Sony Xperia Z3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Sony did put up a direct competitor to Samsung's flagship in the spring – the Xperia Z2 – but its six-month upgrade cycle now spits out an even better phone against the same old S5, just in time for the holiday shopping craze. The new Xperia Z3 is slimmer, prettier, and more decked-out than its predecessor, chipping away at any and all advantages the Galaxy S5 might have had before, so we are pitting it against Samsung's direct competitor to help you choose...
The stylish Xperia Z3 looks like a catwalk star next to the plastic Galaxy S5, and sports a higher waterproof rating.
The Z3 has one distinctly visible advantage before the S5 in terms of design, and it is its slim and premium glass and metal unibody, to which the Galaxy S5 can bounce a largely plastic one, with a tacky faux leather back cover. Despite that removable back battery cover, the Galaxy S5 sports an IP67 waterproof rating, allowing you to submerge it in up to three feet of water for half an hour. Sony's phone is also waterproof, though, and with a higher, IP68 rating at that, meaning you can dunk int in five feet of fresh water in its turn. Sony also adorned the Z3 with two stereo speakers at the front as an added value, while Samsung bet on biometrics, such as a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home key, and a heart rate sensor on the back, which work as advertised, though we prefer Apple's or Huawei's approaches to fingerprint recognition.
The S5 is comparatively large for the screen diagonal, but the Xperia Z3 is even taller, making it a bit more uncomfortable to carry in your pocket. Its signature metal power/lock key is a tad smallish and wobbly, so it's more of a chore to find and press it without looking, than the adequately placed lock key on the side of the S5. Looking at the back, we find the 16 MP camera of Samsung's flagships placed smack in the upper middle, while the Z3's 20 MP snapper is pushed all the way to the corner, so your fingers often gets in the way while shooting in landscape mode.
The bright Z3 LCD panel beats Samsung's AMOLED display in its own game..exhibiting saturated but inaccurate colors and cold color temperature.
The phones have almost the same screen diagonals – 5.2” for the Xperia Z3, and 5.1” for the S5, and the same 1080 x 1920 pixels resolutions, so both sport excellent 400+ ppi pixel density. Surprisingly, despite the totally different screen technologies – LCD for the Xperia, and AMOLED for the Galaxy, - they exhibit equally inaccurate color representation. While cold, off-base and oversaturated colors were to be expected from Samsung's AMOLED screens, at least until the Note 4, we were taken aback to measure even colder colors on the Z3, to the tune of the abominable 10324 Kelvins, with 6500K as a reference. This makes the Z3 panel one of the coldest we've measured so far, and looking very artificial, not to mention that the hue presentation is all over the place when referenced to the standard, as you can see in the color charts below.
Sony says that this color-busting panel is made with a brand new screen tech that improves brightness, and lowers power consumption, and we indeed measured the whopping 713 nits maximum, as well as a great battery life. The Galaxy S5, however, is also bright, and with low screen reflectance, so the outdoor visibility of the two is about on par. The minimum brightness of the handsets is also equal, and it is the excellent 4 and 2 nits, respectively. Both phones offer super-sensitive touch layers that can be turned on and off at will, and allow you to operate the screen with gloves.