Do we have a good one for you today – this is another comparison that many have requested, so here it is – the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 goes up against the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. We have Phablet versus phablet. The glass and metal Galaxy Note 5 squares off with the glass and metal Xperia Z5 Premium. It has all the elements of a great comparison. Both devices are beautiful to look at, premium at every angle and are very similar given their construction. The Note 5 has a curve and sculptured design along the edges that make it easier to hold, while Sony did round-off the edges, it is definitely the squarer of the two devices. Let's look at some of the similarities of these two devices before we look at each one individually.
The Galaxy Note 5 and the Xperia Z5 Premium are physically close to the same size and share a similar display size – 5.7-inches on the Note 5 and 5.5-inches on the Z5 Premium. They are both running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, with the Note 5 about to get its Marshmallow upgrade and eventually the Z5 Premium will get its upgrade. Both devices use a 64-bit octa-core processor, but by different companies. Although they go about it a different way, both devices have excellent camera areas and they both sport a non-removable battery. Both have a fingerprint sensor that can do mobile payments because they both have NFC. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.2 on the Note 5 and v4.1 on the Z5 Premium), a microUSB v2.0 port and they both have fast battery charging.
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
Samsung revamped their Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 by ridding the devices of their plastic backing and replaced it with glass and metal. These changes did not come without their costs, which included losing the memory expansion and the removable battery. This upset many power Note 5 owners, but they ended up with a more premium looking device. If anything, Samsung took the Sony look and gave it a few curves.
The Galaxy Note 5 continues to sport the same size 5.7-inch display for the past two years although Samsung is constantly making improvements with their Super AMOLED display 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/FHD display found on the Z5 Premium with 806 PPI. The Note 5 uses Samsung's 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core 14nm processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. This goes up against the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor used in the Z5 Premium. The Note 5 packs 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM rather than the 3GB of DDR3 found in the 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, but no room for expansion. The Z5 Premium offers only one option – 32GB with expansion of up to 200GB via a microSD card.
The main camera on the Galaxy Note 5 has a 16MP Samsung ISOCELL sensor with a fast startup, fast focus, large aperture at f/1.9 for better low-light photos, Live HDR and great software – and it will take some of the best pictures found on a smartphone. The Z5 Premium also takes great pictures with its huge 23MP main camera. 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 and compares to an equally apt 5.1MP FFC on the Z5 Premium. The Note 5 has a non-removable 3000mAh battery, but it has a quick charge feature as well as quick wireless charging capabilities…the 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 and built-in wireless quick charge. 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 and you can send live broadcasts of your videos. It is running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 with Marshmallow rolling out soon. It will cost you about $700 outright for a 32GB model and $790 for a 64GB model.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
When you purchase a Sony Xperia device, you can always count on metal and glass construction with a premium look and feel. By the time the device finally gets into the hands of the public, the technology may seem a little old. With the new Xperia Z5 Premium, we have pretty much the same recipe except that Sony jumped from a 1080p display, bypassed the QHD display and went directly to a 4K display with 806 PPI. However, there is a caveat – it is in service only when needed and most of the time it is back to running at 1080p to conserve battery life. The rest of the device is the usual components used in early 2015 smartphones, but the Z5 Premium was not available until December. With the new Snapdragon 820 available soon in many flagships, Sony is back to the end of the line.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium comes with an unusual display – it is a 5.5-inch IPS LCD 4K with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 and an astounding 806 PPI. The 4K resolution is only 'on' when you are actually watching something that takes advantage of the 4K. The rest of the time, it actually operates in 1080p or Full HD mode. Sony still has something against QHD displays – why not just use a QHD display that is on all the time – Sony would tell you to conserve battery life. The Note 5 uses a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with 518 PPI. The Z5 Premium uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The Note 5 uses their Exynos 64-bit octa-core processor – the first with 14nm technology. 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 packs 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 64GB of faster UFS 2.0 internal memory with no expansion available.
Sony knows how to do a great camera in a smartphone, even without using OIS and the Z5 Premium has a new 23MP sensor with phase detection autofocus, f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash. 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 the Note 5, which has a 16MP sensor 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 5 uses a 3000mAh non-removable battery, and both offer the quick charging feature.
The Xperia Z5 Premium does have dual stereo front-facing speakers, an FM Radio and is dust and water resistance as well as a fingerprint sensor for security and mobile payment authorization once Marshmallow hits the Z5. It will work on AT&T or T-Mobile networks in the US. It will come in Chrome, Black or Gold and cost you close to $800.
…And The Winner Is…
This was a tough decision because they are both very evenly matched in certain areas and completely different in others – most notably the display on the Z5 Premium and S-Pen on the Note 5. In the end, I had to choose the Galaxy Note 5 as the winner of this comparison.
Yes, the Xperia Z5 Premium has a 4K display, but will rarely use it and when it is off, it reverts back to a FHD display – I would rather have a Super AMOLED QHD display that is always 'on.' The Z5 Premium does offer water resistance, stereo speakers and expandable memory – all nice touches.
However, the Galaxy Note 5 has more technology and specifications – we can start with the 14nm processor, the 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM versus the 3GB of DDR3 RAM found in the Z5 Premium. Although the Note 5's 64GB of internal memory cannot be expanded, it is the much faster UFS 2.0 Flash memory. The Note 5 sports Samsung Pay, PayPal certification as well as Android Pay so all of your bases are covered. It also has a heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor and quick charge wireless charging built-in. Now we move on to the incredible S-Pen and all of its available software and usage – if you use it, you will love it, if you don't, it will stay in its private silo just in case you ever need it. These two devices will run you about the same amount of money, so that should not be a deciding factor.