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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Sony Xperia Z: Specs Showdown

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is definitely one of the most powerful smartphones that saw the light of day in 2012. Being the second phablet manufactured by the South Korea-based company, Galaxy Note 2 was introduced in August 2012, and quickly raised to the top of the best-selling smartphones on the market, managing to steal some of iPhone 5’s market share.

On the other hand, the Sony Xperia Z is set to become one of the stars of the 2013 smartphone business. It’s the first quad-core smartphone developed by the Japanese phone maker, and it received a lot of positive reviews from the tech publications all over the world. Introduced at CES 2013, Xperia Z is the most powerful smartphone in Sony’s portfolio and one of the most powerful terminals currently on the market.

Even though the two smartphones belong to two different generations, we thought you’d like to see them in a head-to-head specs showdown. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Sony Xperia Z battle will have eight rounds, with 1 point given for the winner of each round. We will judge the two smartphones based on Dimensions, Display, Connectivity, Memory, Camera, Processor, Battery, and Operating System.

But let’s cut the chit chat and let’s get down to business as a long and fierce battle awaits.

Dimensions

Many customers are buying a smartphone based on the size of the terminals. While some care about being able to operate their terminals with one hand, others want their smartphones to be light and thin. Either way, it seems we have a winner right before comparing the dimensions.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is 151.1 mm tall, 80.5 mm wide, 9.4 mm thin, while weighing in 183 grams. Well, unless you’re some kind of woods creature, you will have some problems using the Samsung phablet with one hand. I know the terminal is that big because it has to accommodate a huge display, but some care about this aspect.

In the other corner is the Sony Xperia Z, sized 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm and weighing in only 146 grams. It seems that most of the 2013’s high-end smartphones will pack 5-inch displays, but even so Sony managed to keep the size of its flagship smartphone to decent numbers.

Well, because Sony Xperia Z is smaller, thinner and lighter than the Galaxy Note 2, this round goes to the Android-powered smartphone coming from Japan. +1 Xperia Z

Display

In 2012, when Galaxy Note 2 was officially launched, the HD resolutions were the standard for the high-end smartphone segment. The South Korea-based company knew what the public wants, and fitted an HD display to its second-generation phablet.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 packs a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and a pixel density of 267 ppi. It’s big, but it brings a good resolution and it’s ideal for web browsing or watching videos.

Since it was introduced in 2013, in a world that will soon be dominated by full HD 5-inch displays, Sony Xperia Z brings a TFT display with the aforementioned size and resolution and an amazing pixel density of 441 ppi, also packing Sony’s proprietary BRAVIA Engine 2 technology.

The South Korean phablet brings an HD Super AMOLED screen, which brings sharp colors, but unfortunately it’s not that great under direct sun light. Those who stay more indoor will appreciate it, while the outdoor guys will probably choose Xperia Z’s touch panel.

Galaxy Note 2’s display is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 2 layer, while Xperia Z’s has shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass.

Summing up, the Sony Xperia Z grabs this round as well, courtesy of its full HD display with greater resistance. It’s now 2 – 0 for Sony’s flagship.

Connectivity

The 4G LTE connectivity is an important selling point in the smartphone business nowadays, and both Samsung and Sony figured this out pretty fast, making their terminals compatible with the LTE networks.

Courtesy of the 4G chip that comes with the Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC underpinning the Xperia Z, Sony’s flagship is capable of download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, while offering connectivity features like Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0, and 3.5 mm audio jack.

Even though the Exynos 4 Quad chipset that debuted on the Galaxy S3 wasn’t LTE-friendly, forcing Samsung to fit a dual-core Qualcomm solution on its flagship smartphone in order to provide 4G connectivity, the same Exynos 4 Quad that was fitted on the Galaxy Note 2 received a 4G LTE chip.

Galaxy Note 2 comes with the all connectivity features worthy of a high-end smartphone like, WiFi in all standards, Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5 mm audio jack, and microUSB 2.0. Compared to Xperia Z, the phablet also comes with an NFC chip.

Even though we’d be tempted to give this round to Galaxy Note 2 because of the NFC support, we’ll end it as a tie, as the NFC technology is not that widespread at the moment. The score is yet unchanged: Xperia Z 2 – Note 2 – 0.

Memory

With games, movies, and tons of songs available in Google Play Store, most of the users want at least 16 GB of internal storage inside their smartphones, and both companies delivered this time.

Xperia Z comes with 16 GB of flash storage expandable via microSD, while Galaxy Note 2 has three internal storage options, 16, 32, and 64 GB, also with support for microSD cards.

The memory round of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Sony Xperia Z battle is won by the South Korean phablet, because it comes with more internal storage options, making the score 2 -1 for Xperia Z.

Battery

Here we are talking about the battery units powering the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Sony Xperia Z.

Sony Xperia Z comes with a Non-removable Li-Ion 2330 mAh battery that is capable of keeping it awake through up to 11 hours of 2G talk time, which in real-life usage might be translated into one day.

The Galaxy Note 2’s body is considerably bigger than the Xperia Z (reason why it lost the Dimensions battle), thus Samsung had more room to fit a bigger battery. We are talking about a 3,100 mAh unit, capable of getting it through 35 hours of 2G talk time, that’s about two days of normal use.

The Galaxy Note 2 snatches this roud, too, tying the score at 2.

Operating System

Both devices are powered by Google’s Android mobile platform, thus this is rather a battle of the user interfaces developed by the manufacturers.

Xperia Z runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box with Timescape UI. Sony’s proprietary user interface is packed with the company’s apps most of them in the multimedia field. Anyway, many of the Sony apps or widgets are never used by the owners, but the overall experience is neat and I can’t help but praise the redesigned multitasking screen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes TouchWiz UI on top of Android 4.1.1 (already upgradable to Android 4.1.2). In my opinion the South Koreans did a good job with their interface.

Even though the TouchWiz UI doesn’t have the looks, it comes with a couple of useful and interesting motion controls, from Smart Stay to Smart Alert and Direct Call. On top of these Galaxy Note 2 also comes with customizable toggles for the notifications area and the highly-appreciated MultiView feature, that allows you to run two apps in split-screen mode.

Because the Samsung phablet comes with an S-Pen, the company’s software engineers optimized the experience for the stylus. You have Air View (allows you to preview photos, calendar events, or video timeline by simply hovering the S-Pen over them), plus a multitude of S-Pen optimized applications like S-Note, Photo Note, and a few more, all with handwriting support.

For the reasons mentioned above, Galaxy Note 2 wins the OS battle, scoring another precious point.

Processor

We are dealing with two quad-core smartphones here, each being powered by a different processor.

Galaxy Note 2 comes with Samsung’s proprietary Exynos 4 Quad chipset with four Cortex A9 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz and quad-core Mali-400MP GPU.

Xperia Z is underpinned by Qualcomm’s might Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC in a quad-core configuration with 1.5 GHz Krait cores. The flagship smartphone also comes with an Adreno 320 GPU.

Even though the clock speed might indicate that the Exynos 4 Quad is the winner, the Krait cores are the ones making the difference. The ARM-based CPU developed by Qualcomm is manufactured on 22 nm architecture providing more processing power than the Cortex A9 cores (on 32 nm architecture) used for the Exynos 4 Quad CPU.

Because the Snapdragon S4 Pro is the most powerful chipset ever fitted inside a smartphone, this point goes to the Sony flagship.

Camera

We’ve got an 8 megapixel camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, with LED flash, autofocus, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, and full HD video recording support. The front-facing camera is a 1.9 megapixel unit, but it’s less important.

Well, the Xperia Z comes with an 13.1 megapixel rear-facing sensor, which is by far more impressive than the ones of the competition. It comes autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, and panorama. Well nothing impressive so far, but you might also want to know that it has an image stabilization chip, while the full HD video recording can be done in HDR mode, also with image stabilization support. The video recording also has continuous autofocus support.

The secondary camera is a 2.2 megapixel unit, also with full HD capabilities.

This last round of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Sony Xperia Z battle is won by the Japanese flagship smartphone. +1 Xperia Z.

Conclusions

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Sony Xperia Z specs battle was more important than first anticipated. Most of the battles were won by a small margin, with the two devices even ending as tie when it came to Connectivity features.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 snatched three rounds from the total of 8, winning when it came to Memory, Battery, and OS, courtesy of its 3,100 mAh Li-ion battery, storage options, and Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.

The slim constriction, the full HD display, the 13 megapixel camera with continuous autofocus video recording, and the quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, won four battles for the Sony Xperia Z: Dimensions, Display, Camera and Processor.

The winner of the Galaxy Note 2 vs Xperia Z battle is the flagship smartphone of the Japan-based company, which grabbed four points, outscoring Samsung’s phablet by one point.

Do you think the battle should have ended some other way? Did I misjudge certain aspects? Please let me know in the comments section below.