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Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Posted: , by Daniel P.



Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact


Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
If you are gunning for a compact, but powerful Android handset, it doesn't get much harder than choosing between the Galaxy Alpha and the Z3 Compact. Galaxy Alpha is Samsung's first truly elegant small-screen phone, coming with premium design, hardware, and price point.

The most formidable competitor of the Alpha in the land of the green robot is Sony's Xperia Z3 Compact munchkin, and not only because it has almost the same screen diagonal, but also because the waterproof phone has a superb specs sheet that even includes a 20 MP camera. Which is the better compact flagship? Let's find out...


Galaxy Alpha looks more stylish than the Z3 Compact, but Sony housed waterproof stereo speakers, and a huge battery.

While rumors were priming us for a metal-clad, premium Samsung phone, we got the Galaxy Alpha. Granted, it debuted classy metal frame and sides, but kept Samsung's traditional plastic rear cover that can be pried open to swap the battery. The Alpha is lighter and feels way thinner than the Z3 Compact, but Sony's phone is significantly shorter and a bit narrower, so it goes a bit more manageable in the hand. Still, Samsung's stylish creation feels great in the hand, and would be a godsend for those who prefer their Android phones thin.

With the chamfered bezels and metal edge the Galaxy Alpha looks, dare we say it, more premium already.
The Z3 Compact, on the other hand, sports a tempered glass unibody which flaunts a high IP68 waterproof rating, meaning you can dip it in up to five feet of water without a hitch – something that the Alpha can' brag with.

Samsung's stand-out design piece is the physical home key underneath the display with an embedded fingerprint scanner, which requires you to swipe your finger over it the old-fashioned way, instead of employing a touch-based solution like Apple or Huawei. Sony, however, also equipped the Z3 Compact with something extra - a pair of stereo speakers, sitting at the top and bottom of the front half.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha
5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches
132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm
4.06 oz (115 g)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
5 x 2.56 x 0.34 inches
127 x 64.9 x 8.6 mm
4.55 oz (129 g)

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Colors accuracy? Who cares, said Sony, and outed the Z3 Compact, while Samsung primed the Alpha with a pretty color-true display that is more visible outdoors.

The Alpha got a 4.7” panel with a “mere” 720x1280 resolution, returning 312ppi, while the Z3 Compact notches it down a tad with a 4.6” panel of the same resolution, boasting 319ppi pixel density. This pixel density is lower than most other phones, but is still perfectly adequate for the vast majority of purposes.

The Z3 Compact's panel is very color-inaccurate, with its color temperature being some of the coldest we've seen – we measured 9964K (6500K is the reference); you can tweak it in the settings, but it still doesn't get much better. The Galaxy Alpha's screen can have the typical AMOLED oversaturation, too, but when choose the Basic screen mode, it goes on the totally opposite end of that spectrum, with excellent temperature of 6800K. Its colors are also pretty accurate in this mode, unlike the Z3 Compact, which has a pretty wide color deviation, as you can see in our chart.

When it comes to peak brightness, the phones are largely equal, with Sony's handset measuring 436nits, against the Galaxy Alpha's 422. The Alpha has slightly better outdoor visibility, as the Z3 Compact's screen reflectance is higher. It’s also worth mentioning that both displays feature a super sensitive mode that recognizes touch even when you operate it with your gloves on, but you need to enable this feature in the settings first.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 422
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 436
View all

  • Options

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:10 3

1. Scarambay (Posts: 94; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)

Design: Xperia Z3 Compact

Display: Galaxy Alpha

Camera: Galaxy Alpha

Battery: Xperia Z3 Compact

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:17 11

3. amansingal14 (Posts: 309; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

UI - On Preference (I prefer Z3C's more consistent UI and Sony's Walkman)
Support - Variable According to Region
Pricing - Z3 Compact
Software Support - Tie (Heck Sony is still updating the original Z, while we know of Samsung's great software support)
Features - Preference (I am gonna go with Z3C because I find stereo speakers better than fingerprint sensor)
Functionality - Alpha for the usual dose of Samsung features.
Overall - I am gonna go with the Z3C but respect for Alpha, and loads of it.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 05:17 12

10. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)

The camera for xperia z3 compact = natural color and better

All galaxy camera = Unnatural color or photoshop color

But if you have a camera(DSLR) , you will know what I mean

Xperia z3 camera + lumia 1020 camera = the best (even now)

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 05:42 3

12. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)

The camera for xperia z3 compact = natural color and better?
Are you ok?

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 05:54 4

13. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)

Are you OK hhhh

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 06:03 2

14. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)

Do you have eyes? , if you have plz go to Sony company and Samsung company for you can use Z3 and note4 or alpha.....

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 06:29 6

17. f35hunter (Posts: 233; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)

BTW you are the same dumb in xda-developers who called himself Sonyfan12 who is just make a dumb comments toward sony and i think you are blind iFan

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 07:16 2

21. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)

madman strikes again

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 01:28 1

30. Noonting (Posts: 133; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)

What? Z3's camera color is natural?
It's extremely cold color

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 05:40

11. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)

Sound in headphones: Alpha

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:12

2. Anterv (Posts: 178; Member since: 09 Jul 2014)

I am a little disappointed about how Sony looks to colour accuracy - they threw color "manager" instead of working more. How ordinary user should adjust colors without special equipment and engineering knowledge ?

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:21 1

5. kent-gaga (Posts: 582; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

ordinary users would still find it's screen great without all the extra color acuracy thingy
imho i still prefer the blueish tint to the screen rather than yellowish tint on the z2 or green-yellowish tint on the amoled panels which looks kind of "dirty" to me

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:25 2

7. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)

there's this thing we call the internet. techie users usually share their settings on the internet. the color management sliders come with numerical values. you can set them according to recommended values as tested by techie users.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 06:33 2

18. f35hunter (Posts: 233; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)

Sony said that cold color is one of the features that give the z3c outstanding battery life and if you want more accurate colors just enable the vivid color option in display menu but phonearena never mentioned this in their review.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 01:18 1

25. kent-gaga (Posts: 582; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

no actually they said cold colors makes the screen looks brighter
it's how they drop the screen refresh rate when not nessesary that makes the battery life outstanding

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:18 2

4. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)

huh? all of a sudden the max brightness was reduced to 400+ ? what happened to the 700+ for the z3c before? even gsmarena tested this device to have 700+ ...

i remember the brightness test for your z3 compact in an earlier review to be around 600-700. what happened?

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:24

6. kent-gaga (Posts: 582; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

im not sure about the brightness but it seems like the z3c's outdoor visibility is even better when compared to the z3 because of the more saturated colors and higher contrast level

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 06:20 1

16. hboy857 (Posts: 349; Member since: 03 Jun 2013)

For better technical review i recommend anandtech.com , notebookcheck.net , gsmarena.com . anandtech.com and notebookcheck are the best site for technical review. For casual review i recommend androidpolice.com , androidcentral.com , MKBHD and JimsReviewRoom from youtube.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 06:39

19. f35hunter (Posts: 233; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)

Yeah PA just acts as advertise center for both Apple and Samsung (depends on what the editors preference) and try to bias other OEM's like htc , lg , sony , nokia, Motorola,....etc.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 04:26 7

8. shuaibhere (Posts: 1986; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

Z3C for me even though I'm samsung fan....

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 18:12

26. gosselin (Posts: 89; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

U got it

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 05:03 7

9. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)

Xperia z3 compact better

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 06:18 3

15. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)

I've actually tested these 2 phones today. Each phone I've played with it for 20-30 minutes. The staff doesn't mind.

Alpha: When I first lay my eyes on it for the first time, it was like jewellery. When I held it for the first time, it was astounding. The feel is nice with its metal trim surrounding. The screen is pretty good, a "punch you in the face" kind of screen. Performance is excellent with miniscule lag in the UI. I can't comment on the camera quality because the plastic on the lens is still there so can't really test it. However, the camera UI is filled with lots of options to achieve the best quality to your liking. Speaker is sufficient enough for the average user, pretty loud. The side buttons are a bit flush for my liking but this maybe just be me and others might vary.

Z3C: The phones design is pretty good, more compact and also thicker so somewhat easy handling. The sides looks to be similar to matte finish or rubberized which makes it extra grippy and won't feel like you'll be dropping it. The ports looks pretty reliable, it looks better than my Tablet Z and my sister's ZR. Screen is good, I mean if you don't like it you can always adjust it. It just put my ZL to shame. Performance is on par with the Alpha. The speakers are very good. It's loud and clear. It's not boomsound but close. The camera is brilliant, I actually had a chance to test it. Comparing it to my ZL, the Z3C just blows it away. The camera UI is just as functional as the Alpha but you can download more features.

My 2 cents? Well, it seems that these 2 are on par with each other. I have until next year Feb to decide my next smartphone.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 07:15 2

20. buccob (Posts: 2732; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

Thanks for your input... I really want to get the Z3 Compact since it is almost the perfect phone for my needs...

I also like the Alpha... dislike the lack of microSD slot... and I have accostumed to waterproofed handsets already, but it is definitely a device to recommend for people looking at this segment.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 10:23

22. bobi_n (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Oct 2014)

I have z3c and comparing between him and Samsung galaxy alpha did notice a big difference in the screens. I own phone ten days and battery life is fine for me(4 days), the sound is excellent, camera is good, feels great in hand. Most imporrant for me, did not have to sell my kidney for him;-)
p.s. excuse me for bad English

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 14:10

23. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

I own both and I have a buyer for the Z3 compact lined up. Alpha is just better in a lot of ways. Although the two areas important to me that the Z3 compact is better in are pretty significant so your mileage may vary.

posted on 24 Oct 2014, 14:20

24. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

These are my personal opinions from someone who currently owns both.

Design : Alpha by a mile, it's just sexy
Screen : Z3 compact by a solid margin
Battery: Z3 compact but the difference isn't as big as the tests suggest
Performance: alpha although both are pretty smooth

Everything else from keyboard to buttons to everything I prefer the alpha.

I don't take pictures so I can't comment on the camera.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 18:14

27. gosselin (Posts: 89; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

I go for Z3 Compact.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 18:20

28. yanish (Posts: 49; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

Z3 Compact for me because of its cute design, great battery life and new Android L. I trust SONY:)

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 20:16

29. milkboy54 (Posts: 39; Member since: 04 Oct 2014)

Z3 compact is the best gadget in 2014. Kudos to Sony

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