Sony Xperia Z2 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Interface and functionality
Two markedly different skins: Sony's Xperia theme feels downright restrained when compared with Samsung's TouchWiz, which goes full-out with customization options.
The differences in design between Sony and Samsung aren't just limited to the outer shell of their new flagships – the custom interface and the functionality it offers is also governed by two very distinct (and contrasting) philosophies. In simple terms, it wouldn't be objectively wrong to say that Sony has a more restrained and simplistic approach that weeds out the extra fluff and discards it. In contrast, more is better with Samsung, and even more is best. And these competing philosophies are not confined to just functionality – they, naturally, govern the resulting software design, too.
Based on the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat update, the Xperia Z2 is rather minimally-skinned. The overlay is distinct, sure, but it is nicely tailored around the core principles of stock Android, and its underlying functionality. Essential apps, like the Phonebook, Organizer and Messenger, have a minimal and uniform look. Sony has only added on top where it felt is absolutely needed – like easier homescreen editing and extra themes, or even the so-called Small Apps (mini versions of apps) or some extras for the multimedia department. These include xLOUD, which boosts volume levels, and the ClearAudio+ equalizer preset.
Looking at Samsung's TouchWiz-skinned take on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the different approach is hard to miss. The software is chock-full with extra features, and the Settings menu is downright overwhelming. That said, we've gotta say that the otherwise cartoonish overlay has gone through a very positive design update, though we're not blind to some leftover inconsistencies.
In any case, there can be no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the undisputed winner in terms of functionality here, especially when you consider extras like the generally-reliable fingerprint scanner, or even the somewhat puzzling heart rate monitor. Beyond those two, apps like S Health, and perks like the well-made (but hard to launch) one-handed mode, are well-received. That said, and this is important, you do have to keep in mind that a big part of these extras will either not make it into your daily routine, or are available through third-party apps off the Play Store.
Processor and memory
More RAM, or a slightly better processor – that's what it comes down to here. Luckily, there are no wrong answers.
If you would pry open either of these two flagships, the sight below is unlikely to disappoint even the most exacting of you. True to their 2014 flagship title, both the Xperia Z2 and Galaxy S5 are packing some serious silicon muscle. That said, there are some differences between the two.
Packing a 2.3GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974-AB), Sony's flagship packs the slightly less powerful Qualcomm chip of the two, with the slower cores and GPU. In comparison, the Galaxy S5's 2.5GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 801 (MSM89740-AC) is Qualcomm's top of the line bin of the chip, and offers a small performance edge. On the other hand, the S5's otherwise healthy 2 gigs of RAM are not quite as healthy as the 3GB unit packed in the Z2.
And yet, beyond rehashing technicalities, and even beyond the slight disbalances between the two, both devices offer no-compromise performance in general, though the TouchWiz software on Samsung's phone is more prone to hiccups when navigating around the interface.
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 25041
Sony Xperia Z2 18584
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
Sony Xperia Z2 34088
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
Sony Xperia Z2 1177
Vellamo HTML 5
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1632
Sony Xperia Z2 1584
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
Sony Xperia Z2 925.4
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
Sony Xperia Z2 12.4
Internet and connectivity
Flagship-worthy and frills-free web browsing; chock-full connectivity arsenals.
Sony is among the only mainstream manufacturers to offer just Google’s Chrome browser out of the box with its phones, and we can say we’re happy to see such an approach. As always, Chrome performs up to standard, and browsing on the Xperia Z2’s 5.2-inch display is a pure pleasure – load times are industry-leading, and navigation is smooth as butter.
But such dismissal of OEM browsers doesn’t do Samsung’s proprietary Browser app justice. Sure, the Galaxy S5 does also come with Chrome pre-loaded, but we’ve found that the company’s in-house solution is quite the performer, too. Once again, we have top-of-the-line browsing experience with the Galaxy S5, and we’re honestly unable to produce a winner here. Good stuff!
On another note, connectivity options are also quite plentiful with these two top shelfers. Indeed, both devices offer Cat 4 LTE speeds of up to 150Mbit/s downlink. We again have a stalemate in regions without LTE, as both handsets have a back-up HSPA+ capable radio for theoretical peak speeds of up to 42.2Mbit/s. In addition, the usual stack – Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, NFC – are available to both, though the Xperia Z2 does offer the slightly more interesting, 802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac Wi-Fi protocol (no 5GHz for the S5). On the other hand, the S5 does come with the unique Download Booster feature, which allows the handset to merge Wi-Fi and LTE speeds into a singular force of movie-downloading-bonanza.
59. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2631; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
Head to head and cut to cut....
Nice article Chris.
95. cheetah2k (Posts: 816; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
I have both Z2 and S5. I 100% disagree the IPS display is better than the S5's display. Not sure what crack Chris was smoking, but must have been good stuff
163. T.Law (Posts: 245; Member since: 10 May 2014)
I have the Z2 and most of my friends have the S5. I have to admit that I prefer the screen of the S5 and the colour reproduction is no where near inaccurate. But I'll never trade my Z2 for the S5 though.
18. sar44 (Posts: 211; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
In movie and pro photo mode the temperature 6500K, also they have 106-107% SRGB, its better than 130% in Z2.
brightness at s5 in a auto mode is 698. also much better antiglare
130% SRGB. All image are designed for SRGB standard (99.9% of the colors in nature), and enhanced range is color distortion, oversaturation and red hues.
Lack of OIS
No isocell (isocell have better color, better dynamic range)
No oled (oled have ideal black color, ideal contrast, ideal viewing angle, ideal response speed, all much better than lcd)
Weak sound in headphones
Large energy consumption (3200 mah batery life less then 2800mah S5 and 2600 mah M8)
FBReader Video 3D Games
HTC M8 2600 mА·h 22 h. 10 m. 13 h. 20 m. 3 h. 20 m.
Galaxy S5 2800 mА·h 17 h. 20 m. 12 h. 30 m. 4 h 30 m.
Xperia z2 3200 мА·h 15 h. 20 m. 11 h. 00 m. 3 h. 30 m.
31. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3239; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
TL;DR version please and clickable links.
41. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3239; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
not allowed huh
91. Odiin (Posts: 236; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
What is this? I didnt get anything.
115. buccob (Posts: 1428; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Read GSMArena battery score and cry...
Battery life is one of the best out there... way more than SGS5
145. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
what about the battery life test here on PA and other sites? #StopTheHate #iInsistSonyIsForOldPeople #DontStartPreaching
161. buccob (Posts: 1428; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
PA battery life test only involve 1 type of test...
GSMArena test 4 areas: Talk time, Web Browsing, Video Playback and Stand By... then they make an average out of them...
In my opinion GSMArena has a much more comprehensive and complete Battery life test...
and c'mon buddy... dont bring hashtags crap here... it doesn't make your post look good.
25. sar44 (Posts: 211; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
I am not a fanboy, at S5 also has disadvantages
and lg (little camera sensor, no oled, no isocell, plastic body, no waterproof, bad sound at headphonres) and htc (thick bezels, little camera sensor, no oled, no isocell, no ois) and apple (thick bezels, little camera sensor, no oled, no isocell, no ois, little screen)
29. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3239; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
So no isocell has become a dealbreaker huh. Cool.
32. sar44 (Posts: 211; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
Read about, watch video, isocell have better color and dynamic range.
and the others comparisons
63. refillable (Posts: 636; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
Unnatural DR and oversaturated photos of the S5 cancel your argument very quickly. Also, please stop posting unclickable links! I have not seen the video tests though.
72. sar44 (Posts: 211; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
You are true samsung hater. All on the contrary. No oversaturation, colors are maximally natural, unlike bsi
80. sar44 (Posts: 211; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
At S5 DR better than bsi in smartphones, but not better then bsi in DSLR, because smaller sensor. Colors at S5 better then bsi in smartphones and bsi in DSLR. Less electrical crosstalk between pixels. The excess charge less spreads out in the wrong cell.
More photons exactly comes with microlenses and going in the right photodiode.
105. refillable (Posts: 636; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
My Point is, A good DSLR Photo doesn't oversaturate things like the S5's camera does. Less electrical crosstalk means that colours will not be flexible, hence the result is some oversaturated pictures and unnatural colours.
84. josephnero (Posts: 305; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
Let them go bro.sammy fans are getting worse than apple and nokia
87. Ashoaib (Posts: 2020; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Which phone has DSLR? Here people are talking about phone
107. refillable (Posts: 636; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
A good DSLR can be a 'reference' to compare good smartphone cameras. There is nothing wrong with talking about DSLRs here.
112. sar44 (Posts: 211; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
124. refillable (Posts: 636; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
I don't wanna believe untrusted sites. How they showed the details that the Z2 captures baffles me.
126. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
I own my z2 and taking photos they were never blurred in the background.. did they clean the lens from fingerprints... Total fake or old software. As also the kidding sharpness of sgs 5.. Tried them both in same occasion and place.. Z2 was not far worse than S5 but still a first class in compact cams, and hits perfectly clear macro scene, next time use a cam holder if you have shaky hands.
113. sar44 (Posts: 211; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
128. refillable (Posts: 636; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
I know that. What I'm talking about was how it produces more saturated pictures than BSI, which is not nice considering that saturation is oversaturated (at least for me). And I have many friends who agrees with me.
146. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
yes dear hater, yes. everything that makes a phone better and is missing becomes a dealbreaker. compilation of "missing" things in many flagship phones compared to the GS5 makes a helluva dealbreaker.
155. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
The deal is noise cancelling, and having FM radio, more useable things than a heart rate sensor. Dont Like the oversaturation, turn off the xReality.. Done! Try to turn off the amoleds... Win in any class, just hard for sammy users to accept the facts
156. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
fm radio? lmaoooo living in the 90s? hey download tune in. grandpa uses sony fm radios, we're in 2014 ey? I don't know if you're actually speaking english, because the last 2 phrases are kinda weird. accept WHAT facts? that sony can't release a flagship? that sony screens are terrible? oh yes read about it and about viewing angles. that the GS5 ups it in camera even in a Samsung-hater website like this one? WHAT facts? that Zf@rts have half the features Samsungs have? just again ... FACTS? numbers dont lie sissyy, and it's clear what people want and what people hate, sony, like you said it. fm radio. grandpa. nursery home. go to h*ll no one cares about it
157. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
yeah, you're right, having all the money for Z2 makes me bout 50's old, cause no child is going to afford one. Internet radio is not a case, specially when no internet range is available, you win again. At least my 20 yo plastic playboy babe can use it as mirror. XD
158. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
Real life, no benchmark bul sht, 4 weeks use, android fully calibrated.
S5 - daily heavy use - 11 h 38 min (100 - 15%)
Z2 - heavy use - 13 h 45 min (100 - 15%)
door to door with friend test.
did i break your concentration? LoL
159. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
RR3 racing - 2h
FB texting - approx 5:30 h
Thor dark world 1080p playback - screens 100% forced no to dimm.
Out door photos - led used (2h both devices)
02:00 AM sammy out
04:07 AM Z2 out for charge.
160. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
hummm, so I'm going to believe what an old hater wrote. your place is in the nursery home, with all other sony/nokia lovers. no one cares about your z2 as it is really designed for old people. that old classic rectangular look. while the GS5 looks as fresh as a smartphone can be. about affording one, well both cost the same amount of money. but h*ll the difference is huge, so are the features, the services and the sales numbers.
26. akki20892 (Posts: 3454; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
Z2 for us
S5 for PapaSmurf, maherk, and The13thKing
38. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2738; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
He lives in world of marshmallows mountains, rainbow rivers and ponies (the LSD world). No phones needed there
147. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
lmaooo you live in the nursery home, sony and nokias are needed there
50. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 118; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)
I pre ordered Z2 plus I will get all of its free goodies such as digital noise cancelling headset and magnetic charging dock and will get it this saturday :)
82. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 118; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)
I live in indonesia.. The pre orders are closed last monday, and on saturday may 17th, I will get my z2
120. zunaidahmed (Posts: 45; Member since: 24 Dec 2011)
I order on ebay, got to my home at states on 6th may. Paied $785, got all the goodies. Considering the goodies, I think it is a reasonable price.
150. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
you is not seem from states. you is seem from country Wagaraga. speaka inglish here. the site is in english
86. maherk (Posts: 909; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Too bad for you I would also pick the Z2. What a pathetic comment
148. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
z2 for you and the old people. S5 for the young and the rest of the world. lmaooo your picture.
166. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
Agree... And what war is BSI anyway, saying Z2 is nothing to samsung cam? Well hurting truth is BSI is nothing more than Sony's Exmor technology. Sony was first to innovate more light in small lens, starting from cyber-shot series in 2007 and giving away Exmor for mobile in Xperia S, a looong before galaxy s3. Some haters just won't change, and I'm sorry for them... rotfl all the room.
Plastic is good for recycle though, so you can just throw the S5 to correctly signed trash after use. XD Will it melt in hot sun on the beach, anyone tested? XD
117. RuiBacelar (Posts: 134; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)
Check out these battery comparison:http://www.gsmarena.com/batter
151. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
lmaooooooo still no one wants good Z2 :(
167. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
And sony seld more Z2 items than samsung did S5 over past 3 months.. huehuehuehue...