Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison

With only one of these smartphones making an appearance at MWC 2015, your decision between Sony Xperia Z4 and Samsung Galaxy S6 just got easier. Here we compare what we know about the Samsung Galaxy S6 and what we think we know about the Sony Xperia Z4 to help you choose which is best for you. Also see: best smartphones 2015 and best new phones coming in 2015.

Note that until the Sony Xperia Z4 is officially released we are basing this specs comparison on rumours of the Z4 and facts for the S6. In our experience the rumours usually turn out to be true, but we cannot verify their veracity. We will also update this article with more details as they become known. For more details on each phone check out our Samsung Galaxy S6 UK release date, price and specs rumours and Sony Xperia Z4 UK release date, price and specs rumours. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Price and UK availability 

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S6 (and S6 Edge) at an Unpacked event prior to MWC 2015 on 1 March. The S6 will go on sale in the UK from 10 April, with preorder prices starting at £579. 

Sony clearly didn't unveil its Xperia Z4 at MWC, and we're now hearing rumours that its all-new one flagship launch per year will instead take place at September's IFA tradeshow. A trusted source yesterday told us (via an accessories supplier) that the Sony Xperia Z4 would be unveiled in Spetember. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: What to expect from the smartphone market leaders in 2015

When the Sony Xperia Z4 eventually goes on sale in the UK, we'd be surprised if it wasn't priced in line with the S6 at around £550- to £600. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Display, design and build 

Sony's sticking with the familiar rectangular, boxy design with glass front and rear for its Xperia Z4 (now protected with Gorilla Glass 4 and nylon corners), along with IP68-certified dust- and waterproof protection. We might see some reduction in bezel sizes, however, given that Sony will be swapping the Xperia Z3's 5.2in full-HD screen for a 5.5in Quad-HD monster. 

Samsung has also fitted a Quad-HD screen, but it's still a 5.1in panel, resulting in a staggering pixel density of 577ppi. As before it's a Super AMOLED panel, but it's reportedly 20 percent brighter than that found in the Samsung Galaxy S5.

That screen tech is a key difference here. While Samsung employs Super AMOLED, which is known for its better viewing angles, excellent contrast and good energy efficiency, but often oversaturated colours, Sony will most likely pair an IPS panel with Triluminos and X-Reality tech. IPS tends to give a more natural image, and which you prefer is really down to your personal preference. 

Samsung has shaken things up on the design front, finally taking onboard the criticism levelled at its previous handsets. It's built from metal and glass, with Gorilla Glass protecting both front and backThe super-thin Samsung Galaxy S6 is just 6.8mm thick (143.4x70.5x6.8mm) and weighs a tiny 138g. It will come in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, and Blue Topaz. 

The S6's fingerprint scanner has also received an upgrade from that seen in the Samsung Galaxy S5, now based on touch- rather than swipe input. It also retains the S5's heart-rate monitor, but we've lost the waterproofing protection (Sony will now have the leadon this). 

Whereas the Sony Xperia Z4 is expected to come with Dual-SIM, Music and potentially Compact variants, the Galaxy S6 is also available as the S6 Edge, copying the Galaxy Note Edge's unique curved edge and adding a second on the other side. We may also see an S6 mini and S6 Active. 

Learn more about the differences between these phones and their predecessors in our S5 vs S6 and Z3 vs Z4 comparisons. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Hardware and performance 

Originally expected to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, overheating issues led Samsung to come up with a plan B in the form of its own Exynos octa-core (2.5GHz quad + 2.1GHz quad) processor, a 14nm 64-bit chip that's apparently 30 percent more power efficient. It has two quad-core sets, one geared toward efficiency and the other performance. 

But the change in chip plans makes comparing the Samsung Galaxy S6 to the 2.8GHz Snapdragon 810-powered Sony Xperia Z4 tricky, although its AnTuTu score of 60,978 points suggests it is faster than anything running the 810. 

On the memory and storage front the Xperia Z4 takes the lead with 4GB of RAM against the Galaxy S6's 3GB. Both will have 32GB of storage as standard, but only the Sony will feature microSD card support up to 128GB. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Cameras 

Sony has led the way for years now with its smartphone camera technology. In common with the Z3 we expect to find a 20.7Mp camera at the rear, plus 5Mp at the front. Samsung's catching up with the S6, though. The rear camera is still 16Mp, but has some significant improvements, including the Note 4's smart optical image stabilisation. It'll do a much better job in low-light, thanks to a f1.9 wide-angle lens, and it is always on in the background and ready to go the second (actually, 0.7 seconds) you need it. An IR sensor can automatically detect and adjust white balance. The front camera is 5Mp, and boasts real-time HDR. Unfortunately, which is the best camera phone isn't something we can tell from the specs alone. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Audio 

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a single speaker, but this 'power speaker' is apparently 1.5 times louder than the speaker on the S5. It has some fierce competition given Sony's support for hi-res audio, and rumoured S-Force PRO Front surround speaker and S-Master digital amplifier technology. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Connectivity 

If you're a PS4 fan then PS4 Remote Play may give Sony Xperia Z4 the edge in this category; otherwise the Samsung Galaxy S6's fingerprint scanner, heart-rate monitor, Download Booster and optional wireless charging will likely win you over. 

Expect to find 4G LTE, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS and an IR blaster in the Sony Xperia Z4 and Samsung Galaxy S6. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Software 

Both S6 and Z4 will run Android Lollipop out of the box. Samsung's phones are traditionally more bloated than are Sony's, with a number of Samsung software applications preinstalled along with the TouchWiz UI and Magazine content aggregator. That's about to change, with many of those apps available as downloads and TouchWiz greatly slimmed down with none of the lag seen before. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Battery life 

On paper it sounds as though the Sony Xperia Z4 will offer longer battery life than the Samsung Galaxy S6. While Sony is unlikely to pack anything smaller than the 3100mAh battery fitted to its Z3, Samsung has dropped 50mAh from the S5's 2600mAh battery. 

Don't assume performance will suffer, however. The Exynos chip selected by Samsung is thought to be more energy-efficient than previous examples, and TouchWiz will become less resource-hungry. Even so, Sony could win this category. 

Both handsets will feature Ultra Power Saving modes (known as Stamina in the Z4), allowing you to make the last 10 percent of juice go an extra day by switching off screen colours and inessential applications. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison: Verdict 

Every year at MWC we see the same thing: Sony and Samsung both launch flagship smartphones, with the Sony technically speaking the better smartphone but the Samsung getting a more enthusiastic response. Now that Sony has opted for a later launch, Samsung has less competition. And this year it really has stepped up its act, catching up in some key areas traditionally dominated by Sony. Right now the on-paper specs really are too close to make an informed judgement as to which is the better of the two, although if we'll be waiting until September for the Z4 we'll want to see a lot more than we're hearing about so far. 

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Samsung Galaxy S6: Specs

  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Exynos 7420 octa-core (1.5GHz A-53 & 2.1GHz A-57) processor
  • 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 32GB/64GB/128GB storage (no microSD support)
  • Mali-T760 GPU
  • 5.1in (1440x2560, 577ppi) Super AMOLED screen
  • 16Mp rear camera with LED flash, smart OIS, real-time HDR and IR Detect white balance
  • up to 4K video recording @ 30fps
  • 5Mp front camera
  • 4G Cat 6 LTE
  • SIMtype: nano-SIM
  • dual-SIM as standard: no
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • GPS, GLONASS
  • NFC
  • USB OTG
  • heart-rate sensor
  • fingerprint scanner
  • 2550mAh non-removable battery with Qi and PMA wireless charging
  • 143.4x70.5x6.8mm
  • 138g
  • 1-year warranty
  • test scores: Geekbench 3.0: 4438 (MC), 1347 (SC)
  • SunSpider: 1048ms
  • GFXBench: 30fps (T-Rex), 14fps (Manhattan 3.0), 6fps (Manhattan 3.1)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Exynos 7420 octa-core (1.5GHz A-53 & 2.1GHz A-57) processor
  • 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 32GB/64GB/128GB storage (no microSD support)
  • Mali-T760 GPU
  • 5.1in (1440x2560, 577ppi) Super AMOLED screen
  • 16Mp rear camera with LED flash, smart OIS, real-time HDR and IR Detect white balance
  • up to 4K video recording @ 30fps
  • 5Mp front camera
  • 4G Cat 6 LTE
  • SIMtype: nano-SIM
  • dual-SIM as standard: no
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • GPS, GLONASS
  • NFC
  • USB OTG
  • heart-rate sensor
  • fingerprint scanner
  • 2550mAh non-removable battery with Qi and PMA wireless charging
  • 143.4x70.5x6.8mm
  • 138g
  • 1-year warranty
  • test scores: Geekbench 3.0: 4438 (MC), 1347 (SC)
  • SunSpider: 1048ms
  • GFXBench: 30fps (T-Rex), 14fps (Manhattan 3.0), 6fps (Manhattan 3.1)

OUR VERDICT

Every year at MWC we see the same thing: Sony and Samsung both launch flagship smartphones, with the Sony technically speaking the better smartphone but the Samsung getting a more enthusiastic response. Now that Sony has opted for a later launch, Samsung has less competition. And this year it really has stepped up its act, catching up in some key areas traditionally dominated by Sony. Right now the on-paper specs really are too close to make an informed judgement as to which is the better of the two, although if we'll be waiting until September for the Z4 we'll want to see a lot more than we're hearing about so far.

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