Its 2013 and that means a new year for flagship phone announcements, including Sony’s announcement of the Xperia ZL at CES.
Although we knew just about everything there was to know about the flagship long before it was officially confirmed, it was still nice to finally have everything about the ZL out in the open.
When the Sony Xperia ZL arrives this year it will be facing off against many other strong handsets out on the market today. Probably the biggest flagship to beat in the Android world would be the Samsung Galaxy S3– at least until the Samsung Galaxy S4 arrives later in the year.
So how exactly does the Sony Xperia ZL fare when compared to Samsung’s flagship S3? Let’s take a look:
The Sony Xperia ZL has a very different overall aesthetic when compared to the S3. The stylish glass back is gorgeous, and has a very classy, premium design. As for its size, it is just 131.6 x 69.3 x 9.8mm and weighs 151g.
On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is also an attractive premium phone, though I can’t help but feel that its design is starting to look at least a tiny bit dated (at least in my own opinion). The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes in at 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm, making it thinner than the Xperia ZL– though not by much. As for the weight, the S3 weighs in at just 133g.
It’s hard to really which design is better, as preference plays a pretty big role. You like rounded phones and don’t mind the plastic look of the S3? You might love it. Others might prefer the sleek yet boxy design of the Xperia ZL.
Another big difference is that the Sony Xperia ZL doesn’t have physical buttons on the front at all. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on your tastes.
The Galaxy S3 has an excellent 4.8-inch Super AMOLED with a resolution of 720×1280 and a pixel density of 306ppi. There is no denying that the S3 has a good screen, unfortunately it missed out on the late-2012/early-2013 shift to 1080p displays though.
Because the Xperia ZL manages a 5-inch 1920×1080 display with a ppi of 443, it clearly wins here. The S3’s screen is very good, but the Sony Xperia ZL display is excellent.
There is no beating around the bush here, the Sony Xperia ZL wins hands down when it comes to display quality.
If you live in North America, the Samsung Galaxy S3 ships with a dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM. For the rest of the globe, the S3 packs a quad-core 1.4GHz processor with 1GB of RAM.
As for other specs? Both versions of the Galaxy S3 have 16GB and 32GB version. The 32GB version also supports microSD cards up to 64GB.
Regardless of the version of the S3 you carry, its hard to outshine the 1.5GHz Krait quad-core and 2GB of RAM found inside of the Xperia ZL. Until we have actual benchmarks, we can’t say how much more it performs, though.
In day to day use will you be able to tell the difference? Honestly, probably not for most things. Still, the Sony Xperia ZL is likely the winner here as well.
What about storage though? Actually, the Xperia ZL just has a 16GB version with expandable microSD memory up to 32GB– so the S3 does manage to win here.
While we are on the hardware, let’s compare cameras.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has an 8MP shooter with 1080p recording and a 1.9MP front-cam. This sounds very good, but the Sony Xperia ZL manages to one-up the S3 here as well. The Sony Xperia ZL has a 13.1MP camera with LED flash and a 2.2MP front-cam.
So how does battery life compare? Until we see real-world results we can’t say for sure, but we can certainly take a guess based on the evidence we do have.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 2100mAh battery, while the Xperia ZL manages to bring a slightly bigger battery to the table with 2330mAh. With a bigger screen that is full HD, odds are the Xperia ZL will NOT be as good with battery life as the S3, so that means that even though its battery is a bit bigger, it probably will have less overall battery life.
Another major difference when it comes to batteries is that you can change out the Galaxy S3 for bigger batteries or carry a spare. The Sony Xperia ZL has a non-removable battery.
With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box and an upgrade to 4.2 promised for the near future, the Xperia ZL is off to a good start in the “Android Experience” department. That said, the Galaxy S3 also is now at Android 4.1 for most S3 owners.
Where you really need to take a look is at the custom Uis. Samsung has TouchWiz, Sony has its own minimalistic looking UI. It’s hard to say which will be better though– as it kind of depends on what you prefer personally.
The BIG thing to think about though is future upgrade-ability. While Samsung might not be brilliantly quick with updates to the newest versions of Android, they have a much better track record when it comes to upgrades than Sony does.
We don’t really have a lot to say here, because we just don’t know. Considering the premium specs in the Sony Xperia ZL, we know it will cost more. How much more though? That’s hard to say. If the device isn’t MASSIVE, the extra power from the Xperia ZL would certainly be worth spending more for some.
That said, the S3 has been out for a while now and is often found at very good sales prices for those willing to commit to a two-year contract.
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Sony Xperia ZL – Conclusion
The Sony Xperia ZL is fresh, new and relies on some of the latest technology around. This is why it is no surprise to say that the ZL manages to pack a bit more power overall than the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Still, there are other considerations outside of “pure power”. You might prefer Samsung to Sony, you might not like that Sony has dropped the ball many, many times when it comes to upgrading to newer Android builds.
It is also worth noting that the Sony Xperia ZL will not be on top for long. Many brands are bringing out stunning new flagships over the course of the year, and that will include the Samsung Galaxy S4 at some point.
What do you think, would you consider purchasing the Sony Xperia ZL over the highly popular Samsung Galaxy S3 or not?