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!

Design


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! 

Display


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.

Performance


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!

Camera


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. 

Expectations


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

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