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.

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