Samsung Galaxy Note 2 VS Sony Xperia Z!
Game For The Throne!
Everyone seems to be very excited upon the upcoming war of 2013. Sony made its first appearance early this year and it has garnered much love and hate. With all the hype surrounding 2013, most people tend to forget last year’s flagships, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note, which was arguably the best phone of 2012. Before we go gaga over comparing Xperia Z to Galaxy SIV and HTC One let’s take a look back six months ago and pit today’s to yesterday’s best.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was released September of Last year with significant improvement over its Predecessors Note 1 and S3. Improvements can be seen with the increased clock speed, new pentile matrix, better camera and LTE. On the other hand, Sony Xperia Z was released last February and it was a giant leap from last year’s Xperia S boasting a 1080p HD Display with Dust and water resistance, More processor, more powerful GPU, additional microSD slot and a better camera. Comparing them both, they do not have much difference with respect to their spec sheets but upon further inspection you can see how much a few months technology can improve and some points on the Note 2 you wish was on the Xperia Z out of the box. So without further ado, Let’s Get Ready to Rumblee!!
Well, technically, this match will probably result in a draw as each has their own flaws, if you are planning to buy either; I suggest you weigh in what is more important to you.
1. THE PACKAGE
Both phones have nothing extra on their respective boxes. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a 2A Charger, USB Cable, and a very good quality headset. Sony Xperia Z has the same package.
2. PHONE SUPERFICIALITY (9.5 out of 10)
Phones today tend to be bigger whilst tablets tend to shrink, Sony Xperia Z has a 5 Inch Screen, the Volume rocker and Power button is on the right side which is pretty much the only hard buttons on the device. Its sides also houses Micro SD slot, Simcard slot, microUSB port and 3.5mm jack. Each of the aforementioned has their respective covers to achieve beauty and its water resistant qualities. The front houses a 2.2Mp Camera capable of 1080p recording @30fps. The back houses the 13Mp Camera. The whole phone is enclosed in a shatterproof and scratch resistant glass.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a 5.5 Inch Screen; a hard button on the front along with a 1.9Mp Camera, the sides houses the volume rocker and the power button with microUSB port and a 3.5mm jack on the bottom and top respectively. The back protection is plastic and can be remove for sim and microSD insertion.
Comparing both, they both look and feel good on your hand, undoubtedly Note 2’s bigger size hints the user the use of both hands. Xperia Z is slightly thinner and its all-glass body certainly looks sexy. I have to raise that due to its glass build, fingerprint smudges are highly visible especially on the Black Xperia Z. In terms of material used, Xperia Z looks and feels much more expensive.
WINNER: Xperia Z – Note 2’s Plastic Build is nowhere near Xperia Z’s Glass Build
3. PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
Xperia Z sports a 5 Inch 1080x1920 Screen whereas Note 2 offers a 5.5 Inch 720x1080 Screen. . I was amazed at the Note 2 when I first got it, that 720p display was the best there was partner with the AMOLED Screen’s nice touch of saturation, I honestly thought this was the best there will ever be. I actually thought display could not have been better but Xperia Z is just mind blowing. There is no doubt display is much better on the Xperia Z, couple that amazing 1080 display with Sony’s Bravia Engine, and you get yourself one hell of a screen, a minor issue I had with the Xperia Z is its poor viewing angles. A few inches away from the standard viewpoint and the colors change from visible to poor to rubbish. Setting that aforementioned issue aside, booting and using the Xperia Z the first time will amaze most if not everyone out there.
WINNER: Xperia Z – 1080p with a 441ppi is better than 720p with a 267ppi
Sony and Samsung both have great history when it comes to multimedia as both offer not only smartphones but other appliances as well. Of all the Sony and Samsung Phones I had, none of them have disappointed me especially in terms of audio quality. The Note 2 and Xperia Z both offer great audio output. Xperia Z loses in terms of loudspeaker but it is slightly a better performer than the Note 2 when earplugs are attached. I have tested them both using the same headset (Bolts Griffin) with the same music (XGF by Spongecola) and the same music player (TTPod and their respective stock players), the test showed Z’s superiority over Note 2.
WINNER: Xperia Z – Xperia Z may lose in terms of loudspeaker but I highly doubt anyone will continuously use their smartphone in loudspeaker.
As for Video Playback, Z and Note 2 also does not disappoint but I do have to raise that Note 2 has better video codec and its stock Video Player can play almost every file type out there. Sadly, for the Xperia Z, its stock Movie app, though looks amazing, is not able to detect wmv and mkv videos. Both are able to play any video without slowdowns, stuttering or lag. This includes 1080p videos over 2GB. With the aforementioned problem of Xperia Z, MX Player Pro fixes the problem as it will play other file types that could not be covered by the stock app.
WINNER: Galaxy Note 2 – With greater Stock player comes greater out of the box usability. This is in terms of video power not display.
Android has come a long way from a laggy browser to today’s browsing powers. Jellybean hits the spot as browsing on both phones are great. Indubitably, though, Browsing on the Note 2 is much better, faster and smoother. As great as both phones maybe, Note 2 just delivers the better experience.
WINNER: Galaxy Note 2 – Faster and smoother is better.
*First Images Are From Samsung Note 2
Wew! Here comes another part which is very important to a picture snapper like me. Xperia Z offers a 13Mp Camera with capabilities to shoot VGA, 2Mp, 5Mp, 9Mp and 12Mp shots. Whilst Galaxy Note 2 has an 8Mp Camera which shoots .3Mp, .9Mp, 2.4Mp, 3.2Mp, 6Mp, 8Mp. Both phones have a lot of options to choose from. Images shot by the phones are one of the best as of today. You can see that Note 2 images are slightly more saturated than that of Xperia Z. A weakness apparent on both phones seems to be from their low light performance. Lastly, Note 2 seems to have the faster shutter and the better anti-shaking prowess.
If their rear cameras are hard enough to choose from, both these phones have good front-facing cameras. Note 2 has 1.9Mp front camera which can also shoot at 720p whereas Xperia Z has a 2.2Mp camera that can shoot 1080p videos. Luckily for the front cameras, Xperia Z takes this one with no doubt.
Finally, both phones are capable of shooting up to 1080p quality videos. Both takes exceptional quality of videos but Xperia Z takes this one with its HDR capability (which enhances the videos’ quality) and the relatively lower file size of the videos.
WINNER: Xperia Z – As minimal as the improvement maybe, Xperia Z still has the better camera. Xperia Z can also shoot underwater, so, yeah.
Xperia Z and Galaxy Note 2 are undeniably one of the best smartphones for gaming out there. I had no problems playing any mainstream games on either phone. Temple Run 2, Pou, Candy Crush Saga, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Bad Piggies, the list will go on and on but the result is the same. Amazing smooth gaming bonanza.
Emulators also run fantastically as NES, SNES, Gameboy, GBC, GBA, N64 and even PS1 Emulators play their respective games very smoothly, plug-in a USB Controller and you have one of the best looking handheld devices.
Of course, Android does have their own set of HD Games, and to all smartphone gamers out there, HD Games also play smoothly on both device. Though I have only tested Soulcraft, Dead Trigger, NBA 2k13 and NOVA3. The aforementioned games play smooth and great! Xperia Z may offer the better display but graphical glitches maybe apparent on games such as NOVA 3 and NBA 2k13. The graphical glitches are negligible, though.
WINNER: TIE. Both Phones offer great gaming prowess.
Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 both run 4.1 Jellybean. The former sports the Xperia Launcher whilst the former has the Touch Wiz UI. Both launchers are user-friendly and customizable anyone can navigate through both phones easily. In addition, both launchers can easily be replaced by the hundreds of launchers available as these stock interfaces are just ‘skins’ of their respective company.
WINNER: TIE. Personal preference.
RAM and Clockspeed
Many of you might wonder, what are RAM and the Clockspeed for? Should I go for higher RAM, fewer clocks or vice versa? The answer depends on how you use the phone. Random Access Memory (RAM) is used to determine how many apps your unit can run simultaneously. So bigger RAM means you can multi-task much more applications without worrying about lagging on the system.
Clockspeed is used to determine how fast your system will run a certain application. Simply put, higher Clockspeed means faster phone. THIS IS THE GENERAL IDEA ON RAM AND CLOCKSPEED. Factors on speed are also determined by the chipset architecture, GPU, etc.
Xperia Z is powered with a CPU Quad-Core 1.5GHz Krait, GPU Ardeno 320 and Chipset Qualcomm MDM9215M / APQ8064 whilst Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has CPU Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9, Chipset Exynos 4412 Quad and GPU Mali-400MP. I have to be honest, I have no idea how they perform, what I do know is both these phones are powered with technologies’ best today to deliver you a great smartphone experience. Swiping between screens, switching between apps is flawless. Both phones carry a 2GB Ram so there is a lot of space to multi-task with without stuttering or lagging or delay.
WINNER: TIE. It is painstakingly hard to test their speed as they are both very responsive and fast.
Being the texting capital of the world is something to brag about so messaging and telephony is obviously something to look at. Since both phones are android which feature 4.1 Jellybean, their stock keyboards are relatively similar with the capability to adapt to your texting style and learn over time for a more extensive predictive texting. Both also offers offline voice recognition but it cannot recognize Filipino Words. A plus which might be attributed to Note 2 is the additional numbers above the keyboard which comes in handy more often than you will expect. The Phonebook and contacts are almost the same and are equally easy to navigate. If you do not like the stock keyboard, there are hundreds of other free keyboards on the market
WINNER: Galaxy Note 2 - it was close but I have to credit Note 2’s addition of the numbers above. As mentioned it does come in handy more often than you might expect.
Looking at Antutu and Quadrant Scores Xperia Z and Galaxy Note 2 both gave very high scores. Granted both of these are not accurate, it’s still interesting to see. Higher is better for both Quadrant and Antutu.
WINNER: Xperia Z - As much as these scores maybe inaccurate, three trials result in Xperia Z having higher values.
Battery is Android’s Achilles’ heel. Sadly for Paris, he will not be able to shoot either’s heel for both phones have a relatively good battery life. Xperia Z carries a non-removable 2330mah battery whilst the Note 2 has a 3100mah battery. In standby and idle, both phones can last over two days with Note 2 definitely lasting a week. On light usage, text and calls, both phones will get you through a day with Note 2 lasting a full two days. But who would use a high-end phone for pure text and call? Seriously, Nokia101 will outlive both if used only for text and calls. On heavy usage, expect Xperia Z to hit the red mark much earlier than Note 2. I have used Note 2 for almost 5 months now and its battery is still as amazing as ever definitely lasting me a day. With Note 2’s battery removable, you can extend your phone’s life more. Lastly, as of now, there are lots of external battery cases available for the Note 2 which can further increase its battery life.
WINNER: Galaxy Note 2 – This is a no-brainer.
A plus factor for the Note 2 is its S-Voice, Multi-Window capability and the S-Pen. Granted most will never use these function often, it’s definitely better than just having an IP57 Water and Dust Resistant Protection which most likely targets a niche audience. The aforementioned protection is not even as innovative as it was present on other 2012 Xperia phones. The S-Pen is a nifty pen which automatically opens a new window when pulled out and features such as the S Note maybe useful every now and then. The handwriting recognition on the Note 2 is simply amazing, I have always been the one on the class with the worst penmanship and as bad as my penmanship maybe, print or cursive, Note 2 was able to recognize most, if not all, of it! The Multi-window may also be useful sometimes, personally I use it to browse the web when something intruiging comes up when I am watching a movie. S-Voice is an application which activates certain app’s feature depending on your voice and it is calibrated to your voice. Another feature or pinch of Note 2 is the aforementioned keyboard. Having those numbers above the letters is definitely a time saver. Netizens and Android geeks will probably flame, hate and tell me that Xperia Z maybe capable of those if you flash custom rom. News Flash boys and girls, this review is based out of the box. Also, not everyone can and would want to install custom roms.
WINNER: Galaxy Note 2 – Xperia Z offers nothing special beyond what is offered by current smartphones. NOTHING.
…. ….. …..
Ok this is it. The Verdict. With a score of 5-5, I myself was surprised with this scoring, I honestly just scored individually without tallying, I don’t care if you don’t believe it but I was amazed and had a few laugh when the final score became a tie. As with all the comparison I had, I will be a douche and tell you whichever you choose you will be the winner.
Undoubtedly, Xperia Z offers you the more advanced technology than that of the Note 2 but the latter has quirks of its own which makes it stand out and hold its ground against the newer Xperia Z. If you are choosing between both let us summarize their own pros here:
Samsung Galaxy Note 2:
- Bigger Screen
- S-Pen, S-Voice, Multi-Window
- Better Stock Keyboard
- Better Stock Video Player
- Better and Removable Battery
- Better Browsing
- Gorilla Glass 2 AMOLED Glass
- Better Viewing Angles
Sony Xperia Z:
- Smaller Screen
- 1920x1080 HD Display
- SLIGHTLY Better Audio Quality
- Better Camera
- Water and Dust Resistant
- Scratch Resistant Glass
- Higher Benchmark Score
As much as Sony Xperia has improved, I have to admit it does not have enough oomph to actually make me want to abandon my Note 2 for it. The choice will come down to the user’s personal preference as either phone you choose will give you a refreshing and arguably the best smartphone experience today. Xperia Z is undoubtedly superior to majority of the more important factor and may very well have the crown today; but with its lacklustre innovations, this crown will soon be relinquished back to either Samsung, or finally, after a long time, to HTC. The war is imminent, Sony Xperia Z may have the Throne today but we know another will take it from him.