Introduction


The Sony Xperia Z2 is just starting to hit shelves: a product of relentless iteration, it is the third in a lineage of Sony flagships that focus on combining a sleek design with state-of-the-art hardware. Its flagship status will put the Z2 alongside some of the best selling Android devices that out on the market, and in this article we’ll see how it fares against the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a phablet with a larger display, but almost equally capable hardware and a good camera.

The Xperia Z2, on its part, features a 5.2-inch 1080p display, the latest Snapdragon 801 system chip, and a 20-megapixel main camera. It is also sealed from the elements in a futuristic-looking body made of glass and metal. The Note 3’s highlights include a 5.7-inch 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 800 chip, and a 13-megapixel shooter.

A battle of Sony’s sleek Xperia style against the cartoonish Samsung TouchWiz, of fashionable glass design versus utilitarian plastic, of an LCD display against AMOLED technology, the clash between the Xperia Z2 and Note 3 promises to be fascinating. Let’s see if we can come up with a winner, shall we?

Design

The Xperia Z2 continues on the Sony tradition of sleek looks and glass body, while the Galaxy Note 3 features an utilitarian plastic design.

The Sony Xperia Z2 features a stylish monolithic design with glass on its back and front, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is made of the more mundane (yet still practical) plastic, fashioned to look like leather with a soft-touch feel. Design is a matter of personal preference, but it’s clear that the Z2 is the one that makes the bolder statement, a fashionable device with looks that catch the eye more.

In terms of size, the Xperia Z2 and Note 3 are clearly two large phones. The Xperia Z2 has evolved to be a bit narrower than its predecessors, but it’s still hard to use single-handedly and it’s one of the largest of 2014 flagship phones. The Note 3, on the other hand, is a phablet at heart - considerably taller and wider, with a 0.5-inch larger screen. Both are almost equally thin, but neither breaks any records: the Xperia Z2 measures 0.32 inches thick, while the Note 3 is a hair bigger at 0.33 inches.

The Z2, has one definite advantage over the Note 3, and that is its resistance to the elements. The Sony handset is protected from dust and water, carrying the IP58 certification. This rating means that the phone can withstand submersion in up to 5-feet (1.5-meter) deep fresh water (don’t get it near salt water, though!) for up to 30 minutes, and that it is protected against low-pressure water jets.

In terms of buttons, the Xperia Z2 applies meticulous attention to detail with beautifully crafted metal buttons. The round lock key on the right is particularly well made, but can be just a bit too small and shallow. Also on the right are the volume rocker with a curved shape, but again it has a muted response and is not very clicky, and there’s also a dedicated two-way camera shutter key that’s actually fine. The Galaxy Note 3 in contrast uses plastic buttons that look way more generic, but while they lack the style, they are a bit easier to press, and get the job done.

Sony goes one step further than before with the Z2, introducing stereo speakers located inconspicuously on the front in the form of slender strips right near the top and bottom borders of the phone. The top one hides a secret - an LED notification strip that starts blinking in different colors whenever you get a new message or an update. It’s all conveniently color-coded and will flash in different colors for different notification. The Galaxy Note 3, in contrast, has a more ordinary single-speaker setup with the speaker on the bottom, and one LED notification light up front, above the display.


Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

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



Display


The 5.2-inch IPS display on the Z2 is a huge step forward for Sony as it delivers great viewing angles, but its colors are oversaturated. The Note 3’s 5.7-inch AMOLED display is also good, but whites are off and colors – even more overblown.

The Sony Xperia Z2 comes with a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, while the Galaxy Note 3 has a larger, 5.7-inch screen that features the same 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. Due to the different screen size, pixel density is a bit higher on the Xperia Z2: 424ppi versus 386ppi on the Note 3. This minute difference is not noticeable in real-world usage, and both screens are very sharp, even when you have to deal with tiny text fonts. You won’t notice any pixelization on the Xperia Z2, and just slight one on the Note 3 (due to its non-RGB display, but more on that later).

The Xperia Z2 has an IPS LCD display (finally, Sony!), while the Note 3 uses Super AMOLED technology. First, we ought to say that this new Xperia Z2 display is a huge step up for Sony, a company that has had sub-par displays in its last couple of top-shelf offerings, and now finally makes advances with a display that no longer washes out hugely at an angle (it actually has good viewing angles).

The Z2 is the first Sony smartphone to come with a new Live Color LED technology, a term to describe the fact that display panel on the Z2 uses red and green phosphor lights in addition to the traditional blue LEDs. These lights in concert with custom color filters combine to theoretically achieve brighter, more uniform light.

Interestingly, while AMOLED (as on the Note 3) and LCD (as on the Xperia Z2) generally differ in that often Samsung’s AMOLED screens feature much wider, unrealistically intense colors, that difference is diminished in the case of the Xperia Z2 and the Note 3 as both have pumped up colors. Still, the AMOLED on the Note 3 is much more intense and unrealistic.

The Xperia Z2 has very intense colors, with one of the deepest (if not the deepest) reds and blues we’ve ever seen, and an overall much wider than standard color gamut. The overall color appearance is comparable to the wide and rich colors of the Note 3, but that does not make them perfect when it comes to color fidelity - the wider-than-normal tones do not look natural at all on either handset. We should note that both the Xperia Z2 and Note 3 provide consistent saturation - it is just that the wide color gamma makes colors appear way too surreal. 

Outdoors, both handsets do a great job as they can get sufficiently bright and reflections are reduced nicely, so overall it’s relatively easy to use them under the bright sun. The Xperia Z2 has also gotten two new display options: you can now choose to enable or disable glove mode, as well as adjust the white point to your liking. The Note 3 also allows you to tweak settings like super sensitive mode, so it's not behind in this regard.



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68 Comments

1. hateftotti

Posts: 228; Member since: May 03, 2011

In my view,Note 3 still is the best smartphone out there...

5. mokhtar

Posts: 405; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

fan boy :d

54. TheGenius

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

You are a troll

13. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

Agree 100%. Although the Sony is a nice phone, I wouldn't trade the Note 3 for it.

60. N3Z1droid

Posts: 89; Member since: Jan 02, 2014

I wouldn't trade my Note 3 for it either. Thats why i order it to trade my Z1 then use both later

68. liftmeup unregistered

Me neither! The Note 3 is THE BEST out there, basta!

22. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Note 3 is best phablet.... Not smartphone.

25. Bioload25

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

But in this case it doesnt make much of a difference since the z2 is not small by any means,even in comparison to a phablet...

28. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

3" to 5.3" smartphones 5.5" to 6.5" phablets.

41. Saamic

Posts: 119; Member since: Feb 20, 2012

So what are 5.4" phones? -_-

61. N3Z1droid

Posts: 89; Member since: Jan 02, 2014

smartblets -_-"

48. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

That's just, like, your opinion, man. Smartphones can have any size. Or what do you call a 2.9" Android phone? And phablet is such an ugly word, that's why I prefer not to use it. But if you're gonna use it, I would say a phablet is everything above 5" (which is also a smartphone, of course).

37. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

+1 My monster Note 3 anytime !

49. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

But one problem if the N3 had the same pixel density as the S5 it would've been the best phablet smartphone out there

59. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Same here, just look about Z2 dimension is about on par with 5.7" Note 3.

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Note 3 = multitasking king so N3 for me.

3. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I have to say both phones are beastly! I love the large screen size of the Note 3 and the IP 58 rating of the Z2. IMO, it's hard to tell a true winner

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Note 3.

7. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

But there are people who just don't like a phone that big, so it's still no clear winner.

19. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Both phones are huge... but being both so good, it only comes down to personal taste... IP58 is more important to me. But I rather have an even smaller form factor.... please Sony release ZL2 globally

39. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Funny that you say that because the G2 has a 5.2" screen yet is a lot smaller.

31. Sid91 unregistered

I personally prefer note 3 although the z2 has a tempting camera but the main reason I prefer Note 3 is cuz of the number of useful features which I use on a daily basis the one I dont use i disable them and also no on screen buttons. The Z2 is advertised as 5.2 screen but you can only utilize the 4.9 and the .3 is always used up by the onscreen buttons. You can consider the z2 onscreen buttons as part of the bottom bezel. Unlike Z2 all 5.7 screen realestate of note 3 is used while gaming and browsing.

50. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Note3 GT9000 Eyxnos

26. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

If u want smartphone then go for Z2 If u want phablet then go for Note 3.

30. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I wanted a smartphone so I went with Z2 :D The multitasking function on Note 3 might be nice, but I'm on computer all day for my job, Note 3 got nothing on a real PC's multitasking ability :P

32. wilsong17 unregistered

If you are smart you cane figure out how to replace your pic with the note 3

38. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Replacing my PC with Note 3? Yeah... none of the smartphone is that great yet. Try to run AutoCad or ArcGIS on a smartphone spec computer... It'll just crush

43. tahirk

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

And how come a 5.78 inch device makes into Smartphones & a 5.95 inch Note 3 a phablet. They both are of the same category.

51. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Z2 is 5.2".

55. TheGenius

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

He is talking about dimensions -.- SMH.!

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