Do we have a good one for you today – the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium goes up against the Galaxy S7. Both devices are made of glass and metal – both devices have a solid build and look like a premium flagship. Sony did round off the edges somewhat, but it is still a squared rectangle. The Galaxy S7 has a more rounded look at the corners and they sculpted their metal edges to make it somewhat easier to hold and pick up off a flat surface. Let's look at some of the similarities between these two devices before we look at each one individually.
The Xperia Z5 Premium and the Galaxy S7 have very few things in common. They both use a Snapdragon processor, but different models, both sport a 32GB of internal memory and both offer expandable memory. The Z5 and S7 both take great pictures but use different methods to obtain them. Both have a fingerprint sensor and both offer Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 for their batteries. The Xperia Z5 Premium and the Galaxy S7 both enjoy IP68 certification for dust and water repellency and both have non-removable batteries. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.1 on the Z5 and v4.2 on the S7), GPS, NFC, and a microUSB v2.0 port for charging and data transfer.
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 device in greater depth 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 Z5 Premium
Spotting a Sony Xperia smartphone is easy to do – it will be the one that looks like a rectangle block, well-constructed out of metal and glass, with a premium look and feel, good battery life, an FHD display, and a great camera. The problem Sony has is getting their devices on carriers in the US. The Xperia Z5 Premium follows that same recipe except that Sony took the display and jumped it from a 1080p display, bypassed the QHD display, and went directly to a 4K display with 806 PPI. A 4K display would be a reason to jump for joy, except the 4K is in service only when needed and most of the time it is running at 1080p to conserve battery life. The internal components are those used in early 2015 smartphones, but the Z5 Premium was not available until December.
The technical highlight of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has to be its unusual display – it is a 5.5-inch IPS LCD 4K with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 and an astounding 806 pixels-per-inch (PPI). However, the 4K resolution is only 'on' when you are actually watching something that takes advantage of the 4K, and right now, there is not much 4K content. The rest of the time, it operates in 1080p or Full HD mode – the resolution of choice for Sony. Sony has something against QHD and it all boils down to conserving battery life. 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 Z5 Premium packs 3GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory but has the option to expand an additional 200GB via a microSD card.
Sony was the first smartphone manufacturer to realize the importance of including a great camera, and that commitment continues today – even without using OIS. Sony used their new 23MP sensor on the Z5 Premium and included phase detection autofocus (PDAF), an f/2.0 aperture, and an LED flash. For the front facing camera (FFC), Sony put in a 5.1MP with wide-angle for selfies and video chatting. When it comes to power, the Z5 Premium uses a large 3430mAh non-removable battery that Sony claims will get you through two days and incorporates Quick Charge 2.0 that will give you a 60-percent battery charge in 30 minutes.
The Xperia Z5 Premium does have dual stereo front-facing speakers, and will work on AT&T or T-Mobile networks in the US. It will come in Chrome, Black or Gold and will cost you close to $800.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The Samsung Galaxy S7 came to us with no big surprise this year – the same metal and glass look, the same size, and with the newest of processors. Samsung also did something smart this year – one Galaxy S7 and one Galaxy S7 Edge with a slightly larger display. This causes less confusion and less chance of cannibalism between models. Now that the Galaxy S7 has been outed since February, it has to go up against older flagships, like the Z5 Premium, as well as the newer LG G5 and the newest device, the HTC 10. Let's see if it has what it takes to compete with Sony's last flagship, the Z5 Premium.
The Galaxy S7 has a beautiful 5.1-inch Super AMOLED 'always-on' display with a QHD resolution and 577 PPI. The Galaxy S7 uses either the newest 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz if you live in the US or in another country you will get an Exynos 8890 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz and four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. The Galaxy S7 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM, offers 32GB of faster UFS 2.0 memory, and allows room for expansion up to 200GB via a microSD card.
Samsung made some big changes in the camera area that were rather shocking considering how good the Galaxy S6 camera performed. They replaced the 16MP camera with a new Dual Pixel 12MP camera that has a larger sensor than the old 16MP used. This allows it to take in more light and detail for better low-light shots. The aperture increased to f/1.7, they included a faster phase detection autofocus (PDAF), auto HDR and retained the OIS. Worried customers that questioned Samsung's decision can rest easy as the new Galaxy S7 tied with the HTC 10 in DxOMark's testing as the best mobile camera currently available. The Galaxy S7 uses a 5MP wide-angle lens with a large f/1.7 aperture and Live HDR for its FFC allowing for excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. The S7 includes a large 3000mAh non-removable battery and comes with Quick Charge 2.0 and quick wireless charging as well.
What other features distinguishes the Galaxy S7 from the Xperia Z5 Premium? We have to start with the display – it is beautiful to view, uses always-on technology, and is always using the QHD resolution. You can also use Samsung Pay to make mobile purchases just about anywhere you can swipe a credit or debit card. The Galaxy S7 also has a heart rate monitor, oxygen saturation sensor and quick wireless charging. The Galaxy S7 measures 142.4 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 152 grams and is available in Black, White, Gold and Silver, costing about $670.
…And The Winner Is…
With the price of the Samsung Galaxy S7 so much lower, it makes it easy to pick the Galaxy S7 as the winner of this comparison. The display on the Z5 Premium may use 4K on occasion, but the Galaxy S7 display uses QHD all of the time. It also uses Samsung's Super AMOLED and 'always-on' technology. The 820 processor and 530 GPU in the Galaxy S7 are superior in every way to the Z5's processor. The S7 Edge offers more RAM, faster UFS 2.0 memory, certainly equal or better camera technology and a battery with built-in quick wireless charging. It also has the ability to do Samsung Pay mobile purchases, the inclusion of a heart monitor and oxygen saturation sensor.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is naturally a solid device, but except for the 4K display and great battery life, it simply has nothing over the Galaxy S7. It uses last year's processor and GPU, less RAM, slower internal memory and has a very expensive price. If you are in love with Sony devices, then the Z5 Premium will make you happy, but if you want the superior smartphone in this comparison, the Galaxy S7 is the logical choice.