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The Best Of Samsung, The Best Of Sony – The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Xperia Z

Last updated: December 4, 2018.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs the Xperia Z

Samsung Galaxy S4

It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of Samsung besting Sony would be laughable, but, here we are, judging two of the company’s devices.  In this particular case, Sony is now the underdog, while it’s Samsung who is the current champion.

The Sony Xperia Z is not a bad device.  It is an excellent Android device that has been favorably reviewed and is in strong demand.  However, the Samsung Galaxy S4  considered one of the best flagship Android devices currently available.  There are some shortcomings in the S4 however and some areas where the Xperia Z just shines.

In this review, we take a close look at both devices to help you decide which one is for you.

Design

  • Samsung made the Galaxy S4 out of plastic.
  • The S4 has a larger display than its predecessor, the Galaxy S3, but somehow Samsung managed to incorporate this yet still create a slimmer and lighter device.

Galaxy S4

  • The G4 is well-balanced and quite easy to handle.
  • The G4 is not very eye-catching. Some might actually mistake it for last year’s Galaxy S3.
  • The Xperia Z looks like it’s made of black slate.
  • It has angular corners and a glass back for an overall sleek appearance that is definitely eye-catching.
  • The Xperia Z is also waterproof and dust-proof.

A3

Bottom line:  Sony did a better job of creating a distinctive-looking device with a premium look and feel.

Display

  • Both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z have a 5-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and pixel density of 441 ppm
  • The two differ with regards to display technology.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses an AMOLED display in PenTile.
  • The PenTile used in the S4 has a new arrangement matrix which includes diamond-shaped subpixels for what proves to be one of the best viewing experiences of any current smartphone.
  • The Xperia Z has a TFT display that can’t beat the S4’s superior viewing angles.
  • The colors of the Xperia Z are just a little less bright than that of the Galaxy S4.
  • Sony has included their Bravia Engine technology in the Xperia Z which helps with color saturation when used for playing games or watching videos, but this doesn’t affect the user interface.

Bottom line: The Xperia Z has a good display, but the display of the Galaxy S4 is the better one.

A4

Specs

  • The Galaxy S4 has one of the best processing packages among current smartphones.
  • The Galaxy S4 has a Snapdragon 600 processor with an Adreno 320 GPU with 2 GB of RAM.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S4 performs fast and very smooth.
  • The Xperia Z has a Snapdragon S4 Pro with 2 GB of RAM.
  • The Xperia Z’s processing package is about a generation behind that of the Galaxy S4’s but the difference this makes in the two devices performance is minimal.
  • Both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z have microSD slots.
  • The Galaxy S4 has a removable battery.
  • Sony chose to forgo making the battery of the Xperia Z removable in order to ensure the Xperia Z could be water and dust proof.
  • The Galaxy S4 has more sensors than the Xperia Z. Sensors the Galaxy S4 has that the Xperia Z doesn’t are: an IR sensor, an IR blaster, an air gesture sensor, a barometer and a thermometer.

Bottom line: Performance wise there is not much difference between the Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z.  If specs are important to you, go for the S4.  If a water and dust proof phone are important to you, go for the Xperia Z.

Battery

  • The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 2600 mAh battery.
  • The Sony Xperia Z has a 2330 mAh battery.
  • The Galaxy S4 has the larger battery and, as we noted earlier, the S4 has a removable battery.
  • There is an inconsistency in power consumption rates of the Xperia Z, especially when it comes to heavy media consumption. This and its smaller battery size results in the Xperia Z’s battery lasting about a day.
  • The Galaxy S4’s battery life can last through two days of usage. The ability to change out the battery also plays a factor in allowing the S4 to last longer the Xperia Z.

Bottom line: If battery life is especially important to you, go for the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Camera

  • The Xperia Z’s camera is a testament to Sony’s reputation for great camera technology.
  • The Xperia Z uses a 13NP Exmor RS sensor which is one of the best in the market.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S4 has the better amount of camera software features. It has Eraser Mode, Sound and Shot, Drama shot, dual capture, animated images and other.

Bottom line: Depends totally on your personal choice.

Software

  • Samsung uses their TouchWiz UI in the Galaxy S4. While this UI is colorful and cheerful, it is also a bit bloated.
  • The Xperia Z UI is low key, with darker tones and it sticks to understated design elements.

Bottom line: If you like TouchWiz and its tons and tons of features, go for the Galaxy S4.

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Pricing

  • Currently, you can get a Samsung Galaxy S4 from a variety of US carriers on a contract for $199.
  • An unlocked Galaxy G4 can be had for $675 to $750.
  • The Xperia Z currently can only be bought unlocked for prices ranging from $630 up.

Bottom line: The Sony Xperia Z has the advantage here.  Its price is more likely to go down quicker than the Samsung Galaxy S4.

In many areas, the Galaxy S4 has the advantage over the Xperia Z, but that’s not necessarily a reason to reject the Xperia Z.  Two factors that bother many about the Galaxy S4 are the plastic build and its use of the TouchWiz UI.  If these indeed bother you, the Xperia Z is the better choice.

What do you think about the Galaxy S4 and the Xperia Z? Which would you choose?

JR.

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