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Sony Xperia Z1 vs Apple iPhone 5



Sony is a company that Apple founder Steve Jobs truly admired, but ever since Apple entered the smartphone arena, Sony (back then it was still Sony Ericsson) has been having great difficulties surviving in this market. However, we've finally reached a moment when the Japanese have finally managed to catch up with the companies that benefited the most from the modern smartphone era. Not in terms of profits, but in terms of tech. With the most recent flagship of the company, the Xperia Z1, Sony can rival all the other high-end Android smartphones out on the market right now. But what about the iPhone 5? How does the Z1 stack up against iOS 7 and Apple's former flagship phone?

Let's see if the bigger size and newer internals will help the Sony Xperia Z1 deliver a better user experience than the Apple iPhone 5!

In the box of the Sony Xperia Z1:

In the box of the Apple iPhone 5:

  • USB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Handsfree earphones (EarPods)
  • SIM removal tool


Luckily, what we're dealing with here are two well-made smartphones with classy and sturdy designs. Both feel quite solid in the hand, with the iPhone 5 making generous use of both glass and metal for its casing, while the Xperia Z1 sticks with glass for the front and back panels, combined with a nice aluminum frame. It'll be up to you to decide which one you like more, but in our opinion the iPhone 5 has an edge in the looks department over the Z1's slightly more ordinary visuals.

There is a huge difference in terms of dimensions. The Sony Xperia Z1 is among the biggest phones with 5” displays with its 5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches. In comparison, the Apple iPhone 5 is way more compact with its dimensions of 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches, making it much more comfortable to hold and use. The same thing goes for their weight, as the Xperia Z1 weighs the impressive 6.00 oz, versus the much lighter 3.95 oz of the iPhone 5.

The power/lock key, volume buttons and camera shutter of the Xperia Z1 aren't bad, but the power/lock and volume keys of the iPhone 5 are better. With a more pronounced and clicky movement, using those keys on the iPhone 5 feels more satisfying.

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Obviously, it's the screen size that sets these two devices apart the most. With its massive 5" TFT LCD screen, the Xperia Z1 simply dwarfs the iPhone 5's 4" IPS LCD one.

In terms of resolution, the Xperia Z1 sports the now-standard Android flagship res of 1080 x 1920 pixels, resulting in a sky-high pixel density of 441 ppi. Everything is extemely fine and clear on the Z1's display and you'll never notice even a hint of pixelization. With the iPhone 5, we're treated to a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels. While this doesn't seem so impressive on paper, pixel density stands at the satisfying 326 ppi, which means that the iPhone 5's display is also great as far as legibility goes. Sure, it's not as perfectly clean as that of the Z1, but it won't cause you any discomfort in that respect.

As we mentioned in the beginning of this section, the Xperia Z1 doesn't utilize the so popular IPS LCD technology, and instead goes for a TFT screen powered by Sony's so-called Triluminos tech, which attempts to create a more 'intelligent' backlighting for the display through the use of 'quantum dots' - extremely small particles that emit light at preset wavelengths. The ultimate goal is to enable the reproduction of a wider array of natural colors.

The Z1's average color temperature of about 7000 K (kelvin) is slightly better than the iPhone 5's 7300 K, as the reference point is considered to be 6500 K. However, Apple's managed to get the gamma right with the iPhone 5 – all the different levels from very dark to very white are just as bright as they should be, while the same cannot be said about the Z1, where the highlights tend to appear a bit brighter than they should, potentially causing a bit of lost detail.

The Xperia Z1 sports a more than decent maximum brightness output of 495 nits, so outdoor visibility is very good. The iPhone 5, though, can get slightly brighter (535 nits), which helps it achieve a slightly easier to view image when outdoors.

Probably due to the lack of IPS (in-plane switching technology), the LCD screen of the Xperia Z1 has terrible viewing angles. Meanwhile, such problems aren't present with the iPhone 5, and while it does lose a lot of its brightness when viewed at an angle (which happens with all other LCD screens out there), the image remains fine and perfectly readable.


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