Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 3 on September 4 and the company’s new handset has to withstand heavy competition coming from the other smartphones currently on the market.
The Sony Xperia Z is definitely one of the most popular smartphones launched in 2013 and even though it’s more than half a year younger than the new Sammy phablet it’s still a powerful competitor.
If you followed our other Versus articles then you probably know that there will be ten rounds in the Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z battle: Display, Dimensions, Operating System, Processor, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Design, Battery, and Price.
Each round is worth one point and the smartphone that scores most points is named the winner of the battle.
Most of the high-end smartphones launched in 2013 come with 1080p displays and the Note 3 and Xperia Z make no exception.
The Sony Xperia Z features a 5-inch full HD TFT display with a pixel density of 441 ppi, while the Galaxy Note 3 comes with a 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED screen with 386 ppi.
Everybody knows that the Super AMOLED panels don’t perform well under direct sun light, but come with unrivalled brightness and contrast, while being more battery-friendly than other screens. To me, and to many of the smartphone fans out there, the TFT display installed on the Xperia Z was a big disappointment, with fade colors and bad viewing angles, that’s why the Note 3 wins the Display round.
Remember when the phone makers were trying to make their phones as small as possible? Well, those days are gone, as the modern phones can barely fit in your pocked.
Sony Xperia Z measures 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm and has a weight of 146 grams. Because it has to accommodate a bigger display, the Galaxy Note 3 is visibility larger than the Xperia Z, being 151.2 mm tall, 79.2 mm wide, and 8.3 mm thine, while weighing 168 grams.
The Sony flagship is thinner and lighter than the Note 3, so it wins the Dimensions round.
Android is the most popular mobile operating system out there and both the Note 3 and Xperia Z run Google’s platform customized with the companies’ proprietary interfaces.
The Sony handset comes pre-loaded with Android 4.1.2, but it’s upgradable to Android 4.2.2. Being customized with Sony’s proprietary Xperia UI, Xperia Z comes with some of the company’s exclusive applications like Music Unlimited, PlayStation Mobile, or Walkman. The interface is pretty clean as a whole, but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
Galaxy Note 3 is running Android 4.3 out of the box, with the TouchWiz Nature UX interface on top of it. Besides the features borrowed from the S4 (Air View/Air Gestures, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, or Group Play), the new Samsung smartphone brings Action Memo, Scrapbook, S Finder, Pen Window, Multi View, or Samsung KNOX, and a couple of other S Pen optimized apps.
Even though I’m not a fan of TouchWiz myself, I can’t help but admit that Samsung’s interface is packed with cool and useful features, so I am obliged to give another point to the Note 3.
The Sony Xperia Z is underpinned by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro MDM9215M / APQ8064 chipset, based on four Krait cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and an Andreno 320 GPU.
You probably heard before that Samsung will launch two Galaxy Note 3 variants, each being powered by a different processing unit. The LTE-enabled variant, the N9005 has a Snapdragon 800 SoC with quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU, while the N9000 model sports Samsung’s proprietary octo-core Exynos 5420 SoC which comes with quad-core Cortex A15 CPU at 1.9 GHz + quad-core Cortex A7 CPU at 1.3 GHz, and a Mali T628 GPU.
Well, both Galaxy Note 3’s processing solutions outperform the Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset installed under the hood of the Xperia Z, therefore the Samsung phablet wins this round of the battle.
With over 1 million apps to choose from in Google Play Store, you will need quite a lot of internal storage on your smartphone. Should I mention about music, videos, and photos, too?
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is available with either 32 or 64 GB of storage, which can be expanded using microSD cards with up to 64 GB. On the other hand the Xperia Z comes with 16 GB of internal storage, also supporting microSD cards up to 64 GB.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Galaxy Note 3 comes with 3 GB of RAM, compared to Xperia Z’s 2 GB of RAM, which will make the Samsung handset the more capable one when it comes to multitasking.
Because the Note 3 outmatches the Xperia Z both in terms of total storage and RAM, the terminal wins another point.
You can barely find a high-end smartphone without 4G support nowadays, not to mention about other basic stuff like WiFi or microUSB.
Xperia Z’s connectivity features list includes Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0, and, of course, 4G LTE. The Note 3 comes with 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 3.0.
Note 3’s WiFi ac, microUSB 3.0, and infra red port, are not enough to bring an extra point for the 5.7 incher, therefore this round’s a tie.
All the smartphone owners are using their devices to take pictures, some of them more often, others on rare occasions and next we will compare Galaxy Note 3’s and Xperia Z’s cameras.
The Samsung terminal borrows the 13 MP module installed on the back of the Galaxy S4, but, enhanced with 4K@30fps and 1080p@60fps video recording support. It also comes with autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, and HDR. Galaxy Note 3 packs loads of features like Eraser, Sound & Shot, Drama Shot, Cinema Photo, Dual Shot, and Dual Video, which are more or less useful.
Sony Xeria Z boasts about a 13 MP Exmor RS sensor with autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, sweep panorama, 1080p@30fps video recording capabilities, video stabilization, and HDR while shooting videos.
The real life tests have shown that Xperia Z’s camera is one of the best on the market, outperforming the likes of Galaxy S4 (the same camera as Note 3), HTC One, or iPhone 5, so the Sony flagship wins this round.
Samsung’s design has one major flaw: plastics. With the launch of the Note 3 the Koreans wanted to show the world their smartphones can look and feel premium too, that’s why the new phablet comes with a faux-leather back with visible stitching and aluminium finishing for the bezel around the edges.
While everybody anticipated that the Galaxy Note 3 will look like a Galaxy S4 on steroids, Samsung has surprised us and the result is more than impressive.
Many have considered that the Xperia Z is Sony’s masterpiece. The Xperia Z is what you’d call an elegant smartphone, with sharp, metallic, edges and a glossy glass back lid. Besides being remarkably beautiful, the Sony flagship is water and dust resistant too, being IP57 certified.
There’s no way I couldn’t give the point allocated for the Display round to the Xperia Z.
If you asked me to change on thing about the modern smartphones, I would definitely try to improve their battery life.
The Sammy phablet features a Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery that’s 100 mAh bigger than the one of its predecessor. In our tests, the Note 2 stayed awake through about 36 hours of intensive to moderate usage and since Note 3’s processors are more battery efficent, expect the new handset to have a battery life of about 48 hours.
Xperia Z brings a non-removable Li-Ion 2330 mAh battery, but even though it is considerably smaller tan the one of the Note 3, the Sony flagship has no problem in surviving for 24 hours on a single charge.
And the point for the battery round goes to, Galaxy Note 3.
Since everybody loves an affordable smartphone (Nexus 4 owners know why), may the cheaper smartphone win. Because you can barely find the Xperia Z on contract on the US market, we will talk about the unlocked prices of the two smartphones.
The unlocked Xperia Z has a price tag of around $550, while the contract-free Galaxy Note 3 will cost about $700. The Sony smartphone is cheaper, thus it wins this round of the battle.
It’s time to count the points, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z battle has come to an end.
The Sony Xperia Z has won 4 points outmatching the Galaxy Note 3 in the Dimensions, Camera, Design, and Price round, because it’s thinner and lighter, has a better camera, is more beautiful than the Samsung phablet and also cheaper.
While the Connectivity round ended as tie, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 scored 5 points after winning the Display, Operating System, Processor, Memory, and Battery rounds. Why? Because the Note 3 has a higher-quality display, runs Samsung’s popular TouchWiz, has faster processors, more storage and RAM, and better battery life.
In our view, the Galaxy Note 3 wins the battle against the Xperia Z 5 to 4, but you may think otherwise. Please share your opinions in the comments section below.