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Flagship Showdown: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Sony Xperia Z2

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Flagship Showdown: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Sony Xperia Z2

The popular S4 successor goes head to head with the latest iteration of Sony’s waterproof Xperia.

Every smartphone enthusiast should be aware of the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is expected to go on sale across the globe on April 11. Carriers and retailers all over the world are now making the necessary preparations for the smartphone’s arrival and the handset is already available for pre-purchase in numerous regions, across multiple mobile operators.

Nevertheless, let’s not forget that the SGS5 is not the only high-end smartphone expected to hit the market within the next several weeks. Samsung’s finest will actually face some competition this year, from both HTC and Sony.

In Sony’s case, the Japanese manufacturer is preparing its upcoming Xperia Z2 for launch, which should take place by the end of March. That being said, Sony actually has a bit of a head start (save for the fact that Z2′s initial release will probably not be as wide as Galaxy S5′s). With that in mind, you could find yourself in a position where you might not be able to make up your mind regarding the purchase of one phone over the other. Hopefully we can offer a helping hand, by talking about the Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z2 in a side-by-side comparison.


While we’ve all waited for 2K screens to become mainstream with the first wave of high-end smartphones released in 2014, we’re still some months away from that to happen.

As such, both the Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z2 feature 1080p displays. The main differences reside in the fact that Samsung’s Super AMOLED panel measures 5.1 inches, resulting in a pixel density of 432 ppi. On the other hand, the Z2 takes advantage of an IPS LCD display measuring 5.2 inches, with an output of 424 ppi.

While there’s no telling what further improvements have been introduced by Samsung in its Super AMOLED screen, or how color accurate the screen will be, Sony’s flagship does take advantage of a Triluminos display and the new Live Color LED technology, delivering vivid colors without oversaturation (of which the Super AMOLED display is guilty of).

Raw Hardware Specifications

With Qualcomm dominating the Android AP market at this point, the majority of high-end smartphones have started to pack similar hardware components, thus, they also tend to perform quite similarly. Nevertheless, it’s the little differences that count, and in the case of the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs the Sony Xperia Z2, it’s all about the type of CPU and amount of RAM.

In other words, while both the S5 and Z2 feature a Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, Samsung’s flagship takes advantage of the beefier MSM8974-AC variant, clocked at 2.5 GHz. Meanwhile, Sony’s top-tier contender features a MSM8974-AB CPU, and that last letter in its codename has cost it 200 MHz in CPU frequency.

Nevertheless, the Xperia Z2 makes up for it thanks to its extra GB of RAM. While the Galaxy S5 has settled for 2 GB, the Sony flagship packs 3 GB, which should improve multitasking.

Storage-wise, the S5 comes with 16 or 32 GB of internal memory, whereas the Z2 packs only 16 GB. Both smartphones take advantage of microSD card slots that can expand the storage by an additional 128 GB.

Last but not least, the S5 is powered by a 2,800 mAh battery, while the Z2 comes with a larger 3,200 mAh unit. The Xperia flagship promises more battery life than Samsung’s alternative, but on the other hand, the Korean manufacturer has implemented a new Ultra Battery Saving Mode on the S5, as well as a handful of Lucid software additions for improved power management while using GPS, browsing the web or playing games. Hopefully, all of these software implementations can compensate for the 400 mAh discrepancy.

Camera and Other Features

This year, Samsung has been rather bold, as it decided to fit the SGS5 with its brand new ISOCELL camera, comprised out of 6-elements and various technologies that go hand in hand with a new camera app. ISOCELL promises less electrical crosstalk between pixels, and brings major changes to the BSI concept. This technology should lead to sharper, more color accurate pictures.

The S5 packs a 16 MP unit with phase detection autofocus, LED flash, a 1/2.6” sensor, HDR, 2160p@30fps video recording capabilities, and 1080p@60fps recording. The main unit is accompanied by a 2 MP secondary sensor with capable of 1080p@30fps videos.

On the other side of the fence, Sony goes all in with its impressive 20.7 MP camera boasting a 1/2.3” sensor size, an LED flash, HDR and 2160p@30fps / 1080p@60fps / 720p@120fps video recording capabilities. The main unit is coupled with a front-facing 2 MP shooter.

The list of extra features continues, but this is where the two companies have taken a different route. Where the Samsung Galaxy S5 packs a fingerprint scanner in the home button and a heart rate sensor embedded near the LED flash, the Sony Xperia Z2 comes with stereo speakers and an amplifier set called “S-Force Front Surround Sound.” When paired up with Sony’s noise cancellation headset, the Xperia Z2 delivers amazing audio quality by leaving out most ambient noise.

Design, Waterproofing and Dimensions

Sony and Samsung are at the opposite poles when it comes to design. While the Korean giant employs rounder design cues and soft-touch materials on the perforated back panel, the Xperia Z2 boasts an “edgy” exterior that follows Sony’s “Omnibalance” design rules. This implies that the Z2 packs the iconic power button on the side and a rather industrial overall look.

With the S5, Samsung has also decided to implement some water resistant capabilities, as the handset in question boasts an IP67 certification. This allows the handset to survive for 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water.

However, Sony has the most experience in the waterproofing department, and the Xperia Z2 comes with an IP68 certification, giving it the ability to survive for more than an hour in 1.5 meters of water.

Nevertheless, some of Sony’s decisions have taken a toll on the overall dimensions. The Z2 measures 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm, and weighs 163 grams. On the other hand, the SGS5 measures 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm and weighs nearly 20 grams less, or a total of 145 g.

Final Words

In the end, it’s quite difficult to pick a winner between the two devices, but we have a feeling that the SGS5 will achieve higher sales figures, mainly because Sony isn’t really putting a lot of effort in delivering its Xperia flagships in the States (and other regions) in a timely and organized fashion.

Aside from that, it seems that the Xperia Z2 and SGS5 are worthy competitors and as long as you have the chance to buy either one of them, we suggest you go with the smartphone that best suits your needs.

The comment section is, as always, at your disposal, so feel free to share your thoughts and let us know which one of the two gadgets you’d be willing to buy, and why.

Vlad Andrici is editor for and writes about technology issues. Follow Vlad on Google Plus.