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Sony Xperia Z vs. Samsung Galaxy S3

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January 10, 2013

How does Sony's new Xperia Z compare to the Samsung Galaxy S III?

How does Sony's new Xperia Z compare to the Samsung Galaxy S III?

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Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S III was the undisputed King of Android. Many expect its inevitable follow-up to repeat in 2013. But one company hoping to carve out its own piece of the pie is Sony. Its Xperia Z is the Japanese company's most serious foray into smartphones. How does it stack up against 2012's best? Let's take a look.

Size

These are two big smartphones. The Xperia Z is slightly longer, but roughly the same width. Sony's handset is also notably thinner.

Weight

The Xperia Z is heavier, but not by a huge margin. You can trace that directly to its higher-quality build materials. The Xperia Z has a glass back; the Galaxy S III's is plastic.

Display

The Xperia Z joins the Droid DNA and Huawei Ascend D2 in the first wave of Super Retina phones. Its 441 pixels per inch may or may not be overkill. Either way, 1080p smartphones will be a trend in 2013.

Processor

The Xperia Z has the same Snapdragon S4 Pro chip found in the Nexus 4, Optimus G, and Droid DNA. It's a screamer.

The chips in the two versions of the Galaxy S III aren't quite on par with the S4 Pro. But for most customers, their performance will be more than adequate.

RAM

The Xperia Z's 2 GB of RAM match the North American version of the Galaxy S III. The global edition settles for 1 GB.

Storage

Samsung sells its flagship in three different storage options. The Xperia Z comes in one 16 GB flavor.

Both handsets allow expandable microSD card storage.

Wireless

If your local carrier supports LTE, both phones will deliver today's fastest mobile data speeds. There are also HSPA+ (slightly faster than 3G) variants of both devices, in addition to standard 3G.

Battery

On paper, the Xperia Z has a slightly higher capacity. But many factors determine battery life, and the Xperia Z powers a display with over two million pixels.

Sony is advertising "Battery Stamina mode," which shuts down battery-hogging apps when you don't need them. Until the Xperia Z is put through its paces, though, take Sony's claims of "outstanding" uptime with grains of salt.

Camera

Another 2013 smartphone trend will be 13-megapixel cameras, and the Xperia Z is leading the way.

The Xperia Z also shoots High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. Like HDR still photography, it combines the best of high and low exposures, creating a shot with fine detail in both bright and dark areas.

Intangibles

Sony is marketing the Xperia Z as a waterproof phone. We wouldn't recommend soaking it in a fish tank, but it should survive an unfortunate drop into a bathtub or toilet.

Smartphones age quickly, and the Galaxy S III is growing a bit long in the tooth. The Galaxy S IV could arrive by May, which could only be a few months after the Xperia Z's (unknown) Q1 release date.

Summing up

The Xperia Z comes out of this showdown looking good. In fairness to Samsung, though, we're comparing two generations of phones. Perhaps the more appropriate comparison would be later this year, between the Xperia Z and the Galaxy S IV. If the Xperia Z is as popular as Sony hopes it will be, perhaps we'll revisit that around June.

To see how Sony's latest stacks up against the latest "pure Android" handset, check out the Xperia Z vs. Nexus 4.

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Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin
9 Comments

Would love the latest gadget (phone) but with new chips around the corner I have to skip this stuff altogether!!

phissith

What about the Galaxy's unofficial ability to take sdxc cards? Does the Sony phone have that too?

Womp

Wonder what a pricing comparison would look like?

I chose my current Xperia due to it being good value for money, and are still satisfied.

Riaanh

Looks to me like this is arguing about whether the deck chairs on the Titanic should be moved a 1/2" to right or 3/4" to left. In other words .... who cares? They all do the jobs you need and a whole lot more than you'll ever know (13Megapixels or 8Megapixels?! --- it just ain't important, you likely could do just fine with 3Mp, esp if you are just messaging them off to someone else who will glance at it and delete it, which is undoubtedly the use of 99.99% of pix). And next week (figuratively speaking) they will offer one with 15Mp for less money. Gimme a break. Life is much more important (much more!) than this silly stuff. You have far, far, far more important things to do in your life than worry about a 1/2" here or 3/4" there. Get on it.

Dirk Faegre

@Dirk Faegre

I own a Galaxy S1 and a Galaxy S3. There is only a 3MP difference on the camera but with the S1 it is hard to take a non-blurry picture of a person in average lighting.

My GF's Razr is mostly still crap and my S3 is the first phone I have owned that is even passable as a camera.

There is definitely more to pictures than megapixels but as a digital camera phones still have a long way to go.

Daishi

Sorry guys but this is a no brainer. If you really understand how technology works then really the Xperia t would beat the s3. Not just the Z. Amoled screens are horrible, over saturated and suffer from screen burn. All for slightly better viewing angles. It's ridiculous. Even the Xperia t's s4 dual core processor out performed the s3's quadcore processor in bench mark tests. Android isn't optimised for quadcore yet. In fact it won't be for a while. The only reason Sony have done the quadcore thing now is because they are tired of reviewers blindly looking at a spec sheet and going 'duuuuhhhh, more processors means better' and therefore telling consumers to avoid dual-core phones, when in reality it's the sensible option. Also the Z has HDR and Exmor RX in its new camera. I mean, sorry to keep going back to the Z's little brother but the Xperia T had a much better camera than the S3. So the Z will destroy it. This fight in fact is so blindly unfair it's unreal. The s3 doesn't just have a crap screen, camera and feel but it's UI is gastly too. It's a good phone I suppose but talk about over hyped.

Simon Tompkins

not to get off the topic, but i like galaxy note II the best because it comes with a pen and is the perfect size, any bigger then no. plus samsungs note acts as tablet as well, saving me from worrying about charging 2 devices not to mention the cost factor. but then i see Thorsten Hiens holding a tiny little screened blackberry, and they wonder why they are in such a demise. but one thing ill say for Rim is that they dropped the 16gb playbook that was a good move. well at least in the right direction. I think all devices should be a minimum storage of 64gb and up from there, due to high resolution content and gaming. Regards, Freelance Eng(designer of smartphone tech)

Dave Hargraves

nope sorry sony even though both designs are incorrect pertaining to the Next Generation Smartphone. samsung wins due to rounded edges from front to back. your handset sony is going to wear a etch on the outside of my front pocket, like how a wallet etches a mark on the back pocket unlike the samsung phone. and the square corners also will wear holes in my pocket. sorry to say but samsung wins this one. apple also made that mistake but at least the corners of the iphone is rounded. regards, Freelance Eng.(designer of smartphone tech)

Dave Hargraves

This is really awesome and i love that.. This is very unique thing you put on that post.. Thanks for sharing...

Rida Fatima
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