Saturday, March 15, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2

How do the two latest titans of tech compare side-by-side? Let's have a look

Sony Xperia Z2
Samsung Galaxy S5
2G Network
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - D6502, D6503, D6543
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - D6502, D6503, D6543
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G Network
LTE 700/800/850/900/1700/1800/1900/2100/2600 - D6503
LTE (market dependent)

LTE 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 - D6543

2014, February
2014, February
Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, March
Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, April
146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm (5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 in)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm (5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 in)
163 g (5.75 oz)
145 g (5.11 oz)

- IP58 certified - dust proof and water resistant over 1 meter and 30 minutes
- Fingerprint sensor (PayPal certified)
- IP67 certified - dust and water resistant
- Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes
IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.2 inches (~424 ppi pixel density)
1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.1 inches (~432 ppi pixel density)
Yes, up to 10 fingers
Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass
Corning Gorilla Glass 3

- Triluminos display
- TouchWiz UI
- X-Reality Engine
Alert types
Vibration; MP3 ringtones
Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Yes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jack
Card slot
microSD, up to 64 GB
microSD, up to 128 GB
16 GB, 3 GB RAM
16/32 GB storage, 2 GB RAM
Up to 107 kbps
Up to 296 kbps
HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL
HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Yes, v4.0 with A2DP
Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, LE
Infrared port
Yes, microUSB v2.0 (MHL 3), USB On-the-go, USB Host
Yes, microUSB v3.0 (MHL 2), USB On-the-go, USB Host

20.7 MP, 5248 х 3936 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
16 MP, 5312 x 2988 pixels, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
1/2.3'' sensor size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, panorama
1/2.6'' sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR
Yes, 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps, video stabilization, HDR
Yes, 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, HDR, video stabilization, dual-video rec.
Yes, 2.2 MP, 1080p@30fps
Yes, 2 MP, 1080p@30fps, dual video call
Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)
Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)
Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801
Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
Adreno 330
Adreno 330
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, gesture, heart rate
SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
FM radio with RDS
Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Black, White, Purple (D6502, D6503) / Black, White (D6543)
Black, White, Blue, Gold

- ANT+ support
- Wireless charging (market dependent)
- SNS integration
- ANT+ support
- TV-out (via MHL 3 A/V link)
- S-Voice natural language commands and dictation
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Smart stay, Smart pause, Smart scroll
- Xvid/MP4/H.263/H.264 player
- Air gestures
- MP3/eAAC+/WAV/Flac player
- Dropbox (50 GB cloud storage)
- Document viewer
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Photo viewer/editor
- TV-out (via MHL 2 A/V link)
- Voice memo/dial
- SNS integration
- Predictive text input
- MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player

- MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player

- Organizer

- Image/video editor

- Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)

- Google Search, Maps, Gmail,

YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa

- Voice memo/dial/commands

- Predictive text input (Swype)

Non-removable Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery
Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery
Up to 690 h (2G) / Up to 740 h (3G)
Up to 390 h
Talk time
Up to 15 h (2G) / Up to 19 h (3G)
Up to 21 h
Music play
Up to 120 h


1.20 W/kg (head)     1.58 W/kg (body)    

0.56 W/kg (head)     0.41 W/kg (body)    

So MWC 2014 just happened, bringing with it the announcements of two major new flagship smartphones; Samsung's Galaxy S5 and Sony's Xperia Z2.

Time to pitch them against each other to see how things shape up.


The Samsung Galaxy S5 turned out to not be as extensive a revamp as many were expecting from the months of preceding rumours. The look has been changed slightly from the Galaxy S4, but on the whole the Galaxy S5 sports a very similar design to its immediate predecessor.

The chassis is slightly larger to accommodate a bigger battery cell and a screen which has expanded from 5-inches to 5.1-inches, the phone is now a bit thicker, taller, wider and heavier all round, and the corners, while still with a distinctly “soft” appearance, are a little squarer than the Galaxy S4’s.

Build materials are all plastic, there’s not a hint of any of that metal which was rumoured to be heading to Samsung’s factories. The silver surround is still plastic coated in a chrome-like effect, this time it’s ridged like the Galaxy Note 3 for improved grip.

Grip has also been improved on the rear panel – again it’s still plastic but it has a matte finish with a dimpled texture, a bit like the original Nexus 7, except the dimples recess into the shell rather than protruding out as with Google’s slate. It does look a bit weird.

A key change is not a particularly visible one, unless you look at the microUSB port in the phone’s base, in which case you’ll notice it’s covered – that’s because the Galaxy S5 has IP67 water and dust resistance, which is enough protection to keep things safe in a downpour, but not enough to go jump in the bath with it.

Sony’s Xperia Z2 also looks very much like its predecessor, the Xperia Z1, although that’s not really a problem here because: a) there weren’t tons of rumours circulating about a radical re-design (together with a few statements from executives, I might add) and b) Sony already has a proven track record of making designs which look and feel premium, which is where many feel Samsung is lacking and is yet to prove itself.

The Xperia Z2 features the same aluminium surround design with a very angular silhouette, slightly contoured corners and edges, and panelled detailing along the sides – a slight enhancement here is that these panel shapes are now highlighted in a contrasting colour, which pops nicely. Front and back panels are again both reinforced Dragontrail glass which means it should survive the occasional drop.

The handset is slightly thinner, narrower and taller than its predecessor, with a larger 5.2-inch display on the front. It’s also well worth mentioning that it’s about 12g lighter, which according to our man on the ground in Barcelona, an Xperia Z1 owner himself, really is a noticeable difference.

Sony has moved the stereo speakers to the bottom edge of the handset and it has the same IP58 water and dust proofing as its predecessor, which is good for submerging in water up to about 1.5 metres – so bath time Twitter is just fine and dandy.

Sony’s glass build certainly looks elegant at first glance, feels good in the hand and the overall design with its angular metal and glass combo has a really sharp aesthetic. The surprising durability is also nice. However, the downside is that just as with the Xperia Z1, the glass has a tendency to show up fingerprints quite a bit, meaning your pristine, premium smartphone can quickly turn into a greasy mess soon after unboxing. Not a major disadvantage, but something to be aware of if a big hook for you is that seductive design – all is not as it seems.



Samsung’s Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen with a full HD 1080p resolution at 430 pixels-per-inch (ppi). As usual with Samsung Super AMOLEDs the colour is fantastic, contrast robust and brightness leaves nothing to complain about. It’s nice and sharp too.

Sony’s screen is a 5.2-inch full HD 1080p setup (424ppi) but the company has expanded on the technology previously seen on its Xperia Z1 flagship. With the Xperia Z1 viewing angles were poor, performance in bright sunshine wasn’t the best and there was a tendency for some “washed out” visuals despite otherwise strong colour, brightness and sharpness.

These issues are largely eliminated this time round though. The phone still uses Sony’s Triluminos and X-Reality Engine tech but has combined it with an IPS LCD, rather than plain old TFT, and a new Live Colour LED tech. All of which makes the image quality much, much better. Again, our man James at MWC 2014 was gushing all over how much nicer the Xperia Z2’s display looked alongside his own Xperia Z1; brighter, bolder and more colourful, it would seem.

Storage, connectivity and other hardware

Sony’s stuck to the same 16GB of onboard storage with microSD support for cards up to 64GB – a sensible move as this is a nice combo. Samsung is offering 16GB and 32GB variants of the Galaxy S5, although we don’t yet know about availability of the 32GB model in the UK.

The microSD support has been bumped up to 128GB, which is good, but the downside is that the 16GB Galaxy S5 appears to only have about 7.8GB of user-available storage onboard once TouchWiz has taken its share.

That isn’t 100% certain yet though, one report is claiming the amount of user-avaliable storage will be more on the official handsets.

The reason it’s believed to be 7.8GB is from hands on time with the devices at MWC, but according to GottaBeMobile each handset was full of software specifically for the event. It’s being refered to as “Unpacked” software and took up around 2GB of the device's storage. This means if it ships without this bloatware each 16GB handset will have 10.7GB of user-avaliable storage to play with.

That’s more than the Galaxy S4 had after TouchWiz and friends had been installed.

The Xperia Z2’s battery has been boosted up to 3,200mAh (from the Z1’s 3,000mAh), which should provide plenty of juice, but being a sealed unibody it’s not removable. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 does still have a removable cell, which is handy for hot-swaps. It’s been bumped up to 2,800mAh putting it nice and close to that 3,000mAh figure which seems to just about give a couple of days of use on one charge to most handsets fortunate enough to have these larger cells.

Connectivity options are pretty standard fare with both phones supporting 4G LTE and 3G HSPA+ mobile data, dual-band Wi-Fi (with Hotspot and Wi-Fi Direct), DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and MHL TV-Out.

The Galaxy S5 has the added bonus of a “Download Boost” mode allowing the merger of mobile data and Wi-Fi for super-fast speeds. Samsung also has an Ultra Power Saving battery mode while the Xperia Z2 sees a return of Sony’s Stamina mode for similar purposes. Both modes turn-off a number of non-essential features and services to preserve your battery, with Samsung's going as far as rendering everything in a basic black-and-white scheme.

Samsung's Galaxy S5 features a few other additions – a fingerprint scanner under the Home key which can be used to unlock the phone and used for payments in conjunction with PayPal services. The full extent of these payment capabilities isn't yet known, but if PayPal is onboard expect to be able to buy quite a lot of stuff with your phone in the coming months.

Meanwhile on the back just under the camera is a sensor for use with the built-in S-Health app which can monitor your heart rate if you’re trying to keep fit.

Another Sony feature is the addition of Digital Noise Cancelling technology which works in conjunction with a purpose-built Sony headset that the company said comes bundled-in with the device in the UK.

Using the headset for music, film, gaming and other multimedia, or calls, of course, allegedly cancels out up to 98% of background noise, which should hopefully put an end to "WHAT?! SPEAK UP I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" on the bus.

The stereo speakers, as well as being no longer muffled on the back panel, have been improved with Sony's S-Force Surround technology, so you should get a pretty good experience when viewing multimedia sans headphones.


Both phones are packing the same processor, although with slightly different configurations.
But first, a history lesson to put things in some kind of context. The Xperia Z1 had a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip clocked at 2.2GHz (Krait 400) with an Adreno 330 graphics processing unit (GPU) and 2GB of RAM.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 hit the market with a Snapdragon 600 quad-core chip (Krait 300) clocked at 1.9GHz with an Adreno 320 GPU an 2GB of RAM, but a subsequent successor model landed with the Snapdragon 800 detailed for the Xperia Z1 above and a 2.3GHz clockspeed.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 each have Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 801 quad-core (Krait 400) chip onboard, however, the Galaxy S4 has the MSM8974-AC model with a 2.5GHz clockspeed, a tweaked GPU and 2GB of RAM, while the Xperia Z2 has a MSM8974-AB at 2.3GHz with 3GB of RAM.

If there is a difference in performance between these two it’s probably not going to be perceivable by ordinary humans, and if there is it’ll likely be down to the Xperia Z2’s additional 1GB of RAM rather than the Galaxy S5’s 200MHz higher clockspeed. Needless to say, both are going to move pretty quick.


Samsung’s camera updates for the Galaxy S5 form the bulk of the more substantial changes to the device from its predecessor.

It packs a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, LED flash and 4K video capture, but some really cool additions include a Live HDR mode which lets your preview what a captured image will look like with HDR changes, a Selective Focus which lets you re-select the focal point on an image after capture (Lytro style), and a 0.3-second focus speed for rapid multi-shot capture.

The Sony Xperia Z2’s camera is much the same as its predecessor with a 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor, Sony G-Lens, f/2.0 aperture, LED flash and BIONZ image processor, but now it’s been improved with 4K video recording and a slow-motion capture mode.

We haven’t given either setup a test-run just yet but have used the Xperia Z1’s similar imaging suite and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 with a 13-megapixel sensor.

Previously Sony’s gear was capable of producing more impressive results but it sometimes felt a bit like hard work and some of the fancy bells and whistles caused it to stumble over itself.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note still came up with excellent shots but had a much more care free, fire-and-forget ease-of-use without sacrificing image quality. You pays your money you takes your choice. None of this is conclusive for the Xperia Z2 and Galaxy S5 just yet thought, stay tuned to KYM for our full verdicts when we get review units in.


Both handsets run the latest Google Android software straight out of the box - that's version 4.4.2 KitKat. Each has their own UI layer, the Sony UI on the Xperia Z2 and Samsung's TouchWiz on the Galaxy S5, and both interfaces have been given a makeover.

Each takes full advantage of Android KitKat's visual changes which contribute to a sleek look and feel. The notification and navigation bars are now transparent rather than the old black design which rather boxed everything in. Fonts and icons here are now a brighter white rather than grey and there are new, cleaner type fonts too.

Sony hasn't changed much in terms of its app icons, but fortunately it has ditched some of the stuff I didn't like on its older builds. Notably, it now uses Android's default Quick Settings interface rather than its own interpretation. Generally there's more proper Android here, which is great.

Samsung has also stuck to its guns when it comes to app icons, which means they're a bit "busier" than stock Android - aside from the transparent menu bits and so forth, not much has changed.


It's understandable that Samsung is getting a lot of flak for the Galaxy S5, although that might not actually stop it from generating big sales. Aside from the camera, which has seen some worthwhile changes, the rest feels far too small a change from the previous model, or in places just gimmicky and unecessary once again.

Sony's Xperia Z2 might also be an incremental update, but it's justifiable from a number of angles. The company has already established a superb build quality and design that there is no reason to deviate from. It's only been less than six months since the last model as opposed to a full year for the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the changes Sony has made are focusing on addressing criticisms of its earlier model, with things like the display and RAM.

On balance then, Sony's Xperia Z2 is looking like a preferable option for many consumers, and the vibe on site comments and social networking feedback would appear to confirm this - most people seem to be praising the Xperia Z2 while being dissapointed with the Galaxy S5. 

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