Two giants have outed two next-gen phones at Mobile World Congress 2014, with Samsung launching its anticipated Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony unveiling the Sony Xperia Z2.
Both flagship devices, they are both looking to turn heads and offer you the best of the best when it comes to the Android smartphone experience.
The devices have a lot in common and are vying to be your next smartphone, so how do you choose between the two? We’re picking through the specs to tell you exactly what the difference is.
Different in design
The SGS5, which will launch globally on 11 April, looks a lot like the SGS4 or the Note 2, the Xperia Z2 looks a lot like the Z1. The Samsung is the smaller device, measuring 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm and 145g, while the Xperia Z1 is still a little large at 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm and weighing 158g. There’s really not a lot in it.
The Sony has a premium finish with the aluminium frame and tempered-glass front and back panels, but the Samsung’s plastic design means you can get to the battery to change it.
We suspect that many will look to Sony as having the better design and materials, but never underestimate the appeal of a changeable battery. Both devices are water-resistant, with the SGS5 offering IP67 and the Z2 with IPX5 and IPX8 protection.
Sony’s display gets larger
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display, with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, but the Sony Xperia Z2 is a touch larger, at 5.2-inches, again with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.
That results in a pixel density of 431ppi for the SGS5, while the Xperia Z2 gets 424ppi. Both are sharp and packed full of detail, but the larger display on the Z2 in part results in it being a physically larger device.
Both displays are very good in the flesh, but Samsung has stuck to AMOLED, while Sony has opted for IPS LCD. Both have plenty of punch, with Sony adding its Live Colour LED tech to boost colours without over saturating.
Under the hood
The Sony Xperia Z2 houses the latest 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset, along with 3GB of RAM making it the most powerful Xperia handset yet.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2.5GHz quad-core chipset, also the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 again. There’s 2GB of RAM so the Sony looks a little hotter on paper. In real life, we suspect the experience of both will be very smooth and fast.
But it’s the battery capacity that could sway you towards Sony, with its 3200mAh cell, to Samsung’s 2800mAh. Remember the Samsung can be swapped, however, and the Sony can’t, but both offer great power saving features.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 brings with it a 16-megapixel camera on the rear. Samsung’s big play is around speed on the SGS5, with the camera focusing and capturing in 0.3 seconds. There are some clever options too, with selective focus, live HDR as well as 4K video capture.
Sony is also offering 4K video in the Xperia Z2, and offers its 20.7-megapixel sensor on the rear, again with a host of clever camera features including digital SteadyShot stabilisation for video. We can’t judge which will produce the better final image until we’ve had a chance to test both, but the camera is certainly a strong focus for Sony and Samsung.
Both Sony and Samsung launch with Android 4.4 KitKat, so you get the latest from Google’s OS.
Both are also deeply skinned, with Samsung adding more into the phone. Of particular interest are fitness features, supporting the sensor on the rear that will return your heart rate. A Download Booster, however, might be of interest if you’re in a data rush: this will use Wi-Fi and 4G together to speed up downloads.
Sony, on the other hand, is still interesting in the many ways to serve up its content, adding access to a What’s New app through the normal Google Now shortcut.
Sony still feels like it sits a little closer to Android’s native look and feel, but there’s no doubting that Samsung let you do just about everything you can think of.
Samsung Galaxy S5: 2,800mAh battery with 21 hours of quoted talk time
Sony Xperia Z2: 3,200mAh battery with 19 hours of quoted talk time
The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 both have upgraded batteries, but although the Xperia Z2 has the larger cell, it looks like the Galaxy S5 might edge it. The Galaxy S5’s 2,800mAh battery will, according to Samsung, offer around 21 hours of constant talk time, while Sony claims that the Xperia Z2’s larger 3,200mAh battery is good for 19 hours.
There’s a fingerprint scanner on the Samsung Galaxy S5 to give you protection and authorise payments, but that means there’s a physical home button too.
There’s no doubt that Samsung has an impressive device, with lots of clever technologies incorporated. The design doesn’t appear to have moved on much though, which might play in Sony’s favour.
The Sony Xperia Z2 is a touch larger, with a larger display, but it looks like the more premium device. Sony bundles in digital noise cancellation with the supplied headphones and adds front-facing speakers, so may well sound better.
Whichever you choose, there’s plenty to consider and we’re yet to see HTC reveal its new device. Both the Sony and Samsung will be available in April 2014.