At the Mobile World Congress this year, Sony surprised everyone with the introduction of the Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZs smartphones. While the Xperia XZ Premium is the company’s latest flagship handset for 2017, the Xperia XZs is a high-end phone that succeeds the Xperia XZ from last year. It isn’t a huge upgrade over its predecessor, but there are still a few changes under the hood that make it a better smartphone overall. The Xperia XZ was quite well-received by consumers last year, while it remains to be seen if the Xperia XZs has received a similar response from consumers around the world.
Since the Xperia XZs is not a true flagship-grade smartphone, we cannot pit against 2017 flagship smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the LG G6. Instead, it makes more sense to compare the Xperia XZs against the older Samsung Galaxy S7, which packs similar hardware and still remains a highly impressive Android smartphone. The Galaxy S7 has now been on the market for over a year now, but it still remains one of the best-selling Android smartphones around. Since it has dropped in price significantly in most markets, it is a serious rival to Sony’s new Xperia XZs.
In our Sony Xperia XZs vs Samsung Galaxy S7 specs battle today, we will be putting the two smartphones head-to-head in ten different categories in order to find out which of them is more deserving of your hard-earned cash. These ten categories include Dimensions, Display, Processor, Battery Life, Camera, Connectivity, Memory, Design, Operating System, and Price. A win in each of these rounds will be worth 1 point each, which means the smartphone that manages to win the maximum number of points by the end of our versus battle will be picked as the winner of the comparison. Let us begin.
We will begin our Sony Xperia XZs vs Samsung Galaxy S7 versus battle by comparing the displays on these two flagship smartphones. The display on any smartphone is often the first thing that we notice, so a great display is bound to make a great impression.
The Sony Xperia XZs features a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 1080 x 1920 Full HD resolution, giving it a pixel density of 424 pixels per inch. Sony has been using a 5.2” sized 1080p panel for its flagship handsets for a long time now, so there isn’t much new here. Like the previous flagship Xperia smartphones, the Xperia XZs features Sony’s TRILUMINOS Display for mobile as well as X-Reality for mobile technologies. Sony has also added a Dynamic Contrast Enhancer feature, which basically makes the screen more vibrant and boosts contrast. Sony also claims the display covers a 138% of the sRGB color gamut, which is definitely impressive for a smartphone display. Protecting the Xperia XZs display is a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass, but Sony hasn’t specified which exact version it is using. While we cannot know the exact version, not specifying it clearly suggests that an older version is used and not the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 5 used in the Xperia XZ Premium. Overall, the Xperia XZs display is quite impressive in some areas, while in a few others it isn’t particularly impressive. In terms of peak brightness, the panel used in the Xperia XZs reaches close to 600 nits, resulting in great sunlight legibility. Contrast ratio is pretty good as well, although not best-in-class. Color accuracy is one area where the Xperia XZs display doesn’t impress much. While Sony has offered a new sRGB mode under Developer Options, it doesn’t do much to boost color accuracy.
Samsung Galaxy S7 on the other hand, features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution, giving it an impressive pixel density of 577 pixels per inch. Samsung has used Corning Gorilla Glass 4 to protect the display, which happened to be the newest version of Corning Gorilla Glass at the time of the handset’s launch. While the display may be marginally smaller than the one on the Xperia XZs, the Galaxy S7 panel is undoubtedly superior. As with any other AMOLED display, it offers a much higher contrast ratio, with deep blacks and great shadow detail. By default, the colors on the display are highly saturated, but Samsung does give you a choice of multiple display modes to tweak the color reproduction. The default Adaptive Display mode changes the color reproduction based on the content you’re viewing. If you prefer a more natural image, you can choose the Basic mode which adheres to the sRGB standard and delivers highly accurate colors. The AMOLED Photo mode is quite accurate as well, while still being very vibrant. The AMOLED Cinema mode is ideal for watching movies as it oversaturates the colors for a punchier image. In terms of brightness, the Galaxy S7 display achieves a very high peak brightness, making it a fantastic display to use outdoors. Sunlight legibility is excellent and leaves most of the LCD competition behind by a significant margin. Another key highlight of the Galaxy S7 display is the ‘Always-on Display’ feature. This feature basically keeps a part of the screen on at all times to show you vital info such as remaining battery percentage, time, missed notifications, and more. However, as you would expect, this feature does cause some battery drain, so we don’t recommend enabling it unless you think you will really benefit from it. To avoid any burn-in, the portion of the display used for the Always-on Display feature is changed in regular intervals.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is the clear winner of the display round as its Super AMOLED display is superior to the IPS panel on Sony’s Xperia XZs in almost every area.
Samsung flagships have always been pretty compact for their display size, while Sony has opted for larger bezels on its flagship handsets. So, will it be an easy win for the Galaxy S7?
The Sony Xperia XZs is 146mm tall, 72mm wide, and 8.1mm thin. In terms of weight, the smartphone weighs in at 161 grams. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 on the other hand is 142.4mm tall, 69.6mm wide, and 7.9mm thin. Not only is the Galaxy S7 smaller than the Xperia XZs in terms of physical dimensions, it is also lighter at 152 grams.
Quite clearly, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the superior device when it comes to the screen-to-body ratio. That makes the Galaxy S7 the winner of the dimensions round.
Usually, we find that newer smartphones offer updated connectivity features when compared to smartphones launched a few months before them. Can the newer Sony Xperia XZs win this round over last year’s Samsung Galaxy S7?
The Sony Xperia XZs features Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, USB Type-C, DLNA, WI-Fi hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Miracast, and 4G LTE-A Cat.9 (maximum download speeds of up to 450 Mbps).
Samsung Galaxy S7 offers Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, ANT+, NFC, ANT+, Micro USB 2.0 port, and 4G LTE Cat.9 (maximum download speeds of up to 450 Mbps). Both the smartphones feature a fingerprint scanner, but the feature is disabled on the US variant of the Sony Xperia XZs.
While the two smartphones are similar in the connectivity department, the Sony Xperia XZs comes with the newer USB Type-C standard and offers LTE-A support as well. That means the Sony flagship wins this round by a very small margin.
For most users out there, battery life is an important criteria when shopping for a new smartphone. Let’s find out if the Sony Xperia XZs can leave the Samsung Galaxy S7 in this category.
Sony has equipped the Xperia XZs with a 2,900mAh capacity battery inside, identical to the unit inside the Xperia XZ as well as the Xperia Z5. While the battery capacity isn’t the highest among high-end Android smartphones, Sony has done a pretty decent job with optimizing it on the Xperia XZs. As a result, the Xperia XZs offers pretty impressive battery life given the relatively small capacity. For fast charging, the Xperia XZs supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 standard along with Qnovo adaptive charging technology that makes sure the battery lifespan is extended. Sony doesn’t include wireless charging support though, so you will need to use the wired fast charger all the time, unless you don’t mind going for a third party wireless charging accessory that supports the Xperia XZs. What you do get, is Sony’s Stamina and Ultra Stamina battery-enhancing feature that can help you extend battery life by lowering the performance of the device and disable quite a few features.
Samsung Galaxy S7 on the other hand packs a slightly large 3,000mAh capacity battery inside. Like the Xperia XZs, the Galaxy S7 too offers great battery life, thanks to the good optimization by Samsung. The Galaxy S7 supports fast charging as well as wireless charging, so it does have a slight edge over the Sony smartphone. In fact, Samsung has added fast wireless charging support to the Galaxy S7, which works over the WPC and PMA standards. However, not all Galaxy S7 units are identical in the battery life department. The Exynos-powered Galaxy S7 variants generally deliver superior battery life to the Snapdragon 820-powered variant that is sold in the United States.
Overall, the battery life round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 for slightly better battery runtimes as well as support for fast wireless charging. The Sony Xperia XZs is pretty decent as well, but neither offers “fantastic” battery life.
Just like battery life, camera performance is another area that almost all consumers care about. Let’s find out if the Sony Xperia XZs can win this round with its 960fps slow-mo capture feature.
The Sony Xperia XZs features a 19MP resolution Motion Eye camera at the rear, using a 1.1cm Exmor RS for mobile memory stacked sensor with a pixel pitch of 1.22 microns. The camera uses Triple image sensing technology, along with predictive hybrid autofocus and support for 960fps super slow motion videos. There is Predictive Capture as well, which captures a few shots even before you even before you press the shutter button to that you don’t miss the moment you are trying to capture. Another feature that helps ensure you don’t miss out any of those special moments is Quick Launch & Capture, letting you snap a picture in just 0.5 seconds. In terms of low-light performance, the Xperia XZs does a decent job with its 25mm wide-angle Sony G Lens f/2.0 and up to 12800 ISO for photos and ISO 4000 for videos. Some of the other key features of the rear camera on the Xperia XZs include 8x digital zoom, BIONZ for mobile image processing engine, SteadyShot stabilization with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stabilization), HDR photos, panorama shots, an anti-distortion shutter, and support for 4K video recording. For selfies, the Xperia XZs features a 13MP resolution front-facing camera that uses an 8.3mm Exmor RS for mobile image sensor and a 22mm wide-angle f/2.0 aperture lens. While not as impressive as the rear-facing camera, the selfie camera too supports a relatively high 6400 ISO for photos and 1600 ISO for videos. There is also SteadyShot 5-axis stabilization to minimize blur and shake. Overall, the Xperia XZs performs fairly well under most conditions, but low-light performance isn’t its greatest strength. The selfie camera on the other hand, takes fantastic images, so if you love taking selfies, then the Xperia XZs front-facing camera will definitely impress you.
Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 12MP resolution main camera at the back, a downgrade over the Galaxy S6 when it comes to resolution. However, in other areas, the 12MP sensors is superior to the 16MP snapper used in 2015 Galaxy flagship smartphones. At 1/2.5”, the 12MP sensor is larger than the 16MP sensor, resulting in a higher pixel pitch of 1.4 microns. The bigger sensor has been paired with a brighter f/1.7 aperture lens that lets more light into the sensor, helping low-light performance. To deliver fast focus speeds, the Galaxy S7 camera uses Samsung’s Dual Pixel technology, which uses two photodiodes instead of just one in every single pixel. The Dual Pixel tech is superior to the Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) technology that we see on most smartphones. Samsung has also integrated optical image stabilization (OIS) in the rear camera, which also helps boost low-light performance in addition to allowing the Galaxy S7 to shoot steady videos. Other key highlights of the Galaxy S7 rear camera include a single-LED flash, Auto HDR, Panorama shots, face detection, Motion Panorama, Motion Photo Hyperlapse, and more. The camera app comes with a dedicated manual mode, allowing advanced users to tweak various options such as exposure, white balance, shutter speed, and more. Similar to its predecessor, users can choose to capture photos in the RAW format as well. On the front is a 5MP snapper for selfies, paired with an f/1.7 aperture lens. The selfie camera is quite impressive in terms of video as well, capturing videos at up to 1440p resolution. It also offers various exciting features such as a Wide Selfie Mode for taking “groupfies”, Beauty Modes, as well as the ability to use the screen as a flash.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S7 primary camera has a slight edge over the Sony Xperia XZs Motion Eye camera as far as low-light performance is concerned. Even in good lighting conditions, the Galaxy S7 is more dependable as it is easier to take a great shot without tweaking anything. Which is why we are giving the win to the Samsung Galaxy S7. However, if you are more concerned about the selfie camera, then the Xperia XZs is the better choice.
Since the Sony Xperia XZs came out roughly a year after the Samsung Galaxy S7, you would expect the Xperia XZs to be the clear winner of the processor round. But can it really win this round? Let’s find out.
Even though the Xperia XZs was announced only a few months back, the smartphone runs on the now outdated Snapdragon 820 quad-core chipset from Qualcomm. If you remember, the Snapdragon 820 also powered the Xperia XZ as well as the Xperia X Performance smartphones released last year. The 64-bit quad-core SoC still remains more than powerful, but it is no longer a flagship SoC. In fact, Qualcomm has released two newer SoCs since it launched the Snapdragon 820 – Snapdragon 821 and the Snapdragon 835. The outdated SoC is what makes the Xperia XZs more of a high-end smartphone and not a true flagship device. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chipset features a total of four custom Kryo cores arranged in a dual-cluster configuration. The dual performance-oriented Kryo cores are clocked at 2.15 GHz while the dual efficiency-oriented Kryo cores are clocked lower at 1.6 GHz. The graphics are handled by the Adreno 530 GPU, which delivers fantastic gaming performance on the Xperia XZs, thanks in part to the relatively lower 1080 x 1920 Full HD display resolution. In terms of benchmarks, the Xperia XZs delivers great results, so you shouldn’t have any complaints from the handset as far as the performance is concerned.
Samsung Galaxy S7 is powered by two different SoCs, depending on the region. In most markets around the world, the smartphone runs on Samsung’s in-house developed Exynos 8890 64-bit octa-core SoC under the hood. In the US, the Samsung Galaxy S7 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 64-bit quad-core SoC, the same chip powering Sony’s Xperia XZs. In case you aren’t aware, both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 as well as the Exynos 8890 chips are manufactured by Samsung on a 14nm Low Power Plus node. As we told you earlier, the Snapdragon 820 features two high-performance Kryo cores clocked at 2.15 GHz and two efficiency-oriented Kryo cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. Samsung’s in-house developed Exynos 8890 on the other hand uses four custom M1 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. Quite obviously, the custom M1 cores handle high-performance tasks while the ARM Cortex-A53 cores save power by handling more mundane tasks. The GPU integrated in the Exynos 8890 chipset is the ARM Mali-T880MP12, clocked at 650 MHz. As far as benchmarks go, the Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890-powered variants are more or less identical to each other, so neither variant will disappoint you.
Since the Sony Xperia XZs and the Samsung Galaxy S7 run on the same SoC in the US and the Exynos 8890 is on par with the Snapdragon 820, this round ends up in a tie.
Sony Xperia XZs basically comes in two variants – G8231 and the G8232. The Single-SIM G8231 variant includes 32GB of built-in storage while the Dual-SIM G8232 model features 64GB of built-in storage. Unlike the flagship Xperia XZ Premium, Sony hasn’t equipped the Xperia XZs with newer UFS 2.0 storage. Instead, the Xperia XZs uses the much slower eMMC memory chip. While some of you may not notice any difference, UFS 2.0 and 2.1 memory chips deliver significantly improved transfer speeds compared to eMMC chips, which has a positive impact on system performance. Given the high pricing, it is certainly disappointing that the Xperia XZs does not use UFS storage. The smartphone does include a microSD card slot though, allowing you to expand the storage further by up to 256GB. In terms of RAM, the Xperia XZs is an upgrade over the Xperia XZ with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM on all variants. The higher amount of RAM onboard ensures a smoother multitasking experience, which should be enough to please almost anyone.
Samsung Galaxy S7 on the other hand, is available in two storage variants in some markets – 32GB and 64GB. However, in other markets, you will only find the Galaxy S7 with 32GB of built-in storage. Like its predecessor, the Galaxy S7 too comes with ultra-fast UFS 2.0 memory chips, manufactured by Samsung. While it is a bit disappointing that Samsung decided to discontinue the 128GB variant last year, the Galaxy S7 does offer a microSD card slot, allowing users to expand the storage further by up to 2TB. As far as the RAM is concerned, the Galaxy S7 features 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. While 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM does sound impressive on paper, the Galaxy S7 isn’t the best flagship smartphone out there when it comes to multitasking performance. Thanks to poor memory management by Samsung, the Galaxy S7 fails to deliver the same level of multitasking experience as some of the other flagship handsets on the market. So if you are someone who runs multiple apps at once, then the Galaxy S7 is not the best choice for you.
While the Sony Xperia XZs uses older eMMC memory, the Galaxy S7 offers a sub-par multitasking experience. Since there is no clear winner here, the memory round ends up in a tie.
While most smartphone makers have completely refreshed their design language in the past year or two, Sony still continues with the same basic design that it introduced with the first Xperia Z-series smartphones a few years back. The Xperia XZs is visually no different than its predecessor, the Xperia XZ. While the front is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass, the back of the smartphone is made out of ALKALEIDO alloy. Thanks to it, the back of the Xperia XZs is not a fingerprint magnet like the Xperia XZ Premium and a few other Xperia smartphones with a glass back. Between the two is a solid frame made out of polycarbonate, instead of more premium metal that we usually see on most high-end as well as mid-range Android smartphones. Still, the Xperia XZs does not feel cheap in any way, and the design itself is very attractive, although a bit dated. Like other Sony flagship smartphones, the Xperia XZs too features a high IP65/68 certification, making it completely dust and water resistant. The Xperia XZs comes in three color options – Black, Warm Silver, and Ice Blue.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is also similar to its predecessor in terms of design, with very few minor design highlights differentiating the two smartphones. In terms of the build too, the Galaxy S7 is identical to the Galaxy S6. The Samsung flagship features a Series 7000 aluminum frame in the middle, while the front as well as the back of the smartphone feature Corning Gorilla Glass 4. As far as the differences go, the most prominent is the less protruding camera lens ring at the back. Another key difference is that the Galaxy S7 offers a high IP68 rating for dust and water resistant, which means it can survive being submerged under fresh water 1.5 meters deep for a maximum period of 30 minutes. The high IP rating means you don’t need to worry about dropping your Galaxy S7 in water accidentally. You can even take photos inside the pool or under shallow streams of water. As far as the color options go, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is available in Black Onyx, Pink Gold, and Gold Platinum color options in the US.
While both the Sony Xperia XZs and the Samsung Galaxy S7 are impressive smartphones in the design department, the Galaxy S7 is definitely the more premium device of the two. That means the design round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7.
The Sony Xperia XZs currently runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system out of the box, with Sony’s light Android skin running on top. Compared to its previous Android skins, Sony hasn’t made many significant changes to the UI design elements in the Xperia XZs. For the most part, the UI is very similar to stock Android, with a few touches from Sony here and there. Of course, Sony continues to offer its own set of multimedia apps such as Music, Album, and Video. Unlike some Android OEMs, Sony continues to offer a highly customizable app drawer that even lets you uninstall multiple apps at the same time. Sony offers various themes as well, as has almost become the norm these days on most Android smartphones. Of course, only a few of the themes are free, with the rest of them being paid. For extending battery life, the Xperia XZs includes a Stamina as well as an Ultra Stamina mode.
Samsung Galaxy S7 currently runs on Android 7.0 Nougat operating system, with the Samsung Experience UI on top. In case you’re wondering, Samsung Experience is the new name of Samsung’s custom Android skin, previously referred to as “TouchWiz”. Apart from changing the name, Samsung has made efforts to make it lighter than previous iterations, although you still get a lot of pre-installed apps and some “bloatware” as well. However, there are a few useful features as well, which happen to be unique to Samsung. The UI design has been updated as well, although you can still tell see a few “signature” Samsung UI design touches here and there. As far as features go, the smartphone comes with all the Samsung unique features such as S Voice, Slide Sync, Smart Manager, S Health, Samsung Pay, Download Booster, and Knox. Samsung hasn’t mentioned anything about the Android 7.1 Nougat update yet, so it isn’t clear if the smartphone will directly jump to Android O or receive the Android 7.1 update before that.
While Samsung’s Android skin is no doubt more functional than Sony’s, the South Korean manufacturer has lately been quite slow with rolling out major updates to its flagship lineup. Sony on the other hand, has done a pretty decent job with updating its flagship models. It also rolls out monthly security patches to its flagship models on a regular basis. We are going with a tie here.
The Sony Xperia XZs isn’t available in the US from any major carrier. If you wish to buy one, you will have to purchase it from Amazon or Best Buy. Both the retailers are currently selling the smartphone for about $650. That’s actually overpriced for a smartphone that isn’t actually a full-fledged 2017 flagship. You do get US warranty on it, so you won’t need to worry much about after sales support. The unlocked model sold in the US carries 64GB of onboard storage and is compatible with GSM/LTE carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Straight Talk, MetroPCS, Cricket Wireless, Simple Mobile, Bright Spot, and others. CDMA carriers are unfortunately not supported.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is available from pretty much every single carrier in the US, with prices hovering around $25 monthly on a 24-month installment plan. However, since the smartphone has been on the market for over a year now, you shouldn’t find it very difficult to find a good deal on it. As far as the full retail price is concerned, carriers will sell the Galaxy S7 contract-free for around $600. However, if you purchase it from some third party retailers, you should be able to find out for significantly less.
At this point, the Samsung Galaxy S7 definitely offers better value for money, as the Xperia XZs is overpriced for the kind of hardware on offer. In fact, you can get a new Galaxy S8 by paying just a few more dollars. In most other markets as well, the Sony Xperia XZs is priced higher than the Galaxy S7. As such, the price round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7.
It is now time for us to find out which of these two smartphones has managed to come out on top in our versus battle today. Surprisingly, the Sony Xperia XZs came out on top in just one category – Connectivity. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 won six categories, while three ended up in a tie. Quite clearly, this means the winner of our Sony Xperia XZs vs Samsung Galaxy S7 specs battle is the Galaxy S7.
Which of these two smartphones would you pick? Leave a comment down below and let us know.