Phone Comparisons: Google Pixel vs Sony Xperia XZ

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – the Sony Xperia XZ battles the smaller Google Pixel this time around. The Xperia XZ uses an all-metal construction as Sony finally abandoned the all-glass models from years past. The Google Pixel uses the same polished glass and metal backing that the Pixel XL incorporates. Some people say you need to let grow on you, but it makes a nice looking device and that limited Really Blue color really grabs your attention. The process of distributing a Sony smartphone in the US still seems to elude the company – for instance, the US version of the Xperia XZ does have the fingerprint sensor on the device, but you would need to flash a firmware update from the UK version in order for it to work on the US model. Google created some havoc this year among followers by ditching the popular Nexus line and replacing it with the Pixel line. Let’s see just what these two smartphones have in common and just how much they differ.

These two flagships do have a few things in common, starting with their close physical size and the slightly smaller Pixel weighing in 18 grams less from the Xperia XZ. The displays are also very similar – they use a different technology, but the same resolution, and are nearly the same size. To protect their screens from abuse, the Xperia XZ uses an unspecified Gorilla Glass, and the Google Pixel uses the newer Gorilla Glass 4. They both use a 64-bit Snapdragon processor – 820 versus 821 – and they both use an Adreno 530 for their graphic needs. Both devices are packing 32GB of expandable internal memory in the Xperia XZ only – the Google Pixel XL has a choice of 32GB or 128GB. The camera areas are both terrific, but they use a very different means to achieve their results. They both use non-removable batteries and both offer rapid charge capabilities. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and the newer Type-C reversible port for charging and data transfer.

Please take a careful 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.

Specification

Google Pixel

This is the time of year when we should be talking about the new Nexus phones – but Google made a huge move to create an Apple-like ecosystem where Google fans can use their new Home products and Chromecast right along with their new Google Pixel phone. We will be looking at the smaller Google Pixel this time around to see just how this newly designed Pixel with its polished glass and metal construction holds up to the all-metal Sony Xperia XZ.

The Google Pixel sports a 5.0-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a respectable 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI) mostly due to the size of the screen. While it is only an FHD display, it is an AMOLED display and this should help make it ‘pop’ with contrasts and colors. It is using the newest 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor, which is a revised version of the Snapdragon 820 giving it a 10-percent performance boost over the original. It comes with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz and uses an Adreno 530 for serious graphic needs. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and either 32GB or 128GB of the faster UFS 2.0 memory with no means to expand. It uses a 2770mAh non-removable battery for power and has rapid charge capabilities.

Google was determined to include a great camera in both Pixel models. Although the specs do not seem that impressive with a 12.3MP sensor for their primary camera, an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), and laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash, and no OIS. However, when DxOMark tested the Pixel camera, it received a score of 89 – the highest sustained for a smartphone camera to date. There is an excellent 8MP front-facing camera (FFC) that comes with a f/2.0 aperture, a 1.4µm pixel size, and 1080p recording, offering great selfies and video chatting.

The looks of the Pixel’s polished glass and metal backing are still under debate by some, but this writer thinks it looks just fine. It is on the back of the Pixel where you will find a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that will allow you to unlock your device or authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay. The Pixel doesn’t have much in the way of protection from the water, but at least it has an IP53 certification rating for splash and dust resistance. The Pixel is running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and will continue to receive the fastest updates from Google. The Google Pixel measures in at 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5mm and weighs in at 143 grams. It comes in Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue (limited edition color) and the 32GB Google Pixel will cost you about $650.

Sony Xperia XZ

The Sony Xperia XZ retains all of the Sony characteristics – the new all-metal design, its unmistakable rectangle shape, and large top and bottom bezels. The Xperia XZ did find its way to the US quicker than usual that Sony forgot to include the fingerprint firmware that enables it to work in the US. Sony still only covers GSM networks – AT&T or T-Mobile – so that means no Verizon or Sprint customers can purchase one without jumping carriers. If you are a techie or know one, you can flash the UK firmware to the US Xperia XZ to use the fingerprint sensor in the US, provided you are on a GSM network. However, at a price of $699, it should have all of these features built into the device.

The Sony Xperia XZ sports a small 5.2-inch IPS Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 424 PPI. Sony did use the excellent 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz, but then used only 3GB of DDR4 RAM and added 32GB or 64GB of expandable internal memory.

Sony reworked on the camera area in the Xperia XZ and included its new 23MP Sony lens with an aperture of f/2.0, 24mm angle, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), and laser autofocus, EIS (gyro), and LED flash. Sony included a large 13MP FFC with a f/2.0, 22mm to give you great selfies or video chats. The Xperia XZ is packing a 2900mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 to provide a rapid charge.

The Xperia XZ continues the traditional looks of a Sony smartphone and keeps its IP68 certification for dust and water resistance. Another Sony trademark that luckily remains is the excellent sounds from its Hi-Res audio and its dual front-facing stereo speakers. It makes for good listening while watching a movie or YouTube video. The XZ measures 146 x 72 x 8.1MM and weighs in at 161 grams. It comes in Mineral Black, Platinum, Forest Blue, or Deep Pink. Sony is asking $699 for its newest flagship.

...And The Winner is...

The Final Word

Sony has given me no choice in this comparison but to pick the Google Pixel as the winner. It has a display with AMOLED technology, a terrific camera area, faster processor, more RAM, larger battery, a fingerprint sensor that works, and it's available for all major US carriers. No, it is not IP68 certified, nor does it have dual front-facing stereo speakers, but it does have IP53 certification, and it comes with Android Nougat so it will receive the latest updates. You get all of this for $50 less money.

The Xperia is priced at $700, and for that amount of money, it should have a QHD display, a fingerprint sensor that works and be able to handle more than GSM networks.

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About the Author
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Cory McNutt

Senior Staff Writer
Cory has written for Androidheadlines since 2013 and is a Senior Writer for the site. Cory has a background in Accounting and Finance and worked for the FBI in the past. From there he pursued his Masters in English Literature. Cory loves Android and Google related technology and specializes in Smartphone Comparisons on our site. Contact him at [email protected]
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