Do we have a good one for you today - the highly touted Sony Xperia Z3 goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Both devices are made from metal and glass, and yet each retain their distinct characteristics - the Xperia series has its squared off look and the Galaxy series has those unmistakable rounded corners and its infamous home button that doubles as the fingerprint sensor. Both devices look and feel premium with the Galaxy S6 Edge sporting Gorilla Glass on the front and back and the Sony Xperia Z3 using a shatter proof and scratch resistant glass, and that cool metal band wrapped around the edges to hold it all together.
Other than their external materials and similar designs, the devices part company. The displays are almost the same size, 5.2-inches versus 5.1-inches, and they both have the usual suspects with dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 on the Z3 vs 4.1 on the S6 Edge), GPS, NFC capable, active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic and a microUSB v2.0 port for charging and data transfer. Both devices are on the expensive side - the Sony Xperia Z3 is a T-Mobile exclusive that will cost you $630 outright or 24 equal payments that total that amount. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge will run you about $700 off contract and about $300 on a two-year contract.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another - click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Sony Xperia Z3
Sony makes a great smartphone, but has always had trouble distributing their devices to the US carriers. The Sony Xperia Z3 was no exception, but it finally arrived as a T-Mobile exclusive - a good thing for T-Mobile and their subscribers, but not so good for Sony that could benefit from more exposure. It follows the beautiful lines of the Xperia series with its metal and glass construction - with the side aluminum frame gently and comfortably bent around the sides for a nice grip and feel in your hand.
The Xperia Z3 comes with a beautiful 5.2-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 424 pixels-per-inch (PPI) compared to the QHD display of the Galaxy S6 Edge with 577 PPI. It uses a 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz compared to the 64-bit Exynos octa-core on the S6 Edge. They both come with 3GB of RAM and have a 32GB of internal storage as an option, although the Galaxy S6 Edge uses the new and faster DDR4 RAM and the new UFS 2.0 Flash Memory. The Xperia Z3 does allow for 128GB of expansion via a microSD card, whereas the Galaxy S6 Edge offers 64GB and 128GB models.
The main camera uses Sony's excellent 20.7MP sensor with autofocus, LED flash and a 25mm wide-angle will give you a great photo experience - this compares to the 16MP in the Galaxy S6 Edge, although the Galaxy S6 Edge also adds a wide f/1.9 aperture, Live HDR shooting and OIS. The Xperia Z3 has the usual 2.2MP front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies, whereas the Galaxy S6 Edge shines with its 5MP sensor, f/1.9 aperture, Live HDR and 120-degree wide angle lens. The 3100mAh battery is larger than the 2600mAh found in the Galaxy S6 Edge, but both will get you through an entire day.
The Sony Xperia Z3 is IP65/IP68 certified as dust and water proof, it is NFC capable, Wi-Fi calling ready and has a built-in FM radio. It comes with dual front-facing stereo speakers and can be used as a PS4 Remote Play with an optional controller. The Xperia Z3 comes in Black, (the only color that T-Mobile sells) White, Copper, Silver Green and Purple and is running 4.4 KitKat, but will receive Android 5.0 Lollipop soon. It is a T-Mobile exclusive for $26.25 per month for 24 months or else off-contract for $630.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
The new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is Samsung's attempt to rid themselves of the past - gone is all of the plastic, faux leather and dimples or Band-Aid look and in their place are metal and glass giving it a true premium look and feel. The Galaxy S6 Edge is beautiful to look at and a pleasure to hold and operate - it flies through the screens and apps open immediately. The curved edges on the device give it that 'wow factor,' so expect the 'phone watchers' to stare at it with envy.
The Galaxy S6 Edge kept the same size display, but it went from a FHD to a 5.1-inch Quad HD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a whopping 577 pixels-per-inch (PPI) with a curved edge on both the right and left sides on the display. The Xperia Z3 uses a typical flat 5.2-inch FHD display with 424 PPI. The 'edges' on the Galaxy S6 Edge can be used for notifications and makes it easier to swipe the display in from either side. Samsung did away with the Qualcomm processor and decided to use its own 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz...a clear departure from their past US models. It is packing 3GB of DDR4 RAM and Samsung's new UFS 2.0 Flash memory with 32GB/64GB/128GB models with no room for expansion - a first for Samsung's Galaxy S series. Both forms of new memory are extremely faster when compared to other models that used DDR3 RAM, such as the Xperia Z3.
The camera area as a whole was improved with a 16MP Sony sensor, autofocus, LED Flash, wider f/1.9 aperture, real-time HDR, and OIS. Samsung has dramatically increased the speed - taking less than a second to open and be ready to shoot. The FFC increased to 5MP with a 120-defree wide-angle lens, a wider f/1.9 aperture and real-time HDR for excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. The 2600mAh battery is smaller than the 3100mAh battery in the Xperia Z3, but it should easily get you through the entire day - the new Samsung non-removable battery can charge up to 4 hours in only 10 minutes and they added built-in wireless charging (Qi and PMA standards) for the first time.
The Galaxy S6 Edge includes a new fingerprint sensor - no more swiping your finger several times...just press once and you are done...and it is PayPal certified. It also has a heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation sensor, a built-in IR Blaster, Samsung Pay, built-in wireless charging (Qi and PMA), an improved speaker on the bottom of the device and comes in colors White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and an exclusive Blue Topaz. It will be running Android 5.0 Lollipop, and will have a worldwide release on April 10. The price is approximately $300 on a two-year contract and full retail is about $700.
...And The Winner Is...
The Sony Xperia Z3 is a great device, but other than its dual front-facing speakers, microSD card slot and waterproofing, it just cannot hold a candle to the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge...and that is why I picked the Galaxy S6 Edge as the winner of this comparison.
The Galaxy S6 Edge has a better QHD Super AMOLED display with 577 PPI versus only 424 PPI on the Xperia Z3. It packs a 64-bit octa-core processor that uses the newest 14nm technology versus the 32-bit quad core on the Xperia Z3. While they both have 3GB of RAM, the Galaxy S6 Edge uses the new Samsung DDR4, which is much faster than the DDR3 RAM in the Z3. The Galaxy S6 Edge also uses Samsung's new UFS 2.0 Flash memory offered up in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB models. The 2600mAh battery is smaller than the 3100mAh battery in the Z3, but it is a new battery designed by Samsung and it will last you the entire day and will charge up to 4 hours of usage in only 10 minutes. Samsung felt they could use a smaller battery because of the low power consumption of their Exynos 14nm processor and memory.
Samsung really upgraded the camera this time around...they threw in a 16MP sensor, autofocus, LED Flash, OIS, Live HDR and increased the aperture to f/1.9. The FFC was increased to 5MP and is using the f/1.9 lens, 120-degree wide-angle lens and Live HDR capabilities. It also has a PayPal certified fingerprint sensor, Samsung Pay, built-in IR Blaster, heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation sensor and built-in wireless charger that handles both Qi and PMA standards.