While phones like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S might be getting the most attention, there are other devices out on the market already that are clamoring for the attention of consumers. And despite the upcoming arrivals of the new HTC One and the Galaxy S4, many of those devices are still fantastic options. Two prime examples being the Sony Xperia Z and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Certainly, there are many high-end smartphones on the way. However, there are a number of smartphones that are already available that might just appeal to both the heart and wallet of consumers looking to replace their old smartphone with a new one. Two of the big name devices currently out on shelves, that may be attractive to consumers, are the new Sony Xperia Z and the fairly new, Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is one of the big names on the smartphone market and it likely will be for the days, weeks and months to come. That’s because, while seemingly ancient, isn’t ancient at all. In fact, the Galaxy Note 2 only arrived on shelves just a few short months ago with the most recent launch coming on Verizon back on November 29th.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 will likely be on shelves for a majority of 2013 as the Galaxy Note 3 likely won’t launch until the fall. Samsung typically uses IFA to announce its latest and greatest Galaxy Note model and this year may prove no different. This means that the Galaxy Note 2 is an extremely viable option for right now and in the near future.
Of course, it’s not alone on shelves. It has been competing against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Droid DNA since 2012 but now, new challengers have emerged. One of those is the Sony Xperia Z, a device that was announced in Las Vegas at CES 2013 and which arrived just a few short weeks ago.
The Sony Xperia Z is now out on shelves in many regions around the globe making it a tempting buy over the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. But what specifically makes it a better option than the Galaxy Note 2?
Here, we take a look at six different areas where the Sony Xperia Z, Sony’s new flagship, bests the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
The Sony Xperia Z comes with Sony’s current-generation Sony Exmor RS sensor which means it’s equipped with one of the best camera sensors of any smartphone on the market.
The Xperia Z’s camera is capable of not only taking some beautiful looking photos but it’s also able to shoot high-quality video as well. Starting with the photos, the Xperia Z’s sensor is able to filter out noise that may be caught in the background of an image leaving owners with a high-quality looking photo.
That’s not all either. The Xperia Z also features the ability to take panorama shots, a burst mode which allows users to take an unlimited amounts of images in a quick manner, extremely fast pinch-to-zoom, and a feature Sony calls Superior Auto which automatically ensures that the best quality photo is being taken.
The Xperia Z also takes stellar video with the sensor capable of shooting HDR video, the first smartphone sensor to be able to do that. HDR video means that video won’t be washed out when the sun is in the background and it means that overall, video will come out detailed.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 may have access to a fantastic camera application but the sensor just cannot match up with the Sony Xperia Z’s. This means that photos in low-light areas and in environments with a lot of noise simply will not come out as well as photos taken with the Xperia Z.
The Galaxy Note 2 camera is good but it’s not great like the Xperia Z’s.
The first thing shoppers will notice about the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is that it’s an absolutely massive smartphone. It boasts a screen size of 5.5-inches, much larger than most smartphones on the market and it’s something that makes the phone difficult to use with one hand, especially for those looking to use their thumbs.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 is also heavy, weighing in at 180 grams, far heavier than most smartphones including the Xperia Z. It’s also 9.4mm thick which, while not terribly thick, means that it’s thicker than the Xperia Z.
Sony has done a fantastic job with the Xperia Z. While the device is a large-screened smartphone, it has managed to keep its size to a minimum. For instance, the Xperia Z features a design that is a mere 7.9mm thin. That’s just a tad thicker than the iPhone 5. Additionally, the device only weighs 146 grams, lighter than the Galaxy Note 2.
What this means is that it will not only be less of a burden to carry around, it will also be much nicer to hold in the hand, especially for those that are looking to use the one comfortably with one hand.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features a polycarbonate plastic design, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S3. In fact, the Galaxy Note 2 is, in a nutshell, a larger version of Samsung’s current flagship smartphone.
That type of design isn’t terrible, it’s sleek and durable, but those looking for something even more durable and even more sleek are going to want to take a closer look at the Sony Xperia Z.
Sony’s new Xperia smartphone boasts a design that is up with the times. It’s a modern design featuring glass on both the front and back with anti-shattering film over both sides. It also uses aluminum for the buttons to complete the overall feel. All in all, it’s one of the nicest looking Xperia smartphones that Sony has ever released.
What’s more is that it also is dust and water resistant. This means that owners can take their phone safely to a depth of one meter without any damage and the demo that we saw at CES saw the device submerged underwater without complications for close to an hour. This is durability that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 just doesn’t have with its design.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 might feature one of the most unique displays on the market, and a good looking one at that, but the Sony Xperia Z’s display is something to marvel at.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 is unique because of its size, not because of its features which include 720p resolution with 267 pixels-per-inch. Content looks good on the Galaxy Note 2 but it will look ever better on the Sony Xperia Z.
The Sony Xperia Z features a display with full HD 1080p resolution and a pixel-per-inch count of 443 pixels-per-inch which will help to produce crisp looking content on-screen including photos and video.
However, the display doesn’t stop there. Sony’s Bravia TV engineers worked on the display to not only make sure that content looked fantastic, but that it was smart.
Sony’s Bravia Engine 2 is on board the Xperia Z which means several things. One, the display will adjust automatically in certain situations. For instance, in high contrast areas, the screen will automatically darken the darkest parts of the content to help bring out more on-screen detail. The display also automatically applies a sharpness filter so that all content on the display looks detailed and rich.
Indeed, the Galaxy Note 2 is good for movies due to its size, but for the better looking content, consumers might want to opt for the Xperia Z.
Close to Vanilla Android
When Sony announced the Xperia Z, it said that it would be including its own user interface over Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. However, unlike previous versions of Xperia UI’s, the new UI is less noticeably, intrusive, ugly, and virtually non-existent.
In fact, the UI is so light that Sony hasn’t even given it a name. What this means is that while it will certainly have the look and feel of a Sony device, the Xperia Z will be running a piece of Android software that is close to vanilla Android.
Vanilla Android of course is the stock Android experience found on Nexus smartphones and one that is hard to find on non-Nexus devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. A good look at vanilla Android can be see in the video below.
The Galaxy Note 2 is heavily reliant on Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX skin, so much so, it often doesn’t even look like Android is on board. Those looking for an experience much closer to stock Android will want to give the Xperia Z a much harder look than the Galaxy Note 2.
Lastly, one group of owners who particularly enjoy large screen smartphones are gamers who like to utilize big displays for their games. And while both devices sport large screens, perfect for playing a game of FIFA or Angry Birds while on-the-go, only one of these devices is Playstation Certified.
The Sony Xperia Z is of course that device and what this means is that owners can use the PlayStation Mobile Store to download from a catalog of games not found on non-certified devices.
What this means is that Xperia Z owners not only have access to the maddening number of games on the Google Play Store, but they also have access to a host of Playstation games both old and new.