Interface

The simple Xperia UI is no functional match for the overarching TouchWiz that is a multitasking king.

Both outfitted with Android 4.4 KitKat, the Note 4 and Z3 sport very different interface overlays. Sony's Xperia UI is much closer to the stock experience look than Samsung's TouchWiz, and has way less added functions than Samsung's monster of an Android coat paint.


Sony's Xperia interface is one of the most unintrusive 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. It also sports the handy double-tap-to-wake function, and that's about it.


In contrast, Samsung throws most every option and functionality imaginable in its TouchWiz interface (sadly, no double-tap-to-wake, though). This results in an overbearing UI that often looks ragtag, a mix of old and new, and makes your head spin from the mashup of settings, Samsung apps and services, game demos, and security and enterprise features, all lumped in one. It is very, very functional, though, and where Samsung really shines, is its approach to heavy multitasking on the big-screen handset. Note 4 meets Sony's Small Apps suite with the Pop-up mode that lets you hover multiple windowed apps on top of the interface, and raises it the Split-Window regime. This one allows you to divide the screen in two resizable parts, and run completely separate apps in each. To these, we have to add the improved S Pen stylus software that lets you do the new Smart Select function – you can now freely crop, copy and pick content on any screen, be it in apps, homescreens, or simply text.

Processor and memory

Outfitted with the newest Snapdragon 805, Note 4 doesn't shine in benchmarks next to the Z3, as the Quad HD display resolution takes its toll.

Powered by the newest quad-core Snapdragon 805, clocked at the whopping 2.7 GHz, or a 1.9 GHz octa-core Exynos 5433, depending on the market, the Note 4 is as powerful as these things get. TouchWiz is an extremely heavy interface, but on the Note 4 is moves around with aplomb, barely indicating a stutter here and there. The Xperia Z3, on the other hand, is run by the previous generation Snapdragon processor, the 801AC version, clocked at 2.5 GHz. Actually, the two chipsets are pretty similar in terms of performance, save for the improved graphics and video streaming part in the 805, so we wouldn't complain too much. The Xperia UI is lighter than TouchWiz, yet we noticed some gaps in transitions and redrawing while flicking the interface around – nothing to write home about, though.

Samsung has outfitted the Note 4 with 3 GB of RAM, and so has Sony with its Z3, so you can rest assured you can load tens of apps in the memory, and pick up right where you left off without a hitch on both handsets. The Z3 comes with 16 GB of internal memory, while Note 4 offers 32 GB, but they both possess microSD slots, so you can add more storage at your convenience.

Quadrant Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 24053
Sony Xperia Z3 20756
AnTuTu Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 41185.33
Sony Xperia Z3 40437
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1230.33
Sony Xperia Z3 1571
Sunspider Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1087.87
Sony Xperia Z3 863.7
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 25.9
Sony Xperia Z3 29.3
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 11.2
Sony Xperia Z3 12.5
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1038.67
Sony Xperia Z3 1099

Internet and connectivity


Samsung has equipped the Note 4 with two browsers – its own TouchWiz piece, and Google's Chrome, while the Z3 ships with Chrome only. The browsers on both handsets perform admirably while scrolling, panning around, or zooming, but we would give our preference to the TouchWiz renderer. Not only is it extremely fast, but also a joy to use on the big, ultra high-res screen. The S Pen also adds value in browsing, letting you scroll, select, crop, share and annotate with the stylus.



The handset flaunt 4G LTE connectivity, with market-dependent bands support, and 42 Mbps HSPA+ modems. The Snapdragon version of Note 4 dons Cat 6 radio that allows up to 300 Mbps theoretical download speeds, while the Z3 makes do with 150 Mbps maximums. We also get Wi-Fi/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 (4.1 for the Note 4), A-GPS, DLNA, and NFC on the phones, while Samsung adds an infrared sensor for controlling your home electronics to the mix. Both handsets offer MHL 3.0 ports for wired connectivity, letting you hook them directly, or through an adapter, to the biggest screen in the house – your TV.

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63 Comments

1. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

Design, Battery life, UI - Z3 wins Camera, Screen - Note 4 wins.

2. neops

Posts: 297; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

They serve different needs imo

12. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Waterproof and S Pen. Can't have both.

63. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

Sadly

19. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Camera? "Somewhat surprisingly, Sony's digital image stabilization, called SteadyShot, performs almost as well as the mechanical OIS system in the Note 4 when it comes to keeping the footage fluid and steady regardless of the hand tremor."

28. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

If you see these 3 videos, there is a possibility that Z3 video stabilization is even better than the Note 4. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Arah2K_xvCkhttp://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_FXMmGtpSHchttp://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jbBfyDq78rA As far as i know there are only 4 phones that have the most stable video stabilization Z2, 925, Z3 and Z3C.

41. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

lol...Not true at all 1st Link: The guy clearly says Note 4 has much better stabilization then iPhone's digital stabilization 2nd Link: Here we established that both the iPhone have negligible difference inspite of OIS and digital stabilization. 3rd Link: This proves Z3 has better OIS then iPhone. In short, those links you posted says nothing about Z3 being better then Note 4. It just shows iPhone's implementation of OIS is worst amongst Z3 and Note 4. Don't jump to conclusions so fast. Wait for the reviews from an authentic source.

45. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Lol.. just watch the video and use your eyes there is more shake in Note 4 video and in the comment section many people dissagree with him because their eyes is saying the truth. Until this day i never seen any phones that has more stable video satbilization than Z3 the only phones that come close is 925.

47. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

'Until this day i never seen any phones that has more stable video satbilization than Z3' - Are you jumping to conclusions without trying the Note 4 ?!?! LOL.....you are full of bias my friend. BTW, I scrolled through comment section and found only 1 comment saying that. Rest agree Note 4 being much better. If what you're saying was true then the video would have much more dislikes.

51. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

No i'm not and if don't believe me just get the Z3 (you can, borrow or get to places where you can do a hands on) compare it with any phones that available that you think has better image stabilization and put extreme shake to see the different. Only one are you sure? How about Yudi Hilmawan, Ashwin R, Alex Papas, waqhbbb, Fastdounut BF, Daniel Orozco and MCButzi. Most of them is talking about overall performance not stabilization. Try to look carefully at the time he was walking around yoi can see the Note 4 video is more shaky than iPhone.

54. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Dude clearly you have got yourself a Z3 and you'd do anything to justify your purchase. Since you might have to live with the 2nd best phone on the market...lol First, you said look at the comment section and now you are saying look at the video. Nothing you say is either agreed in the comment section or by the reviewer.

56. serge327

Posts: 79; Member since: Aug 27, 2012

I agree with you. Z3 really does well with its steady shot.

21. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Also z3 for camera

26. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

27. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Of course the camera for Z3 is better

42. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

lol.....wait for some reliable review. A channel with 200 subs can't be the most reliable source of info. Also, who knows if he actually even used both those phones. The number of dislikes in the video is another of sign of the credibility of the video.

49. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

50. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

59. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

or fanboism

29. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Great devices for different audiences.

37. FaisalWibowo11

Posts: 166; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Go check gsmarena compare tools and compare both note 4 and Z3. Note 4's camera is simply not as good as Z3's camera

43. alvinpaul41 unregistered

What a tough choice.

52. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

strangely the note beats z3 in battery on other sites..

60. laxpro97

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 14, 2014

you say the z3 wins in battery life, but it lasts 46 more minutes and takes 140 more minutes to charge. if the person with the note 4 has an extra battery than they dont even have to wait for the phone to charge.

61. saffant

Posts: 274; Member since: Jul 04, 2011

Design - subjective. UI - subj. Battery Life, ip68 certification - Z3 Camera, Screen, multitasking, resale value - Note 4 wins.

3. maherk

Posts: 6876; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Equally great phones. The best in the market without a doubt.

13. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Note 4 all the way. The true multitasking king.

20. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Good job "Actually, the two chipsets are pretty similar in terms of performance, save for the improved graphics and video streaming part in the 805, so we wouldn't complain too much. The Xperia UI is lighter than TouchWiz, yet we noticed some gaps in transitions and redrawing while flicking the interface around – nothing to write home about, though."

22. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Let me know when the Z3 is capable of multitasking like the Note 4. Wait, that's too much. Note 3.

24. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Wait for Android L http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4-vs-Sony-Xperia-Z3_id3814 then let's see what you're bashing about. But I can't deny, I love the design of Note 4.

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