LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2
There are two great cameras. The 13-megapixel shooter of the LG G3 snaps very detailed and sharp images that are just a bit too warm, while the Sony Xperia Z2 has more consistently great colors, but is not that detailed.
The LG G3 features a 13-megapixel camera with a two-tone dual LED flash, while the Sony Xperia Z2 comes with a 20-megapixel shooter. The difference in megapixels, however, does not tell the whole camera story - while the G3 sports an average-sized 1/3.06” sensor, the Xperia Z2 has the biggest sensor of any Android phone out there - a 1/2.3” one, nearly 30% larger than the G3. As for the optics, the Z2 features a wide 27mm G lens with f/2.0 aperture, while the G3 packs a 'slower' f/2.4 lens with narrower focal length of 29mm. However, the G3 has optical image stabilization system, allowing it, on theory, to use longer shutter speed without blur due to handshake.
In terms of ergonomics, the Xperia Z2 comes with a dedicated camera shutter key, so you can use the camera single-handedly, but since the button is closer to the edge of the phone, shooting is not perfectly stable. The G3 is a bit bigger, but having the volume down key act as a camera shutter, allows your hand to wrap around the phone fuller, resulting in more stable shots, and we find it easier and quicker to snap pictures on the G3.
The camera interface on the G3 is very plain, with almost no manual settings - it really is an all automatic camera with just a handful of options: you can change the resolution of recorded images and video, select whether or not to use the flash, but there’s no manual ISO, white balance settings or shooting modes (apart from the panorama). The Xperia Z2’s camera is simple in a similar way in the Superior Auto Mode, but it also has a manual mode where you can take manual control of fine settings, an option that photo-buffs would appreciate.
It’s worth noting that in the default Superior Auto shooting mode, the Sony Xperia Z2 shoots 8-megapixel photos made by pixel processing of the 20-megapixel feed from the sensor for better overall quality. We prefer having these high-quality 8MP photos instead of not-so-good 20MP ones, and they are smaller as well, so you can share them quicker. You can still shoot full 20-megapixel images (without this processing benefit) in Manual mode, but those images tend to have lackluster sharpness, more artifacts, and are also noisier than the 8-megapixel shots.
The actual quality of captured photographs on both is among the best you can get out of a smartphone. .The G3photos often have slightly warmer than we’d like colors, resulting in a slightly noticeable yellowish tint. The Z2 photos, on the other hand, have consistently impressive, vivid (although slightly oversaturated) colors and great contrast. LG G3 is the better camera in terms of details, though – its 13-megapixel photos are among the best in this respect. The Z2, on the other hand, has very sharp 8-megapixel photos, but they have some visible artifacts and rather soft edges.
Indoors, in low light, the optical image stabilization (OIS+) on the G3 allows it to shoot without firing the flash in even darker environments and without blurring images terribly. At the same time, however, the G3 has an aggressive stance towards noise, smudging detail and making images appear like an oil painting in lower-lit conditions. In our studio shots, it also miscalculates lights in a few occasions with warmer overcast, but this seems like an isolated issue, since in other indoor shots color balance is much better. The flash on the G3 is very powerful, and spreads rather evenly, illuminating the whole test scene from about 5 feet distance. Having dual-tone flash, also is a plus, as the image colors are preserved pleasingly natural even when the flash is the main light source. The Xperia Z2 acts in the opposite way in low-light - it tends to use the flash in even a relatively well-lit room, but it acts more as a fill light, so colors are not strongly distorted as well. It is also far less aggressive with noise indoors, resulting in noisier images, but ones without this artificial oil painting look. The flash on the Z2 is not all that powerful as the one on the G3, though.
One of the hallmark features of the G3 is its laser-assisted auto-focus that is of help in low-light, as it works in concert with traditional contrast-based focus to speed up the focusing process.
The Xperia Z2 and G3 both have 2-megapixel front-facing cameras that are good enough to satisfy your urge for a selfie of fairly average quality.
In terms of video, both the G3 and Z2 can record at up to 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels) resolution at 30 frames per second, along with the more traditional 1080p. 4K videos have an advantage in sharpness, and can come in handy for those who do post-processing, but since 4K TVs and monitors are not widely-spread just yet, the benefit of the feature is limited. Traditional 1080p recording happens at 30fps on the G3, while on the Z2 you can record at either 30fps or 60fps, the latter being useful for things like action scenes and post-processing.
And the quality of the actual footage? It’s smooth and sharp on both devices, but the Xperia Z2 has better, fairly accurate color reproduction and the much faster continuous auto-focus, while the G3 again tends to look a bit too warm. The new OIS+ system does a good job of stabilizing footage, but while the Z2 lacks optical stabilization, its digital one performs surprisingly well.
Quad HD is great on paper, but until we get more content in the new resolution, you won’t see much benefit from display of the LG G3. For music, though, the speaker on the G3 is much louder than the clean, but quiet speakers of the Z2.
Тhe super high-res and vivid display of the LG G3 is a great asset for enjoying videos on the go, and if you manage to find Quad HD-resolution videos, you can fully enjoy its 5.5” display. At the moment, though, this is not a trivial task, as most videos are released at 1080p, so you cannot fully benefit from the resolution bump. The video player apps differ in their visual style - the new flat and pastel-tone one on the G3 versus the different, but also eye-catchy one on the Z2 where a featured preview of the latest played video is running on top.
For music, the Z2 has the Walkman player, fitting nicely with the impressive visual style of the Sony UI, but also rich in options. The G3’s music player looks more simplistic, but is equally capable of playing back and categorizing your music.
The Sony handset, however, comes with dual front-facing stereo speakers that sound cleaner (with even some depth to the sound) than the G3, but they are no match for it in terms of volume - the LG speaker is much louder.