Sony has announced its latest flagship smartphone at IFA 2018 in the form of the Xperia XZ3. The new device brings a lovely design, coupled with a curved OLED display, but how does it compare to its competition?

This is the Sony Xperia XZ3 up against the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9 vs S9+: Design

  • All have curved displays 
  • All IP68
  • All have glass and metal designs
  • Samsung retains 3.5mm headphone jack

The Sony Xperia XZ3 features an aluminium core with a 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 curved front and back. It measures 158 x 73 x 9.9mm, weighs 193g and it is available in four colours including a beautiful Bordeaux Red.

There is a dedicated camera button on the right-hand edge of the Xperia XZ3, a singular camera lens and fingerprint sensor on the rear and USB Type-C on the bottom. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ both have a metal and glass sandwich design, but the rear is flatter than the Sony device, curving only at the edges rather than across the whole back. Like Sony though, the S9 and S9+ both have curved displays with minimal bezels at the top and bottom. Sony has a 18:9 aspect ratio, while Samsung has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

The fingerprint sensor is positioned on the back of both Samsung devices too, though it is closer to the camera than on the Sony device and the S9 and S9+ also offer iris scanning and facial recognition as an alternative biometric method. 

The standard S9 has a single camera lens on the rear, while the S9+ has a dual camera lens. Both have a dedicated Bixby button on the left, USB Type-C and they also have a 3.5mm headphone jack. They also both come in six colour options including Coral Blue and Burgundy Red. 

The S9+ measures 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm and weighs 189g, making it the closest in footprint to the XZ3. The S9 measures 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm and weighs 163g, making it smaller than the XZ3.

All three devices being compared here are IP68 water and dust resistant.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9 vs S9+: Display

  • All have OLED displays
  • All HDR compatible 
  • All around an 18:9 aspect ratio
  • Samsung S9 sharpest display

The Sony Xperia XZ3 has a 6-inch display with a Quad HD+ resolution for a pixel density of 578ppi. As mentioned, it offers an 18:9 aspect ratio and it has curved edges.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a 5.8-inch display, while the S9+ has a 6.2-inch screen. They both have Quad HD+ resolutions like the XZ3, resulting in pixel densities of 570ppi and 528ppi, respectively. The S9 and S9+ have 18.5:9 aspect ratios and they too offer curved edges.

All three of the devices being compared here use AMOLED panels for rich and vibrant colours and deep blacks and they also all support mobile HDR.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9 vs S9+: Hardware and specs 

  • All offer microSD slot
  • All run on flagship processors
  • S9+ has the largest battery capacity

The Sony Xperia XZ3 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, supported by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There is a microSD slot for storage expansion up to 512GB. 

A 3330mAh battery capacity is under the hood of the Xperia XZ3 with quick charge 3.0 and Qi wireless charging both supported. 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ run on either the latest Exynos or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, region dependant. The standard S9 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the S9+ has 6GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage.

The S9 also has a smaller battery than the S9+ with a 3000mAh capacity, compared to the S9+'s 3500mAh.

Both Samsung devices have AKG-tuned stereo speakers that support Dolby Atmos surround sound, while Sony has a stereo speaker with S-Force Surround and its Dynamic Vibration System is also on board, allowing users to add vibration to any content for a more immersive viewing experience.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9 vs S9+: Camera

  • Xperia XZ3: 19MP rear, 13MP front
  • Galaxy S9: 12MP rear, 8MP front
  • Galaxy S9+: Dual 12MP, 8MP front

The Sony Xperia XZ3 has the company’s 19-megapixel Motion Eye camera on the rear, offering a f/2.0 aperture. It is capable of super slow motion video of 960fps at Full HD and it has various AI features too including predictive capture.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a single 12-megapixel Super Speed Dual Pixel camera with a dual aperture of f/1.5 to f/2.4. It offers optical image stabilisation, along with selective focus for background blur effect. 

The Samsung Galacy S9+ meanwhile has a dual 12-megapixel camera made up of a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens. The wide-angle lens also has a dual aperture like the standard S9, while the telephoto lens has a f/2.4 aperture. Dual OIS is on board, along with live focus with bokeh effects.

Both the S9 and S9+ support super slow motion video too, like the Xperia XZ3, but only at 720p rather than Full HD.

On the front of the Xperia XZ3 you'll find a 13-megapixel f/1.9 aperture camera. On the front of the Samsung S9 and S9+, there is an 8-megapixel snapper with an f/17 aperture.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9 vs S9+: Software

  • XZ3 will launch on Android Pie
  • Samsung currently on Android Oreo but will get updated
  • Software skins on both

The Sony Xperia XZ3 will launch on Android Pie with Sony's software over the top, while the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are currently running on Android Oreo with Samsung's UX Experience over the top.

Both devices therefore have Android at their core but the experience will be slightly different thanks to the software overlays. You'll also find additional features unique to each device, such as something called Side Sense on the Sony and Edge Sense on the Samsung devices. You can read more about Side Sense in our initial review of the XZ3, or Edge Sense in our S9+ tips and tricks.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9 vs S9+: Price and conclusions

The Sony Xperia XZ3 will cost £699. The Samsung Galaxy S9 costs £739, while the S9+ starts at £869, making them more expensive.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 runs on the same hardware as the Samsung devices, while also offering a great design like the two Samsung's and a great display. The S9+ has a larger battery capacity and more RAM, as well as a dual camera, but it is also the most expensive device.

In terms of performance, these three devices are likely to be on par, though Samsung might have the edge when it comes to low light camera performance. We will update this feature once we have reviewed the new Sony.