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Galaxy S9 vs Xperia XZ2: the stars of MWC compared

At Mobile World Congress 2018, Sony and Samsung were almost the only manufacturers to present top-of-the-line smartphones. The two flagships may seem worlds apart at first glance, but they have more in common under the surface. In this first comparison we will tell you where the similarities and differences between the Galaxy S9 and the Xperia XZ2 lie.

The distance between the two headquarters of Sony and Samsung is almost 745 miles and can be bridged by airplane within 2.5 hours. It is questionable whether DJ Koh and Hiroki Totoki, the respective CEOs of the respective mobile divisions, met last year to personally close the deal over the camera sensor for the Galaxy S9.

But if you take a closer look at the technical details of the image sensors, you get the idea. Both top-of-the-range smartphones are able to record extreme slow motion at 960 frames per second for about 0.2 seconds. These 0.2 seconds then turn into a slow motion of just under six seconds at the end and can be combined with normal speed video sequences if desired.

Camera software makes the difference

However, both manufacturers prove that the sensor is only part of the smartphone camera in their own way. Samsung gives the camera of the Galaxy S9 a variable aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4. The larger of the two apertures is mainly used to allow more light from a value of 100 lux and less to enter the sensor. In the preliminary camera test at the MWC, Steffen Herget was able to get an idea of the effectiveness of the variable apertures.

In addition, Samsung uses software to automatically trigger the super slow motion sequences and in video mode, the Galaxy S9 is also able to extract 4K at 60 fps. With the Xperia XZ2 you have to activate slow motion manually and 4K videos are only recorded with a maximum of 30 fps. After all, this happens in HDR. Sony also has a small advantage in slow motion because the Xperia XZ2 records the super slow-motion sequences in Full HD, while the Galaxy S9, like the Xperia XZ Premium, records them in maximum HD resolution.

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy s9 vs sony xperia xz2
Different looks, but some similarities under the hood. / © AndroidPIT

Unfortunately, we couldn't take pictures or videos with the Sony Xperia XZ2 at MWC to compare them with Samsung's Galaxy S9, because the software of the Japanese smartphone wasn't yet ready to test. In the end, however, it will depend a lot on the software of the two manufacturers, which plays a major role in terms of quality.

The display's the thing 

When it comes to the screen, Japan and South Korea are taking quite different paths, because while Samsung relies on a high-resolution display with Super AMOLED technology, Sony uses an LCD panel with FHD+ resolution.

samsung galaxy s9 plus hero c2vx
The Galaxy S9 has a super AMOLED display. / © AndroidPIT

The Galaxy S9 also has a display-to-housing ratio of just under 84 percent, making the Galaxy S9 more "bezel-less" than the Sony Xperia XZ2, and whether the Samsung or Sony is better than the Xperia XZ2, everyone has to decide for themselves, but at 197 grams, the Xperia XZ2 is definitely a heavyweight and 34 grams heavier than the Galaxy S9.

AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 hero h5c
Sony relies on an LCD panel in the Xperia XZ2. / © AndroidPIT

Technical specifications compared

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Sony Xperia XZ2 technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy S9 Sony Xperia XZ2
Dimensions: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm 153 x 72 x 11.1 mm
Weight: 163 g 197 g
Battery size: 3000 mAh 3180 mAh
Screen size: 5.8 in 5.7 in
Display technology: AMOLED LCD
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (568 ppi) 2160 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 19 megapixels
Flashlight: LED LED
Android version: 8.0 - Oreo 8.0 - Oreo
RAM: 4 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
256 GB
64 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Samsung Exynos 9810
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.7 GHz 2.6 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Early verdict

When it comes to technical specifications, both devices are about on par. But it's the small and sometimes not so obvious things that make the biggest differences in the end. Both smartphones will certainly deliver more than good, if not very good quality in terms of performance, battery life and photo or video recording for the majority of smartphone users.

It's rather the smaller and individual features of both smartphones that will ultimately be the deciding factors in whether to go for the Galaxy S9 or Xperia XZ2. In order to find out all of these in detail, however, we still have to wait for our final in-depth reviews of the two top smartphones from this year's MWC.

samsung galaxy s9 ar emojis c2vx
AR Emoji is only available with the Galaxy S9. / © AndroidPIT

AR Emoji and the option of using the Galaxy S9 as desktop replacement via DeX are still exclusive advantages of the Galaxy S9, while Sony still has the 3D Creator and HDR upscale of non-HDR material and the Dynamic Vibration System on its side.

AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 3D Selfie Scan edit hv4
The 3D Creator is a nice gimmick from Sony. / © AndroidPIT

But whether these features will really be decisive in the end, however, will have to be assessed after the final reviews of these two rivals. But if you want to have a new and current top-smartphone built in 2018, only the Galaxy S9 is an option to buy right now, while the cheaper Sony Xperia XZ2 is still waiting to go on sale.

The article was written before the final review of the Galaxy S9 and the Xperia XZ2 and will be updated when the final review samples reach the editorial office and we are able to examine the finalized features in detail.

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