Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: first look

The new Galaxy S7 is here and it's potentially the best Android device you can't get yet. It's stylish, it's powerful, and comes with a camera that might be a game-changer. Undoubtedly, it is among the hotter topics in the industry right now, as everyone is pretty curious whether the S7 is as flawless as it looks at first sight. But how does it stack up against the current top-shelf Sony device, the Xperia Z5? We are about to put them against one another and check out for ourselves!


In terms of design, the two are both similar and quite different from one another. The Galaxy S7 features slightly curved metal frame, as well as front and back covered with clear glass. 

At the same time, the Sony Xperia Z5 displays a different approach at the same philosophy - it also features a metal frame, with what Sony calls a "frosted glass" rear. 

For one, the Z5's edges feel somewhat sharp, and you genuinely feel like they are about to cut your fingers. That's quite unlike the Galaxy S7, the curved edges of which left no such feeling in us. However, the Galaxy S7 is nothing short of a fingerprint magnet, while the Z5 does not suffer from such issues.

Size-wise, it's obvious that the Galaxy S7 is more compact than the Z5, both shorter and narrower, though the Z5 is a bit thinner. Although the Galaxy S7 might seem like the better-engineered device, a closer look paints a different picture - the Z5 features better screen-to-body size ratio thanks to because it flaunts a larger display than the Galaxy S7 in a body that is just marginally larger.

It's worth mentioning that both of these are water-proof, donning IP68 certification. No sealing flaps in sight on either phone - we like, we definitely like! 


Another chapter in the eternal battle between LCD and AMOLED unfolds here once again. On paper, the Galaxy S7 features way sharper one, though it will take a person with better than 20/20 vision to spot any glaring differences between the Z5 and the S7.

 True, you are likely to notice some differences, mostly when consuming media, but that's not that dealbreaking. 

Sadly, when put against one another, the blueish tint that the Xperia Z5 emits becomes glaringly obvious. That is one of the bigger downsides of Sony's current flagship, and in the meantime, emphasizes the better-calibrated Super AMOLED display that can be found on the Galaxy. 

Interface and functionality

Both phones run custom versions of Android, and while Sony is arguably more closer to the stock, Samsung is also moving in that direction, having streamlined TouchWiz even more. We are content with the amount of added features and the usefulness of them on both, but we should acknowledge that the Galaxy S7 has way more features in its arsenal. 

A noteworthy feature that currently sets the Galaxy S7 apart is the always-on display, which shows vital information at all times and makes full use of AMOLED's characteristics. In the meantime, the Xperia Z5 doesn't come with anything of that ilk, though it will certainly appeal to those who favor cleaner, more toned-down Android skins.

Both have fingerprint scanners on board, so that's functionality is also covered on both fronts.


Now, this is an area in which the Galaxy S7 shines. Its Exynos 8890 chipset clearly outperforms the Snapdragon 810-equipped Z5, which can't a hold candle to it in benchmark tests. Does this make any difference in real-life performance? Of course it does, but not as much as the benchmarks might lead you to believe. Sure, the new Galaxy S7 might be snappier in most scenarios, but the Xperia Z5 certainly does not lag much behind, at least with more casual and relaxed usage. RAM-wise, the Galaxy S7 with its 4GB of RAM beats the Xperia Z5, though we hope it doesn't get marred by bad memory management like the Galaxy S6 and the Note 5 upon launch.

Oh, and both have yet another thing in common - they sport microSD card slots!


The Xperia Z5 boasts a 23MP camera sensor at its back, which is more than double than the one at Galaxy S6's rear. However, don't be so quick to dismiss the new Samsung flagship — equipped with a 12MP with 1.4-micron pixels, as well as a wide aperture of f/1.7. The larger pixel size is estimated to allow about 56% more light to reach the camera sensor for the same amount of time vs the S6, while the wider aperture delivers around 25% more light than before. Overall, these upgrades should allow the Galaxy S7 to take much better low-light photos, with brighter exposition and more focus. 

Now, one area that both devices are seemingly well-endowed is the auto-focus, and the quickness of it in particular. The Z5 does this in 0.03 seconds, but that's it's best feature. Images from the Xperia Z5's camera are not particularly inspiring. They tend to be markedly noisy, hazy, and generally undefined. 


We can't help but feel that the Sony Xperia Z5 will have a rather hard time competing with the Galaxy S7. The newer device checks most of the boxes that the Xperia Z5 has to offer, and then adds some more. Given that both devices co-exist in the same price group (the top-shelf one), it's even easier to see that the Xperia Z5 might be in for some, ahem, bad time. However, we won't be jumping to conclusions just yet, at least not until we've had the chance to review the Galaxy S7 to the fullest.

Related phones

Galaxy S7
  • Display 5.1 inches
    2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 8.0 Oreo
    Samsung TouchWiz UI
Xperia Z5
  • Display 5.2 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2900 mAh
  • OS Android 7.1 Nougat



20. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Yeah. The Z5 not much of a looker. Probably solid device though.

14. Trakker

Posts: 283; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

I've got a load of paving slabs outside that would look identical to the Sony if I stick a bit of glass on one side.

12. maherk

Posts: 7102; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

the Z5 features better screen-to-body size ratio thanks to because it flaunts a larger display than the Galaxy S7 in a body that is just marginally larger. Funny how they say that, when the Z5 has 69.6% screen to body ratio, compared to the 72.3% of the S7.

18. Artio

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

Not to mention they say that Sony's camera has more than twice the MP of the S7, I'm not sure how they thought that could possibly be true. 12 MP vs 23 MP - Not even double people, read your articles and take an elementary school math class before publishing them.

7. TerryTerius unregistered

I really, REALLY don't want to be "that guy" (a grammar nazi a******). But you guys seriously need to proofread your articles a bit more thoroughly before you post them. I only say that because I really like this site and as such I really want all of you to do well. As journalists it's important you hold yourselves to a high standard because that's a sign of professionalism. As you grow, that polish of thoroughness will only become increasingly important. "Thanks to because", "more closer" and "features way sharper one" shouldn't have made the cut. Just trying to help :-) Have a nice day.

6. insyt

Posts: 52; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

The Z5 is a competitor to the S6 which it trashes (no sd slot or waterproofing and poorer battery life). The S7 should at least be compared to the Xperia X (performance version). Disgusting comparison from PA as usual. These guys have no shame or morals.

10. TerryTerius unregistered

The Z5 is Sony's current flagship and it only came out like 3 months ago. It is absolutely a competitor to the S7. It is much closer in its release date to the S7 than the S6. The current flagship is the current flagship. At best, you could say the X performance and Z5 both compete with the S7. As far as I know, Sony hasn't stop selling the Z5. It isn't "disgusting" because it makes you upset.

11. TyrionLannister unregistered

Z5 trashes S6! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You are funny. With the crappy screen, overheating garbage processor, bad camera, same design after 3 years, and non-working fingerprint scanner: Z5 was the third worst flagship of 2016(after oneplus two and M9). The only good flagships in Q3/Q4 2015 were the new nexii and the iPhones. Sony's last good phone was the Z3, which trashed the S5. BTW, regarding battery life: PA battery test: Z5: 7 hour 7 min S6: 7 hour 14 min GSMArena test: Here's an excerpt from GSMArena's review of S6 vs iPhone 6s vs Z5: Just because some subjective guy said Z5 has good battery life doesn't mean it has it. It probably means the other aspects were so terrible that battery seemed okay. Anyway, this article is useless anyway. So I agree with you on that. And it's as fair to compare Z5 to S6 as it is to compare S7 to Z5. As Z5 released 6 months after S6 and 6 months before S7.

13. TerryTerius unregistered

My bad, you're right. I was thinking about the Z5 Premium, which was released 4 months ago in November. Although the Z5 was only released in the US this past month. But still, point stands. It's absolutely a valid comparison to make.

17. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

Bad camera? non-working fingerprint scanner? And you really believe PA's battery test?! Poor, pathetic Sony hater. You guys have NEVER tried the camera of the Z5 (which is awesome) yourself, but because some people here say it's bad it is (only because it's a Sony, 'so it must be bad'). But hey, to quote GSMArena: "Tie: Samsung Galaxy S6 and Sony Xperia Z5." You can also see it for yourself: Z5P vs N5. The Z5P offers equal quality at least. If your 3 hours of SoT S6 is still awake, let's go on. I really like that no one of the Samsung trolls here have mentioned Samsung's RAM issues. The Z5 literally killed the S6e+ when it comes to multitasking; the S6e+ couldn't even keep a game in memory. The Z5 was also faster with the browsing test. It topped the S6 in both browsing and multitasking with its 'overheating garbage processor'. Although RAM issues been improved on the S7, it looks like still persists, but it's a demo unit so we'll find out how it is on the retail version. And what about the fingerprint scanner? Just because you've read somewehere that it's bad because someone didn't know how to set it up (you have to move your thumb, as it only covers a small part) doesn't make it non-working ;) As we're still talking about the Note 5, what about its marhsmallow update?

22. TyrionLannister unregistered

Lol, you're so angry. And you haven't provided valid proof to any of my complainants. Just random articles and videos. I guess that's what Sony fangirls are capable of. Don't worry, x performance seems good. So you might finally have a good flagship after z3. BTW I get 5-6 hours of SoT in my s6. And SoT is a terrible metric to judge battery life. I trust anand tech test, which says s6 has good battery life too.

5. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

There's no way that's an antutu 6.0 Z5 score

15. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

It is.

16. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I'd really like to see a screenshot but i'll take your word for it. It's a lot lower than I thought it would be that's for sure.

21. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

My Z5 Premium scored >60k on antutu6.0

25. Shadowfax

Posts: 5; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

it's not! I easily got +75k on L and now +82k on MM

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I don't learn anything from first look comparisons just sayin.

1. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

S7 has total of 125 news articles on PA Z5 has total of 74 news articles on PA. I wonder which device is newer?

8. TyrionLannister unregistered

It depends on the number of permutations they can find. Out of the 125 articles 115 or so are trash useless 'first look' articles. Also, Z5 didn't get released in US, where PA is based. PA is literally spamming with these crap articles.

9. MSi_GS70 unregistered

Hey ppl check rather this out ... even better looking ergonomic futuuristic smartphone from vivo ! excellent design !

23. mmmanuuu

Posts: 403; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

Phone Arena please give me a FIRST LOOK REVIEW OF GALAXY S7 EDGE vs NOKIA 1100

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless