Sony Xperia Z2 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Sony Xperia Z2 is just starting to hit shelves: a product of relentless iteration, it is the third in a lineage of Sony flagships that focus on combining a sleek design with state-of-the-art hardware. Its flagship status will put the Z2 alongside some of the best selling Android devices that out on the market, and in this article we’ll see how it fares against the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a phablet with a larger display, but almost equally capable hardware and a good camera.
The Xperia Z2, on its part, features a 5.2-inch 1080p display, the latest Snapdragon 801 system chip, and a 20-megapixel main camera. It is also sealed from the elements in a futuristic-looking body made of glass and metal. The Note 3’s highlights include a 5.7-inch 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 800 chip, and a 13-megapixel shooter.
A battle of Sony’s sleek Xperia style against the cartoonish Samsung TouchWiz, of fashionable glass design versus utilitarian plastic, of an LCD display against AMOLED technology, the clash between the Xperia Z2 and Note 3 promises to be fascinating. Let’s see if we can come up with a winner, shall we?
The Xperia Z2 continues on the Sony tradition of sleek looks and glass body, while the Galaxy Note 3 features an utilitarian plastic design.
The Sony Xperia Z2 features a stylish monolithic design with glass on its back and front, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is made of the more mundane (yet still practical) plastic, fashioned to look like leather with a soft-touch feel. Design is a matter of personal preference, but it’s clear that the Z2 is the one that makes the bolder statement, a fashionable device with looks that catch the eye more.
In terms of size, the Xperia Z2 and Note 3 are clearly two large phones. The Xperia Z2 has evolved to be a bit narrower than its predecessors, but it’s still hard to use single-handedly and it’s one of the largest of 2014 flagship phones. The Note 3, on the other hand, is a phablet at heart - considerably taller and wider, with a 0.5-inch larger screen. Both are almost equally thin, but neither breaks any records: the Xperia Z2 measures 0.32 inches thick, while the Note 3 is a hair bigger at 0.33 inches.
The Z2, has one definite advantage over the Note 3, and that is its resistance to the elements. The Sony handset is protected from dust and water, carrying the IP58 certification. This rating means that the phone can withstand submersion in up to 5-feet (1.5-meter) deep fresh water (don’t get it near salt water, though!) for up to 30 minutes, and that it is protected against low-pressure water jets.
In terms of buttons, the Xperia Z2 applies meticulous attention to detail with beautifully crafted metal buttons. The round lock key on the right is particularly well made, but can be just a bit too small and shallow. Also on the right are the volume rocker with a curved shape, but again it has a muted response and is not very clicky, and there’s also a dedicated two-way camera shutter key that’s actually fine. The Galaxy Note 3 in contrast uses plastic buttons that look way more generic, but while they lack the style, they are a bit easier to press, and get the job done.
Sony goes one step further than before with the Z2, introducing stereo speakers located inconspicuously on the front in the form of slender strips right near the top and bottom borders of the phone. The top one hides a secret - an LED notification strip that starts blinking in different colors whenever you get a new message or an update. It’s all conveniently color-coded and will flash in different colors for different notification. The Galaxy Note 3, in contrast, has a more ordinary single-speaker setup with the speaker on the bottom, and one LED notification light up front, above the display.
The 5.2-inch IPS display on the Z2 is a huge step forward for Sony as it delivers great viewing angles, but its colors are oversaturated. The Note 3’s 5.7-inch AMOLED display is also good, but whites are off and colors – even more overblown.
The Sony Xperia Z2 comes with a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, while the Galaxy Note 3 has a larger, 5.7-inch screen that features the same 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. Due to the different screen size, pixel density is a bit higher on the Xperia Z2: 424ppi versus 386ppi on the Note 3. This minute difference is not noticeable in real-world usage, and both screens are very sharp, even when you have to deal with tiny text fonts. You won’t notice any pixelization on the Xperia Z2, and just slight one on the Note 3 (due to its non-RGB display, but more on that later).
The Xperia Z2 has an IPS LCD display (finally, Sony!), while the Note 3 uses Super AMOLED technology. First, we ought to say that this new Xperia Z2 display is a huge step up for Sony, a company that has had sub-par displays in its last couple of top-shelf offerings, and now finally makes advances with a display that no longer washes out hugely at an angle (it actually has good viewing angles).
The Z2 is the first Sony smartphone to come with a new Live Color LED technology, a term to describe the fact that display panel on the Z2 uses red and green phosphor lights in addition to the traditional blue LEDs. These lights in concert with custom color filters combine to theoretically achieve brighter, more uniform light.
Interestingly, while AMOLED (as on the Note 3) and LCD (as on the Xperia Z2) generally differ in that often Samsung’s AMOLED screens feature much wider, unrealistically intense colors, that difference is diminished in the case of the Xperia Z2 and the Note 3 as both have pumped up colors. Still, the AMOLED on the Note 3 is much more intense and unrealistic.
The Xperia Z2 has very intense colors, with one of the deepest (if not the deepest) reds and blues we’ve ever seen, and an overall much wider than standard color gamut. The overall color appearance is comparable to the wide and rich colors of the Note 3, but that does not make them perfect when it comes to color fidelity - the wider-than-normal tones do not look natural at all on either handset. We should note that both the Xperia Z2 and Note 3 provide consistent saturation - it is just that the wide color gamma makes colors appear way too surreal.
Outdoors, both handsets do a great job as they can get sufficiently bright and reflections are reduced nicely, so overall it’s relatively easy to use them under the bright sun. The Xperia Z2 has also gotten two new display options: you can now choose to enable or disable glove mode, as well as adjust the white point to your liking. The Note 3 also allows you to tweak settings like super sensitive mode, so it's not behind in this regard.
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 Z2||458
|Samsung Galaxy Note 3||360
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 Note 3||56.1%
|Sony Xperia Z2||90.4%
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. hateftotti (Posts: 163; Member since: 03 May 2011)
In my view,Note 3 still is the best smartphone out there...
13. KingDingaLing (Posts: 324; Member since: 11 Oct 2013)
Agree 100%. Although the Sony is a nice phone, I wouldn't trade the Note 3 for it.
60. N3Z1droid (Posts: 89; Member since: 02 Jan 2014)
I wouldn't trade my Note 3 for it either. Thats why i order it to trade my Z1 then use both later
68. liftmeup (Posts: 29; Member since: 17 May 2014)
Me neither! The Note 3 is THE BEST out there, basta!
22. akki20892 (Posts: 3773; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
Note 3 is best phablet.... Not smartphone.
25. Bioload25 (Posts: 213; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
But in this case it doesnt make much of a difference since the z2 is not small by any means,even in comparison to a phablet...
28. akki20892 (Posts: 3773; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
3" to 5.3" smartphones
5.5" to 6.5" phablets.
48. RandomUsername (Posts: 754; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)
That's just, like, your opinion, man.
Smartphones can have any size. Or what do you call a 2.9" Android phone? And phablet is such an ugly word, that's why I prefer not to use it. But if you're gonna use it, I would say a phablet is everything above 5" (which is also a smartphone, of course).
49. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
But one problem if the N3 had the same pixel density as the S5 it would've been the best phablet smartphone out there
59. Diezparda (Posts: 293; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)
Same here, just look about Z2 dimension is about on par with 5.7" Note 3.
2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 9719; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Note 3 = multitasking king so N3 for me.
3. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1788; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
I have to say both phones are beastly! I love the large screen size of the Note 3 and the IP 58 rating of the Z2. IMO, it's hard to tell a true winner
7. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1788; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
But there are people who just don't like a phone that big, so it's still no clear winner.
19. buccob (Posts: 1937; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Both phones are huge... but being both so good, it only comes down to personal taste...
IP58 is more important to me.
But I rather have an even smaller form factor.... please Sony release ZL2 globally
39. PapaSmurf (Posts: 9719; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Funny that you say that because the G2 has a 5.2" screen yet is a lot smaller.
31. Sid91 (unregistered)
I personally prefer note 3 although the z2 has a tempting camera but the main reason I prefer Note 3 is cuz of the number of useful features which I use on a daily basis the one I dont use i disable them and also no on screen buttons.
The Z2 is advertised as 5.2 screen but you can only utilize the 4.9 and the .3 is always used up by the onscreen buttons. You can consider the z2 onscreen buttons as part of the bottom bezel.
Unlike Z2 all 5.7 screen realestate of note 3 is used while gaming and browsing.
26. akki20892 (Posts: 3773; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
If u want smartphone then go for Z2
If u want phablet then go for Note 3.
30. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1788; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
I wanted a smartphone so I went with Z2 :D The multitasking function on Note 3 might be nice, but I'm on computer all day for my job, Note 3 got nothing on a real PC's multitasking ability :P
32. wilsong17 (unregistered)
If you are smart you cane figure out how to replace your pic with the note 3
38. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1788; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Replacing my PC with Note 3? Yeah... none of the smartphone is that great yet. Try to run AutoCad or ArcGIS on a smartphone spec computer... It'll just crush
43. tahirk (Posts: 25; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)
And how come a 5.78 inch device makes into Smartphones & a 5.95 inch Note 3 a phablet. They both are of the same category.
55. TheGenius (Posts: 339; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)
He is talking about dimensions -.- SMH.!
64. tahirk (Posts: 25; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)
No, it isn't. Check the dimensions for both.
Z2 is 5.78 x 2.89
Note 3 is 5.95 x 3.12
45. latido (Posts: 42; Member since: 31 May 2012)
If u give me an option to buy, I will go wih Note 3, why? because it more cheaper compare to z2 ( too expensive+overheating issue).
53. maherk (Posts: 2260; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Agree here, both phones are beasts and you can't go wrong with either one of them.
6. mokhtar (Posts: 372; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)
z2 is clear winner here .. better display , better camera , better design ,and better sound experience .. and WATERPROOF .. SO no chance to note 3 here .. Z2
12. refillable (Posts: 831; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
I am speechless about those fake statement...
23. akki20892 (Posts: 3773; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
Then why did u commented. Lol
63. refillable (Posts: 831; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
At least I didn't even try to counter and argue...
Well He's right on the Camera and design though. That's for me at least.
17. redmd (Posts: 1017; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
Better camera - NO. Those 20MP shots are not good. But it is true that the 8MP shots are excellent.
33. wilsong17 (unregistered)
Lol fan boy point of view
8. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3473; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Sonera is the worst carrier their delivery takes forever.
9. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1788; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
still waiting for your Z2? That's taking forever I said!
36. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3473; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Yep. This is horrible I'm so nervous all day just waiting for the message to come lol
10. drazwy (Posts: 165; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
Summed up in 4 words. One exists, one doesn't.
24. drazwy (Posts: 165; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
Just what it says. I can buy a Note 3. I can't buy a Sony Z2. Most of the people that have ordered one in the extremely limited release areas, are still waiting for it. And those that did actually get one, have build quality issues. So I guess it technically exists, but it's not a real viable purchase.
58. cheetah2k (Posts: 1070; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
spot on drazwy. Sony released the Z2 in Feb, yet no one can get one without paying huge prices on ebay.... And then there are dead pixel and overheating issues... Another Sony fail..
56. TheGenius (Posts: 339; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)
Look at artsim98.
He has been waiting for his z2 for ages now and there's no sign of it yet. ! :p
15. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3681; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Both are excellent phones. All comes down to size preference.
16. Taters (Posts: 4236; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Holy crap the Z2 and M8 are huge. No way a 5.2 inch screen phone should come anywhere near the size of a Note 3 and yet the Z2 is near enough.
Disgusting how bad the current crop of 2014 flagships are.
47. splus (Posts: 34; Member since: 26 Nov 2011)
Everyone is raving how S5, M8 and Z2 are good, but I couldn't agree with you more!
Just a bit larger screens than 2013 crop, but much larger phones overall. If I'm buying a phone of that size then I want to have larger screen!
I wouldn't be surprised if G3 is smaller than Z2, even though it has a much larger screen...
20. papss (unregistered)
These are two great phones.. I've owned a note3 and would love to get my hands on a z2.
Those complaining about size can always buy a iphone 5s for your baby hands
21. Taters (Posts: 4236; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
There is size and there is ridiculously unacceptable size.
The Note 3 size for a 5.7 inch screen and a stylus/Wacom digitizer. Perfectly acceptable.
The Z2 size for a 5.2 inch screen is freaking ridiculous.
44. isprobi (Posts: 350; Member since: 30 May 2011)
I see so many people post opinions like this. But I think Sony put the large bezels on the phone to make it easy to hold in landscape mode. The Note 3 is mainly a portrait orient device. Owning a Xperia Z Ultra I can tell you that I need those bezels to hold the phone in landscape comfortably.
46. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
When you hold these 2 phones on the ear it looks like a joke. But I always use a good bluetooth instead of looking weird holding a big phone
27. vuyonc (Posts: 662; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)
Both are probably the best in their respective classes right now and you can't go wrong with either but dang the N3 has really stood the test of time (well about 8 months anyway).
29. JayBEE (Posts: 36; Member since: 03 Apr 2014)
I suggest comparing the Z2 to the Oppo Find 7, whenever the latter is released. Even though I have the Note 3, I really want the Oppo Find 7, but got tired of waiting. My only complaint with the Note 3 is that it is a wee bit large for one-handed usage.