Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs Sony Xperia Z3
Interface and Functionality
TouchWiz receives a new, more toned down redesign, but it’s still a power house experience in comparison to Sony’s Xperia UI.
While Samsung's Galaxy S devices have always shipped with nothing less than the best available at the time in terms of hardware, we've often found ourselves wishing it did more on the software side. Its proprietary TouchWiz layout has often proved sluggish and less responsive than what some competitors had to offer – a sight that the Samsung faithful only tolerated because of the smorgasbord of extra features the platform gave them access to. With the Galaxy S6 edge, however, the company has finally come to sense, and has carried out a number of software optimizations that make the Galaxy S6's software both easier to understand and faster than ever before.
Although it hasn’t made the jump to Lollipop, which is rather unnerving because it’s been around for some time now, Sony's Xperia UI running on top of Android 4.4.4 KitKat is a bit closer to the stock look than Samsung's TouchWiz, as it has way less extra functions. 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. What separates it from the Galaxy S6 edge is its tight PlayStation integration – where it can be set up for remote play, as in being able to stream most of your PlayStation 4 games directly to the Xperia Z3.
Visuals have never been a strong point for TouchWiz, but with this new version, however, Samsung has added support for third-party themes. Sure, it’s an appreciable thing to have, mainly because the themes help to mask TouchWiz’s otherwise bland visual presentation. On the software feature side, TouchWiz still adheres to the needs of power users because of its exhausted set of software features – they include the fingerprint scanner (still embedded in the physical Home button) that is now of the touch, not swipe, type, finally allowing for a hassle-free unlock. In addition, TouchWiz also offers software features like MultiWindow (run two apps simultaneously), and Private and Car modes (hide sensitive content / dashboard with bigger icons and essential apps only).
Processor and Memory
Both are impressively responsive, but the Galaxy S6 edge’s new piece of silicon exhibits more fluidness with its execution.
For the longest time, Samsung and Qualcomm worked together on the former's flagship lines, though the chip maker didn't always get all the orders – the rest went to Samsung's then fledgling semiconductor division making the Exynos chipsets. With the Galaxy S6 edge, however, Samsung was ready for a monumental shift, and Qualcomm is no longer part of the game. Instead, the S6 edge relies on a home-grown Exynos 7420.
The 7420 is an octa-core processor, built on a 14nm node, with two clusters made up by four cores arranged in a big.LITTLE configuration and Mali-T760 graphics. We have one group of power-efficient ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs, and another with powerful Cortex-A57 ones. The idea behind the arrangement is simple to understand – the efficient team of cores takes care of most trivial tasks, while the speedy A57 cores kick in when power is required. If maximum performance is what you need, the Exynos 7420 can switch all eight cores on and work them simultaneously.
The newness of the Galaxy S6 edge allows it to benefit over the Xperia Z3, which is powered by a last-generation quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AC processor. In dissecting its performance, it seems to be great, both around the interface, and within apps, including 3D games. There isn't any occasional choppiness that would hinder the experience, but as we meticulously compare their responses, it’s just a smidgen behind the Galaxy S6 edge’s exquisite fluidness. Don’t get wrong, most people would be satisfied by its responsiveness, but a higher level is achieved by Sammy’s pride and joy – plus, the benchmarks show the awesome muscle power of the Galaxy S6 edge.
As for memory, we have 3 gigs of LPDDR4 RAM with the Galaxy S6 edge, and a minimum of 32GB of internal storage. The Xperia Z3, on the other hand, is outfitted with half that capacity at only 16GB. That’s still plentiful enough for most people, but it can be supplemented thanks in part to its microSD card slot – something that has unexpectedly made a departure with the S6 edge this year. For some folks, the convenience of the microSD card slot is invaluable.
Internet and Connectivity
Smooth browsing is what we've been getting with each and every flagship for the past few years, and Samsung's and Sony's offerings don't fail to deliver just that. Courtesy of their powerful internals, both devices handle even asset-heavy pages with ease and don't struggle when navigating through them. That said, whereas both devices rely on Chrome for your browsing needs, Samsung's Galaxy S6 edge comes with its own default solution that is an equally great performer.
Honestly, the only thing separating the experience is just the incredible amount of detail produced by the Galaxy S6 edge’s display. Certainly, we have no qualms or complaints about the amount of detail presented to us by the Xperia Z3’s display, but once you’ve seen the sheer enormity of what quad-HD resolution delivers, it’s hard to ever go back to visualizing webs sites in their entirety on a 1080p resolution screen.
On the connectivity front, you'll hardly find much to complain about, regardless of whether you go for the Galaxy S6 edge or the Xperia Z3. Both devices offer support for a wide array of LTE bands, 5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 for the Xperia Z3, 4.1 for the Galaxy S6), NFC, DLNA, and MHL. Still, the Galaxy S6 edge pulls ahead because of its infrared blaster for control over home electronics, and Samsung Pay – the company's new mobile payments solution that works hand-in-hand with the handset's NFC chip.
The idea behind it is much alike to that of Apple Pay – the company gets retailers and banks involved (but free of charge), and you reap the benefit of never having to pull out your credit card out of your wallet again (much less physically sign any receipts).