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(Pocket-lint) - At the top of Sony's Xperia Z5 family is the Z5 Premium. It steals headlines with its 4K display, putting itself forward as part of the new breed, the next generation of super smartphones.

It runs headlong into the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung's big-screened handset that provides a larger than life alternative to the Galaxy Note, and capitalises on one of the most successful phones of 2015.

Both go big on Android, but which is the better handset? We've lived with both, we've reviewed both and here we're distilling all that to help you figure out which is the best handset for you.

Xperia Z5 Premium vs Galaxy S6 edge+: Design and build

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ both feature strong, well-built designs. The Xperia Z5 Premium follows the same OmniBalance path as previous Xperia Z handsets, but it introduces flatter edges and a fingerprint sensor on the side power button.

The Sony design is a little samey with little changed over the past few years, but we love the chrome finish. What it lacks is the lovely frosted finishes of the smaller Xperia Z5 models.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ has a dual-edge display and fingerprint sensor on the front. If you're all about design then the Samsung is arguably the more refreshing of these two devices, offering a really interesting design.

The Xperia Z5 Premium measures 154.4 x 75.8 x 7.8mm and hits the scales at 180g, while the Galaxy S6 edge+ measures 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9mm and weighs 153g. The Galaxy S6 edge+ is therefore slimmer and lighter than the Xperia Z5 Premium, but they have the same footprint.

Aside from the chrome, or mirrored finish, the Xperia Z5 Premium also comes in gold and black, while the Galaxy S6 edge+ comes in gold, black and white. The Sony device is waterproof however, while the Samsung is not and that might make a difference to you.

Xperia Z5 Premium vs Galaxy S6 edge+: Display differences

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has a 5.5-inch display, while the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has a 5.7-inch display, meaning you get a slightly bigger display on the Samsung despite it being the same body size as the Xperia Z5 Premium.

Sony is using the Xperia Z5 Premium to introduce smartphones to the world of 4K, while Samsung offers a Quad HD display on its Galaxy S6 edge+. In terms of numbers, this means the Xperia Z5 Premium has a 3840 x 2160 resolution for a pixel density of 806ppi, while the Galaxy S6 edge+ has a 2560 x 1440 resolution for a pixel density of 518ppi.

Sony opts for an LCD panel, while Samsung uses Super AMOLED. The latter is more vibrant, giving punch to content, but the former is more natural. Both are great displays, but the Sony is better when it comes to handling video content especially, with deep blacks and lovely natural colours.

When viewing high resolution photos, the Sony can deliver more detail and if you have 4K content, it looks better on Sony's display, although there's very little 4K content around, unless you're capturing it yourself. Samsung offers those dual edges for wow factor, but movie junkies will want the Sony.

Xperia Z5 Premium vs Galaxy S6 edge+: Camera shootout

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has a new 23-megapixel sensor for the rear camera, along with a 5-megaixel snapper on the front. It boast plenty of technology, from SteadyShot video to Hybrid AF for fast focusing.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has a 16-megapixel rear snapper and a 5-megapixel front snapper, bringing the same technologies from its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge siblings, both of which are highly acclaimed for their camera capabilities.

The Sony sensor may be good, but the camera experience isn't the best. The Samsung makes things easier, it's faster to get around because of better software optimisation and the results are consistently good. The Sony camera will take some great shots, with fast focusing and great stabilised video, but it can be frustrating to use.

The Sony offers a camera button, but the Samsung double press shortcut on the home button is really convenient too. Of the two, we prefer the Samsung camera experience and have been perfectly happy with the results.

Xperia Z5 Premium vs Galaxy S6 edge+: Hardware and battery

Under the hood, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor supported by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. There is also microSD support for further storage expansion up to 200GB.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has an Exynos processor under its hood, which has eight cores like the SD810. There is 4GB of RAM supporting the S6 edge+ and the choice of 32GB or 64GB internal memory, but no microSD support.

Both of these phones are snappy, but the Samsung feels like the speedier device and it does so without getting overly hot. There's a drawback in not offering microSD, meaning no simple storage expansion.

In terms of battery, the Xperia Z5 Premium has a 3430mAh battery capacity, while the Galaxy S6 edge+ has a 3000mAh capacity. The Z5 Premium offers Sony's Stamina Mode for better endurance, but the S6 edge+ also manages to get you through a day well enough.

Xperia Z5 Premium vs Galaxy S6 edge+: Software showdown

Both the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ run on Android Lollipop at launch, with each company's specific skin over the top. The skins mean you'll get a different user experience and personal preference will be a big part of how good you think it is.

Sony pushes a lot of its entertainment apps, but has the added advantage of PS4 Remote Play, which allows PlayStation 4 owners to play console games on their device. Although closer to native Android in looks, Sony makes a lot of changes that don't necessary benefit you, like tweaking the calendar and messaging app. It's not hugely fast though, and some features (like AR effects) are prone to overheating the phone.

Samsung takes a deeper approach to customising the S6 edge+ with TouchWiz. Almost every aspect is changed from stock Android, but there's plenty of cohesion and a lot of great features, such as split-screen multi-tasking to take advantage of the big display. Again, there's some bloat, but Samsung feels slicker and faster.


The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ are pretty similar in specs, with each offering benefits in various areas and both powerful devices.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ is thinner, lighter and offers a larger display. It feels like the more powerful handset, offering a slicker user experience and great camera results, with a more innovative design. It costs from £629.

The Xperia Z5 Premium has a better display, microSD support and better battery life. It is waterproof, but doesn't offer such a luscious design. It also costs from £629.

Ultimately, the decision between these two smartphones will come down to which design you prefer, which user interface you prefer and which of the specs matter to you most. If you spend a lot of time looking at high quality photos and want the best out of movies, go for Sony. If you want sharper design and slicker performance, go for Samsung.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle and Chris Hall. Originally published on 2 September 2015.