For Android users, it’s a tough choice trying to decide which of the myriad of devices is best. This year at Mobile World Congress, Sony and Samsung went head-to-head with both releasing new premium Android models.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the successor to the popular Samsung Galaxy S4. It features a fingerprint reader, Ultra Power Saving mode and is water resistant.
Likewise, the Sony Xperia Z2 (an upgrade to the Sony Xperia Z) can also handle a downpour or spillage without having a meltdown. It’s other big claim to fame is that it records 4K video. We place the two rivals up against each other to see which reigns victorious.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2 – design
Samsung has stuck doggedly to the plastic design despite the criticisms levelled at its plasticky predecessor. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – the new S5 is lightweight while dimpled back makes it less slippery and easier to hold than previous models. And while it may still be plastic, it certainly doesn’t feel cheap.
The Sony sports an all-glass finish. While this might look great (and we prefer it to the S5), we wonder whether it will lead to cracked cases as well as shattered screens, should you happen to drop your phone.
When it comes to the screen, the Samsung has a 5.1-inch display with a beautiful 1980×1080 resolution. The Sony has the same resolution though is a smidgen larger at 5.2-inches. Both screens look great so we’ll have to call it a draw there.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2 – three key features
Durable phones for all weather condition – the new S5 is water resistent meaning that it can survive a walk in the rain or a tea spillage. Yet it still doesn’t match the resilient Sony Xperia Z2, which is waterproof up to a depth of 1.5m. This means that you can fully submerge it (with the ports shut) for up to 30 minutes and it’ll emerge unscathed.
The camera clash – The S5 has a 16Mp sensor whereas the Sony sports a 20.7Mp camera. But it’s not all about having the most megapixels. Samsung has chosen to improve its camera by speeding up the shutter speed which means that it takes just 0.3 seconds to take a photo – that’s pretty darn quick.
Sony on the other hand has opted to include 4K video recording capabilities in the Z2. The only downside is that you’ll need a pricey 4K TV in order to enjoy your home recorded 4K films.
A fingerprint reader – These phones are pretty similar when it comes to processor, operating system and screen technology. But one thing that does tell them apart is the fingerprint reader, or lack of it on the Sony. Like the iPhone, the new Samsung Galaxy S5 includes a fingerprint reader that can be used to unlock the phone. You can also use it to authorise online payment transactions. We think this is a pretty handy security feature and it’s a shame not to see it on the Sony too.
Which? expert view – “with my practical hat on, the Samsung wins”
But when it comes to useful features – Samsung has gone the extra mile and rises victorious over the Sony. The fingerprint reader is a truly useful security feature. Similarly, the camera improvments on the Samsung are genuninely useful – the snappier shutter speed makes taking photos of fast-moving action much easier. Whereas I don’t think I’d ever see the benefit of the 4K video functionality on the Sony. Of course it’s clever, but I won’t be buying a 4K TV anytime soon which renders this functionality useless.
So for me the Samsung wins – but that doesn’t mean you’d be disappointed with the Sony. Both handsets are fantastic premium phones and worth rivals of the iPhone 5S.
Jessica Moreton – Senior Technology Researcher-Writer