The 2014 edition of Mobile World Congress concluded in Barcelona last week and with that it brought to light a number of devices that have managed to spark quite an interest amongst everyone. From those devices that were showcased at the MWC, there were some that managed to stand out and gain a lot of limelight. We’ll be talking about two of such devices today – the Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005935) Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 from Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE).
Well for starters, both these devices are their respective companies’ flagship offerings in the segment, this implies that there’s no denying the fact that they’re both very well equipped and offer well-rounded packages too. This also means that a lot of expectations are riding on both of these Smartphones. Since we’re talking of flagship Smartphones, it is quite appropriate that we put these two newcomers against an established player in this segment; and what could be a better opponent than our previous Smartphone shootout winner – iPhone 5S from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Before we delve deep into the details, here are the technical specifications of all these three Smartphones:
|Smartphone||Apple iPhone 5S||Samsung Galaxy S5||Sony Xperia Z2|
|Dimensions||123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm||142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm||146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm|
|Weight||112 grams||145 grams||163 grams|
|Display Size||4.0 inches||5.1 inches||5.2 inches|
|Display Resolution||1136 x 640 pixels (326ppi)||1920 x 1080 pixels (432ppi)||1920 x 1080 pixels (424ppi)|
|Processor||64-bit Apple A7 with M7 co-processor, Dual Core 1.2 GHz||Snapdragon 801, Quad Core 2.5 GHz||Snapdragon 801, Quad Core 2.3 GHz|
|RAM||1 GB||2 GB||3 GB|
|Operating System||iOS 7||Android 4.4 KitKat||Android 4.4 KitKat|
|Storage||16/32/64 GB||16/32 GB||16 GB|
|Expandable Storage||No||Yes – up to 128 GB||Yes – up to 64 GB|
|Primary Camera||8 MP with Dual LED Flash1080p at 30 fps720p at 120 fps||16 MP with Flash2160p (4K) at 30 fps1080p at 60 fps||20.7 MP with Flash2160p(4K) at 30 fps1080p at 60fps720p at 120 fps|
|Secondary Camera||1.2 MP720p at 30 fps||2 MP1080p at 30 fps||2.2 MP1080p at 30 fps|
|Cellular Speeds and Wi-Fi||LTE – 100 Mbps 802.11 a/b/g/n||Category 4 LTE – 150 Mbps 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||Category 4 LTE – 150 Mbps 802.11 a/b/g/an|
|Weather Proofing||None||IP 67Dust and Water Resistant||IP 58Dust and Water Resistant|
|Bio-Sensors||Fingerprint||Fingerprint and Heart Rate||None|
|Battery||1560 mAh||2800 mAh||3200 mAh|
|Colours Available||Space Gray, Gold and Silver||Electric Blue, White, Black and Gold||Black, White and Purple|
Now that we’re familiar with the technical specifications, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each of the Smartphones.
Apple iPhone 5s
- iPhones have always been synonymous with impeccable design and build quality and the 5S doesn’t disappoint either. The design may be a little bland for some, but it is simplistic, elegant and functional. The metal and glass finish of the iPhone 5s exudes a very premium and long-lasting feel.
- The overall UI experience of the iPhone 5s is seamless, fast and uncluttered. Navigating between the menus, multitasking and overall operations in iOS7 are all executed without much fuss and any lag.
- The way the entire Apple ecosystem synchronises with the iPhone 5s is something quite amazing. Taking notes on your Mac and seeing them appear on your iPhone and vice versa is just one of the many benefits of iCloud.
- iOS devices also enjoy the privilege of being first in line to receive many new applications across various categories. Some of them don’t even make it to Android platforms.
- iPhones have had a reputation of being less susceptible to threats and less prone to getting hung up in comparison to their Android counterparts. The iPhone 5s is no exception to this fact.
- While the technical specifications of the iPhone 5s may not seem to be very encouraging on paper, in the real world, it does perform very well and trumps the opposition on many counts.
- There’s a certain desirability factor associated with all of Apple’s products; especially the iPhone and that alone can drive many customers into its fold.
- The iPhone 5s’ small screen could prove to be a turn-off for quite a number of customers preferring the joys of larger screens.
- Released during the third quarter of last year, the iPhone 5s has been around for a while now and is beginning to show its age in some respects.
- It doesn’t come with any dust or water-resistant feature, something that is becoming quite common on many Smartphones these days.
- The 1560 mAh battery of the iPhone 5s falls short for not having enough juice in it.
- Although the iPhone 5s boasts of a good build quality, the aluminium back panel is prone to some nasty scratches. Now who would want that to happen?
Samsung Galaxy S5:
- The Samsung Galaxy S5’s 5.1 inch panel is perhaps the best ones around. Apart from offering a vivid and delightful viewing experience, it also has an in-built technology that adjusts not only the brightness but the contrast ratios and colour gamut in order to provide the best viewing experiences.
- The 16 MP camera of the S5 has the world’s fastest (claimed by Samsung) auto-focus speed of 0.3 seconds, real-time HDR (High Dynamic Range) and the ability to record videos in 4K (2160p) resolution.
- Samsung has also added a number of features such as the Heart Rate Monitor (to be paired along with the S Health app), dust and water proofing of the device and a finger print reader (supposedly better that the 5s’). Then there is something called as a ‘private mode’ wherein all the sensitive and confidential data on the phone can be stored. The S5 offers a ‘kids mode’ that disables some features and functions.
- The S5 also boasts of very good technical specifications in addition to having the best-in-class networking abilities as well.
- The biggest drawback of the Galaxy S5 could perhaps be its build quality. The perforated back panel may help things and offer a good grip a bit but at the end of the day, the polycarbonate body of the S5 doesn’t feel special in your hands and that’s a big disappointment. There’s a flap for the Micro USB port that helps in the water and dust proofing departments but spoils the party as far as that premium feel is considered.
When made available in the markets, the S5 will cost lesser than what its predecessor the S4 upon launch. There are a couple of retailers selling the S5 on Amazon for EUR 729. Samsung has also reportedly slashed prices of its Galaxy S4 Smartphone so that it doesn’t cannibalise on the S5’s potential market share. It is rather appalling to see that Samsung seems to be running out of ideas and is resorting to equipping its devices with tons and tons of features that may not be used after a few weeks time.
Due to the current market scenario, the gap between phablets and Smartphones is somewhat bridged. With the S5’s screen measuring in at 5.1 inches, on one hand, it has apparently crossed over into phablet territory (or at least entry-level phablet territory by screen size standards) but on the other, it is still small in size when compared to its competitors having screen sizes ranging from 5.2 to 5.5 inches. This also poses as a matter of concern for the Company as to what line of devices will be its flagship ones (the Note series comes to mind). Will this also imply that Samsung will bump up the upcoming Note 4’s screen size beyond the 6 inch mark and thereby make it appear like a mini tablet of sorts or will this be the new standard in the industry?
For now, the focus should have been on improving the overall build quality instead of aggressively marketing products that will ultimately eat into the share of their own stablemates. This is where Samsung seems to have lost the plot.
Sony Xperia Z2:
- The Sonly Xperia Z2 boasts of some really good specifications and features. Some that can even shame the Samsung Galaxy S5. It has an aluminium chassis and a scratch resistant and shatter proof display.
- Like the S5 the Xperia Z2 also sports a highly vivid display quality and top-notch resolution along with Sony’s own TRILUMINOUS and X-Reality technologies.
- Its water and dust resistant credentials are better than what is seen on the Galaxy S5.
- It offers 3 GB of RAM in comparison to the S5’s 2GB.
- The Xperia Z2 has a mammoth 20.7 MP camera that also sports Sony’s digital imaging technologies such as G-Lens, BIONZ Image Processing System, Exmor RS Sensor. Like the S5, it is also capable of shooting in HDR and 4X.
- It’s got Sony’s xLOUD technology for the speakers and its headphones (sold separately) sport a noise-cancelling feature.
- Like the S5, the Xperia X2 also supports high speed networking solutions.
- Its 3200 mAh battery is bound to last longer than the competition listed here.
- With a starting price of £599, it does seem to be a tad on the expensive side for a Sony.
- Although its predecessor, the Xperia Z1 was good but it failed to set the sales charts on fire. Speculations are rife that the Z2 may repeat the Z1’s feat. Sony could have delayed the Z2’s release by a few months or so in order to assess the Z1’s failures first.
To conclude matters, it is not justifiable to compare devices across different OS platforms and even when they’re belonging to the same OS platform and yet being so closely specced. It all comes down to a matter of individual choices and preferences. What turns out to be the best bet and most feasible and workable option for the concerned user; but as far as these three Smartphones are concerned, it is clearly visible that the Apple iPhone 5s may not remain undisputed champion in this segment for much longer. While both Samsung and Sony still have miles to go before they make their products exude that special desirability factor that Apple has enjoyed in the past, it is evident that the competition is indeed catching up. Apple aficionados may still swear by the iPhone 5s but thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia X2, consumers can afford to look elsewhere also. Is this going to be only till the much awaited iPhone 6 comes out, or not?