Sony Xperia Z3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: What's the difference?

The next Sony Xperia flagship has been announced six months after its predecessor and ready to take on its flagship smartphone rivals, but does it have what it takes?

We have put the Sony Xperia Z3 up against the Samsung Galaxy S5 to see how it compares, what the differences are and which device will come out on top.

The Xperia Z3 is thinner but slightly bigger and heavier

Sony brings the same signature omnibalance design to the Xperia Z3, but adds rounded edges and nylon-protected corners to the new flagship. There is a flat slab tempered glass front and rear, side power button and an aluminium frame with the Xperia Z3.

Samsung on the other hand, opts for a more square shape than its previous devices with the Galaxy S5 but you'll still find an aluminium frame and there is a plastic, perforated removable rear.

The Sony Xperia Z3 measures 146 x 72 x 7.3mm and weighs 152g while the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes in at 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm with a weight of 145g so the Xperia Z3 is thinner but heavier and the Galaxy S5 is slightly smaller.

Both are water-resistant but Sony's Xperia Z3 is IP65 and IP68 rated, meaning it is water and dust-proof, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 is just IP67 rated so you can't go deeper than a metre of water for more than 30 minutes.

Bigger display on the Xperia Z3 but sharper on the Galaxy S5

The Sony Xperia Z3 has a 5.2-inch display compared to the 5.1-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy S5 but both offer the same 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.

This should mean that you'll get a slightly sharper display with Samsung's Super AMOLED offering as there are more pixels packed in per inch.

The Galaxy S5 features a pixel density of 432ppi while the Xperia Z3 and its LCD display offers an 423ppi.

Both displays are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and both come with a range of technologies, with Sony bringing X-Reality and Triluminos tags to the Xperia Z3, while Samsung sticks with its trusted Super AMOLED.

Same processor but the Xperia Z3 has more RAM

The Sony Xperia Z3 has a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor under its hood and so does the Samsung Galaxy S5 but the Xperia Z3 is supported by 1GB more RAM.

There is 3GB of RAM in the Xperia Z3, while Samsung went for 2GB of RAM support in the Galaxy S5 so the Xperia Z3 should be slightly better at performing heavy duty tasks, but other than that, there should theoretically be no difference between these two handsets in terms of performance.

More megapixels on the Xperia Z3

The Sony Xperia Z3 has a 20.7-megapixel rear camera, along with a 2.2-megapixel front camera, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 16-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front snapper.

In terms of numbers, the Xperia Z3 should be the winner as Sony has also increased the ISO sensitivity to 12800, as well as introduced a wider G Lens but we can't conclude if this is the case in real life until we have had the chance to test both.

Samsung and Sony also offer their own camera features with Samsung bringing functions such as Beauty Face to improve selfies and Sony launching applications like Face-In to capture your reaction when taking a photo. There is certainly lots of fun to be had with both handsets.

PS4 games on the Xperia Z3, fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S5

The Sony Xperia Z3 comes with the latest version of Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Sony's skin on top, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 has Android 4.4.2 KitKat with the Samsung TouchWiz UI over the top so this will come down to which experience you prefer.

Sony is launching a service in November that will allow you to play your PlayStation 4 console games on your Xperia Z3 smartphone so this might tip the seesaw for some, but those who are fitness fanatics might prefer the Galaxy S5 with its heart rate sensor.

The usual connectivity options are on board both, along with the normal sensors but Samsung takes it one step further in the sensor department by adding a fingerprint reader to its Galaxy S5.

The Xperia Z3 should last longer, but more internal storage on the Galaxy S5

When it comes to battery life, both Sony and Samsung have power saving software on board their flagship devices but the Xperia Z3 has a bigger battery capacity than the Galaxy S5.

There is a 3100mAh battery in the Xperia Z3 compared to a 2800mAh battery in the Galaxy S5, and Sony claims it will survive two full days with normal use, which would top what we managed with the Galaxy S5 during our review time with it.

In terms of storage, both devices are expandable via microSD up to 128GB but the Xperia Z3 is only available with 16GB internally, while the Galaxy S5 comes in 16GB and 32GB options.

Conclusion

The Sony Xperia Z3 is slimmer, more water resistant and it features a bigger display, battery capacity, more RAM support and a better camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is lighter and smaller in terms of build, offers a sharper display and it has more storage options, along with a heart rate sensor and fingerprint reader, which could be a winner for some.

The two devices offer very different designs so you might have already decided which you prefer based on that alone, but if not, the Sony Xperia Z3 just pips the Galaxy S5 to the post in terms of specs.