Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium – 10/9/15

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Do we have a good one for you today – the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 goes up against the new Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.  These two metal and glass beauties go up against each other in a specification battle to see just which one is worth your hard earned cash – because neither one of these beauties is cheap.  The Note 5 comes bearing a glass and metal structure for the first time, but the Z5 Premium comes from a long line of glass and metal designs.  Both of these devices are premium in every way from their exterior look to the way they feel in your hand – the Note 5 has a curve and sculptured design and the Z5 Premium has rounded sides to make them feel better to hold.  Let's look at some of the similarities of these two devices before we look at each one individually.

For starters, both devices are very close in physical size and even display size – 5.7-inch on the Note 5 and 5.5-inches on the Z5 Premium.  They both have fingerprint sensor and they are both running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.  The both use a 64-bit octa-core processor and both have a 32GB internal storage option, with the Note 5 also offering a 64GB option, but no means to expand like the Z5 Premium.  Both have excellent camera areas, but go about them differently with the Z5 Premium using more pixels.  They both have the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.1 on the Z5 and 4.2 on the Note 5), GPS, NFC, a microUSB v2.0 port for charging and data transfer, both offer a quick charge feature and both have a non-removable battery (3000mAh in the Note 5 and 3430mAh in the Z5).


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.


Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Galaxy Note 5 Hands On COLOR AH 14Samsung really revamped their devices this year, starting with their popular Galaxy S6 – they rid the device of its plastic and replaced it with glass.  In redoing their phablet, the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung stretched a Galaxy S6 out from a 5.1-inch display to a 5.7-inch display.  Then they added a few things, deducted a couple of things.  They increased the RAM from 3GB to 4GB and did away with the 128GB memory option found on the Galaxy S6.  They removed the IR Blaster – a mainstay with Samsung on the S series and Note series.  These changes, compounded by the fact that the memory expansion and removable battery were also jettisoned in the redesign, upset many Note 5 owners.

The Galaxy Note 5 is sporting the same size 5.7-inch display as the past two years with Samsung implementing improvements every year.  It has a QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 PPI and is one of the best displays on the market.  This goes up against the 4K IPS LCD display found on the Xperia Z5 Premium with 806 PPI.  The Note 5 uses Samsung's 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.1GHz with the newest 14nm technology.  This goes up against the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor used in the Xperia Z5 Premium.  The Note 5 packs 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM rather than the 3GB of DDR3 found in the Xperia Z5 Premium.  When it comes to internal storage, the Note 5 has a 32GB or 64GB option of much faster UFS 2.0 Flash memory and no room for expansion.  The Xperia Z5 Premium offers only one option – 32GB with microSD card expansion of up to 200GB.


The main camera on the Galaxy Note 5 has a 16MP Samsung ISOCELL sensor with a fast startup, fast focus, larger aperture at f/1.9, Live HDR and great software – and it will take some of the best pictures found on a smartphone.  The Note 5 also has a large 5MP FFC with the f/1.9 aperture and wide-angle and Live HDR for selfies and video chats.  This compares to a new award winning 23MP main camera on the Xperia Z5 Premium and a 5.1MP FFC.  The Note 5 has a non-removable 3000mAh battery, but it has quick charge and quick wireless charging capabilities…the Xperia Z5 Premium has a 3430mAh non-removable battery with a rapid charge battery.

The Galaxy Note 5 has a fingerprint sensor that is Samsung Pay and PayPal certified, heart rate and oxygen saturation sensors, built-in wireless quick charge and has its speaker on the bottom of the device.  It comes with a much improved and more sensitive S-Pen with added features giving it even more functionality.  The Note 5 has more flexibility with longer documents, can send live broadcastings of your videos and you have an optional slip-on physical, BlackBerry-style keyboard.  It is running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 and will cost you about $700 outright.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

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When you purchase a Sony Xperia device, you know what you are getting – a rectangle smartphone made out of metal and glass with a premium look and feel.  Inside, the technology is not cutting edge or sometimes a generation behind by the time the devices ever see the light of day.  With the new Xperia Z5 Premium we have pretty much the same recipe with one exception – Sony jumped from a 1080p display to a 4K display with 806 PPI, but it is in service only when needed…most of the time it is running at 1080p to conserve battery life. The rest of the device is the usual components in the early 2015 smartphones, but the trouble is, the Z5 Premium will not be out until November or December.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium comes with a rather unique display – it is a 5.5-inch IPS LCD 4K with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 and an astounding 806 PPI.  It will actually operate in 1080p or Full HD mode the majority of the time and use the 4K resolution when you are actually watching something that takes advantage of the 4K.  Maybe it would have been better to put in a Quad HD display that is on all of the time…time will tell.  This stacks up to the 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display found on the Galaxy Note 5 with 518 PPI.  The Z5 Premium uses the much talked about Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz.  It appears that Sony used some extra cooling techniques to keep the overheating to a minimum.  The Note 5 uses Samsung's 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with 14nm technology and clocked at 2.1GHz.  The Z5 Premium uses 3GB of DDR3 RAM and 32GB if internal memory, but has the option to expand an additional 200GB via a microSD card.  The Note 5 uses 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 64GB of faster USF 2.0 internal memory, with no means to expand.

The camera on the Xperia Z models never seem to disappoint, and the new Z5 Premium has a new 23MP sensor with phase detection autofocus and an LED flash, but still no OIS, but that did not stop it by besting the Note 5 camera by 1 point in the ratings.  For the FFC Sony used a 5.1MP with wide-angle for selfies and video chatting.  It goes up against one of the highest rated cameras on a smartphone – the Note 5 has a 16MP ISOCELL sensor by Samsung and a 5MP FFC.  When it comes to power, the Z5 Premium uses a large 3430mAh non-removable battery that Sony claims will get you through two days.  The Note 4 went from a 3220mAh removable battery to the Note 5 and a 3000mAh non-removable battery, but added quick wireless charging.


Other than what was mentioned already, the Xperia Z5 Premium does have dual stereo front-facing speakers, an FM Radio and dust and water resistance.  It should be available in November or December and is costing about £629 in the UK, which is about $995 here in the U.S.  It will come in Chrome, Black or Gold.

…And The Winner Is…



I honestly thought I was going to select the Xperia Z5 Premium as the winner in this comparison, but as I investigated the specifications in greater detail, I realized that other than the 4K display – that only works part of the time and most of the time you are subjected to a Full HD display of 1080p – expandable memory and the dust and water resistance, the Xperia Z5 Premium is no more than a pedestrian device.


The Galaxy Note 5 has a slightly larger Super AMOLED QHD display in the same size body, a better processor, more and faster RAM, faster UFS 2.0 flash memory, an excellent camera on par with the Z5, built-in quick wireless charging, Samsung Pay and PayPal certified fingerprint sensor and the unequivocal S-Pen and all of the software and functionality that it offers…and all of this for less money, based on what we are hearing about the Z5 Premium.

If you do not want the S-Pen, do not think you want Samsung Pay – that can be used at almost any retailer, not just ones with 'tap and go,' or do not want wireless charging, then the Xperia Z5 Premium might be your choice.  As I look over the pros and cons, it is clear to me that the Galaxy Note 5 is the winner of this specification comparison.

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