Do we have a good one for you today – the Sony Xperia XZ goes up against the ASUS ZenFone AR. The devices differ in their design and materials – the Xperia XZ uses an all-metal backing, and the ZenFone AR uses a faux leather backing over plastic – however, both share a solid build quality. The Xperia XZ is typical Sony – squared off, large bezels, FHD display, along with its quirks. The ZenFone AR is the only device that combines augmented reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), via Tango, and Daydream in one device. We are looking to find out which device offers the best combination of specifications, performance, and value. Let's compare what they have in common first and then we will look at each device in more detail to pick the winner in this comparison.
The Sony Xperia XZ and the ASUS ZenFone AR have very few things in common. The display on the ZenFone AR is 0.5-inches larger, which makes its physical size larger, although it only weighs 9 grams heavier. The displays use different technology and different resolutions. They both use the same processor, with the ZenFone AR using the updated version, and the same Adreno 530 GPU. They use different amounts of RAM. The primary cameras start with a 23MP sensor but they then go down their separate roads, with both delivering great photos. Both have a front-mounted fingerprint sensor, but only the ZenFone AR's works – Sony does not include the firmware to take advantage of its fingerprint sensor in the US. Both have a non-removable battery with rapid charge capabilities. They both come with the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and both use the newer Type-C reversible port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful 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 XZ
While Sony has many loyal followers, if you live in the US, sales are not anywhere near where Sony would like them to be. However, it is easy to figure out why when your flagship device, the Xperia XZ, only works on AT&T or T-Mobile and the fingerprint sensor does not have the necessary firmware to operate. Sony decided to abandon its all-glass design, so the Xperia XZ uses an all-metal backing but still has that familiar Sony rectangle shape, curved on the sides to make it easier to hold. Sony also seems to love the large top and bottom bezels to go along with its Full HD display. Let's see how it stands up to the new ASUS ZenFone AR.
Sony does not like QHD displays and continues this practice with the Xperia XZ in their quest to obtain longer battery life. The Xperia XZ sports their usual IPS Full HD display of 5.2-inches with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a respectable 424 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Sony did use the best processor they could at the time, the 64-bit Snapdragon 820 – a quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6 GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15 GHz. It uses an equally powerful Adreno 530 GPU to handle the graphics. It packs only 3GB of DDR4 RAM, and you can have your choice of 32GB or 64GB of expandable internal memory.
Sony likes to flaunt its cameras to other manufacturers, and this tradition continues on the Xperia XZ. The Xperia XZ sports a new 23MP Sony lens for its primary camera with an aperture of f/2.0, 24 mm width, phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and laser autofocus, and LED flash. The front-facing camera (FFC) uses a large 13MP sensor with a f/2.0, 22 mm, and HDR capabilities allowing you to take great selfies or do video chatting. The Xperia XZ comes with a smaller 2,900 mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 to give you a rapid charge.
Sony devices do excel in a couple of areas, and the Xperia XZ is no exception. In addition to the camera, Hi-Res audio that produces great sound through the earphones or the dual front-facing stereo speakers. Its IP68 certification for dust and water resistance is all a noteworthy feature. The Xperia XZ only operates on GSM networks, and that includes AT&T or T-Mobile in the US – no Verizon and Sprint. It has no working fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device or for authorizing mobile payments, although mobile payments are still possible because of its NFC capability. It measures 146 x 72 x 8.1 mm and weighs in at 161 grams. It comes in Mineral Black, Platinum, Forest Blue, or Deep Pink. It will cost you a sizable $699 for this Sony flagship.
ASUS ZenFone AR
The ASUS ZenFone AR stands out from the crowd because it is the first Tango-enabled smartphone that also comes with support for Google Daydream, making it the first smartphone to come with full support for both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). It has three camera lenses and the necessary software to make it all happen. The ZenFone AR comes in black only with a metal frame and a faux leather backing. It looks very much like a combination of the back a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the front of the Galaxy S7. It comes complete with its round corners and a fingerprint sensor that looks like a home button. ASUS also gave it high-quality audio to use whether you listen to it through its five-magnet single speaker or earphones. Just how does it stack up against the Sony Xperia XZ?
The ASUS ZenFone AR sports a beautiful 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 515 PPI. ASUS was smart to use the improved Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor in the ZenFone AR. It still uses the same dual cores of the 820 clocked at 1.6 GHz and a dual-core clocked at 2.35 GHz but is 10-percent faster according to Qualcomm. You will also find the terrific Adreno 530 GPU for its graphic duties. One version of the ZenFone AR packs 6GB of DDR4 RAM and offers 32GB/64GB of memory, with expansion up to 256GB via a microSD card. Another version will be coming out that packs 8GB of RAM.
The use of Tango requires three rear cameras for its special effects, so ASUS had to equip the ZenFone AR with a TriCam system. The main camera begins with a 23MP lens, but then adds a motion tracking lens and finally a depth-sensing lens with an infrared (IR) projector. The design includes laser autofocus, a 3X Optical zoom, 4-axis OIS, dual-toned LED flash, and an aperture of f/2.0. For its FFC, the ZenFone AR uses an 8MP wide-angle lens with the same f/2.0 aperture, autofocus, and dual-tone LED flash for excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. The battery size is a large, non-removable 3,300 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0.
The ASUS ZenFone AR is the first smartphone designed with AR and VR capabilities, by embracing both Tango and Daydream. It sports a complicated camera area to accomplish those tasks. It packs a powerful five-magnet speaker for impressive sounds as well as DTS Headphone X for virtual 7.1 surround sound and Hi-Res audio. You can unlock the phone or authorize Android Pay mobile purchases with a swipe of your finger because of its NFC chip and fingerprint sensor. The ASUS ZenFone AR measures 158.7 x 77.7 x 9 mm, weighs in at 170 grams and is available in Black with the faux diamond cut leather backing. It too is a GSM device, so it will not work on Verizon or Sprint. It comes with Android 7.0 out of the box and should be available soon and should cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $600.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This was an easy decision – while the Sony Xperia XZ is a popular phone in its niche circle of admirers – for the price, you get a great camera, IP68 certification, and dual stereo speakers. The ASUS ZenFone AR has the technical edge and is slightly lower in price of the two devices. Both devices only work on a GSM network, leaving Verizon and T-Mobile out of the picture. There is very few, if any, weak points with the ZenFone AR, which means it is being crowned the winner in this comparison.
The ZenFone AR has a larger QHD AMOLED display, a slightly faster processor, the same GPU, more RAM, Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, high-end sound, a more exciting camera area, a fingerprint sensor, along with being Tango, (AR) and Daydream-ready (VR).
The Sony Xperia XZ is a good smartphone, but with no fingerprint sensor working on the US model, a smaller FHD LCD display, fewer specifications, and a higher price, the ASUS ZenFone AR is the winner of this comparison.