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Sony Xperia Z vs. iPhone 5

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January 17, 2013

How does Sony's Xperia Z compare to the iPhone 5?

How does Sony's Xperia Z compare to the iPhone 5?

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Every smartphone maker dreams of iPhone-like success, but only Samsung's Galaxy S series has approached the iPhone's popularity. One company hoping to move in that direction is Sony, with its high-end Xperia Z. Does it stand a chance next to the iPhone 5? Let's take a look.

Size

The Xperia Z is a much larger phone

The iPhone 5 is larger than previous iPhones, but it's still much smaller than the Xperia Z. Some customers find huge phones like the Xperia Z to be unwieldy, while others appreciate the extra screen real estate. We'd recommend handling both and deciding for yourself.

Weight

The iPhone 5 is extremely light

The iPhone 5 is much lighter. The Xperia Z draws extra heft from its glass back, which helps to give it a premium feel.

Display

The Xperia Z's display is both larger and denser

The Xperia Z joins the Droid DNA and Huawei Ascend D2 in the 440 pixels per inch (PPI) club. Is a 1080p phone overkill, or do those extra pixels really enhance the experience? The jury is still out.

Processor

The Xperia Z's Snapdragon chip delivers top-notch performance, but the iPhone's A6 elicits...

The Xperia Z has the same Snapdragon S4 Pro found in the Nexus 4 and LG Optimus G. It screams.

Apple's A6 doesn't look as good on paper. But it zips through apps and media in iOS 6, giving iPhone 5 owners few performance complaints.

RAM

The Xperia Z doubles the iPhone's 1 GB of RAM

The Xperia Z doubles the iPhone's RAM, with 2 GB.

Storage

The iPhone has more internal storage options, but the Xperia Z's is expandable

You can buy Apple's handset in multiple internal storage options, but you can expand the Xperia Z's 16 GB with a microSD card.

Wireless

Both phones support speedy LTE data, where available

If your local carrier supports it, both phones will get speedy LTE mobile data.

Battery

The Xperia Z's battery holds more juice

The Xperia Z's battery holds more juice, but it also powers a display with over a million more pixels than the iPhone 5's. We'll need to wait for hands-on time with Sony's offering before drawing conclusions about battery life.

Cameras

The megapixel trophy goes to Sony

Megapixels are only one element of great pictures, but the Xperia Z soundly beats the iPhone 5 in that department.

Intangibles

Water resistance or feather-lightness? (feather image: Shutterstock)

The Xperia Z's IP55/IP57 ratings mean that it is dustproof and can soak in three feet (0.91 meters) of water for 30 minutes and keep on ticking. Perhaps this could come in handy if you spend lots of time at the beach or are clumsy with your beverages.

If your priority is portability, then the light iPhone 5 is your winner. It's 34 g lighter than the Xperia Z, a hair thinner, and has a much smaller surface.

Summing up

Which is better? The iPhone 5's simple, unified, and familiar experience? Or the Xperia Z's gargantuan size and raw power? Half the fun is in deciding for yourself.

If you're drawing blanks, then perhaps you'll want to cast your net wider, and include the Nexus 4 or Galaxy S III in you considerations.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. 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
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8 Comments

This is the proper size for an iPhone.

Lewis M. Dickens III
18th January, 2013 @ 08:39 am PST

The ONLY advantage the iPhone 5 has is.. iOS. Nothing else. But that is probably the only advantage it will need. All upcoming flagship Android phones are better hardware-wise, but they run Android. Not as smooth, fewer games etc.

However, comparing battery capacity is rather irrelevant. The bigger, brighter screen will obviously eat up more battery giving you shorter battery life.

That being said, I abandoned the iPhone ship when they announced the ridiculous 4S and haven't looked back. Xperia Z, here I come.

Linh Nguyën
18th January, 2013 @ 06:30 pm PST

@Lewis

"The ONLY advantage the iPhone 5 has is.. iOS. Nothing else."

And this advantage is the reason I'm sticking with iPhone 5. Android, on the other hand, is mired in glitches and sluggish performance, not to mention it's a malware magnet.

Ryan Pettovello
19th January, 2013 @ 05:31 pm PST

@Ryan

Then why do I keep hearing about people ecstatic about the smoothness & brisk performance of their (insert Android phone, often Samsung)? Amazing that iOS is declared free of glitches just because Apple is so willing to exchange phones. iOS is just as malware-able. It's just malware approved by Apple.

Regardless which company is rolling in your dough, think before you tap.

C. Walker Jr.
21st January, 2013 @ 09:26 am PST

Looking beyond the features of modern phones, I never see the specification of a cell phone’s sensitivity to low signal strength in their advertisements. Are there any web sites showing these specifications, such as http://www.cpubenchmark.net for the relative performance of processors?

After all, isn’t the primary purpose of a cell phone to phone and talk to someone? You suddenly become very aware of this purpose when the signal from the tower is low.

Occasionally I visit a friend on a game farm, near Brits in South Africa. There I noticed my old Sony Ericsson, model C702, is much better with receiving a low signal than my HTC Desire A8181.

Smit Nols
21st January, 2013 @ 01:12 pm PST

Smit Nols is spot on - phone reviews NEVER give us any technical information on the ability of a phone to do what is is supposed to do - receive and transmit. I've never been able to figure out why not except for the fact that 99% of the reviewers live in cities where reception is so hot they would not be able to easily test the difference between phones.

Richard Chesher
22nd January, 2013 @ 10:28 am PST

I still prefer iPhone after a Jailbreak, its really great.

Adam Daieh
22nd January, 2013 @ 10:49 am PST

Sony has got to be kidding. Bigger is not always better. The larger the phone the harder it is to carry as a portable device and I mean carry it on you without it dropping and breaking. Granted Sony is high end but I wouldn't buy it because of it's size. I'll stay with my IPhone thanks. Even the Iphone could be a little smaller so contractors can carry on their belts.

Allen Barrette
22nd January, 2013 @ 12:04 pm PST
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