Phones Review

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z flagship fight out

Under: Mobile Phones, Phone Debates, Samsung, Sony
By:Debbie Turner | March 30th, 2013

From time to time we like to give readers a comparison between two of the newest devices in a bid to help readers decide which of the two might be the best choice for them. Today we’re looking at the Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Sony Xperia Z in a flagship fight out, as both of these notable Android smartphones have a lot to offer.

The Sony Xperia Z is already available across different regions of the world and on multiple carriers while the Samsung Galaxy S4 is due for a release across the world from late April. It looks as though the Galaxy S4 will hit the UK first on April 26 and then will also then release on multiple US carriers with T-Mobile being the first to announce availability coming on May 1. We’ll look at some of the key specs and details for each phone first, followed by an overall summary.

Processor
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has either a 1.6GHz Exynox Octa-core processor or a 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, dependent on market. It also has PowerVR SGX 544MP3 graphics or Adreno 320 graphics, again dependent on market model. The Sony Xperia Z has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor with Adreno 320 GPU.

Display
The Galaxy S4 totes a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a whopping 441 ppi. On the other hand the Xperia Z has a 5-inch TFT display with resolution of 1920 x 1080 and again that hugely impressive 441 ppi. As you can see there’s very little between them so far.

RAM and Storage
You’ll find 2GB of RAM for the Galaxy S4 and 16, 32 or 64GB internal storage options, expandable via microSD to 64GB. For the Xperia Z there’s also 2GB of RAM but only 16GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD to 64GB.

Camera Set-up
There’s a 13-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash, dual shot, simultaneous HD video and image capture, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization and HDR for the Galaxy S4. It’s also capable of 1080p @30fps video with dual-video recording and also has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera also with 1080p @30fps and also dual video call. Alternatively the Xperia Z has 13.1-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, sweep panorama, HDR recording with 1080p video capture @30fps, image stabilization and HDR. It also sports a 2.2-megapixel front-facing camera also with 1080p @30fps.

Battery
The Galaxy S4 has a 2600 mAh battery while the Xperia X has a 2330 mAh non-removable battery so the Galaxy S4 has the advantage here.

Operating System
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean will be the OS for the Galaxy S4 out of the box with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI also evident. The Xperia Z released on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and there’s a planned upgrade to 4.2. It also uses the Sony Bravia Engine 2.

Dimensions and Colors
Measurements of the Galaxy S4 are 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm and it weighs 130g. It comes in White Frost or Black Mist color options but more colors may arrive later, as in the case of the Galaxy S3. The Xperia Z measures 139mm x 71mm x 7.9mm, weighs 146g and has black, white or purple color options.

As you can see these two phones are pretty similar when it comes to specs with only some minor differences between them. They both also have LTE connectivity (on models where applicable), Bluetooth 4.0 with AD2P and NFC although the Xperia Z has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and the Galaxy S4 has the superior Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. However the Xperia Z is both water and dust resistant, something that the Galaxy S4 lacks.

Of course we haven’t room here to detail every single specification and also features of both phones and this is where some feel the Samsung Galaxy S4 pushes ahead. As well as wireless charging (some markets) the Galaxy S4 has some amazing new features and improvements such as Smart Stay, Smart Scroll and Smart Pause and further enhancements to S Voice.

Design and build may also play a part in any decision you make between these two handset and on a personal level we’d say the Xperia Z wins this hands down with an elegant sleek design, top-end materials and all-round premium look and feel whereas once more the new Galaxy S handset features plastic and more plastic as on previous Galaxy S phones. Pricing for the Galaxy S4 is only just being announced in dribs and drabs for different regions and carriers but it likely to be around the same price as the Xperia Z or maybe just slightly more.

We say that both of these phones have a huge amount to offer consumers. Although the Galaxy S4 will undoubtedly become the bigger seller (such is the dominance of Samsung for Android devices) that doesn’t mean the Xperia Z doesn’t more than live up to its billing of being Sony’s flagship device. Both phones will offer users a fine mobile experience and should keep users satisfied and happy with their choice. If innovative features are important to you then the Galaxy S4 might be the right choice for you. However, if you want a good-looking phone that looks and feels good the Xperia Z may suit you better.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on these two smartphones. If you were to choose between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z right now, which would you opt for and why? Let us know with your comments.

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  • prince palash

    it was to b galaxy s4 to b choosed

  • krishna

    I will go with Xperia Z…..

  • nerd

    i will surely like the xperia z since it does not feel cheap as the galaxy s4(plasticky nature of samsung phones at high end irritates me a lot…).

  • Jason Hughes

    Xperia Z all the way. Having been a Samsung follower I recognise the simple differences in application ease and use of ther phone. Basically the Sony moves through emails, applications and general phone systems without fail and quickly.No delays like with the Samsung. “S4″, what are the extra’s, eye control? really? Anyway plastic fantastic still remains within Samsung and I have to agree with all reports on websites, the Sony Experia Z is a premium glass handset and I am personally glad I made this choice. For now, Samsung has lost the battle and has to consider introducing elements of the Xperia Z into the Galaxy S5 !!! Well done Sony!!!!

    • Dr Alvin

      Great choice !

  • SanMiguel

    Going by past trends, by the time Sony upgrades the Xperia Z to Android 4.2, Samsung (and maybe even HTC) will already have moved on to Android 5.0 on their flagship phones.

    Such a shame really. The Xperia Z is really a sexy piece of hardware, and I think the Exmor-R camera sensor is the best on the market now, possibly even better than Nokia Lumia 920’s. Sony had done serious in-house R&D for camera technology.

    • Rahil Farooqui

      I agree dat sony is vry slow in giving updates to thier phones. But in case of Z, i’ve heard dat they r trying to fix dat viewing angles problems which maybe delay thier update. But i would still be hoping for a quicker update release after all they have finally managed to compare their phones with the best of them….

  • Arsh

    Xperia z is the best choice., I have used both Samsung and sony high end mobiles but the clarity & quality of picture is always unique in sony .. And moreover spending almost 40k and getting a plastic phone which look lyk a cheap phone is weird.. Xperia z have precise Glass which looks brilliant and costly., connectivety is also better in Sony and I can challenge this .. Sony all the way Best ..

  • hong

    Xz all the way!

    • Alastair Mackay-James

      Samsung wont fix bugs!

      • Rahul

        You have no idea how worst is sony’s after sales!

  • Simon t

    The Samsung does not have HDR.
    My market says the s4 will not get the octa core too so there will be little difference in performance. I’ve always hated AMOLED screens with a passion too. I think it’s colour saturation is vile and suffers from screen burn far to often.
    The durAbility of the Z is far too good. This is a big deal. Being able to never worry about water damage is something well over due with mobiles.
    Don’t forget the Z has the PlayStation store, Facebook inside Xperia (FIX) and Bravia2/Exmor RS and Sony cross compatability.

    • Anonymous

      even if your market does not have the octa core exynos you will get a quad-core 1.9 ghz snapdragon s4 pro with krait 600. so that is no big issue. Samsung has also fixed the amoled screen problem with an option called adobe rgb which makes it look like any ips or lcd display. as the xz is covered with glass on its back also then it can easily crack like in the nexus 4 and if you drop your mobiles in water then it is simple carelessness. ive seen a cracked glass back and it looks horrible and if it breaks it can cut your hand also. and Samsung has a lot more useful built in apps like s voice, Samsung hub, chat on, Samsung apps and many more. most of the cameras in Samsung phones are from sony so the camera quality is same.

      • http://www.facebook.com/iilessthanthreeyou Kim-Ngoc Le

        Just a note: Xperia z has shatter proof glass

        • http://www.facebook.com/epicer Jason Ge

          There’s no such thing as “shatter proof glass”, it only goes so far as to not separate into hundreds of fragments upon being dropped – the same principle as shatter proof rulers designed so childrens’ eyes will not be put out when they bend them too far. It will crack all the same upon being dropped from any height above 3 feet, and will eventually splinter as the thin film holding the glass together beings to lose its adhesion.

          • Omgeezus

            You realize that you just contradicted yourself, SHATTER-proof glass does exactly what’s it meant to do. NOT SHATTER, its breaks but millions of pieces do not break off. Hence why you can’t cut ourself. No one said its indestructible glass…

          • Niv

            Shut up! instead do more research on shatter proof glass!.
            Its much better than Plastic Samsung………….hopless korean

  • Woody

    It’s ok have a glass finish to the phone but like most I phones I bet Xperia z owners will end up with a cracked glass phone when it gets dropped the plastic airbrush finish on the s3 and s4 is lovely and the screen resolution on the Xperia z looks rubbish compared to the s4 beautiful high quality vibrant colours and detail on the screen. I loved my s2 I love my s3 and can’t wait to get the s4 Samsung are gonna overtake apple in the mobile market. Sony have a long way to go to compete coz the Xperia z ain’t gonna get them anywhere close to Samsung

    • CJ

      As you know the xperia market is going up drastically now. Samsung ain’t winner like apple anymore. in my area, mostly of the store have xperia sold out evidently. Shutterproof or not. S4 will crack too, difference with xperia, it crack on both glass and plastic, haha. I prefer innovative than revolutionary.

      • Dr Alvin

        Haha ya man! Even I prefer SONY……

    • sharoon

      samsung galaxy s4 have the same shity s3 design.they made good with processor but design sucks. xperia z have great design and awsome processor to. it looks good on both sides samsung sucks

  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.passantino Luke Passantino

    The S4 obliterates the Xperia Z. Its processor [either variant] is far more capable than the last gen one present in the Xperia Z, the screen is also vastly superior, I have seen the Z in person and it really is a pretty washed out affair. Samsungs superior software, camera, battery life etc just further widen the gap between these two. And personally i couldnt give a s&%t about waterproofing as I have never had my phones remotely in danger of drowning. The Z is a nice effort by Sony and a good phone but not in a league with the industry leader quite yet.

    • st

      Yes I suppose the screen is superior if you like colour saturation and screen burn. I find Samsung screens absolutely vile.
      Water proofing is going to appeal to so many people. Especially with people who have kids or people who are active or use the bath lots.

      • http://twitter.com/elwyn5150 elwyn5150

        The other day I didn’t have an umbrella and was caught out in the rain. That’s the sort of situation I will expect to face more often and have no fear of the phone dying.

        • Dr Alvin

          yes sony xperia Z is your answer!

    • Walter van Lille

      I have to agree with the sentiment that seems to be in favour of the XZ here. I have seen the Amoled screens on Samsungs as well, and I’m glad that alot of people haven’t gone that route with their phones. Sure, it looks more colourful, but the “Dynamic” setting on my Samsung TV is also very colourful and I don’t like that either. I’s almost as if you can feel your eyeballs burning in your sockets when you look at it too long. The samsung does have superior specs with regards to the chipset used, but I haven’t seen one app on the Xperia that doesn’t run just as smooth as on the Samsung. If you remove the brand names from the phones and give it to somebody to handle, you know that they would prefer the Sony. The build quality is just that much better. The S4 is a powerful phone, but not in league the the Industry number three yet.

      • Jack

        True, the performance in these phone have almost no difference. Just preference of their uniqueness. As for me, I love the classy design and the physical capability of XZ.

  • zzzzzzz

    i dont mine plastic phone because samsungs plastic doesn,t look like plastic

    • Rahul

      It is not plastic! poly carbonate! it is stronger than glass and aluminium :) and people who feel this cheap are a kind of noobs :D

    • Dr Alvin

      Plastic then looks like Glass!!! LOL, I am sad for you. Switch on the Xperia, and feel the difference

  • Anonymous

    however good the xz may look,s4 has a more powerful processor and sony ui simply cant stand out to the far superior features of the nature ux.some people don’t like amoled screens but in s4 there is an option named adobe rgb which makes it look like any other screen in a smartphone providing more natural colours. I also think that the camera is not a big issue as most cameras in Samsung smartphones are from sony itself. also Samsung has a far greater record in customer satisfaction than sony.the xz does look good and feels premium but if you want hardware performance then s4 is the phone for you

  • Purnanuj Shrivastava

    i will go with sony xperia z
    after paying this price look does matter on the other hand all the samsung phones look petty similar specially their edges

  • Rowlin

    Easily Galaxy S4, larger removable battery, better more innovative software, probably better processor. Material is not an issue with me, as I use a case like most people. Sony is a huge conglomerate that makes mediocre products, I’ve had loads of Sony stuff in the past and there was always something irritating about them. Would never buy a Sony.

    • Ei Heel

      I believed you are a battery collector. Somehow, the innovative world had created portable charger. If you afraid your phone hang, you can change to a better phone, there’s no need to remove your battery to save it. That how’s mediocre phone you’re having needs to worried about. Every phone has it irritating issue. Anything used to be bad won’t be bad forever. Open your mind to new chances and changes. By the way, both phone uses equal software.

      • Rowlin

        Some apps suck the battery life, chargers are slow, much better to swap the battery if it dies from heavy use. I’ve seen people in restaurants looking for outlets to charge their iphones, no thanks. Software is not equal, Z uses older version of Android, and Samsung has a better UI and more innovative software.

  • Radddu

    XPERIA Z…Hands down. An Amazing phone….although S4 comes wit a faster Processor,,the Xperia Z is an equal in all respects and Looks Really COOL. xD

  • Rowlin

    Sony has been left behind worse than Microsoft

  • Mr. puntz

    lets do a drop test!

  • vj

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ sweaps S4

  • Seinh

    I am personally go with xz..bcuz it looks beautiful with its durable design..the glass made make it looks ‘high class’ instead of s4 who plastic made n shape like a rubbish..s4 octa processor wont give much differences unless u such a user who run the phone like a supercomputer!!! Plus s4 Amoled display makes their mobile phone soo irritating..the screen layout/interface looks like ‘cartoon’ since its too bright..fyi xz made from high resistant glass..if u scratch it using a knife it wont bled our hands like previous comment..he/she just become too obsessed with s2 n s3..btw xz looks powerful with its camera..water n dust resistant will enable me to take out my phone from pocket during raining day n snap a photo too..so it is obvious that we shouldn’t waste our money for plastic design..silly s4..hahahah..

  • Beans

    The actual out right cost of these hand sets the S4 costs roughly around $100 more than Xz.

    The batter comparison is a joke, as previous person commented that battery life depends on softwares the company put on top, plus S4 chip may consume more juice due to being higher performance.

    S4 does not survive the 1.5 meter drop test, Xz does.

    So for $100 less I will go with Xperia that looks $100 more premium than S4!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ayli1984 Ayli Crossland

    Going for the S4 :)

  • Rahul

    Samsung s4!! Sony phones only look good and feels premium. Samsung’s update procedure and exynos is faar better than what sony uses! I know many people wouldnt believe, but that is the truth. S4 is already waiting for android key lime pie!! Do you have any news about xperia’s 4.2.2 update?? lol, no right???

    samsung atleast wont ditch their flapship phone users!

  • geek

    I had xperia sola. Sony ditched me with giving 1 major update.

    I bought s2. I recently received 4.1.2 and samsung has promised for 4.2.2 update too!!! my s2 is strong enough to resist occasional falls!

    Samsung galaxy s4 all the way!!

  • geek

    I had xperia sola. Sony ditched me without giving even 1 major update.

    I bought s2. I recently received 4.1.2 and samsung has promised for 4.2.2 update too!!! my s2 is strong enough to resist occasional falls!

    Samsung galaxy s4 all the way!!

    • Dr Alvin

      Oh u should have paid more and got Sony Experia S to receive updates!!
      You are a miser and now asking for updates!!! CRAZY

  • orpickaname

    does the S4 need Kies to conect with a PC?

    does Kies come in the box?

    does the S4 conect with your PS3/4?

    does your phone last longer than the contract you brought it on?

    does the fact that these are new phones and the updates for the next OS have not been announced yet matter?
    does any of the above really matter that much
    LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE NEITHER OF THEM ARE AN IPHONE

  • Krishan

    All Samsung phones like S III, note, grand etc looks like same with a very little difference… i will go for xperia Z

  • SONYsamsung

    Have an old ARC (not S), bought sept11 (already discontinued at the time) with android 2.3. Upgraded to android 4.0.4 over 3 instances, last one around Sept 12, in which the android upgrade “knocked on my Xperia companion Window”. 3 clicks and Voila! Once I had to occasionally stop the upgrade and carry on after a meeting ( no problem)! ( it didn’t have to restart from the beginning either ..).

    I also have a samsung GT-P6200 bought Jan12 with 3.2. Still android 3.2! the only upgrade available is if I go and look for it and do it at my own risk! Someone else at the office bought an SIII a few months ago with Android 4.0.3 . If he wants an android update he’ll have to hunt for it or search some samsung website ( No time for that, we both have a life)

    Sound and video quality on the samsung sets are simply laughable when compared to the ARC even though some tech specs and comments would imply otherwise.

    No prizes for guessing what our next mobile phone will be!

    PS I have yet to reboot my ARC because it froze even though I am out of memory and have had to shed some applications recently!

  • poy poy

    ill go to sony xperia z …….

  • bladewhip

    I have enjoyed the Xperia Z, now bring on the Samsung’s latest.. By that time, i’ve enjoyed my xperia z well enough, and any new feature of samsung S4 will no longer impress me.. texting under the rain on emergency cases is insurmountable..

  • Dr Alvin

    Yea I would go for Sony Xperia Z. Sony has made a great come bACK! Kudos to Japanese engineering!

  • rahul

    Stupid Sony loves. I hate xperia.Samsung is better

  • PaoVillav

    Got the Xperia Z! Loving the look, the feel and the dust / water resistance!

  • the lucky 1

    It’s a tough choice. S4 for state of the art technology and innovation (software) but XZ has the finish quality and looks and feel more classy. Over time, the latter will prevail. If you want the latest software capabilities, go S4 if you think you will use these features often enough. I must add that some people would say that the S4 looks better but this is really up to individual preferences (more roundish – S4 or more squarish – XZ).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742350362 James A. Mills

    Xperia z all the way

  • Jo

    Xperia Z !!!!!!!

  • Leoparkes

    Watch out for the major flaw in the Xperia Z!

    Okay, just taken delivery of the Xperia Z (C6603) and downloaded the latest firmware before starting to configure the phone. A time consuming task I don’t
    look forward to but now here’s a funny thing. The first job I attempted to do was to set up the Wi-Fi connection to my wireless router at home… and this is when it all went wrong. Just like many people, I have my wireless
    router set so it doesn’t broadcast its SSID to every potential hacker in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately it turns out Sony decided not to make this phone compatible with hidden SSID’s. Yes, that’s right – the only
    smart phone in the top ten list that I can’t use at home, or my friends, or anywhere else where a Wi-Fi connection is set not to broadcast its SSID – unbelievable… and from Sony of all organisations! I wished Sony would make this clear to buyers.

  • Hanif Mansoor

    Help me guyzzzzzz really confused which one to buy xperia z
    or s4

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