Now we’re putting the Xperia Z to its toughest challenge yet, as we pit it head to head with Apple’s mighty iPhone 5. It won’t be an easy fight, the Sony Xperia Z is a little newer but the iPhone 5 is the best iPhone ever- and we don’t say that lightly.
Most Android phones really let the side down when it comes to build quality. They tend to be plastic and a little cheap looking, sometimes even looking more like a toy than a high tech smartphone. Thankfully the Sony Xperia Z bucks that trend with its trendy glass construction. It’s thin too at 7.9mm, though still slightly thicker than the 7.6mm iPhone 5. It’s not the flashiest phone we’ve ever seen but it’s definitely quietly stylish.
The iPhone 5 certainly gives it a run for its money though, with a premium metallic build. It’s also both thinner and lighter than the Sony Xperia Z.
Where the Xperia Z really trumps the competition is in its durability. Sure, all that glass could make it rather fragile, but in fact the screen is made of ludicrously strong “Dragontail” glass, which is 6 times stronger than the Gorilla Glass used on most smartphones (including the iPhone 5). It’s also both dust proof and water resistant- something that all smartphones could do with being.
The iPhone range has long been known for its beautiful displays, with the term “retina display”, which means a display where the pixels are imperceptible at the optimum viewing distance, even being coined for them. It’s almost inconceivable that any phone would top it and yet the Sony Xperia Z has done just that, with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 and a mind boggling 441 ppi, versus the 326 ppi 640 x 1136 resolution iPhone 5.
The 5 inch display on the Xperia Z is also bigger than the iPhone 5’s 4 inch one, and while the contrast on the iPhone 5 is certainly great, the Xperia Z includes the Mobile Bravia Engine 2 for superb colour replication.
This is somewhat tougher to judge, as while on paper the 1.5 GHz quad-core Sony Xperia Z with its 2 GB of RAM is undeniably more powerful than the iPhone 5 (which only has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM), iPhones' have always punched above their weight, managing superb performance above and beyond what their specs would suggest they’re capable of.
The iPhone 5 is no exception here, and with both phones being absolute power houses in practice the results really are too close to call, but you can be sure that whichever you go for performance won’t be a problem.
The iPhone 5 has an 8 mega-pixel camera capable of shooting full 1080p at 30 frames per second. All of which is pretty decent but also pretty standard for a high end smartphone these days. That said the real world performance of the iPhone 5’s camera is better than many of its competitors.
The Sony Xperia Z though is in a whole other league with its 13 mega-pixel lens. It still only manages 1080p and 30 frames per second for video, but for taking photos on it’s the clear winner.
The Sony Xperia Z has a 2370 mAh battery promising up to 11 hours of talk time, while the iPhone 5 merely has a 1440 mAh battery which delivers up to 8 hours of talk time.
Honestly neither is quite as impressive as we’d like, but the Xperia Z is still the obvious winner, with a battery that’s both bigger and longer lasting.
In terms of memory you can only get a 16 GB version of the Sony Xperia Z, while the iPhone 5 can be purchased in 16 GB, 32 GB or even 64 GB varieties. On the other hand the Xperia Z supports micro SD cards of up to 32 GB (potentially pushing its total storage up to 48 GB), while the iPhone 5’s storage can’t be expanded. The iPhone 5 is still capable of more storage overall if you plump for the 64 GB version, but you’ll pay a premium for it.
When it comes to connectivity options, the Sony Xperia Z supports 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and NFC. The iPhone 5 has a pretty similar set of connectivity options, but it’s lacking NFC. Admittedly NFC doesn’t get much use yet, but along with a better battery it’s still enough for the Xperia Z to edge a victory in this category.
The iPhone 5 put up a solid fight but ultimately there’s a clear winner here – the Sony Xperia Z. It bests the iPhone 5 in every category other than power and even that was a draw. With an amazing screen, superb camera, stylish build and impressive durability we have no problem proclaiming the Sony Xperia Z the best smartphone on the planet.
That’s not to say that no-one should buy the iPhone 5. iOS and Android are very different and for those who are already immersed in Apple’s eco-system the Xperia Z may not offer enough to warrant jumping ship, but everyone else can buy the Xperia Z in confidence, and if there ever was a time for iPhone users to make the switch, now is it.
With the Samsung Galaxy S4 potentially just around the corner the Xperia Z’s victory may be short lived, but for now this is as good as it gets.
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