Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus: first look

Sony really surprised us with its decision to employ its top-of-the-line Xperia Z5 Premium with a 4K display, making it the world's first device to come with such a record-breakingly sharp screen. All things considered, the beastly Xperia is also one of the better-spec'd handsets on the Android scene at the moment. With a high-end chipset, such a sharp display, and a whole host of other notable features, the Z5 Premium looks like the phone Sony needed to get back near the edge of the industry. But how does the new Z5 Premium stack up against Apple's largest handset currently on the market, the iPhone 6 Plus, which is most certainly about to be succeeded by the iPhone 6s Plus? Let's delve in and find out!


True to its name, the Xperia Z5 Premium employs exterior design that is a tad more premium than Sony's previous flagship offerings. The device arrives with shiny metal accents on the sides and a mirror-like back (or a "frosted" glass one if you get the gold model), entwined and singing together in a concert that praises Sony's sleek OmniBalance design. All of this has been achieved without sacrificing one of the staples of Sony's more recent flagships - the Z5 Premium is IP65/68 water-resistant. 

In the other camp, we are greeted by the iPhone 6 sleek and straightforward design philosophy, which became one of the role models for the world of smartphones. It comes with an aluminum body that features slightly more rounded edges, which make it a bit more comfortable to hold in hand despite that it's a bit wider and taller. With dimensions of 6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches (158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm), it is ever so larger yet thinner than Sony's new flagship which stands at 6.08 x 2.99 x 0.31 inches (154.4 x 76 x 7.8 mm); the iPhone is also slightly lighter at 172gr, while the Xperia Z5 Premium tips the scales at 180gr.

Despite the size differences, both phones are equipped with 5.5-inch displays. This leads to a slight, yet noticeable difference in the screen-to-body size ratios of the two - the Z5 Premium is in the lead with 71.10% of its front side being screen, while the 6 Plus is a bit behind with 67.91%. It's worth mentioning that both phones come with fingerprint scanners - the iPhone has its embedded in the circular home screen, while Sony put the fingerprint scanner of the Z5 Premium at the side, on the elliptical power button.


Just as we mentioned, the Xperia Z5 Premium employs a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with the ludicrous resolution of 2160 by 3840 pixels. This translates to a pixel density of 806ppi, making this by far the most pixel-dense display you can find on a phone. Discerning individual pixels with the naked eye is essentially impossible. Just as most of Sony's devices, the display of the Xperia Z5 boasts the TRILUMINOS tech on board, as well as the X-Reality for Mobile one, too. The display seems rather color accurate and has good viewing angles, but we will have to test it before we can say whether Sony has nailed it in the screen section this time around. 

The iPhone 6 Plus is nowhere near close to closing in on the Z5 Premium in terms of display pixels. Its 5.5-inch IPS LCD display is a 1080p one, which means that it has a pixel density of 401ppi - twice as low as the Xperia Z5 Premium. Well, it will probably be hard to make out any serious differences between the two in your real-life scenarios, but the fact remains that the Z5 Premium has the sharper display. Still, we shouldn't forget that the iPhone has one of the better LCD displays in terms of contrast, gamma, brightness, color temperature, and accuracy.

Interface and functionality

With Android 5.1 and Sony's Xperia UI on board, the Z5 Premium brings forth the flexibility and almost limitless functionalities. All of this is rounded up in a UI that is not overwhelmingly crammed up with features - on the contrary, Sony's interface is one of the lighter ones around, closer to stock Android than many of its competitors.

In the Apple's camp, the iPhone 6 Plus boasts iOS 8.4. While it can't hold a candle to Android's limitless functionalities, iOS is traditionally more intuitive and user-friendly. The platform is a prerequisite for getting close and intimate with Apple's rich ecosystem.

As we mentioned, both have fingerprint readers on board: Apple's iPhone 6 Plus allows you to make use of Apple Pay, while the Xperia Z5 Premium will probably allow you to use Android Pay if the latter arrives with a firmware update.

Processor and memory

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is powered by Qualcomm's most powerful chipset at the moment, the controversial Snapdragon 810 which is surrounded by controversy due to its overheating and throttling issues. It's a 20nm, 64-bit octa-core chipset racing at 1.9GHz, comprising four Cortex-A57 and another four Cortex-A53 cores under the big.LITTLE configuration. Meanwhile, an Adreno 430 GPU will take care of the graphic-intensive tasks. 

The iPhone 6 Plus comes with a dual-core 1.4GHz Apple A8 SoC that usually beats most of its Android rivals in single-core benchmarks and tests. Moreover, its PowerVR GX6450 GPU is one of the better-performing ones around. This hardware setup is perfectly sufficient for the software needs of the iPhone 6 - thanks to the optimization of iOS, Apple's flagship feels snappier and more powerful than most of its Android rivals. The Xperia Z5 Premium has 3GB of RAM, as well as up to 32GB of on-board storage that are expandable via a microSD card. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with 1GB of RAM and is available in either 16, 64, or 128GB versions.


One of the highlights of the Xperia Z5 Premium is its rear camera. The 23MP camera unit at the rear makes use of Sony's 1/2.3" wide-angle Exmor RS sensor. It is touted as the phone having the world's fastest autofocusing camera, which is allegedly able to lock down the focal point in merely 0.03 seconds due to the 192 focus points.  It's also able to make use of a light sensitivity of up to ISO12800, which will theoretically aid the low-light photography capabilities of the phone. We don't have optical image stabilization, but Sony put digital one, dubbed Steady Shot, which is intended to be the bane of those shaky videos.

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus, despite not as impressive on paper as the Xperia Z5 Premium, is usually a tough nut to crack in the camera race. The Apple iPhone 6 has an F2.2 8MP rear camera, with its sensor being 1/3" in size and boasting 1.5 μm pixels. It's also the single Apple device to date to feature OIS (optical image stabilization). With such a setup it's able to give most of its rivals a run for their money photography-wise.

There's a 5MP wide-angle selfie camera at the front of the large Xperia. It makes use of Sony's Exmor R sensor and comes with a software stabilization feature that will come in handy should you decide to shoot videos with it. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with a 1.2MP front-facing camera.


A phone with a 4K display? While the benefits of such a sharp display are still arguable, there's no denying that it's the future that's happening right now and the Xperia Z5 Premium is its harbinger. The rest of the phone is equally impressive, with sleek and premium design, powerful hardware, and a well-rounded selection of features that make it an appealing offering.  

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is also a well-endowed and potent smartphone that might seem a bit "underpowered" on paper, but should never be underestimated. With a noteworthy camera, display, UI, and ecosystem, it is easily one of the best phones you can get.

While it;s impossible to pinpoint a clear winner, we are more than sure that the battle between the world's first 4K phone and the largest iPhone ever will be a rather heated one.



1. SirYar

Posts: 351; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

When will these stupid 1 vs 2 articles end? They mostly don't have a decisive winner and are just here to attract raging fanboys.

2. PorkyBurger

Posts: 585; Member since: May 18, 2013

Have a cookie. No. Have a pie. *throws a pie*

3. SirYar

Posts: 351; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

No thanks, I just had lunch.

12. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

I'm not a Sony fanboy but Z5P is the clear winner imo. Although I don't understand why 4K? Isn't the human eyesight capability the mesure? We are not eagles or hawks. So I presume the only reasons for this race is to limit the phone, make it less future-proof and generate demand for more capable cpus/gpus etc. so the lines keep get renewed somehow. There's an obvious plateau there

17. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

+ the hype

22. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

eagles and hawks have a good eye for long range focus, but i doubt they have good eye for 5inch smartphone 12inch in front of their eye.. and 900dpi is still fine for normal human eye (source: retina display on wiki).. and we need more than that for VR, they said 8k per eye isnt even enough (source: some random article from 2013)..

25. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

How many people use smartphone vr, how many times and for how long can stand to watch a 3D movie or game in a ... square screen, really?

30. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Z5 definitely looks sleeker and athletic in comparison to the round pebble face iPhone 6+..

44. FrenchGuy

Posts: 134; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

So you let VR smartphone buyers alone and stop complaining about something you don't care about.

49. phissith

Posts: 19; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

Maybe there are getting ready to roll out something similar to VR GEAR for Note 4??

55. alcheng

Posts: 28; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

why 4k?? it maybe the direction of the display for smartphone in the future, and it means SONY is one step ahead on pushing it to the market thus its future development. Just like LED display, samsung is now known as the best LED manufacturer out there. it might not have a significant advantage now but could help its product development in the future thus better display.

16. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

iPhones are always the decisive losers in pretty much all categories...

28. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Except where it counts most.

36. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Money might count the most for the company but I don't think the consumer feels the same way. Unless you are a bandwagon cheerleader. Then the only teams you can cheer for are the Chicago Blackhawks, LA Kings, Goldenstate Warriors, and the Patriots. I dunno about you but i'd rather cheer for the team in my own city.

37. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Lmao mmmmmk

39. stuyjcp

Posts: 32; Member since: Apr 29, 2012

While I do think that these articles aren't entirely necessary, I'm sure that there are people who want a detailed comparison. Also a comparison that specifically focuses on the differences between two devices would help highlight key features or specs that would help influence a purchase. That being said, I think that article like these aren't for "fanboys" at all. They're useful for people who don't buy the same brand every year; people who are on the fence.

4. calim

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Half the PPI means a quarter the pixel density.

45. FrenchGuy

Posts: 134; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

No when we talk about pixel density, it's clearly a linear pixel density expressed in PPI so what you say is false. Half the PPI means half the linear pixel density.

46. FrenchGuy

Posts: 134; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

P.S: Calim, you're right if the pixel density is a surface pixel density but you have to say the kind of pixel density.

5. Kumar123 unregistered

4K in a 5.5 inch screen is ultra overkill.

18. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

1080p in a 5.5 inch display is ultra under kill.

32. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Does this overkill thing really matter when you have 2 day battery life on regular usage.... if the technology is available then why don't you just accept it. If you don't like the phone, just don't buy it..

38. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well said +1

6. SonyOwner unregistered

Next year, almost all android flagship will use 4K display

11. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

By then PhoneArena will stop calling it "ludicrous" and call it a "necessity."

15. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and they'll start calling 2k devices, not sharp enough

24. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

I can see the cons... "No 4k display"

20. UnlimitedSkye03

Posts: 300; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Their 4k screen will definitely be the benchmark for flagships next year :)

23. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

I hope not. The cpu and gpu is not up to the task and I don't see it happening anytime soon.

33. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Let's wait and watch.

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