It may have been our own fault, as we hyped it a little too much. And it definitely was the fault of the countless so-called “insiders” and “moles” that ultimately, well, had no idea what they were talking about. Also, let’s not beat it around the bush, Samsung has a lot to do with it, basically elevating rehashing techniques to a fine art.
Bottom line, not only does the fresh Galaxy S5 look incapable of pleasing us all, it may well not please the majority. Heck, instead of alluring new proselytes to the Galaxy S doctrine, it might drive old, loyal, faithful aficionados away. A lot of them.
But let’s hold off on handing down gloomy verdicts just yet. After all, a flop by someone as successful as Samsung is only a flop if there’s anyone around to reap the benefits and cash in on a potential stronger challenger to the throne.
Enter Sony, whose boldness, almost recklessness you got to admire. They knew full well the Galaxy S5 would debut at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and yet they still scheduled their Xperia Z2 intro for the same event. Even bolder, the same day.
Meanwhile, LG came out with the G Pro 2 early, and HTC postponed its “All New One” announcement to get out of Sammy’s way. Did Sony’s gamble pay off? We’re about to find out, as this is the ultimate Galaxy S5 vs Xperia Z2 specs smackdown:
As usual, this is the most subjective and personal battle, and as usual, I like to be as neutral and unbiased as possible. That said, how anyone could ever pick the Galaxy S5 over the Xperia Z2 simply judging on aesthetics is beyond me.
Granted, neither phone is really an architectural marvel. And they’re both trumped by the HTC One and LG G2 in terms of sturdiness, uniqueness, elegance and display to body ratio. Yet if you zone out everyone else and just focus on the two, you can’t not prefer Sony’s big guy.
It rocks an aluminum frame, has that premium glass feel all over, as well as a certain prime vibe to the entire ensemble. It’s also a lot more robust than the GS5, but not in a bulky kind of way. The S5? Don’t let the soft-touch textured back fool you, it’s still chintzy plastic.
And by the by, don’t you find the dot pattern kind of distracting? I’ll be frank, in my book, it’s downright fugly. One last thing: dimensions. It’s a tie all in all there, as the Xperia Z1 is slightly taller and wider (146.8 x 73.3 vs 142 x 72.5 mm) while packing an extra 0.1 inch of usable screen real estate. In thickness, the two are nearly identical, measuring roughly 8 mm.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2 – display face-off
We all rolled our eyes when LG unveiled the G Pro 2 with a Full HD panel, we gasped in disbelief when the Z2 followed suit, but in the end so did the Galaxy S5. Where’s our promised Quad HD, aka 2K resolution? Probably a little ways down the road.
Drama? Tragedy? Scandal? Barely, as S5 and Z2’s screens look outstanding as they are. The former is a Super AMOLED 5.1 incher with 432 ppi pixel density, the latter a 5.2-incher Triluminos IPS LCD with 424 ppi, and overall, they’re just equally as mind-blowingly crisp, vibrant and colorful. On paper, as in-depth reviews may soon bring to light subtle but notable differences.
Processing speed, RAM and cameras
Ties galore, as there’s little to choose between the GS5 and Z2 in processing speed. Reportedly, they’re both powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPUs (the S5 also has an Exynos variant, but it’ll likely get a fairly limited run).
True, S5’s SoC is clocked higher, at 2.5 GHz (vs 2.3), but surprise, surprise, the Z2 packs an extra 1 gig of RAM (3 vs 2), so in the long run it should be smoother and zippier. Certainly better in multitasking.
As far as imaging goes, Samsung was the one that actually did some work and upgraded S4’s cameras. Too little work though, and so the Z2 prevails, thanks to a far superior (again on paper) 20.7 MP rear-facing shooter with G Lens, 4K video recording, SteadyShot stabilization, autofocus and LED flash.
S5’s main snapper is capable of shooting 4K videos too, plus it utilizes ISOCELL technology. But at the end of the day, the megapixel count means something, and I doubt 16 MP is enough to overtake Sony’s 20.
Front cams? They’re not as important, and in theory look pretty equal, with 2 MP sensors.
Software and battery life
TouchWiz comes at Galaxy S5’s rescue at the most desperate of times, helping the 5.1-incher essentially score its first win against the Xperia Z2. Don’t get me wrong, Sony’s UI and its approach to skinning and customizing Android 4.4 KitKat is sleek and decent enough.
But it’s no match for the deluge of nifty pre-loaded apps and unique features found on the S5. S-Voice, Smart stay, Smart pause, gesture-operated functions and especially S Health, they’ve all come a long way from their clunky starts, appearing useful enough for a change.
Battery life? Ultra Power Saving Mode or no Ultra Power Saving Mode, I’m afraid S5’s juicer is considerably tinier than Z2’s (2,800 vs 3,200 mAh), which should make quite the difference in real-life autonomy. Emphasis on “should”, as Samsung has always been extremely gifted at battery life boosts through software optimizations.
Connectivity, ports and others
Can the Galaxy S5 survive solely through silky smooth, charming software? No, it cannot. What if we add Touch ID, pardon, “Finger Scanner” in the mix? And the unique heart rate sensor? LTE Cat. 4 speeds? USB 3.0? Gimmicks, sure, but gimmicks that are absent on Sony’s Xperia Z2, and which some may find beneficial. Worst case scenario, cool to have.
There’s also the question of the water and dust protection. Both have it, and kudos for that, but Sony and Samsung’s approaches are slightly different. The GS5 is IP67 certified for total dust ingress protection and immersion in water between 15 cm and 1 m depth for up to 30 minutes, while the Z2 is IP55 and IP58 certified for limited dust ingress protection and long term immersion in water over 1 meter.
In a nutshell, S5’s dust shield is technically more potent. In contrast, the Xperia Z2 can handle longer, deeper swims.
As for our overall war, I think there are only two possible outcomes here. Either you declare Sony’s Xperia Z2 the winner for its sleeker design, extra RAM, battery juice and better camera, or you call the duel a draw on account of the GS5 being more “gimmicky”. What will it be?