Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z1/Z1S: first look


Okay, we know what you’re thinking just by reading the title of this article. True, the Sony Xperia Z1/Z1S is regarded as Sony’s flagship phone from last year, which is being replaced by the just announced Xperia Z2. Of course, some folks might argue about the extreme differences here, seeing that the Galaxy S5 is hot off the press and sporting some next-generation specifications and features. However, taking into account that the Xperia Z2 isn’t yet available for purchase at the moment, we decided to stack it against the model that is – so it’s going to be none other than the Xperia Z1/Z1S in this particular comparison.

Design


The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a plastic body, while the Sony Xperia Z1/Z1S has a tough one that’s comprised of a sturdy metallic frame with a glass front and back. Needless to say, the materials by themselves tell us clearly how these two handsets differ in design.

On one hand, we appreciate that the Galaxy S5 has a more sophisticated look than ever before, but on the other, the plastic construction lacks the solid feel attached to the Xperia Z1/Z1S. Looking at their specs sheet on paper, it’s Sammy’s pride and joy that lays claim to being the thinner, lighter, and more compact handset between them – albeit, it’s hardly noticeable in real life. 

What’s wonderful to point out here is how the two handsets are resistant to water, but technically, there’s more protection with the Xperia Z1/ZS. With its IP67 rating, the Galaxy S5 meets the criteria for being water and dust resistant. Now the key thing here is that it’s only water resistant, and not waterproof. Meaning, it’ll withstand being used in the rain or if it comes into contact with splashes as you’re washing your hand, but it doesn’t have the complete water submersion element in play with the Sony Xperia Z1/Z1S.

Display


Depending on your taste, either of the two displays will fit your liking – so it’s more of a personal preference matter kind of thing. The Galaxy S5 features a smidgen larger 5.1-inch 1080p Super AMOLED panel that’s notable for delivering 500 nits of brightness, something that by itself is an impressive feat. On the flip side, its rival in Xperia Z1/Z1s packs a 5-inch 1080p Triluminos display that adapts to the content that’s being viewed.

Although the Sony Xperia Z1/Z1S has the advantage of having the higher pixel density figure, it doesn’t matter as much because it’s hardly noticeable from a near or far away view. Nevertheless, the Super AMOLED panel continues to amaze us with its rich and sometimes overly saturated color reproduction. Plus, it seems to be sporting the better viewing angles as well.

Well people, the fun doesn’t end there with Sammy’s neato/redundant technology, as it has the ability to track our fingerprint as we hover over it as well. The tech with the display is astounding in itself, which is far more than what the Xperia Z1/Z1S boasts. 

Interface


This is a classic battle when one is stuffed to the roof with an exorbitant amount of features with its software experience. Briefly checking our Sammy’s latest customized Android experience, we feel as though it still caters to a broader range of people – and that’s despite the fact that some of those features might prove to be redundant to them. Conversely, the Xperia UI running in the Xperia Z1/Z1S is most notable for its superb visual presentation, which is evident right from the start with its homescreen and various core organizer apps.

Visually, we appreciate that Samsung has toned things down with its customized experience, but the Z1/Z1S continues to have the more simplistic one. Seriously folks, it’s a toss-up as to which of the two is the more superior one. However, we have to point out that Samsung is trying to make sure that your life is totally encompassed by its experience – so you gain secondary features like the S Health app to track your lifestyle.

Processor and memory


Being the newer device, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is sure to attract people with its quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with the Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. With the newer piece of silicon, the S5 manages to maintain a smooth consistency with its performance. Despite being outclassed on paper by its rival, the Xperia Z1/Z1S’ quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU exhibits the same likeable movements – so there’s not one we can sufficiently say is better than the other!

At the bare minimum, the two handsets will be stuffed with 16GB of internal storage, but of course, they can be supplemented thanks to their microSD card slots. Since it’s on the side, we prefer the location of the slot in the Xperia Z1/Z1S more – mainly because we have to remove the back cover of the S5 to access its slot.

Camera


Crazy to believe that smartphone cameras have come so far, but these two aren’t afraid to show off the kind of gear they have in tow. For the Galaxy S5, it packs along a monster sized 16-megapixel auto-focus camera that features an f2.2 aperture lens, LED flash, 1/2.5” sensor, and one of the fastest focusing time in a smartphone camera. Don’t count out Sony’s pride and joy just yet, mainly due to the fact that it boasts an even higher count 20.7-megapixel auto-focus camera that features an f2.0 aperture lens, and 1/2.3” sensor.

There are several modes and manual controls with the two smartphones in question to appease conscious minded photogs, but they each have their own unique perks that stand out. For the Galaxy S5, it has a neat Selective Focus function that allows us to give that blurred look to the background in our shots – while the Xperia Z1/Z1S has a bunch of cool augmented reality shooting modes that add some fun and life to the experience.


Expectations


Sammy’s newest flagship is surely starting to look like the more appealing handset between the two. In fact, there are a bunch of cool new features in tow that greatly adds value to it. Specifically, they include its new fingerprint sensor, heart rate sensor, and how they’ve made it so the experience is intertwined with the S Health app. Come to think about it, the phone is meant to have some sort of significance in how we roll on a daily basis. Still, the Sony Xperia Z1/Z1S is a fantastic smartphone in its own right, as it has a premium construction that’s unmatched by its rival. Topping it off, too, is its impervious nature to water!

Depending on the outcome of the Galaxy S5’s pricing, the favor might lean towards the Xperia Z1/Z1S – more so when it’ll more than likely see a significant price reduction in light of the S5’s arrival. Only time will tell…

Related phones

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera)
    2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
    2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
    Samsung TouchWiz UI
Xperia Z1
  • Display 5.0 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
    2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 5.1 Lollipop

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