We have a good one for you today – the new Samsung Galaxy Note Edge goes up against the new Sony Xperia Z3 for this comparison. It is so exciting to finally get an Xperia Z3 into the U.S. even though it is a T-Mobile exclusive – not that there is anything wrong with T-Mobile, but so many on other networks are losing out on this great device. Sony makes a fine device, albeit expensive, but they always seem to have problems getting them in the hands of U.S. users until they are already out of date.
Both of these devices are looking great – the Note Edge has a full metal chassis, the right side on the display is curved down giving it an unusually striking look, and with its faux leather backing and metal trim, it is a definite improvement and gives the Note Edge both an elegant and high-tech look. The Xperia Z3 has Sony's usual Xperia good looks with its all glass and metal construction, reminiscent of an iPhone, and build quality you can not only feel, but see as well.
These two devices do have a few things in common – they both have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage (the Xperia Z3 also has a 16GB model), both have a microSD card slot to add up to an additional 128GB of internal storage and both have a near identical battery size. They both have the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.1 in the Note Edge and 4.0 in the Xperia Z3), a microUSB 2.0 connector for charging and data exchange and both devices support Wi-Fi Calling. Both devices are running Android 4.4.4 with their own overlays – Sony uses a very 'light' skin called Xperia UI and Samsung uses its heavy TouchWiz.
Please look through the detailed specifications sheet below to see how these devices stack up against one another. After that, we will look at each device in more detail, listing some pros and cons. With all of the gathered facts and evidence, we will then pick a winner in this comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is very similar to its Galaxy Note 4 sibling – it follows up using the new QHD display, although only 5.6-inches (versus 5.7-inches on the Note 4) because of the extra curved part that has its own 160 pixels. The main display is 2560 x 1440 pixels giving it 524 pixels-per-inch (PPI), making this Super AMOLED display a little more than the Xperia Z3's Full HD (FHD) can handle. Not only in color and resolution does it beat the Xperia Z3, but it also has the 'Edge' that allows developers to use it for notifications, camera controls, night clock, etc., adding some new innovation and functionality to the display of the Note Edge.
Both devices bound for the U.S. use a Qualcomm Snapdragon built processor, however, the Note Edge uses their new 805 quad-core clocked at 2.7GHz with improvements in display resolution, battery management and a better GPU than the older 801 found in the Xperia Z3. As said earlier, they both use the same 3GB of RAM and 32GB for internal storage and room for expansion. I mentioned too that the batteries were close – 3000mAh in the Note Edge and 3100mAh in the Xperia Z3…no real advantage there.
Samsung also upgraded the camera in both Note series – it jumped to 16MP, but also added the all-important Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), along with the LED Flash, auto-focus and Samsung's ISOCELL technology for improved low-light photos. They also included a 3.7MP wide-angle front-facing camera (FFC) for true group selfies or a conference style video chat. Many that reviewed the Galaxy Note Edge (and Note 4) say it may be the best camera out there at this point and just as many like the Xperia Z3's camera.
We have to mention the S-Pen 'experience.' This is what keeps Samsung in a phablet category all by itself – they have really integrated the S-Pen and software to work together and every rendition just gets better. Many out there buy the device just because it has the S-Pen stylus tucked away in its own silo and many that have never even used the S-Pen.
The Note Edge also has a few extras that some may find useful and others may wish they were not included – IR Blaster, Quick Charge, three noise-canceling microphones, Fingerprint scanner, Heart Rate Sensor, UV sensor, Oxygen Saturation Sensor and support for LTE Cat 6 Bands. The Galaxy Note Edge is available on all major U.S. carriers for $399 on a two-year contract…this is $100 more than the Galaxy Note 4.
Sony Xperia Z3
The new Sony Xperia Z3 is the best smartphone that Sony has ever made – it is nice looking and solid built and holds up very well against the HTC One M8, LG G3, and Samsung Galaxy S5. It has a 5.2-inch FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 424 PPI – it is a terrific display, but just not up to the QHD and 524 PPI found on the Super AMOLED display of the Note Edge.
While it does have the great Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, it is the 801 quad-core clocked at 2.5GHz (same one in the HTC One, LG G3 and Galaxy S5) and is just a little behind the times of the Galaxy Note Edge's 805 clocked at 2.7GHz and upgraded components. They both are carrying 3GB of RAM and the Xperia offers a 16GB or 32GB model with expansion for up to 128GB of additional storage. The Xperia does hold a slight edge with its 3100mAh battery versus the 3000mAh on the Note Edge (down from the Note 4's 3220mAh battery because of the curved display).
In the camera area, where Sony tended to dominate other devices with its large 20.7MP sensor, LED Flash, Auto-Focus and 25mm wide-angle lens, is starting to give way or be equaled by the cameras on the Note 4 and Note Edge. Their camera sensors are now up to 16MP and added OIS and Live HDR shooting, along with Samsung's ISOCELL technology for better low-light shots.
The Xperia Z3 is a perfect size for holding in one hand and some people may find the Galaxy Note Edge just a little large. Other features include its IP65/IP68 certification for dust tight and waterproofing, allowing you to take the Xperia Z3 to the beach or even underwater for a picture or video. It also comes with a built-in FM Radio, stereo front-facing speakers for a clear and loud sound, as the Note Edge moved their speaker to the back of the device. If you are a PS4 gamer, then you will be happy to know that the Xperia Z3 and with an optional controller or on-screen touch controls can use your Xperia Z3 as a PS4 remote play option.
The Sony Xperia Z3 is found only on T-Mobile for $26.25 per month for 24 months or $630, or from the U.S. Sony store for $630.
…And The Winner Is…
I have to go with the Galaxy Note Edge as the winner of this competition. While neither device will disappoint their owner, the 'edge' has to go to the Note Edge – it has a better display, better processor, OIS, an IR Blaster, fingerprint scanner, the S-Pen experience and all the options it brings, great multitasking/multiscreen experience, Quick Charge, Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM) and its ability to use LTE Cat 6 Bands. Some lesser items you may or may not use…Heart Rate Sensor, UV Sensor and Oxygen Saturation Sensor.
The Sony Xperia Z3 does have an FM Radio, waterproofing, stereo front-facing speakers, and the ability to use the Z3 as a PS4 controller for remote play, but those in no-way can topple the Galaxy Note Edge, IMHO. It is true that the Galaxy Note Edge is extra expensive due to its new display technology, and only you can decide if it is worth it. I just know that most all of the flagships next year will be sporting the QHD display and either a Snapdragon 805 or 810 – buying an Xperia Z3 to keep for two years seems like you are buying older technology today. Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which one you would pick as the winner and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.