Camera

Galaxy Note 4 shoots a bit more pleasant-looking and detailed photos than the Xperia Z3.

The Note 4 comes with a 16 MP camera sensor, like the Galaxy S5 before it, but for the first time in Samsung's history the module is outfitted with an optical image stabilization system, called Smart OIS. Sony's flagship sports a 20.7 MP 1/2.3” Exmor RS sensor with 1.12 micron pixels, like the Z2, but Sony touts the new 25mm G Lens optics (f2.0), and other improvements under the hood, such as boasting up to 12800 ISO sensitivity. As for the frontal cameras, Samsung added a little more pizzazz this time, placing a 3.7 MP sensor with the whopping f/1.9 aperture, that is capable of wide-angle selfies at up to 120 degrees, while Sony makes do with the usual 2.2 MP front camera. The handsets are very fast to shoot and record a snap, with a slight preference going to the Note 4, but Xperia Z3 has a dedicated shutter button to the scale, so you can take a photo from a locked screen in a second or two.

The two camera interfaces are anything but bland, as they sport a bewildering variety of shooting modes, color effects, and neat depth-of-field tricks. You can bet that there are all the basics, such as real-time HDR, Panorama, and so on, as well as plenty of others, down to the Food Shot of Samsung, meant to splash your breakfast on Instagram and the like, for the annoyance of your hungry friends. Samsung's interface is a bit easier to use than the cluttered Xperia camera app, but if you are shooting in the default automatic modes, taking pictures with both phones is a breeze.



The Xperia Z3 takes blander-looking, colder photos than the Note 4, which in contrast dials up the color saturation a bit, and shoots with a slightly warm overcast, compared to the scene in front of the lens, but to a pleasant extent. Sony also does some more aggressive post-processing to keep noise in check, resulting in a softer, mushier photos than what the Note 4's camera manages to churn out. Samsung's phone also captures a tad higher amount of detail than what the Z3 musters, especially when you use it in the default mode, which captures 8 MP photos. Indoors, the Xperia phone inserts a bit too much noise in the frame when the light goes down, while Samsung's phablet keeps noise in check, and makes sharper, more distinct snaps. The LED flash of the Note 4 also does a better job at illuminating a small scene, as it is stronger than the one on the Z3, though both splash light evenly on the objects in front.


Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 2.8
2.8
353
273
Sony Xperia Z3 3.2
No data
452
395


Both handsets can record 4K video at 30fps, and 1080p footage with fluid 60fps, as well as HD slow-motion at 120fps. The videos come out detailed, with credible color presentation, and no artifacts or skipped frames. The Note 4 records a slightly better sound than the Xperia Z3 in terms of quality, although the strength of recording is on par for the two. 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.


Multimedia

Plus one for video for the Note 4, plus one for music on the Xperia Z3 – that's the multimedia consumption takeaway.

The larger screen of the Note 4 is a bit more welcoming for media consumption like watching movies or browsing photos, though the Z3's 5.2” display isn't far behind. Both galleries offer grid thumbnail views, and allow for rich picture editing from within the apps, as well as sport plenty of sharing options. Video playback is excellent on both handset, too, as they support DivX/Xvid/MKV files out of the box, and the players offer plenty of extras like zooming, previews, and subtitles support. Naturally, if you want to watch 2K movies in their native resolution, Note 4 is your guy, but we doubt you'd find many of those, and will want to load and watch them on your phone.


When it comes to the music players, we'd have to give one up for the Xperia phone, as it has a much sleeker and more comfortable interface. Both Z3's Walkman player, and Samsung's TouchWiz one have plenty of equalizer and visualization options built in, but the graphical environment on the Sony looks much more stylish than the squarish Samsung UI. The Xperia Z3 also flaunts Sony's Digital sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE), which brags to upconvert crappy tracks to a higher-resolution format - we can attest that there is a slight difference, though not as stark as if the tunes were high quality in the first place. Sony offers two waterproof stereo speakers at the front, which sound clean, but are somewhat muffled, while the Note 4 only offers one speaker at the back, and with average quality at that, though strong enough.




Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 85
Sony Xperia Z3 74


FEATURED VIDEO

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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