Sony Xperia Z vs Apple iPhone 5: On Equal Ground?

People attending “Skyfall,” the James Bond flick, were given free sodas before the movie started. A video began playing, telling them that if their cup rang, the Xperia phone inside their soda was theirs. The sopping wet Xperia not only was the reason for amazement and laughter but also demonstrated its waterproof ability. Perhaps, we should add sticky-proof for surviving a soda.

But the more critical question lurking in our minds is – is Sony Xperia Z, iPhone 5 proof?  Every new phone that comes out is inevitably compared with the iPhone 5, which has become a benchmark for phones of its genre. Sony claims to have broken the jinx with Xperia Z, and there was a lot of pre-release anticipation and marketing hype that made the rounds. But post release, has Sony actually reinvented the phone as it claims?

Let’s highlight the phone’s trifecta of capabilities and see how it fares against the iPhone 5 which has raised the bar of phones a few hundred notches.

Sony Xperia Z

The design of Sony Xperia Z is rectangular and it is a pleasant change from Sony’s usually rounded edges. Sony says, the skeleton frame offers balance and symmetry all around and is called, “OmniBalance.”  As you can see in the image below, the power button is beautiful to the say the least, and is said to be inspired from luxury watch designs.

Going by the hands-on reviews and feedback received; the Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2) phone boasts of some great specs. A dream come true for mobile geeks, this Android phone contains within it, a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, EXPANDABLE storage of 16GB, 2GB RAM, 13.1MP camera, 4G cellular connectivity, dust proofing and water proofing, 1080p HD screen with Bravia Engine, LTE and a whole lot more.

It is clear that Sony is trying to make a huge dent in the smartphone market with the Xperia Z, If looks could kill, this new entrant comes with an ultra slim look and feel that is bound to mesmerize buyers – a mind blowing 5-inch HD screen – in shades of piano black, white and purple exclusively for the UK – and high gloss glass on both the front and back.

Sony-Xperia-Z

While strong enough to withstand all the knocks and bumps, Sony Xperia Z is highly sensitive to fingerprints, just like many other phones on the market. It’s a struggle to keep it clean, says Phil Lavelle. Since that’s something we’re all living with anyway, it shouldn’t take away from the overall efficacy and beauty of the phone.

Power users were given a dream of a great battery performance and top speeds. The price, at the moment is a little too high, but there is not much room for complaint elsewhere, and Sony Xperia Z may represent an Android smartphone that has the potential to take on the iPhone 5.  And the price is bound to come down in a few months. If you wish, you can always get one on a monthly contract at around £26.

How Does Sony Xperia Z Compare With The iPhone 5?

Here’s a comparison chart that helps you see the differences/similarities at a glance.

Sony XPeria Z iPhone 5
OS Android OS, v4.1.2 Jelly Bean, Sony says upgrading to v4.2 Jelly Bean soon Apple iOS 6, upgradable now to iOS 6.1
Processor 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, GPU Adreno 320 1.3GHz Apple A6 Dual-Core, GPU PowerVR SGX543MP3.
Display 5-inch TFT full HD screen, 1920 x 1080 Reality Display, 441ppi Retina Display. 4-inch IPS LCD screen, 1136 x 640, 326ppi
RAM 2GB 1GB
Storage 16GB – Expandable to 64GB via microSD 15, 32 and 64GB – Non Expandable
Data microUSB v2.0, LTE, GPRS, Edge, Wlan, Bluetooth 4.0. Bluetooth 4.0, LTE, GPRS, Edge, Wlan. microUSB using an external adaptor
Internet Mobile Chrome – no Flash Player support. Safari Broswer – no Flash Player support.
Body 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm. Water resistant for 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
Colors Black, White, Purple Black with slate, White with silver
Weight 146g/5.15oz 112g
Camera Rear camera: 13.1Mp, Auto Focus, LED flash, Full HD videoFront camera: 2.2Mp, Full HD video Rear camera: 8MP, Auto Focus, LED Flash, 720 HD.videoFront camera: 1.2MP, 720p HD video
Media Sony’s Unlimited Services iTunes
Network 3G and 4G 3G and 4G
Battery Talk time Up to 14 h and stand-by 22.1 days in 3G Talk time of 8 h and stand-by 9.4 days
  • Size: The iPhone 5 fits easily in any hand. If you balked at the size of Samsung Galaxy S3, then the Xperia Z is certainly not something you would enjoy holding. But if you think your paws can take it, this Android dream is not to be missed.
  • Display: The display of Xperia Z is out of this world and looks much better than it did on paper.  Even the video looks great. The phone itself is one elegant piece of creation. The water and dust resistant capabilities of the Xperia Z are something nobody can find a fault with. This is something that the iPhone 5 lacks. I would make it mine just for its beautiful display.
  • Processor: The 1.5GHz Snapdragon CPU of the Xperia Z is amazingly fast, and comes with NFC support and HDMI-out. iPhone 5 does not offer NFC support.
  • NFC: NFC (Near Field Communication) is a technology for smartphones that allows the phone to communicate with other (here it is Sony) devices, such as the latest range of televisions. All you have to do is touch them together or bring them very close to each other, and the screen of your phone will be mirrored to the TV. Sony is one of the few to use this futuristic technology effectively.
  • OS: The iPhone 5 now has the updated iOS 6.1 OS, and we expected Android 4.2 out of the box, but Sony promises an update soon. I’m sure we can do without that for a while, as this phone has so much more to offer. Both the phones have a collection of more than a million apps.
  • Browser: Sony Xperia Z is fitted with a Chrome browser and does not have any Flash Player support. But there is a remedy – a third-party browser and the Flash Player plug-in from Adobe’s site. On the iPhone 5’s Safari browser, you can’t install the Flash Player. Of course, you can get some Flash support with third-party browsers.  Both phones stand on equal ground as far as browsing is concerned: Sony scores points on versatility and the iPhone 5 on precision and navigation.
  • Camera: We all read what Sony had to say about the new 13 mp sensor. But in reality, now that the phone is out, what was on paper only partly matches its capabilities. Low light shots are not great, but day-time photos are excellent.
  • Media: Android is playing the catch-up game quite successfully. The media experience on Sony Xperia Z matches that of the iPhone 5. Syncing iTunes to an iPhone is simple and the Xperia Z is built on the Walkman heritage and offers Sony’s unlimited services. Unfortunately, there have been several complaints of the speakers being poor. May be the iPhone has an edge here. But it doesn’t bother me in the least, as I’m in the habit of using the headphones for music.
  • Price: The iPhone 5 price for the 16GB version is $199, $299 for 32GB and $399 for the 64GB model.  These prices are for the 2-year contract. If you want to buy it unlocked without a contract through Apple, it costs $649, $749 and $849 based on the model.  While we are not sure of the US pricing for the Xperia Z, it is estimated to be around the same price of $199 with a 2-year contract and at around $600 to $650 for the unlocked version.

We Say…

  • Both the phones are great and make an impact in their own way. Stick to the iPhone 5 if you are keen on a smaller and lighter phone. But if you’re a fan of bulk, the Xperia Z is value for money.  It may seem like we’re sitting on the fence, but it’s not easy to choose between two of a kind; the iPhone 5 with its ease of use and the Xperia Z with its attention to detail. It boils down to a matter of personal preference.. Since this is the first Android phone to hit its mark and perhaps even cross it, the interest in this phone is really high. Our preference? Ah, we’re not influencing your decision!
5 Comments
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