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Sony Xperia Z2 vs iPhone 5s comparison

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on June 4, 2014

In this post we’re having side by side the Apple iPhone 5s and the Sony Xperia Z2.

These two are rather different devices (a compact phone running iOS, and a large-screen device Running the latest Android), but both are flagships in their camps, so if you want to see how they fare against each other, watch the video and read the post below.

There are quite a few major differences between these two smartphones, but the most striking one is perhaps the size gap. On one hand we have the compact and light iPhone 5s, which feels lilliputian next to the big Xperia Z2. And that’s because the iPhone 5S sports a 4 inch screen, while on the Z2 there’s a 5.2 inch display. That comes with pros and cons for each side.

The iPhone 5s is small and can be easily used with a single hand, but for many, its screen is minuscule for everyday use. The Z2 is larger and heavier, but reading, watching movies or playing games on its bigger screen is a delight. That’s why these two phones address different types of technology lovers.

iPhone 5S vs Sony Xperia Z2 video comparison

Both feel premium though and , at least imh, both are stunningly beautiful. We have the Silver Gray version of the iPhone here, with its aluminum case and tapered straight edges, and the Purple version of the Xperia Z2, with a metallic frame squeezed between two sheets of glass.

Both phones are also rather fragile. Sony’s Xperia Z2 is IP certified, or in other words dust and water resistant, like the previous Zs before. That might be useful for some, but requires all the ports to be covered by plastic caps, which makes them more difficult to access. It also has a negative impact on the speakers and overall call-quality. Personally, I find little use for a waterproof phone like this one and I would have preferred a more conservative approach or a more ruggedized body, but that’s just me. Bottom point though: take good care of these phones and don’t drop them…

Design aside, there’s the classic iOS vs Android debate when picking between these two. There’s iOS 7 on the iPhone 5s and Android 4.4 KitKat on the Xperia Z2, with all their latest features and the best each ecosystem has to offer right now. I’m not getting in depth here, I did compare the two OSes in a previous clip. There’s however one thing I have to say: Android has come a long way and is right now fast, beautiful and gifted with all sorts of functions.

And although I’m an iPhone 5s user and have been getting along fine with most changes brought by iOS 7, I do believe the Sony Xperia Z2 with Android 4.4 KitKat is a more versatile option for everyday use. But that’s only one aspect of this comparison and clearly not enough for someone to pick between these two devices.

The Cameras

The cameras are also due-or-dies on top devices like these ones. There’s an 8 Mpx shooter on the iPhone 5s with a simple and rather limited camera interface. But despite that, it is all-round one of the best cameras you’ll find on a smartphone these days. The Xperia Z2’s camera looks impressive on paper. 20.7 megapixels, large sensor, plenty of features and shooting modes.

In practice, the Z2 takes excellent videos, especially since it can shoot 4K clips as well, alongside the slow-mo’s also available on the iPhone. It also takes good pics in proper light, but still struggles in low light, much like the Xperia Z1 before, both when using the Smart Auto and the manual Modes. It fails to focus properly quite often, and when it does focus, the resulting images are somewhat mushy, lacking sharpness and details. The iPhone on the other hand delivers clear pics, although rather grainy, but I’d rather have that than what’s coming out of the Z2.

But don’t take my word on it, see the pics below for more details.

Studio Lights, Manual Mode for the Z2

Studio Lights, Manual Mode for the Z2

Macro Shot

Macro Shot

Indoors - low light - Flash

Indoors – low light – Flash

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Indoor test – low light – no flash

Moving on, we have the batteries to mention. Again, on paper, the iPhone trails the Sony, which packs a battery twice as big. In practice, both phones can get you through the day with medium to heavy use and both can go for at least 2 days with light use. The Xperia will last longer than the iPhone 5 though in most cases, especially if you take good use of its power-saving options, but the iPhone trails it closely.

Anyway, with the major aspects aside, here come the other things worth mentioning.

We’ll start with the extras offered by the Xperia Z2: the notification LED, the microSD storage expansion slot, the stereo speakers flanking the screen, the extra connectivity options, the ability to use the screen with gloves ON or the ability to double-tap the screen to wake up the device.

The iPhone lacks all these, but does pack the Dual-LED flash, great for taking more natural looking colors in poor-light, and its TouchID fingerprint-reader. Also, the iPhone 5S has a clearer and louder earpiece, which makes it better suited for taking and receiving calls. And last but not least, the tiny screen on the iPhone 5S is brighter, offers better contrast and paints more natural looking colors than the large screen on the Xperia Z2.

On top of those, I could also mention the hardware differences between the two. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 platform on the Xperia and Apple’s A7 chip on the iPhone, with its 64 bit architecture. I don’t care much about specs though, but I do care about speed and performances. And, like I said above, the Xperia Z2 is snappier and smoother than the iPhone 5s is these days, in most cases. But that’s more due to the software on the two, than the hardware.

Wrap up

At the end of the day though, one question remains: which side offers more for the money? A simple question with a complicated answer: depends on what you want, either a compact, simple phone that works well out-of-the box and doesn’t have any major flaws, but is expensive, or a larger phone with a bigger screen, snappy performances, plenty of features and a few small quirks? A phone that’s cheaper than iPhone, don’t forget about that.

The Apple iPhone 5s and the Sony Xperia Z2 - Different phones for different users

The Apple iPhone 5s and the Sony Xperia Z2 – Different phones for different users

Either way, both are excellent devices and the Xperia Z2, as the new kid in town, is a tougher competitor for the flagship iPhone than any of the other Zs were before. And that’s good news for Sony.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to read my detailed Xperia Z2 review as well, plus the comparisons with the previous Sony Xperia Z1 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. And if you have any questions or things to add, the comments section below is open and waiting for your input.

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.

3 Comments

  1. Paul

    March 5, 2014 at 2:02 am

    Sony has produced some good phones lately, i have been useing a Galaxy s2 then a Galaxy note for the last 3 years, with no issues at all and very happy. But this z2 is the phone that might just push me into purchasing a Sony for the 1st time. Sony once was the premium brand everyone bought. I still remember the tv studios haveing huge sony studio cameras, i think they know what there doing they have been around much much longer than all the the others including apple.

  2. Jono Holtstein

    June 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Is this meant to be Un biased? as mentioned in the comment an iPhone user and from the review it would seem another fan boy for Apple

  3. Prateek

    July 22, 2014 at 6:04 am

    I am using Iphone since pretty long time almost 2-3 years 4,4s,5,5s and now couple of days back i switched to xperia z2 its quite good but still i am bit confused whether should i keep xperia z2 or again switch back in i phone 5s. please give me genuine reviews.

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