Sony Xperia Z vs Apple iPhone 5

Now that we've extensively reviewed Sony's latest flagship, it's time for us to start comparing it to the best smartphones that are available today and see just how well it stacks up against the competition. The first tough guy that we're going to compare the Xperia Z against is Apple's finest – the iPhone 5. Both smarpthones are among the very best out there, so this is bound to be an interesting clash. Now, let's see how the Z is going to fare against the status symbol!


We rarely have the pleasure of comparing two smartphones that are both outstanding in terms of appearance and construction. This is one of those rare occasions, though, so things are going to get quite interesting. Both handsets look spectacularly-well, so it will be up to you to decide which one you like better.

The Xperia Z has an all-glass design, similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S. As a result that handset is very seductive – much better-looking than what it would have been if it had a simple soft-touch plastic back. Sony really deserves credit here for going this way. In addition, both the front and back panels are perfectly flat making for a very clean and stylish appearance.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 5 has replaced the all-glass back panel of its predecessors with a dark-gray aluminum one, surrounded by two smaller pieces of glass from above and below.

It's also worth mentioning that the iPhone 5 is much lighter and smaller than the Z, so people who do not enjoy very big phones should keep this in mind.

Sony has actually taken both the customers and the competition by surprise by giving the Xperia Z some rugged features. The Z is IP57 certified, meaning that it's dust- and water-resistant – something that no competing high-end smartphone can offer, including the iPhone 5.


Aside from the obvious difference that the 5” display of the Xperia Z is much bigger than the 4” display of the iPhone 5, the Xperia Z has the advantage of the higher resolution – after all, it's a 1080p display that delivers a super-high pixel density of 441 ppi, compared to the iPhone 5's 326 ppi. Both pixel densities are extremely high and offer an incredibly crisp and clear image, with the Z naturally being a tad clearer.

However, when it comes to pure image quality, we actually find the iPhone to be superior. The displays of both phones are almost equally bright (the iPhone 5 has just a slight advantage there), but the Xperia Z's screen has a significantly lower contrast, and slightly less saturated colors, making it appear a bit washed out and not as vibrant as the iPhone 5's. Sure, the Xperia Z features the Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine, but that enhancement simply makes up for the difference between the two phones when you're viewing photos or watching video in the gallery. Do not expect it to blow the iPhone 5 out of the water.

In addition, the Xperia Z's viewing angles are quite poor – the overall image quality tends to degrade quickly as you start tilting the phone. Of course, some quality degradation is also visible with the iPhone 5, but to a much smaller extent.



1. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

As usual iPhone wins this game. We know that's from the beginning when visiting PhoneArena. However I totally agree about the screen and camera. The camera of Sony's recent phones are very disappointing. But anyway Android is way better than iOS, so overall for me Xperia Z is much more superior than the flat boring iPhone.

4. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

How exactly did the iPhone5 win against the xperia z?it's only better in terms of image,video and call quality but other than that xperia tops it all

6. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

Yes, that's exactly what I said, only the screen and camera (I don't care abt call quality) are two areas Xperia loses against iPhone, the the rest are not. And the most important, it's running Android.

10. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

I don't think that iPhone 5 camera is better...

52. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Cool down down! Why don't we dunk, hell dip!!!, them two smartphones in the water and see who wins?? Ray S, please??? Can you try that? We all know which phone is going to win hands down in real time challenge... SXZ>iP5!

63. timaustin2000

Posts: 42; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

I agree, PhoneArenaUser - check the focal length, people. The crop means that the Z's image is zoomed in far more than the 5's. Zoom both to the same framing or, better yet, frame them identically when you take the photograph. Now I'm not going to say that the Xperia ain't a little softer on detail, it is, but zoom the iPhone in to match the crop of the Xperia and you're going to get a mess of blocky pixels: no better. And the video may be darker on the Xperia but i'm looking at the detailing - the window, the cracks in the road: they're both sharper on the Xperia. This seems rushed to me.

65. timaustin2000

Posts: 42; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

Hold on,... is it me or is the zoom tool used on the comparison shots a different size?! Open a couple of browser windows, guys: compare them. The zoom window used on the iPhone is clearly cropping a different ratio to the Xperia. I'm more than happy to accept that the Xperia is inferior if the side by side comparison was fair. Forgive me, Phonearena, but there seems some jiggery-pokery going on, whether intentional or not. Poor show.

13. gmracer1

Posts: 646; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

You are a smacktard. The iPhone 5 doesn't even have a full 720p screen. And Sony makes the iPhone's camera, btw. Sigh...another clueless fanboy.

28. SleepingOz unregistered

Dude, you are the "smacktard" here. A good screen is not just about dpi, you know. I'm not praising the iphone(God knows how I "love" the iphone) but it has one of the best display out there. And so what's with sony making the iphone's camera?! Doesn't change the fact that the iphone's camera is better than the one on the XZ.

44. gmracer1

Posts: 646; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

LMMFAO I love when people try to talk sh*t and don't even have a clue. Do you what DPI even means? DPI = Dots Per Inch. When did I ever talk about DPI, in my comment? Yeah, the Retina display is nice, but the ONLY good looking thing on the iPhone screen is the icons.......and that's it. Go compare a YouTube video on both the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3. You will see such a difference. The S3 (which has a full 720p screen) shows a gorgeous playback--without the fuzz and color fade that the iPhones show. Hell, even my Razr Maxx has better video playback quality than the iPhone. I work in this business, pimpslice. I deal with these phones every single day. Until you know exactly what you're talking about, please refrain from commenting. And here are a few fun facts for ya: Computer monitors use the DPI measurement. Cell phones use the PPI (pixels per inch) measurement. iPhone 5 screen = 640 x 1136 @ 326ppi Galaxy S3 screen = 720 x 1280 @ 306ppi Razr Maxx screen = 540 x 960 @ 256ppi

75. daftastic

Posts: 87; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

Your argument fell upon itself. The denser the screen the better the picture. e.g. 720p on 3.5 inch screen will always look better than 720p on a 13.5 inch screen.

79. gmracer1

Posts: 646; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

You would really try to cram 720 lines on a 3.5" screen? It would look blotchy. It's like when someone tries to shrink an 8MP picture into a thumbnail--trying to maintain all quality. It looks like crap until it's blown up into a larger picture. Even comparing my Nexus 7's screen to the S3's (both 720p), I find the Nexus' picture to be finer. If the Nexus' pixel count was higher, it would be even better. Another great example is on tv's. Ever see the 20"-32" range tv's that have a supposed 1080p resolution? They look like crap. Compare those little tv's to ones in the range of 50" and higher (both 720p and 1080p).

80. daftastic

Posts: 87; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

Not literally of course. The point is the denser the screen the better. A 128DPI screen playing a 720p video would look worse than a 300+PPI playing the same video right? Which is why 720p videos look crisper on mobile devices than laptops/computers. I dunno about you, but text in my 1080p 22" Samsung LED show chromatic aberration compared to my 13" Macbook LCD screen.

82. gmracer1

Posts: 646; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Have you recalibrated your tv--if even possible? I know it's usually a problem with the lens(es).

127. tokyojo

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 12, 2013

just read your post.. im in tokyo just about to buy a new smart phone!! iphone 5 xeperia Z or Eluga?? which would you choose ? and why thanks! justin

130. KazutoR7

Posts: 1; Member since: May 25, 2013

both screen and camera are better on xperia z

9. vignesh_viggs

Posts: 34; Member since: Jun 15, 2012

not Video. in reply to tiara6918

70. tmcblog

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

This comparison is sponsored by Apple lol

76. giri555

Posts: 111; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

I have received 2 "WARNINGS" from Moderators Of PA, for Speaking highlighting how Poor, Biased and Flawed these Reviews are....

108. sonykov

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

the point is whatever is being compared to the piece of sh*t (iphone), phonearena will make the iphone win

55. giri555

Posts: 111; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

Poor Review, followed by Poor Comparison...Thumbs down are losing credibility, among people who read tech reviews, and know a thing or two about technology, the real smartphone users... iPhone users don't read reviews, they blindly follow, so this dosen't matter to them though...


Posts: 63; Member since: Feb 14, 2013

worst screen ever from sony..not a fun of apple but the retina display looks better..

104. giri555

Posts: 111; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

you got to be kidding


Posts: 63; Member since: Feb 14, 2013

Low contrast display with below-par viewing angles

92. XperiaPrince

Posts: 108; Member since: Dec 25, 2012

iPhone 5 better than xperia Z? Im not suprised that iPhoneArena would say this. But i checked out other sources they said that xperia Z is better and in my opinion, Xperia Z is clearly a better and more capable phone.This comparison is nonesense. comparing a sexy rugged smartphone to a brick phone.

2. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Xperia Z all the way. for the attention of those who criticize Sony's camera. just take a look at pictures taken by both devices and see how Sony put Iphone into shame.

3. Savage unregistered

So Xperia Z is not reliable and capable? Well done Ray.

7. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

again a biased reviewer :D

72. GTR722

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

Just look at this: "The CPU is accompanied by the Adreno 320 GPU, which is also quite powerful" and now for the iPhone: "The GPU is the powerful PowerVR SGX543MP3". PhoneArena = Apple and Samsung slaves.

5. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

ofcourse, according to iphonearena iphone 5 is not beatable. i really don't understand you ray, iphone is passé.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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