Sony Xperia Z vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Vs Paul Briden 17:47, 11 Jan 2013

We pitch the Sony Xperia Z flagship against Samsung's similarly sized Galaxy Note 2

We see how Sony’s Xperia Z stacks up against Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2.

Form

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - 151.1x80.5x9.4mm, 183g

Sony Xperia Z - 139x71x7.9mm,146g

As with most of Samsung’s recent and similarly styled premium catalogue, the Galaxy Note 2 is something of a double-edged sword, being more or less an enlarged Galaxy S3.

On the one hand, it has a reasonably attractive aesthetic with smoothed corners, a thin bezel and an overall curvy, rounded shape.

It has the usual silvery trim, an evenly spaced expanse of bodywork above and below the display panel, a solid home button and a pair of capacitive touch controls.

The design is quite slick and modern looking. However, the flip side is the materials used. The build quality is reasonable but the ‘hyperglaze’ plastic has a cheap feeling to it and it’s a bit shiny for our tastes.

Sony’s Xperia Z does a far better job of catering to the flagship premium price tag when it comes to build quality and materials. Not only is the display made from reinforced Dragontrail glass but the back panel uses exactly the same stuff, like an old-school iPhone only tougher.

As usual with Sony phones, the fit and finish is excellent. In terms of shape it’s a fairly stark rectangular device, but there’s something about the neat contours of the edges, the ever-so-slightly curved corners, the stylish panelling along the sides and the overall proportions – the screen to bodywork ratio looks fantastic and the bezel is virtually nonexistent.

Lastly, it’s also dust and water resistant, at least enough so that if you drop it in your drink it’ll survive the ordeal.

So, the Xperia Z is our pick here, not only is it far more attractive to look at but it has that premium touch to the build which Samsung’s flagship has lacked since day one.

Winner – Sony Xperia Z

Display

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 has a sizeable 5.5-inch Super AMOLED capacitive display with a 1280x720 pixel HD resolution at 267 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

The clarity is slightly inferior to the Galaxy S3 but in both cases it’s reasonably sharp though does have some issues with text. Contrast and colour are both excellent though and on the whole it still delivers impressive visuals – you could happily watch films all day on the Note 2.

But despite this it’s still outclassed by what the Xperia Z offers.

Admittedly it’s a slightly smaller display at dead-on 5-inches but this still provides massive real estate for media consumption while being slightly more manageable in the hand.

More importantly, however, is the considerably superior visual quality – it’s an LCD screen with a 1920x1080 pixel HD resolution at 443ppi, so clarity is incredible and it produces fantastically pure whites.

Better still, it comes loaded with the Sony Mobile Bravia Engine 2 for enhanced, rich colours, alongside OptiContrast technology for great contrast and deep blacks.

While 5-inch 440ppi displays are set to become the norm on premium models this year Sony has done its usual job of distinguishing itself as a notch above the competition in this field.

Primarily, that's thanks to the extra technology layers on top which really make a noticeable difference.

Winner – Sony Xperia Z

Storage

The Xperia Z comes in only one flavour for onboard storage and that’s 16GB, but unlike many other recent flagships it also includes microSD capability for cards up to 32GB.

As is tradition, Samsung offers much more flexibility with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants alongside plenty of expandability by taking high-capacity cards up to 64GB.

While 16GB is a decent amount the Galaxy S3 has more going for it in this round.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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