Sony Xperia Z3 vs Apple iPhone 5s: first look

Sony's latest and greatest, the Sony Xperia Z3, will surely have a pretty tough time on the market. Its rivals are numerous, and some of them are packing better hardware specs. While Apple is ought to unveil the Apple iPhone 6 several days from now, the iPhone 5s is still Cupertino's most advanced smartphone. Therefore, it has to be compared with Sony's new flagship.


Being almost identical to the Xperia Z2 (save for its more compact size), the Xperia Z3 is obviously a lot wider and taller that its Apple-branded rival. The newest Xperia is, however, a tad thinner - with a girth of 7.3mm, it beats the iPhone and its thickness of 7.6mm. Design-wise, both manufacturers rely on the "never change a winning team" principle, as both the iPhone 5s and the Xperia Z3 employ premium build materials - an aluminum chassis, as well as full-glass front and rear panels for the Xperia Z3, while the iPhone also makes use of metal and glass.

The back of the Xperia Z3 holds zero fingerprints and, as a whole, the device fits better in the hand than the Xperia Z2. The iPhone 5s is also well-known for it friendliness towards single-handed usage. Unlike the iPhone 5s, the Xperia Z3 also has a stereo set of front-facing speakers.


Touted as having the "brightest display" among the "leading premium smartphones" (allegedly around 600 nits), the Sony Xperia Z3 is quite similar to the Xperia Z2, as both of these sport 5.2" Triluminos displays with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels, which translates to a pixel density of 424ppi. On the other hand, the mighty iPhone 5s is endowed with a 4-inch display that has a resolution of 640x1136 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 326ppi. The displays of both devices are of the IPS LCD type, which means that both of them deliver neat viewing angles and have a good color reproduction. Then again, the Xperia Z3 might be on par with the iPhone 5s in terms of maximum brightness, just as we mentioned above, but we'll have to wait for some more detailed tests to tell for sure.


Coming with its home-brewed user interface on top of the latest Android iteration - 4.4.4 KitKat - the Sony Xperia Z3 brings the best Google's OS has to offer. The device flaunts some new features and functionalities over its predecessor, such as the ability to pair it with a compatible PlayStation gaming console and remotely control it, as well as a round of new features in the camera section.

On the other hand, the iPhone 5s is still running the latest milestone iteration of Apple's own OS, iOS 7. With iOS 8 just around the corner, the iPhone will receive an impressive slew of new interface features, but then again, it's still running iOS 7 at the moment.

Processor and memory

The Xperia Z3 is a minor upgrade compared with the Xperia Z2 in the processor and memory departments. It totes a quad-core Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC SoC, doing its mojo at 2.5GHz. Although not as good as the more recent Snapdragon 805, the heart of Sony's latest will most probably chew through anything you throw at it with ease.

The SoC is paired with 3GB of RAM, which will probably endow the Xperia Z3 with great multi-tasking capabilities. The Apple iPhone 5s comes with Cupertino's own 64-bit A7 silicon, which works in a seamless concert with 1GB of RAM. As far as internal memory storage is concerned, both flagships come with 16GB aboard, but the Xperia Z3 allows expansion thanks to a microSD card slot.


Sony once again touts that its current flagship comes with the "world's best camera and camcorder in a smartphone". The Xperia Z3 employs a 20.7MP, 1/2.3" camera sensor at the back, which comes with a new, 25mm wide-angle lens. The light sensitivity of the sensor has been improved and it can be cranked up to ISO12800; the SteadyShot digital image stabilization technology has also been improved.

Similar to the Xperia Z2, the Xperia Z3 paves the way for 4K video recording. Its front-facing camera is a 2.2MP one. Apple's finest, on the other hand, comes with an 8MP rear camera with a 1/3" sensor and an aperture of f/2.2, with which you can shoot 1080p video clips. The selfie-shooter of the iPhone, on the other hand, is a 1.2MP one.


Frankly said, you'll probably seldom experience issues or hiccups with both the Xperia Z3 and the iPhone 5s. As the duo is packing some really high-end hardware specs, which perfectly pair with their respective software goodnesses, the clear winner here comes down to your own, personal preference. The obvious differences in the size, as well as the additional features (Touch ID and better single-handed usage for the iPhone, water-resistant body and a larger display for the Xperia) of these high-end champions are the main arguments that will probably incline you towards one or the other.

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)
Xperia Z3
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 2.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh(14h talk time)



1. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Z3 is far better than IPhone.. It's clear winner here.. Last paragraph of this article makes me lol.. Anyway as a regular PA user I am practiced to it..

2. wildfiregt

Posts: 179; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

"the duo is packing some really high-end hardware specs" Yay iPhone with its 4" 640p display, 1GB of RAM. 8m camera. These for sure are high end specs .. in 2012

4. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

In 2010

5. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

That A7 chip, clocked at 1.3GHz, goes head to head with the 801 clocked at 2.5GHz. The 8MP camera can still hold it's ground, especially in outdoor shots. There's a reason why Apple sells 30+ million a quarter.

16. power_x

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

I think he meant performance rather than hardware specs Anyway this comparison is a total joke , comparing a 1-year old device with a device that was just announced is stupid , better wait for the iPhone 6 to compare with.

8. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Z3 = no questions....... Best of Sony.

17. plary122

Posts: 33; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

lol what a liar...we all know that the iPhone is so much better then this trash ;)

18. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

I detected an iPhone fanboy.

3. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Z3 wins.

6. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Is this really u papa? Fine now tell me which wins among Z3 and S5?

7. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Hahaha lol.....good question. Of course s5 lol

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Trick question - but Z3 because of the camera. First thing I'd do is root and remove the ugly UI though.

10. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

UI is all about personal preferences.. I love Sony's UI but I must agree that Sense 6 is best in the UI's.. Timescape impresses me in few features but that looks is yucky..

15. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

It looks the same as it did two years ago, and that's my biggest problem about it. Also, I despise the messaging icon.

12. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Now you suddenly prefer Xperia camera to S5?

14. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I would assume it's good. If it doesn't beat the camera on the S5 then that's sad...

13. jeeta444

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

Those rounded sides of Z3 look much better than iphones 5s. Z3 really looks much more premium than any other flagship.i believe there is no need to change the omni design.

11. Thedefenitionofawesome

Posts: 51; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

Oh please!! An Iphone with top notch hardware? Impossible. The chip can't even beat a sd 800. And 8mp????? What is this, 2011? Oh, and 640p is sooooo high end

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