P and 1440P Super Amoled Note 3, Note 4, Note edge, S5 and S6 even tho S6 comes with 577 ppi it's not as sharp as G3 IPS that comes with 538 ppi plus screen mode in Amoled photo and basic mode the white turn yellowish really sad cause I prefer Samsung keyboard and fingerprint scanner on S6.
37. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
The battery life on my Z3 went from 3 days standby to 1 day after the 5.02 update. Crazy. Other than that, great update.
4. UglyFrank (Posts: 1580; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)
I guarantee the S5 has better visibility in sunlight
43. CamaroSS (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
Nylon corners actually. You're probably mixing up with Z2.
"The Xperia Z2 comes with an all-encompassing aluminium frame while the Xperia Z3 features additional nylon corners in the same colour as the frame. Sony claims when most users drop their phones it lands on the corners so this design element has been introduced to help protect the device."
6. cheetah2k (Posts: 1507; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
2 great handsets. one the best of last years flagships, and the other the best of this years flagships.. After reading this, I'm more than happy swapping my Z3 for the S6 :)
8. epic_ninja420 (Posts: 49; Member since: 18 Nov 2014)
Why dont any of these reviews utilize the quick charge capability of the Z3?
18. mixedfish (Posts: 1152; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)
I believe Sony locked the feature to protect the battery.
9. gaming64 (unregistered)
The Z3 is still a beast, even by 2015 standards! I would take the Z3 in a swoop!
41. yoosufmuneer (Posts: 1492; Member since: 14 Feb 2015)
So is the Galaxy Note 4. These are late 2014 devices.
49. phichart (Posts: 246; Member since: 03 May 2014)
I bought Z3 a few days ago and that's not where near my note 4.... the phone is super hot and camera is very bad... No where near my note 4... I should wait z4... really sad that I bought Z3.... and the phone is very uncomfortable on the hand...
52. the_matchless (Posts: 64; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)
I also happen to have both in my family along with a Note Edge and my experience is quite different from yours. Yes it runs super hot with Camera on a hot day and that's one gripe I also have with Z3. However, it's a far handier phone than the Note 4, specially more than the note edge and feels great in hand as its light and feels truly premium. Yes it's slippy but not uncomfortable in the hand at all. The camera lacks OIS has a poor superior auto function and does focus fishing still its not as bad. It can take some really really spectacular pictures so lets not simply disregard the camera altogether. All in all its a great phone with many other great things with a very reasonable price tag.
P.s. have you checked playing back videos on Z3 along side Note 4 or edge? I have and Z3 on it's built in player with X reality turned on can really really make one wonder on the need of having QHD? Even with that function turned off the Z3 stood its ground.
10. Feanor (Posts: 670; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
Still befuddled how every single review forgets the active noise cancellation feature of the Z3. Isn't listening to music or videos or games with headphones in public one of the most common usage scenarios for smartphones?
This plus water resistance really put the Z3 on the same level as the S6 for me. I'd envy only the camera of the S6, nothing else. And the camera of the Z3 is just a bit inferior but far from terrible.
13. derivativex (Posts: 176; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
You forgot the display where the s6 thoroughly shines
19. Feanor (Posts: 670; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
But the screen calibration feature of the Z3 can take care of the cold white balance. My point is that the S6 is just a bit better in points where the Z3 is also good enough, whereas the Z3 has unique features that the S6 doesn't offer at all. Features like active noise cancellation and waterproofing that I use daily (I own a Z2).
Plus Sony take on Lollipop is nearly stock whereas Touchwiz is still a problem for me. All in all I was impressed by the sexiness of the S6, when I played with it, but disappointed by interface and lack of these important for me features.
My point is that the S6 may be an admirable phone but it doesn't really manage to wipe the floor with the Z3. Especially considering the price difference.
25. seven7dust (unregistered)
Not in brightness and outdoor visibility
57. nexus2077 (Posts: 8; Member since: 11 Feb 2015)
you forgot the Noise cancellation, Waterproofing, Hi-Res Audio with it's dual DAC chip, Best Battery Life, PS4 remoteplay.. hehe.. display is not a dealbreaker than Hi-Res audio playing FLAC format.. a device which is not Hi-Res Capable can stil play FLAC format but the output is so much the same to an MP3.. True Hi-Res audio is a "lossless Audio Quality".. so there's only 1 thing that can be envious of that S6 which is a bit better camera.. other than that, Xperia has so much to offer.. no to mention that it doesn't have Touchwiz which eat's up the RAM most of time specially when the device has already tons of apps being installed :)
11. Settings (Posts: 1467; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)
Remote Play and IP rating is what makes me stick to the Xperia Z3. Plus that battery life, Samsung can't beat that.
14. mimicryXD (Posts: 33; Member since: 03 Apr 2015)
Just add noise cancellation, water resistant and battery. To be honest sony is underrated phone.
20. mixedfish (Posts: 1152; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)
One feature often over looked by every website, is the hard reset button on Xperias. This is a very convenient feature for people who like to flash custom roms.
22. HarryWild (Posts: 60; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)
S6 is nice but you cannot buy it in the U.S. as an "Unlocked" version. I will wait to see if Samsung finally makes an "Unlocked" non carrier version.
23. dancheung77 (Posts: 192; Member since: 28 Jan 2015)
Wel, the z3 cost a lot less compare to s6, and probably half as the s6 edge
27. material (Posts: 78; Member since: 08 Jan 2015)
They mistake noise cancellation for Incall noise cancellation. Its Musical nirvana type of noise cancellation people.
29. monoke (Posts: 272; Member since: 14 Mar 2015)
Z3 has got the s6 in a very critical category to me: Zexyness!!
31. buccob (Posts: 2512; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Good review John V. a bit more balanced than other authors...
However it bothers me when you say that you can have "up to 5" windows with Sony's Small Apps but here I am with over 14 FOURTEEN windows opened in my Xperia Z3 Compact (2 GB of RAM instead of 3) and everything is smooth...
I don't think there is a fixed limitation to the numbers of small app windows... I think it is more of a RAM availability... Anyway I never use more than 2 windows at a time on this screen.
Also the feature set on Xperia's UI is also very deep but PA never digs enough... You'd be surprise to find many hidden features
39. JunitoNH (Posts: 1609; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
Owners of the Z3, how do you feel about some of the bad reviews on the Sony page? Just want to know, because I was considering on purchasing one, until I saw some of the reviews. Thank you in advance.
40. CamaroSS (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
I actually own both Z2 & Z3 - I'm totally happy with both of them. While Z3 is a slightly better device, Z2 is probably a better deal at its current price point. I'd also check Amazon first for reviews. Are you concerned about any specific feature?
48. WallStreet (Posts: 256; Member since: 21 Sep 2014)
PA- you didn't convince me one bit. Yes the S6 has the the upper hand with the CPU and crushes competition in benchmarks, but I think the CPU of the Z3 is enough for just about everything including the latest games. Therefore there is no real life benefit from the CPU of S6. Maybe just futureproofing.
However with the battery of the Z3 lasting over a quarter times longer I think it is a dealbreaker.
Furthermore the design of the S6 with the glossy silver rim is just unbearable for me.