Introduction


Question: what's the very best Android smartphone out there? Well, that's hard to tell. Labeling a phone as best in its class is no easy task, and that's especially true when the high-end category is concerned. But if we had to state our favorite top models, then the LG G2 will surely be among them. It is the Korean company's current flagship device – a phone that scored a commendable 9.4 in our review.

Now, however, we have a new contender for the crown. It is known as the Sony Xperia Z1 and it is shaping up as a beast of a phone. Like the LG G2, it is loaded with outstanding features, while its specs sheet will bring tears of joy to the eyes of any smartphone geek. And if that's not enough, Sony's new flagship is quite a looker with its glass-and-metal-made water-resistant body. Still, is it better than the LG G2? Perhaps a thorough side-by-side comparison between the two would provide the answer to that question.

Design


There's no denying that the Sony Xperia Z1 is the better-looking smartphone. It builds upon all that made its predecessor, the Xperia Z, stand out in the design department, and reinforces its statement with a solid metal frame. Its image is complemented by the perfectly flat front and back sides; made of tempered, shatter-proof glass, they instantly grab one's attention. Besides, let us not forget that unlike most other Android high-ends, the Sony Xperia Z1 is dust- and water-tight, so it will take photos even underwater, while the LG G2 isn't likely to survive if accidentally dropped in the pool.

However, the LG G2, despite looking a bit less inspiring, has a number of advantages over the Z1. For starters, it is more compact, even though its front is graced by a slightly larger screen (5.2 inches for the G2 vs 5 inches for the Z1). This has been achieved by trimming down the bezel surrounding the G2's display as much as possible. Also, the LG G2 is much lighter and fits better in the hand, which makes it easier to handle. But that's not all. While the Sony Xperia Z1 looks great, its otherwise beautiful glass body remains quite vulnerable; it might crack after the first drop on anything harder than your living room's carpet. The plastic-made LG G2, on the other hand, seems a little bit less fragile, although we doubt it would take much more beating than the Z1.

Like it or not, LG has placed the G2's physical buttons on its back. This should, theoretically, make them easier to reach as they would always be right under the user's index finger. But in reality, we're still finding it hard to get used to their arrangement. In fact, we don't see much of a benefit of them being placed where they are, other than allowing the phone to be very narrow for its size. Nevertheless, the notification light embedded in the power key looks kind of cool.

The physical keys on the Sony Xperia Z1 feel okay and provide good feedback, although we wish they were slightly bigger. A nice addition is the dedicated 2-stage camera shutter key, allowing one to snap photos quickly and comfortably.


Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

LG G2

LG G2

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches

138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

LG G2

LG G2

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches

138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

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



Display


No smartphone can be regarded as a truly premium device if its screen quality isn't top notch. And we're glad to say that neither of these two handsets disappoints in that respect, although they both leave some room for improvement. The LCD screen on the Sony Xperia Z1 has adopted the company's Triluminos tech, found on its recent TVs, while LG has gone with a high-quality IPS-LCD panel for the G2. Both smartphones come with 1080p panels (1080 by 1920 pixels) so everything displayed on them looks perfectly smooth and sharp.

As we stated above, the LG G2 does come with a larger screen even though it is more compact than the Sony Xperia Z1. The exact figures are as follows: 5.2 inches of display real estate for the LG G2 vs 5 inches in diagonal for the one on the Z1. Clearly, both screens fall under the spacious category.

Something we noticed about the screen on the LG G2 is that it is clearer and more legible under broad daylight as it reflects less of the sun's rays. Its viewing angles are also better by a huge margin. But according to our measurements, the screen on the Sony Xperia Z1 has the upper hand when it comes to color accuracy. And sure enough, when the two are put side by side, it is clear to see that the G2's colors lean towards the colder side.

All in all, neither of these smartphones' displays has managed to achieve perfection, but nevertheless, most users would be more than happy with either one.



FEATURED VIDEO

65 Comments

1. mottykels

Posts: 387; Member since: May 15, 2013

Battle of the best ;)

4. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW-E0dOfdoc For your listening pleasure while reading.

53. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

That song made this article the most dramatic read I've ever experienced.

50. jos_031

Posts: 62; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

The only reason i do not go for LG is they never provide updates..

64. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

LG G2 WINS Long lasting battery better and bigger display comfortable in hand with OIS camera more customized skin & LG UI Rear keys is good...

2. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

lg g2 for me..

8. Kevinphantom

Posts: 82; Member since: Jun 17, 2013

galaxy note 3 is out of the game after sim lock

16. Immolate

Posts: 310; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

Yeah the 1% of the people who care about sim lock are going elsewhere.

19. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

Exactly

44. adrianzka

Posts: 64; Member since: Apr 25, 2013

It's not sim lock if you only need to start it up with your region's sim card. After that you are free to use it with any sim card.

17. kelvinbushan

Posts: 9; Member since: Sep 08, 2013

I plan to wait on the HTC One Max before making my final decision. Note 3 is leading at the moment because of features (802.11ac, USB 3.0, infrared, SD Card)

3. Kurai unregistered

Wow very nice battle between the G2 and the Z1 . . . . Sony evolved so much and they brought amazing innovation and put it into one amazing piece of device. . . Sony might be the dark horse among the android ecosystem . . . .

29. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Sony is King in mid-range though.

5. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

These 2 are arguably the best at the moment.

6. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Don't like both brands but lg nailed it this time but only its cheap material, ugly ui and speakers are my drawbacks, with out them lg would have made $850 extra.

9. sniper1087

Posts: 537; Member since: Dec 31, 2011

While I agree thanks to the UI, the phone is bloated that even the S800 cant handle it sometimes, and you see lag when you do certain things, like bringing the notification down at some points, there are youtube videos that show this, just youtube lg g2 lag.

14. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

i hate it when my ipad mini does that

7. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Sony and LG probably not very successful in terms of sales and market share. But no one can deny that G2 and Z1 is the best android phones on the market today.

39. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Not Success??? LG Q2 sales - 12M with 2.4Billion profit SONY Q2 sales - 9.6M with 4Billion profit Sammy and appy market share are starting to shrink

10. justsayit

Posts: 256; Member since: May 09, 2013

lg g2 or lg newest version ui is slower compare to lg optimus g i think it because the slide aside and knock on problem? these make the system take sometime to "understand" your command hope next update can make it more smooth :)

11. imnotascammer

Posts: 160; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

Epic battle. Couldnt really see which one is the real winner here, but if I'm to choose, i'll give it to Sony Xperia Z1, due to its extra mile of water and dust resistance, plus, better camera.

12. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

...and micro SD slot

20. Feanor

Posts: 1389; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I almost agree. Water resistance should also count for something so I rate the Z1 slightly higher. But I have played with the Z1 and I must say, the viewing angles are pathetic and they remove a lot from the premium feel. No way that I will cough out so much money for such el cheapo screen. Which is a crying shame considering how good the screen of the Z Ultra is. So in a way both best Android flagships suffer by some aesthetic problem. The Z1 has a great body but cheap looking screen, the G2 has a good looking screen but a boring body.

30. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

I actually like the G2's build but that's preference. I find plastic phones easier to hold because I have sweaty hands. And I like the soft-angular look on G2.

33. TMach unregistered

Dude, I think you will find the review is about the Z1 and not the Xperia Z! The viewing angles onthis phone are absolutely and do not even degrade at extreme angles. Might not be the best but it is certainly not an issue and the screen full on is better than anything out there! Suggest you "can" the lame comments unless you actually have a relevant point to make!

36. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Let me tell you once again Someone from esato forum who recently bought Z1 can give you solid proof that Z1 screen doesn’t have problem with viewing angles. http://www.esato.com/ board/viewtopic.php? topic=206135&start=2535

48. Feanor

Posts: 1389; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Guys, I like Sony smartphones but I am talking after I played in a shop with both the Z Ultra and the Z1 (not the Z). I am talking about my experience. The Z1 has absolutely terrible viewing angles, exactly like the recent comparative on Xperiablog.com shows. If others are reporting good viewing angles on the Z1 then Sony is taking the mickey and putting different quality screens on the same model. Which I'd say it's the worst way to treat customers. I prefer to believe that all Z1s have actually bad screen.

57. cheetah2k

Posts: 2271; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

If the Sony Z1 had IPS LCD I would buy it... but instead the screen is 5hit.. I had both devices side by side and bought the LG G2

13. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

yeahh no sd slot is a deal breaker for me i really like the camera and the sound zoom

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