This is a very interesting match up – the highly popular, but little seen Sony Xperia Z3 versus the venerable Apple iPhone 6. Sony makes a mean device, loved by many, but seen by few in the U.S., although the Xperia Z3 will soon be an exclusive of T-Mobile for a time with rumors that Verizon may end up with a variant called the Xperia Z3V. The new Apple iPhone 6 has just been released on all major carriers in the U.S. and, as usual people are grabbing them up faster than 'Mom's Apple Pie' at a church picnic. It must be noted that the big launch of the new larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has not been without problems – reports of the devices bending in users' pockets (especially the 6Plus) and iOS 8 glitches that needed to be fixed immediately – that one would think would slow down the sales, but this has not been the case.
The Xperia Z3 is one device that can compete head-on with the 'quality' of an iPhone – metal and glass, much like the past iPhones surround the design of the Z3. At only 5.8mm narrower, 12.1mm shorter, and only .2mm thicker, the Z3 weights a whole 20 grams less than the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is made out of lightweight metal and the Sony still sports the heavier glass. The Z3 can be a little harder to hold over long periods of time, while the iPhone 6 is more cradled in your hand. Like most Android devices, the Xperia Z3 has little in common with the iPhone 6 in the way of hardware or software. One spec they do share is the Xperia Z3's 5.2-inch display is slightly smaller than the 6 Plus' 5.5-inch, but both share a Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and both use the IPS LCD technology…so they are only about even in this respect. Other than the fact that both devices demand a premium price, although, T-Mobile may throw a surprise at us to increase sales of the Z3.
Please look over the detailed list of specifications below and compare their many differences. We will then look at each individual device to pick the winner of this comparison.
Sony Xperia Z3
The new Xperia Z3 is very much a remake of the popular (in other countries) Z2 that came out only 6 months earlier. It retains the Xperia look, which has always been accused of having an 'Applistic' look about it, and that is just fine – Sony's main problem has been getting their product into the hands of the U.S. population. They are well built and have a true cult-like following among a select few.
The internal specs are very different – the Z3 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz with 3GB of RAM and 16GB/32GB of internal storage with the ability to add up to 128GB of additional storage via a microSD card. The processor is certainly as good or better than the A8 dual-core in the 6 Plus – as is 3GB of RAM versus 1GB in the 6 Plus. The 6 Plus offers 16GB/64GB/128GB configurations with no room for expansion. Tests have shown that the A8 is not dominating the test results as it once did.
Here we have two names, Sony and Apple, always known for their great cameras, but in this instance, the 20.7MP 25mm wide-angle camera on the Z3 will hold its own and should beat out the 6 Plus's 8MP camera. Sony also has a 2.2MP front-facing camera (FFC) versus the 1.2MP FFC on the 6 Plus, used for video chatting and selfies.
The Z3 is also IP65/IP68 certified against dust and water resistance, even allowing you to take pictures or video under the water – the 6 Plus has no such water resistance. The Z3 has stereo speakers, FM Radio, microUSB 2.0 connector, and can be used as a PS4 Remote Play device in an optional controller…and Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system. No pricing has been announced, but it will probably run about $885 off-contract.
iPhone 6 Plus
The new iPhone 6 Plus is Apple's first venture into the phablet category, and they are finding out that it is more than a large display and a thin case. Apple departed from its metal and glass design and used an all-metal body for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It is a beautiful looking device, but then, so is the Xperia Z3 – let's see what is between the display and the metal back making this new 6 Plus perform. Apple uses the very formidable A8 processor – dual-core and clocked at 1.4GHz. There was a time when their A-processors ruled the test results, but the new Snapdragon processors are keeping with, and even winning in several time categories. The 6 Plus only uses 1GB of RAM versus the 3GB in the Z3. The iPhone has always offer fixed gigabytes of internal storage and no room for expansion…and they offer 16GB/64GB/128GB versions with each one costing $100 more than the prior.
The iPhone camera has never been fancy or offered many options, but it has always been a great point-and-shoot camera – the 6 Plus is no exception. The 8MP lens has new improvements and in the 6 Plus they added OIS. As good as it is, Sony has a good a camera as any smartphone and its 20.7MP (sans OIS) is more than up to the 6 Plus's challenge.
As far as features go, the iPhone 6 Plus offers VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling capabilities and the Z3 only offers Wi-Fi. There is a fingerprint scanner for not only unlocking your 6 Plus, but also for authorizing payments for iTunes, App Store purchase and more. Apple also included NFC in the new iPhones, however, as usual, it is called Apple Pay and is not compatible with the normal NFC Android devices. The 6 Plus is also available on all major networks in the U.S, as opposed to T-Mobile for the Z3. Prices are fairly expensive for both on-contract and off.
…And the Winner is…
This is where it all comes down to making a decision to pick a winner of the comparison and I chose the Sony Xperia Z3 by a small margin. Both devices offer a beautiful look, although, with the problems that the 6 Plus is having in the bending department is a concern for its longevity. These devices are a tie in their displays and processing power, but the Z3 steps it up with more RAM and an expansion slot for much cheaper storage than what Apple charges for their built-in memory. The camera is tipped slightly to the Z3 with its 20.7MP, the batteries are a wash, with the Sony being slightly larger.
The Sony has the complete dust and water resistance certifications, another nudge in its direction, as does its stereo front speaker and FM Radio, and if you are a PS4 player, the remote play capability is a big plus. It is true that the 6 Plus has a fingerprint scanner, but that does not weigh heavily in this decision – its is nice, but certainly not necessary. Availability, certainly would be in the 6 Plus' favor, and both are expensive devices.
The we have to consider the flexibility of the Android OS versus the iOS – if you want a no fuss, no option or customization, then you may like the 6 Plus and iOS better. Android also offers the option to do nothing, but it also allows you the choice to customize your screens and wallpaper and even third party launchers. The Sony Xperia Z3 is well-built, offers more features, does not tie you in to proprietary connectors, and offers more options than the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, and that is why I chose it as the winner in this comparison.
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