Sony Xperia Z2 vs Samsung Galaxy S4: first look


The Sony Xperia Z2 is here and it’s a lot about an improved and larger 5.2-inch display, and a faster, Snapdragon 801 system chip on the inside, but with all this it will inevitably face competition from one of the most popular devices on the market that's now also gotten cheaper, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The Galaxy S4 has lost a third of its value since it launched and it now approaches mid-range devices in price, while the Xperia Z2 is a brand new device that will come at a much higher starting price. Yet, the Xperia Z2 has the more refined design that catches the eye on its side, not just specs. How do these two devices compare - the best of 2013 against one of the first top-shelf smartphones this year? Let’s take a look.

Design


The Xperia Z2 inherits the glass body and refined, modern looks of the Xperia Z1, and it also keeps the water and dust protection. The Galaxy S4 looks decidedly utilitarian in comparison with its glossy plastic back. The Samsung phone also lacks protection from the elements, a feature that might matter to some.

However, the Xperia Z2 is also considerably larger than the Galaxy S4, which is not small itself. Getting the Z2, you will be buying a device nearly the size of a phablet, keep this in mind.

Display


Sony has had so much trouble with displays in its top devices - first with the Xperia Z and then with Xperia Z1 - that we are very happy to see all that finally addressed in the Xperia Z2. The Z2 gets not just a larger, 5.2” 1080 x 1920-pixel display, but also one with much wider viewing angles that Sony claims are the best of any smartphone. To freshen up your mind, it was exactly the extremely poor viewing angles of earlier Sony devices that were the biggest critique for Sony.

The Galaxy S4 in comparison has a slightly smaller, 5-inch display with the same 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. While the Z2 uses an LCD screen, the Galaxy S4 sports an AMOLED display which has overblown colors that don’t look very natural.

Interface


The Xperia Z2 features the latest Android 4.4 KitKat right out the gate which is great news for device owners. Sony puts its Timescape user interface on top and it’s a neat skin with a few added options and system-wide animations that liven up the Android experience. Samsung on the other hand still has not rolled out the KitKat update to all its Galaxy S4s, but it’s getting there soon. Its TouchWiz Android skin is heavier and packed with features like Air Gestures that feel a bit gimmicky. Apart from that, though, it’s one of the most functional skins out there bringing huge changes to the stock Android looks.

Processor and memory


The Xperia Z2 has time on its side, and it ships with the latest components. Sony has put in the new Snapdragon 801 MSSM8974ab chip, while the Galaxy S4 runs on the a bit dated Snapdragon 600. Both are quad-core chips, but the one in the Xperia Z2 has higher CPU and GPU clocks, and it makes the device much more future-proof. For gaming, the Xperia Z2 should perform noticeably better as well.

Both devices come with 16GB of internal storage and both can expand on that via microSD cards of up to 64 gigs.

Camera


Sony is known to make the cameras for a lot of the most popular devices out there, and with the Xperia Z1 it finally introduced a top-notch camera in its own device. The Xperia Z2 inherits that awesome 20-megapixel camera with a large 1/2.3” sensor, much larger than the one on other smartphones.

The Galaxy S4 in comparison features a very good 13-megapixel camera, but we have already seen that in earlier comparisons the Xperia Z1 topped the Galaxy S4, so our expectations are that the gap between the two can only widen in the G2.

The Xperia G2 also adds neat camera features like 4K video recording, augmented reality overlays for video and 120fps slow motion video recording in 720p.

Expectations


Overall, it’s clear that the newer Sony Xperia Z2 has the upper hand over the Galaxy S4. After all, it ships with the latest, more powerful components like the quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, and it’s fixed all the glaring faults from the Z1, and most importantly - the screen. While Sony was working on it, though, Samsung has slashed a third of the price of the Galaxy S4, and they are pretty much in different tiers right now. We’d gladly recommend both based on our initial expressions - your pick would mostly depend on how much you are willing to spend.


Related phones

Xperia Z2
  • Display 5.2 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP (Single camera)
    2.2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
    3GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3200 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Galaxy S4
  • Display 5.0 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
    2GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh
  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop

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