The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Sony Xperia Z1 are both outstanding Android phones that offer the best in performance. So, if you had your choice of picking one of these two phones, which one would you most likely choose based on hardware and functionalities? We help you make an informed decision by comparing the build, design, specs, performance and price.
Galaxy Note 3 and the Sony Xperia Z1: A Comparison
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is no longer the cheap plastic-y type of phone you’ve come to expect so far from Samsung. Its stylish leather-like texture gives it a classy finish and look. The Sony Xperia Z1 still has a glass front and rear, but a thin aluminum rim around the edges and subtle rounded edges makes it just as good looking. So, if you’re going for looks and style, there’s not much to choose between the two.
The Galaxy Note is slim and lightweight at 8.3 mm thickness compared to the Xperia Z1’s 8.7 mm. Although the Note 3 has a slightly bigger screen, it still weighs slightly lesser at 168 g compared to the Z1’s 170g. And although you might say that the difference in thickness and weight is negligible, the fact is that these small subtle differences really count. In tat respect, the Note 3 scores a slight advantage over the Xperia Z1.
The Xperia Z ports have flaps to keep it waterproof and dustproof, but that works as a deterrent when it comes to using the headphone jacks. Nevertheless, it does score a point over the Note 3, which is expected to have this feature only in its variant, the Note 3 Active.
The Note 3 carries a grooved metal rim at the bottom, which holds the S Pen. Also there is a “Multipurpose Jack” or rather a power cum Micro USB 3.0 port at the bottom that makes it handy to do faster data transfers.
Overall, I’d say when it comes to the design, the Note 3 gets a plus for lightness, USB connectivity, while the Xperia Z1 gets a plus for its waterproof and dustproof features.
The Note 3 comes with a gorgeous 5.7 inch sAMOLED display with a HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. The pixel density translates to a world class 386ppi, which means crispier and sharper viewing experience. Since the Xperia Z comes with a slightly smaller 5 inch Triluminos Display, the pixel density shoots up to 440ppi making the viewing experience just as awesome, if not better. So in terms of display, both devices are stunners, and if you prefer to go for the larger screen size, the Note 3 gets an advantage, but if you are big on more sharper images on a small(er) screen, it’s the Xperia Z1.
The Note 3 comes with a new Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad-core 2.3 GHz processor with 3GB RAM, while the Xperia Z1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM. This translates into truly fast phones with the Note 3 having a slight edge over the Xperia Z1.
In the graphics department, the Note 3’s Adreno 330 graphic processing unit delivers an amazing 54fps that ties it with what the Xperia Z1 returns. Simply put, in a real world scenario, you’re going to enjoy watching videos and playing games on both the devices. Both devices pack a punch when it comes to performance and speed, but if you have to choose one, just on specs, you’d go for the Note 3.
Storage and Battery Life
The Note 3 comes with 32GB and 64GB variants with an SD card expansion slot of up to 64 GB storage. The Xperia Z1 comes with only the 16GB option with a microSD card slot, offering support up to 64 GB.
As far as battery is concerned, The Note 3’s power packed Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad-core 2.3 GHz processor, high-res screen, bigger RAM, and other software options is likely to take a toll on its battery compared to the Xperia Z1. So while the Note 3 scores a point for storage, the Xperia Z1 gets the points for better battery life.
The Galaxy Note 3 has a front-facing 2MP camera for video calling, and a 13MP rear-facing one for video shots. The rear camera comes with some cool features including auto focus, image stabilisation and LED flash.
For the fun loving clicker, there are cool shooting modes such as Panorama, Drama Shot, Surround shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo and more. Its also great for shooting Ultra HD video at 30fps and slow motion HD at 120fps.
However, if it’s a dedicated camera you want for some serious photography, you won’t find it in this smartphone camera.
The Xperia Z1 has an impressive 20.7MP rear camera along with a dedicated camera button. The Z1 features a Superior auto mode which will tweak most of the settings for you, but if you want to get the full benefits of the 20MP resolution, you have to go for the manual mode. The device also features camera apps that lets you take burst shots and panoramas. The front camera only has a 2 MP camera but you can capture videos just as well.
Despite the top features of the Note 3 camera, the quality of the pictures fall slightly short of what the Xperia Z1 delivers so the latter definitely gets an edge over the Note 3.
The Note 3 comes with Android 4.3 ‘Jelly Bean’ on top of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. That means you get to access all the cool apps that the Play Store offers as well purchase apps from the Samsung Store. Samsung also includes a bunch of great software that you’ll rarely use such as the S Voice, S Finder, Digital Scrapbook and more.
The Xperia Z1 comes with Android 4.2.2 but we can expect it to update to the 4.3 and 4.4 versions.Sony also comes with its own collection of apps such as the TrackID, OfficeSuite and Xperia Lounge among others. There’s nothing much to compare here with both devices offering nothing breathtaking.
The Stylus or S Pen
The Note 3 comes with an S pen, which does a lot more than its predecessor. For those of you who love a stylus, the Note 3 is definitely a must have. For those who just prefer using your fingertips, there’s no advantage over the Z1. So it simply comes down to your preference with this one.
The Note 3 will be available with most carriers at the $300 mark, for a two-year contact, and if you want to go for the unlocked version, the prices will hit the $750 plus mark. Sony has not yet announced release dates for US carriers but will most likely match the price of its competitors, but its unlocked version on Amazon sports a $800 tag figure.
The Note 3 and the Xperia Z1 are both great devices, each closely matching the other in terms of performance and features. The Note 3 is thinner and lighter, has a larger display. The Xperia Z1 is slightly bulky when compared, but has sharper quality display. Camera-wise they are both great but the Z1 gets a slight advantage. The battery life goes the Z1 way and so does the waterproof and dustproof features. Both devices run pretty much the same software, and have little to choose between them when it comes to the finish line.
As always, it is best to get a feel of the devices before you buy, so do not fail to check them out at the store before you hand over your hard earned money. And if I were to make a personal choice between the two, I’d go for the Note 3, but that’s just me.