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Sony Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: display titan showdown

The Sony Xperia Z5 is the best smartphone Sony has ever made – but then the Galaxy S6 is the best smartphone Samsung has ever made. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out. Read on for our Sony Xperia Z5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 comparison.

sony xperia z5 vs samsung galaxy s6 edge screen
The Z5 is more stylish than the S6, shown here in its Edge incarnation. / © ANDROIDPIT

Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: design and build quality

The Z5 doesn’t look much different from any other Xperia. Once again it’s metal and glass, with Sony’s typically great build quality and sleek lines, and like its predecessors, it won’t die if it gets dunked in water.

Samsung has been criticized in the past for its choice of materials, but there are no complaints here: the sleek metal and glass Galaxy S6 is a very pretty phone, albeit one that’s clearly been inspired by a certain other high-end phone.

To our eyes the Sony looks more expensive, but that’s subjective.

sony xperia z5 vs samsung galaxy s6 edge back
We think the Xperia Z5 (right) looks more expensive than the Galaxy S6. Do you agree? / © ANDROIDPIT

Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: display

The Xperia Z5 has a 5.2-inch LCD display delivering 1,920 x 1,080 pixels at a density of 424 ppi. It’s full HD rather than rivals’ 2K, which helps its battery life enormously. Sony knows a thing or two about LCDs and, despite the whiff of marketing hyperbole around terms such as TRILUMINOS and X-REALITY FOR MOBILE, there’s no doubt that the display is fantastically bright, good in direct sunlight and with excellent viewing angles and color reproduction.

It’s good, but the Galaxy is better. The Galaxy S6 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen with QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 577 pixels per inch. This amounts to 77 percent more pixels than the Galaxy S5, and the highest pixel density for a device with this screen size.

Samsung never disappoints in the display department, producing bright screens with high contrast, deep blacks and extremely vivid colors. While Samsung's previous devices have tended to look over-saturated, this flaw has been addressed on the S6, and the on-screen colors appear lively without ever becoming excessive.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S6 screen mode
The Galaxy S6's display is absolutely stunning. / © ANDROIDPIT

Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: processor and storage

With the Xperia Z5, Sony has dropped the 16 GB option: every Z5 has 32 GB of on-board storage plus a microSD slot. The processor is octa-core this time, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 clocked at 2 GHz and 1.5 GHz, and as with the Z3 there’s 3 GB of RAM.

The Samsung boasts an octa-core Exynos 7420 clocked at 2.1 GHz and 1.5 GHz, 3 GB of RAM and 32 / 64 / 128 GB of on-board storage. There’s no microSD slot but the storage is based on the new Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0, which delivers faster and less energy-hungry performance.

Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: camera

Sony is renowned for its camera sensors and the Z5’s camera is the best smartphone camera it’s ever shipped. It’s a 23 MP camera with Sony’s highly regarded Exmor RS sensor and optical image stabilization, and the 5.1 MP front-facing camera gets the Exmor sensor too. That should mean even better low-light performance.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 packs a 16 MP camera on the back and a 5 MP snapper on the front. Both have HDR mode in real-time and a f1.9 wide-angle lens, which excels in low-light conditions. The main camera also brings Optical Image Stabilization to the mix as well as an impressive Pro mode for detailed manual adjustments to the image settings.

In our tests it delivered superb results in every scenario, although we suspect that when we take the same shots side-by-side with the Xperia Z5, the latter is likely to deliver the better images. We’ve used Exmor sensors in point and shoot cameras, and they’re brilliant.

sony xperia z5 camera
The Z5's camera is the best smartphone camera Sony's ever made. / © ANDROIDPIT

Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: software

The Xperia Z5 comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop, and an Android M update is a given. Once again Sony has tweaked stock Android to make it a little more stylish, and it provides apps including Xperia Lounge, Twitter, PS4 Remote Play, the Sony Entertainment Network and so on.

The Galaxy S6 shipped with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, although the 5.1.1 update has been rolling out over the last few weeks. It comes with TouchWiz, but it’s a slimmer version than before, and you can disable (but not uninstall) pre-loaded apps you don’t want or need.

Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: battery

The Sony has a 2,900 mAh battery that promises two days of life, most of which is down to Sony’s decision not to go for a 2K or higher display in this particular phone: the higher the screen's resolution, the more energy it needs.

The Samsung battery is smaller still – 2,550 mAh – and the denser screen is more demanding, but you can expect 16 to 18 hours of use. The Samsung can charge quickly both from its cabled charger and its wireless one. Ten minutes of charging gives you four hours of use.

samsung galaxy s6 wireless charger
The S6 has poorer battery life but offers fast charging, both with and without wires. / © SAMSUNG

Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison: early verdict

There is very little to choose between these devices: they’re similarly priced, similarly specified and similar looking. The Sony has expandable storage but the Samsung has UFS 2.0 storage; the Sony has a better camera sensor but the Samsung has a more powerful processor; the Sony offers better battery life but the Samsung has a better screen and charges more quickly. In short, we don't think you'll regret your purchase, whichever one you buy.

What do you think? Is the S6 still the top of the tree, or is the Xperia – ahem – Xcellent? Let us know in the comments.


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  • I've had a z5 for two weeks now and it outclassed the s6 on every point in my opinion

  • CJ Lee 11 months ago Link to comment

    Sony z3 user here, personally, I think s6 shouldn't even be consider a rival to z5.


    wireless charging

    rare camera
    battery life
    expandable memory
    water/dust proof

    now you tell me which one you think is better?

  • There both great phones, but for my money I'll stick with Samsung, you just can't beat that wireless charging.

    • And you can't really use wireless charging everywhere. I switched from an S6 to a Z3. Best decision ever.

  • Sorry, Not the best way to write a comparison (s6edge/iPhone6 user)
    Its all about specs

  • Always Samsung, my favourite.

  • I have a Samsung S5 myself, I must admit i'm not impressed with Samsung going the way of not been able to put in an SD card or change the battery (but I have a feeling nearly all companies will go that way anyway). I can upgrade now if I wish and whilst i'm impressed with both phones I'm going to stick to my guns and wait to see what the S7 offers (hopefully but doubtful I hope Samsung actually takes note of what its customers have said about the S6 both positive and negative), in my opinion the S6 seems nothing more than a test the waters phone to me hence i'll wait for the S7, I'll wait for proper reviews of the Z5 before considering changing.

    • Z5 blows the S6 away in everything except wireless charging, cpu, and display. The Z6 will fix most of these issues tho.

      • Maybe subjectively for you. But based off objective advantages in display, SoC, camera processing/OIS/aperture, audio DAC, software/updates the S6/Note5 are ahead

  • coreyho Sep 7, 2015 Link to comment

    All you said are specs of the two phones, which the companies have published or boasted. There isn‘t any deeper information. It's too easy for you to make money.

  • I think Sony Xperia Z5 is much better in all aspects. They are just amazing and excellent.

  • I beg you, PLEASE make a quick front camera comparison!!! The Z5's front camera has an f2.4 aperture which scares the hell out of me, Cause that could mean really bad performance. Nobody is talking about that =[

    • Z5 has f2.0 aperture and the camera BLOWS the S6 away in every aspect XD. Autofocus speed, sharpness, manual focus/color adjustment/white balance, bokeh support, Camera2 API integration.

      • Obviously you have never dealt with Sony phones to know how their processing works and have not seen the early reviews and camera sample comparisons. Sometimes it seems even the Z3 did better.
        We will have to wait and hope that Sony changes that....though again....You have never used a Sony so you would not realize how unlikely that is.
        If they would stop being stupid and use OIS, tone down the processing, and just increased senor size at the same resolution things would have been dramatically better.

        Even now if they would tone down the dang processing it would be better

  • we don't think you'll regret your purchase, whichever one you buy.

    Actually Some will regret no matter which one they buy.

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