Interface

The Xperia interface is getting a bit long in the tooth, while the iPhone 6 offers some useful modes like Reachability, when it comes to one-handed usage.

Sony's Xperia interface has been on the company's Android phones for a while now, and is one of the most functional and yet simplistic manufacturer overlays. It adds some light multitasking tools like the Small Apps suite, which lets you hover up to five windowed apps, resize and move them around. The iPhone 6 doesn't sport that kind of interface frivolity, but its polished Control and Notification Centers are a joy to use, unlike Sony's archaic-looking connectivity switches in the notification bar that require a bunch of sliding and swiping to get to, for instance.

Apple's light approach to the widget system that can be found in the Notification Center is much more open now, allowing for third-party apps to occupy this space, and push messages or interactive notifications to you. It is still not a functional match for Android's full-blown widgets that can be splashed all over numerous home screens, yet is a less intrusive approach, Apple-style.


The only thing resembling one-handed mode on the Xperia Z3 is the ability to shrink the keyboard to the left or right on the display, so you can reach the keys easier with your thumb only. The iPhone 6, on the other hand, sports the so-called Reachability mode, evoked by double-tapping the home key, which slides the whole upper part of the interface down, so you can easily key in that web address or email recipient without stretching all the way up. You can also swipe right from the left edge of its screen, and this gesture will serve as the back button in the respective app, instead of having to stretch all the way down to hit back on the Z3, for instance. The iPhone 6 also has an easy Display Zoom mode, which lets you quickly enlarge everything on the screen, making it easier to read or tap on.


Processor and memory

Despite the much higher CPU clock of the Z3 against the A8 processor, the interface of the iPhone 6 feels smoother. You are going to cough up more for that extra memory, though.

You won't be jonesing for more power with these two, as they both have some pretty competitive processing muscle under the hood. The iPhone 6 is pushed by a 64-bit Apple A8 processor, clocked almost twice lower than the 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801-AC in the Z3, yet showing comparable performance in synthetic benchmarks. The stock apps of iOS 8 are optimized for 64-bit computing, and the interface just flies seamlessly around, no matter what you do, while the Z3's Xperia UI lags for a fraction of a second here and there, though it might have something to do with the software optimization, rather than the capable silicon inside. Apple doesn't list the amount of RAM in its phones, but 3rd party disassemble efforts pegged it at 1 GB, while the Z3 has 3 GB – that doesn't mean that you can't load tens of apps on the iPhone and go back and forth without issues. The Z3's Small Apps suite is no doubt aided by the larger amount of RAM, though, especially if you decide to juggle more than two or three of those at once.

As for internal memory, the Z3 ships with 16 GB, of which 12 GB are user-available, while the iPhone 6 has 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB configurations. Sony's phone, however, has a microSD slot for adding more storage on the cheap.

Sunspider Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 353.4
Sony Xperia Z3 863.7
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 48.9
Sony Xperia Z3 29.3
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 25.8
Sony Xperia Z3 12.5
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 1239
Sony Xperia Z3 1099

Internet and connectivity

With a record number of LTE bands, the iPhone 6 supports a truly globetrotting experience.

Apple's Safari is a great browser when it comes to page rendering, introducing an easy to toggle Reader View mode, which strips the websites of unnecessary distractions like pics and ads, leaving you with a clean, text-only article. You can't have Adobe Flash on it, for those situations you might need it, but this can be remedied via some 3rd party iOS browsers. The only gripe we have with Safari is the scrolling inertia, which is far from the uninterrupted scrolling that happens in the stock Chrome browser of the Z3. Sony's phone also renders pages as a champ, and offers smooth scrolling, panning and zooming. Chrome doesn't support Adobe Flash in its turn, but you can install another browser from the Play Store, and sideload it from Adobe's website.


When it comes to cellular connectivity, the iPhone 6 is the undisputed champ with support for no less than 24 LTE bands with up to 150 Mbps download speeds, in addition to the 42 Mbps HSPA+ network support. Xperia Z3 also supports LTE connectivity, but mostly Asian and European spectrum. Both phones offer fast Wi-fi/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 radios, as well as A-GPS, DLNA and NFC. Apple's proprietary NFC chip is locked exclusively for the new Apple Pay system, where you can purchase stuff with a tap of the phone on the POS terminal in places like Target or McDonalds, while the Xperia Z3 has the so-called Tap&Pay service, which lets you load 3rd party payment services like Google Wallet or PayPal, and it manages the NFC chip in accordance. Wired connectivity is represented by the side-agnostic Lightning cable on the iPhone 6, while the Z3 offers an MHL port for hooking up your TV directly, if it has the same port.

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