Sony Xperia Z vs ZTE Grand S
We check out the ZTE Grand S to see how it sits alongside the Sony Xperia Z
Sony's Xperia Z flagship has gained a lot of interest but ZTE is jostling for position with its Grand S. Which is better? We investigate.
ZTE Grand S - 142x69x6.9mm
Sony Xperia Z - 139x71x7.9mm, 146g
We’re not going to beat around the bush on this one, the ZTE Grand S is a seriously good-looking smartphone. It follows the current trend for larger scale models accommodating a 5-inch display but it’s also remarkably thin at 6.9mm.
Viewing the device from the front it has a slight resemblance to the Google Nexus family with gently curved corners. But it’s a little different because the unibody shell wraps around the front of the display in a similar way to HTC’s One X – there’s a strip of bodywork visible around the black front panel, which itself projects forward very slightly from the chassis.
The front features an incredibly thin bezel and more-or-less evenly spaced bodywork above and below the display, while the top of the back panel has a black bar housing the camera which looks very slick to us. The rest of the back is clean and minimalist aside from a small ZTE logo in silver.
While we don’t yet know the colour availability for different regions ZTE’s showcase demonstrated a wide range of colour choices including white, grey, black, red, blue, pink and yellow.
Build quality is very good, our hands-on time with the phone at CES showed us it had a similar type of polycarbonate plastic to the Nokia Lumia 920 (though it’s nowhere near as heavy) and likewise the Grand S is available in both matte and gloss finishes depending on the colour choice.
In our view, matte is preferable, but either way you’ve got a phone which is very rewarding to handle.
Being frank, Sony has produced more unique, distinctive and interesting looking phones than the Xperia Z in the past. But, the Xperia Z is still an attractive handset and it has a few nice design features which combine to create a very cohesive and appealing package.
It’s a large, slab-like shape which is, on the whole, very starkly rectangular, however, little touches such as the stylish buttons and panelled detailing along the sides work really well with the slightly contoured and chisel-shaped edges and corners.
The screen surround is evenly spaced with a thin bezel and both the display and glass back panel are made from reinforced Dragontrail glass, which is said to be stronger than Corning’s Gorilla Glass.
As well as Sony’s usually high standard of fit and finish, the Xperia Z enjoys a dust and water resistant coating and a spot of waterproofing of a grade sufficient enough to protect the phone should you drop it in a drink, puddle or latrine. It's probably best you don't go snorkleing with it though.
So, what we have here is a pair of phones with equally high-grade build quality and very different aesthetics which are each executed flawlessly. Consequently, we have to call this one a draw.
Winner - Draw
Both phones feature the same storage setup with 16GB of onboard capacity plus a microSD slot for card expansion up to 32GB.
Winner – Draw
Each handset is representative of the growing 2013 trend of large 5-inch display panels. Both have LCDs with a 1920x1080 pixel resolution at around 440 pixels-per-inch (ppi) which results in some fantastically sharp quality that is very enjoyable to behold on such a sizeable expanse of glass.
Sony’s Xperia Z has a few extra tricks up its sleeve though, notably the brightness and pure whites it delivers are impressive but this is backed up by the Sony Mobile Bravia Engine 2 for richer colours and better saturation. There’s also OptiContrast technology for deep blacks and great contrast.
The Grand S doesn’t scrimp on the display quality but despite ZTE’s best and commendable efforts Sony is simply in a league of its own when it comes to touchscreens and the Xperia Z easily outmatches similar setups which cannot equal its unique combination of high-grade tech.
Winner – Sony Xperia Z