With the rise of lower priced flagship devices in the likes of the Moto X and the Nexus 5, we’re often faced with the following dilemma: should we be content with these devices or throw in a little bit extra money for one of the pricier flagship devices? We take a little closer look between this choice in our comparison of the Sony Xperia Z2 and the LG/Google Nexus 5.
No question, the glass housing and aluminum frame of the Xperia Z2 is of much higher quality than that of the Nexus 5 and its polycarbonate shell. However, both materials have their benefits and it really comes down to a matter of personal choice when comparing the design and material choices of a smartphone.
The rubberized plastic of the Nexus 5 has a pleasant feel to it and the device itself is much more compact, so it feels more natural when held. The Xperia Z2 is not only a little bit wider, but also significantly longer than the Nexus 5, which can cause some discomfort if you’re got smaller hands.
Overall, however, the Xperia Z2 is more polished in its design and has the feel of a “higher quality” build. The Nexus 5, however, has an ergonomic factor that is well suited for smaller hands or one handed operation.
Both devices have high quality displays. The Xperia Z2 has a slightly larger display, coming in at 5.2-inches compared to the 5-inches of the Nexus 5. However, the difference is not very noticeable unless compared side to side. In terms of brightness and color fidelity, the Z2 comes ahead of the Nexus 5 which displays whites as “milky” or washed out and is not quite as bright compared to the Sony phone. Image quality and the viewing angle on both devices are up to the standard of flagship devices. As an extra, however, the Xperia Z2 has built-in image enhancement software in the form of X-Reality which provides a significant boost to the display of images and videos.
Hardware and Performance
When the Nexus 5 came out to the market, it was equipped with the best available hardware at the time and that hasn't changed much after being on the market for six months and it is still relatively competitive to the newer devices coing out. The Xperia Z2 does come ahead, however, with a next generation processor and more memory. The graphics chip and the clock rate on the processor are both the same on the Nexus 5 and Xperia Z2. The differences between the two isn't that great and during day to day use, you'll notice that both devices are lightning fast.
This is where the Xperia Z2 really takes the cake: the camera on the Xperia Z2 has a maximum resolution of 20.7 megapixels when shooting in a 4:3 format. Even when shooting at the wider angle of 16:9, there are still 15.5 megapixels to play around with. In comparison, the Nexus 5 has a only 8 megapixels.
In addition to the much more robust camera hardware, the Xperia Z2 also boasts better camera software. As noted in the past and “fixed” in some of the recent Android KitKat upgrades, the Nexus 5 has had some issues with its camera performance.
Software and Tools
If you’re not a fan of the “extras” added in by manufacturers with their user interfaces, the Nexus 5 is definitely for you. The pure Android experience comes with guaranteed and regular updates to the operating system. Sony seems to have pulled back in terms of bloatware lately, not trying to over encumber their user interface with useless apps and features. The media apps from Sony are great, their Walkman app for example, and the Xperia Z2 also comes with a useful energy saving mode called Stamina. Other pluses incorporated into the Xperia Z2 are the glove mode, the previously mentioned X-Reality display booster. As well, a nifty feature is also incorporated into the Z2 with being able to double tap on the screen to wake the device.
For those who don’t like encumbering their device in a huge protective case are in luck with the Z2 as it is water and dust resistant right out of the box. AS well, it has the ability to have its internal storage increased via microSD. In terms of accessories, the Z2 also comes with some good quality noise cancelling earphones included with it. The Nexus 5, however, only comes with a USB cable and a power connector.
In the past, the battery side of things has been a sore subject when it comes to Sony devices while LG (the manufacturer behind the Nexus 5) has always been pretty good. The Xperia Z2 has a much larger battery, coming in at 3200 mAh compared to the 2300 mAH of the Nexus 5. However, in internal tests, the battery in the Nexus 5 is more than enough to get a power user through the day.
|Sony Xperia Z2||Google Nexus 5|
|System||Android 4.4||Android 4.4|
|Display||5.2 inches, IPS, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 424 ppi||5 inch, IPS, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 441 ppi|
|Processor||Snapdragon 801, quad-core, 2.3 GHz||Snapdragon 800, quad-core, 2.3 GHz|
|RAM||3 GB||2 GB|
|Battery||3200 mAh||2300 mAh|
|Internal memory||16 GB, microSD up to 128 GB||16/32 GB|
|Camera||20.7 MP (rear), 2.2 MP (front)||8 MP (rear), 1.3MP (front)|
|Dimensions||146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm||
137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm
|Weight||158 grams||130 grams|
|Connectivity||UMTS HSPA +, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0||UMTS HSPA +, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0|
Of course, the Nexus 5 is significantly cheaper and older than the Xperia Z2, but one of the biggest things we’ve noted while comparing the devices is that if you’re just a regular smartphone user, you probably won’t really notice much of the difference. If you’re looking for a phone at a great price that can at least compete against some of the pricier flagship devices, the Nexus 5 shouldn’t be discounted. For those who are all about performance or image quality when taking pictures on the go, the extra cost of the Xperia Z2 is definitely worth it: it has more robust technical specifications, microSD slot, and better overall protection. Nevertheless, it’s all about what you’re looking to get out of a phone.