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Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4

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Camera


The Xperia Z1 comes packing some impressive camera hardware for a smartphone. For starters, there is a 20.7 MP sensor with a size of 1/2.3", while the Galaxy S4's 13 MP camera has a sensor size is 1/3.06", which is smaller. Meanwhile, the Z1's aperture is also quite wide at f/2.0, which is a bit better than the GS4's f/2.2. Focal length of the Xperia Z1 is 27mm (compared to 31mm for the S4), which will allow you to capture more of the scene in front of you.

In terms of camera UI, both handsets are quite versatile and convenient to use at the same time. The Xperia Z1 does manage to trump the GS4 a bit in the comfort department, due to its better organized camera settings, but the GS4 kind of makes up for it with the plethora of different modes that it offers, such as Beauty face, Night, Best face, Best photo, Sports and so on. The Xperia Z1 has a bunch of cool modes of its own, though. For example, there's Social Live, which is really fun feature that lets you broadcast video directly to your own Facebook feed.

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

Sony Xperia Z1

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

Samsung Galaxy S4



Turning our attention to the images themselves, it really makes us glad to see that technology is moving forward, as the Xperia Z1 tends to produce even better pictures than the Galaxy S4, which is already a wonderful camera phone. In-focus details are significantly sharper in the 20.7 MP photos taken with the Xperia Z1. There is still a noticeable amount of noise, but on the whole, the data captured by the Z1 is a bit more substantial than what you can get out of the Galaxy S4's snapper. Colors are another interesting area to observe, as the Xperia Z1's photos are usually more realistic-looking. That's not to say that those from the Galaxy S4 are bad — quite the contrary — but they are a bit too contrasting. However, we definitely don't like the way the Z1 overexposes certain brightly-lit areas, which otherwise appear fine when captured with the Galaxy S4.

An added bonus to the 20.7 MP camera of the Xperia Z1 is that it lets you use the so-called Clear Zoom, which enables up to 3x high-quality zoom, unlike the simple digital zoom that the GS4 is capable of.

Indoor pictures are great with both phones. There is once again a bit more detail with the Xperia Z1, but there's also a slightly higher amount of noise. Still, the Z1 does seem to manage the color balance better in lower-lit scenarios. Comparing the power of the LED flashes, the one on the Z1 has the upper hand, as it's capable of illuminating slightly more of the scene in front of the camera.



Image size:
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Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z1 3.2
No data
558
490
Samsung Galaxy S4 3.4
4.75
1016
486
View all


When it comes to video recording, both handsets can go up to 1920 x 1080 resolution and a smooth frame rate of about 30 fps. There is a bit more sharpness and contrast to the image quality of the GS4's video, while the Z1 once again sticks to a slightly more realistic image. There isn't such a big difference between the two, though. The sound quality of the recorded video is a tad better with the Xperia Z1. The one of the Galaxy S4 is loud and clear, but lacks a bit in the low frequency department.



Multimedia


The Sony Xperia Z1 and Samsung Galaxy S4 are true multimedia powerhouses. With both of them featuring massive 5" 1080p displays, you can imagine that they'll be absolutely fantastic for video playback. This is another area where it'll be up to you to decide if you'd prefer the Galaxy S4's contrasting and vivid visuals, or the Xperia Z1's more natural color balance. You should also keep in mind that the Z1's viewing angles are quite poor, which means it'll be difficult for a number of people to enjoy a video at once. Sound-wise, we prefer the loudspeaker of the GS4, as it is more powerful and sounds a bit better than the Z1's run-of-the-mill speaker.

As far as music playback is concerned, you have Google's Play Music app with both, as well as Sony's and Samsung's custom music players, respectively. Both of them are good and represent what the companies stand for – Samsung's music app sports lots of settings and features, while Sony's Walkman music player is cleaner and a bit more modern. Both handsets come with high-quality earphones, with those of the Xperia Z1 managing to output a slightly better sound. Other than that, neither pair of earphones isn't very convenient to use.

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

Sony Xperia Z1

 

Samsung Galaxy S4

 

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z1 0.29
Samsung Galaxy S4 0.38
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z1 68
Samsung Galaxy S4 77
View all

65 Comments
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posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:12 16

1. amiaq (Posts: 509; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)


ahh..comparison of real phones for real man.. thanks, I am sick of never ending iphoney article already.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 11:14 1

12. bucky (Posts: 2698; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


These phones now come with purses and watches to help contain and control them.

I have cordless phones smaller at home.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 13:12 10

22. av911 (Posts: 190; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


And your cordless phone has more functions than an iPhone.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 17:45 2

34. AnTuTu (Posts: 1580; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)


Both are great devices.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 05:18

45. taikucing (unregistered)


hahahaha +1 for you

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:13 6

2. Kishin (Posts: 705; Member since: 30 May 2013)


Z1 will save u

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:14 6

3. Atlas (Posts: 158; Member since: 15 Apr 2012)


It seems the phones are on par with the Z1 having a slight edge.

posted on 30 Sep 2013, 05:13

57. cheetah2k (Posts: 1598; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


I compared the Z1 to the LG G2, and got the G2. The Z1 screen is still rubbish, and so is the 20MP cam that wont do 16:9 orientation at more than 8MP.......

Antutu 4.0 benchmarks - Z1 = 31000, LG G2 34800..

posted on 30 Sep 2013, 15:09 1

58. Atlas (Posts: 158; Member since: 15 Apr 2012)


That's because of the protective screen, take that off and see the Triluminous screen in action. I was only comparing the Z1 and G4, I know the G2 is better, but I would still go for the Z1.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:15 5

4. mayur007 (Posts: 569; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


waiting for note3 vs z1..

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:30 9

5. maherk (Posts: 4043; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Dayyyuummm, the Z1 is even heavier than the note 3!!

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:35 1

8. maherk (Posts: 4043; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Oh and since they are going with the on screen buttons, they should've gone with a 5.2" screen. The way it is now, its more of a 4.7" screen than a 5" one. And it's too damn big for a screen of that size.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 11:14 6

11. Zakriya (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Aug 2013)


Yes you are right but when you watch video or photos the buttons dissappear and screen becomes five inch plus On Screen Buttons Help In better multitasking and also can't be damage. (unless screen is damaged)
So these have some advantages as well.( p.s I love On screen buttons)

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 15:02 4

25. hosam (Posts: 11; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)


I really agree with you!!

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 00:51

38. cttan456 (Posts: 62; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)


On screen buttons do away with additional hardware and capacitive buttons which DOES break down. The iPhone's Home button is (in)famous for breaking. Its so prone to breaking that many phone repair shops here advertise their services by putting big signs saying "iphone home button repair at only $XX!"

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 02:11

41. OldNorseBruin (Posts: 232; Member since: 12 Mar 2013)


...yeah, but you are talking about the POS iKrap!

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:30 14

6. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I'd pick the Z1 over the S4 any day. Root it, install 4.3 and you got a beast in your hands.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:33 3

7. amilcarmz86 (Posts: 95; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


Z1 is one of the best phones ever made... but i have to wait to get it.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 10:37 1

9. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Should have done low light picture comparison without flash where Z1 really shines.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 11:16 11

13. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Did PA get a bad unit? My z1 doesn't have any viewing angle issue. Here is a display comparison between z1 and note 3

http://www.eprice.com.tw/mobile/talk/4551/4881355/1/rv/sony-xperia-z1-i1-Honami-review/

http://timg.eprice.com.tw/tw/mobile/img/2013-09/17/4881230/epic520_3_SONY-_41d32fa71ada9e9c4b05b2ce5fe5bf1a.jpg

http://timg.eprice.com.tw/tw/mobile/img/2013-09/17/4881230/epic520_3_SONY-_1337411f4c51a1320ad7f7ed2c7dea2a.jpg

Note 3 basically basically turned yellow into green when viewed from an angle. Color shift is horrible on note 3

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 19:10

49. hung2900 (Posts: 956; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)


My note 3 has no issue with viewing angle.
Maybe bad unit also.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 20:41 3

51. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Cool story. All Amoleds on samsung phones have color shift. Yours is no exception. Wise up next time.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 20:57 2

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


Low brightness (crappy outdoor visibility compared to lcd display) and unrealistic colours is another problems that amoled have.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 21:24 3

53. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Right on, mate. Let me add - crappy white and battery drain while showing that crappy white. Oh pentile matrix from dinosaur age and then calling it HD/FHD or anything is nothing but a scam.

posted on 01 Oct 2013, 10:11

60. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


I've tried the Note 3 at some store today and I got the same result as seen in the pictures.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 11:07 10

10. buccob (Posts: 2578; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


Great article Ray.

It shows unbias opinions and highlights both pros and cons for those 2 phones... Keep it up

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 11:44 6

16. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Unlike Johhhhhhhhhhnnnnn V. *cough*

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 11:33 5

14. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1635; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


Sony Xperia Z1 anyday boi!!!!!

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 11:43 1

15. Feanor (Posts: 733; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)


I won't be buying the Z1 until I check the screen for myself. I have seen the Z Ultra screen live and it's adequate, so I if the screen of the Z1 is at the same level, I'll probably buy this phone. But if the viewing angles area again as bad as it is often mentioned, then I'll skip until Sony improves their screen technology.

posted on 25 Sep 2013, 12:20

17. flynfree (Posts: 374; Member since: 09 Jun 2013)


I'll wait Z2 and/or Z1mini. Both phablet's are good!

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