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The Galaxy S5 TouchWiz interface is richer in functions, and more graphically intense than the simpler Xperia UI of the Z1.

Samsung has toned things down with its customized TouchWiz experience, layered on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, when compared to previous versions. Gone are the abundant S-branded apps, and the menu sections and icons have received a flatter, simpler look. It doesn't look very uniform this way, as the homescreens and widgets have remained the same, but it is highly functional. There are numerous new features in that version, like Private Mode and Kid Corner, aimed to make your multi-user life with the handset easier. We can also count on Samsung's Multi Window mode that divides the 5.1” display in two resizable sections that can run two apps independent of each other at once, aiding your multitasking needs.

The Xperia UI running on the Z1, on the other hand, is a simpler Android KitKat overlay, counting on a few widgets and wallpapers, as well as some branded apps, to make it stand out. It does offer a few Small Apps you can float on top of the homescreens underneath, and that's as far as multitasking goes here.

Processor and memory

The Snapdragon 801 processor in the S5 shows its might before the 800 in Z1, especially in the graphics rendering department.

Being the newer device, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is sure to attract the geeky crowd with its quad-core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with Adreno 330 GPU, paired with 2 GB of RAM. Thanks to that new piece of silicon, the S5 manages to maintain a very fast and consistent performance. Despite being outclassed on paper by its rival, the Xperia Z1’s quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor with 2 GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU, exhibits the same likeable interface movements. Its GPU is clocked much lower, though, so the S5 is superior in 3D graphics and image rendering, as the benchmarks clearly show.

The two handsets are stuffed with 16 GB of internal storage, which can be supplemented thanks to their microSD card slots, and the S5 will also come in a 32 GB version. Since it’s on the side, we prefer the location of the slot in the Xperia Z1 more – mainly because we have to remove the back cover of the S5 to access its slot.

Quadrant Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 25041
Sony Xperia Z1 20277
AnTuTu Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
Sony Xperia Z1 30838
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
Sony Xperia Z1 1115
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1632
Sony Xperia Z1 2889
Sunspider Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
Sony Xperia Z1 746.2
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
Sony Xperia Z1 9.57
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
Sony Xperia Z1 927.6

Internet and connectivity

As can be expected from the fast chipsets, browsing on the Z1 and the S5 is fast, smooth, and offers fluid zooming, scrolling, or panning. Sony, however, uses Android KitKat's default Chrome browser, which doesn't let you sideload Adobe Flash, like the Samsung browser on S5.

The handsets have multiband LTE and 3G radios, depending on the area they are sold in, as well as a suite of other connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, NFC, and DLNA streaming. The Galaxy S5 flaunts a Download Booster mode, which combines Wi-Fi and cellular data for quicker connections. It also offers an infared port at the top, which can be used to command home electronics like TVs, stereos, set-top boxes, and even AC units of various brands.

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