Sony Xperia Z1 vs iPhone 5: First look

Sony Xperia Z1 vs iPhone 5: First look
The iPhone 5 is an outstanding device. Even though nearly a year has passed since it got launched, Apple's finest still ranks among the top smartphones out there, loved by millions of owners worldwide. That is why a comparison like this is inevitable – a comparison between the newly-announced Sony Xperia Z1 and the tried and trusty iPhone 5. Can a 12-month-old handset rival an upcoming phone? Well, let's take a look.


In terms of appearance, both smartphones have a lot to impress with. We'd say that the two look and feel equally great, which comes as no surprise since the Sony Xperia Z1 and the iPhone 5 are put together with utmost attention to detail. The premium materials used in their construction only adds to their high-end feel. Sony has chosen to use tempered glass for the Z1's back panel while the iPhone 5 is made of anodized aluminum. What sets these smartphones apart, however, is their size. In all honesty, the Xperia Z1 feels a bit bulky, partially due to its rectangular shape, but at least we know it is waterproof. The iPhone 5, on the other hand, is a lot more compact and perfectly usable with a single hand. It does, however, come with a smaller screen. Speaking of which...


The iPhone 5 has a 4-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 640 by 1136 pixels. But on paper, the Sony Xperia Z1 seems a lot more exciting with its 5-inch Triluminos display and resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels. And that's true for the most part since the Z1's screen is definitely more detailed than the iPhone's. However, it doesn't seem to reach the latter's level of color accuracy. Not that the Sony Xperia Z1 display is bad at producing colors. Quite the opposite, the smartphone's color reproduction is great, but it just could have been a bit better.  


Android 4.2 – that's what runs on the Sony Xperia Z1, hopefully to be substituted by a newer version in the near future. The iPhone 5 comes running iOS 6 out of the box, with an update to iOS 7 promised for this fall. These two operating systems might seem similar at a glance, but fundamentally, they are quite different. Since it runs Android, the Sony Xperia Z1 is a lot easier to hack personalize and would run a wider selection of free software available from Google's play store. The iPhone 5, on the other hand, has access to higher-quality apps, and while its UI lacks flexibility, every user can get the hang of its interface as it is made in a simple, intuitive manner. 

Processor and memory

We can probably write a dozen paragraphs, explaining how much faster the Sony Xperia Z1's Snapdragon 800 SoC is when compared to the A6 chip in the iPhone 5. However, that's something we won't do as it would pretty pointless. The fact of the matter is that both smartphones deliver silky-smooth performance no matter what they are being used for. 

The Sony Xperia Z1 will come with either 16 or 32GB of storage. Same options are available for the iPhone 5 as well, but an additional 64GB is also on sale despite being priced a bit steeply. Yet ultimately, the Xperia Z1 has the upper hand when it comes to storage. You see, there's a microSD card slot on board, meaning that the user may add up to 64GB extra for all their files and software. 


Here's where it gets interesting. Many of our previous tests show that the iPhone 5 packs a great 8MP camera, but at the end of the day, the Sony Xperia Z1 may turn out to be a better shooter. The maker of the latter has borrowed "G Lens" technology straight from its digital cameras and adapted it for smartphone use. And since it has 20.7 megapixels of resolution on a sensor that is 1/2.3 in size, the Xperia Z1 could possibly snap more detailed photos, both during the day and during the night. Eventually, we'll give their cameras a try, and if the Sony Xperia Z1 turns out to be better in the camera department, then we won't be that surprised.


The Sony Xperia Z1 and the iPhone 5 are outstanding smartphones, but each of them excels in its own way. The Sony Xperia Z1, for example, is what we'd probably pick for multimedia consumption and capturing. It is also water-resistant, which is a perk only a few high-end smartphones can offer. With the iPhone 5, however, one can expect a smoother user experience. Moreover, Apple's smartphone is the better option if you're demanding a compact, yet premium device that is as rich in features as a modern smartphone should be. Ultimately, it looks like it will be up to each individual user to decide which of these two would be the better pick.

Related phones

Xperia Z1
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(15h 3G talk time)
iPhone 5
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1440 mAh(8h 3G talk time)



1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Sony should be the winner...should. Looking forward to next week, now that Sony and Samsung underwhelmed me. The Z1 has so much bezel, it looks like the screen is 4 in., its actually 5. As for the note 3 aka leatherback, the front and sides are beautiful, the back looks like a pissed off Nike employee made it in a sweat shop. Apple please please please, hook us up.

4. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Prepare to be disappointed next week. There is only so much you can do with a year old body and screen. And I've seen little complaints from the performance with the iPhone 5 so why upgrade for a 0.25 second boost opening Angry birds. And once you unlock the screen with the fingerprint reader what else is left? Camera? The Note 2 to the Note 3 was a huge upgrade in every area possible. Can't say the same for the iPhone 5 to the 5s. Apple has/will fail again.

10. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Typical fanboy responses littering every article. Other than size these phones really offer nothing new but you needs go crazy. I understand the need for a new toy to show off to friends in school but what so they do that the iPhone doesn't besides gimmicks? -still no screen mirroring -no real solution to the ease of icloud -size is just stupid now and no grown up wants that brick held up to his face in a suit at work -app store is ok at best (just had the s4 and sold it so I know) -no realistic accessory support -lag WILL be present as always -compatible cameras maybe -customer service -smoothness of UI and accuracy(nexus 4 is close) -no third party app control through headset so you constantly have to take that brick out of you purse/man bag (because you can't put it in your pocket) -android browsers are brutally laggy. -use with one hand as it must be a PHONE first -it's probably already or about to be behind in software updates I can go on but I already knew there was no point in writing this much as is. one with every android phone it will be worth half the price of an iphone in 3 months MAX.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Bucky went deep

14. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

So which iPhone color are you getting; gold, black or white? Or are you going for the cheap plastic look with baby blue, girlish pink and banana yellow? That will be the only way I can tell the difference considering that nothing else changed.

23. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I'm getting the bronze reddish blue one, with the yellowish pink gray orangish brown white purple beige tannish green back.

17. Bootutu

Posts: 228; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Keep consoling yourself, the overwhelming decline in market share for iOS tells a story iteslf, i believe you've never used a good Android device before, its just a delusional halo on your head.

24. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

What does market share have to do with this? And for the record, I'm a senior over at xda all the way back to the milestone. I like android alot but mindless bashing is annoying and unfortunately what I come to expect here.

15. GTR722

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

OMG...are these troll serious ?? every damn thread a "oohh bezels are too big dduuhhh"

25. Aquarius

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Sony is absolutely THE BEST !!!!

2. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Comparing these Android beast phones is pretty bad and we're at the the point of just making fun of Apple's offering. Maybe the Droid mini, HTC One mini and Samsung S4 mini would be a better match. Apple is not interested in playing with the big boys and they showing more attention to the budget market.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple is interested in making money dude, and they do it better than just about everyone else. I'm underwhelmed by the gnote3, will keep my note 2 and cop the 128 gig ip5s. Sorry you typed all that for nothing.

8. Bootutu

Posts: 228; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Underwhelmed? are you kidding me?...1080p screen, lighter, bigger battery, CPU/GPU monster,13MP camera with CRI LED, bigger screen, 3gb ram, 4k video, ultra high def 24 bit 192khz audio, USB 3.0, what more do you want?, a nuclear phone?...enjoy your mid range iphone 5s buddy

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Thanx I sure will

11. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

"Apple is interested in making money dude," I thought the "C" in iPhone 5c stood for cheap? Yes Apple is trying to make money but they don't want to battle on the high end which means less profit and more people jumping ship. Samsung has the balls to price the S4 at $100 to free on contract just to ridicule the iPhone 5C. And at $400 plus on contract the 128gig iPhone 5s is a niche model. Apple will look like fools next week. You got at least 3 bad a$$es (Note 3, LG G2 and Sony Z1) and a bunch of flagships (S4, HTC One and Moto X) ready to go up against a 4" iPhone 5s. The odds are stacked against Apple. It's going to be a embarrassing when Google releases the Nexus 5 at $300. And the sad part is that even Nokia is about to beat Apple with their Bandit phone.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Phones are inanimate objects, phones don't go up against phones...people do. The 5S will be another great one, and will serve its users well. Run along now and run some quadrant standards, and speed tests.

16. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

"phones don't go up against phones" Scroll up and read the title. Sony Xperia Z1 vs iPhone 5: First look

18. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

LMAOOOOO silly boy ask yourself, did the phones write the article or did people? Hmmmmmm...

3. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2361; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Why are they still comparing ifone 5, with anything??

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Read the first 6 words and number of the paragraph.

7. Atheneum

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

if ever there is an iphone 5s, that 's' should stand for small.

19. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

iPhone 5 looks way better than the Z1. Just saying.

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Z1 could easily accommodate a 6 in screen, if not for those horrifically huge bezels.

28. TMach unregistered

Suggest you look at the picture again and the bezels on both are pretty much the same depth and given the Z1 is a bigger phone, does that make the bezels on the iP5 super horrifically huge......? I can assure you that in the metal, you don't even notice them! Not for me tho' as in terms of size, I max out at the Xperia Z so it is the iP5S, Nexus 5 (should it have a memory card slot) or wait until the Xperia Z1 mini or something of that ilk comes along.

26. SonyCraperiaSucks

Posts: 25; Member since: Aug 30, 2013

Z1 looks major league UGLY...iPhone is way better in terms of design, and probably the screen, with that poor contrast Trilumicrap and the G Lens ...shesh..whata waste of time

27. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I wouldn't go THAT far but the design really is lacking.

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.