The HTC Droid DNA and its Japanese cousin, the HTC J Butterfly, were the first smartphones to use a 5-inch full HD display. But the Oppo Find 5 was the first full HD smartphone announced, which, we have to admit, is an impressive performance for a relatively little known Chinese manufacturer.
Oppo Find 5′s competitor today, the Sony Xperia Z is a smartphone that plenty have learned to love, for reasons both subjective and objective. But is Sony’s flagship smartphone for 2013 comparable to the product of a less reputable Chinese company? Or do brands become meaningless when it comes to modern Android smartphones?
Read on for a more thorough comparison between the Sony Xperia Z and the Oppo Find 5, or jump to the end of this article, for Johua Vergara’s hands-on video comparison.
Both the Sony Xperia Z and the Oppo Find 5 feature 5-inch displays of 1920 by 1080 resolution (full HD) and 441 pixels per inch pixel density.
As you’d expect, there is no way to tell these two panels apart judging solely from their pixel density. Both are incredibly crisp and leave nothing to be desired in this area. But there are some differences in other aspects.
The Oppo Find 5 display is an IPS LCD that renders vivid colors, without distorting them, and offers excellent brightness and contrast levels.
The story is different with the Xperia Z, due to the different TFT technology that Sony employed for its display. While the brightness is comparable to that of the Oppo Find 5, viewing angles are just not as good. Some other, less visible problems are the color reproduction and contrast rates, which are below what we’d call optimal.
Verdict: The Oppo Find 5 features what many consider to be the best 5-inch display currently available on a smartphone.
Design and build quality
The Xperia Z looks and feels like a slab, due to its straight edges and the glass backcover (that is prone to collect fingerprints and smudges). As far as button placement is concerned, you’ll find a set of on-screen navigational buttons, a large metallic home button on its right side, and a volume rocker below that.
The Sony Xperia Z is the only high-end Android smartphone to feature dust and water resistance (for thirty minutes at a depth of up to one meter). The build quality is excellent, although we can’t gloss over the fact that the Xperia Z isn’t a phone that anyone would call compact. It’s a problem that is only slightly alleviated by the placement of the buttons. The Xperia Z weighs 146 g (5.15 oz) and measures 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm (5.47 x 2.80 x 0.31 in).
The Oppo Find 5 is not easy to maneuver with one hand either, despite it being slightly narrower than the Xperia. The device measures 141.8 x 68.8 x 8.9 mm (5.58 x 2.71 x 0.35 in) and weighs 165 g (5.82 oz).
The Find 5 combines high quality white plastic with steel accents to achieve a premium feel. The button placement is pretty standard: a power button on the right side and the volume rocker on the left. Our subjective opinion here is that the Find 5 is not as much of a looker as the Xperia Z, mainly due to its capacitive buttons, which we aren’t really fond off.
Verdict: The Sony Xperia Z wins this round thanks to its dust and water resistance, as well as inspired button placement.
CPU, GPU & RAM
Both the Oppo Find 5 and the Sony Xperia Z feature 2GB of RAM and are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, a SoC that features a 1.5GHz quad-core Krait processor and an Adreno 320 GPU.
In terms of sheer performance, this is about as high-end as you can currently go, although the new Snapdragon 600 SoC (which powers the HTC One and some versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4) is a bit faster.
The Sony Xperia Z comes with 16GB of internal storage, and the option to expand that storage via a microSD card. In the other corner, the Oppo Find 5 comes in two versions: a 16GB model and a 32GB model, neither of which can accept microSD cards.
The Xperia Z uses a 13.1MP Sony Exmor RS primary sensor, that provides roughly the same picture quality as the 13MP camera on the Oppo Find 5. As far as secondary cameras are concerned, the 2.2 MP camera on the Sony Xperia Z and the 1.9 MP camera on the Oppo Find 5 are also evenly matched.
Neither of these two smartphones come with a user removable battery, meaning that you’ll have to make due with what you’ve got, namely a 2330 mAh battery on the Sony Xperia Z and a slightly larger 2500 mAh battery on the Oppo Find. As expected given that both of them are based on the same SoC and have roughly the same specifications, the Oppo Find 5 provides a slightly longer battery life.
Verdict: Draw – while the Oppo Find 5 comes with better battery life, the Xperia Z’s storage can be extended via microSD.
Both the Oppo Find 5 and the Sony Xperia Z run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, although both manufacturer has decided to implement their own custom skin.
The new Sony Xperia UI slightly resembles Ice Cream Sandwich in terms of design, but retains all the functionality of Jelly Bean. As far as included apps are concerned, the Xperia Z comes with an array of proprietary Sony multimedia apps. The Small Apps is also a welcomed addition, although in all honesty, it’s only a poor imitation of multitasking.
The Oppo Find 5 uses a MIUI-like interface, with all the blocks and blobby widgets that characterize it. There’s really nothing to brag about here.
Verdict: The Sony Xperia Z is a bit more appealing on the software side than the Oppo Find 5, although the difference is not that substantial.
Without taking into account carrier subsidies, the Oppo Find 5 is considerably cheaper than the Sony Xperia Z. While the Find 5 can be had for roughly $500, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper into your pockets to meet the $700 price tag of the Sony Xperia Z.
Although Sony is a much bigger brand than Oppo, the Find 5 is in many ways better than the Xperia Z: it has a better display, a larger battery, and is significantly cheaper.
The Xperia Z, in contrast (obviously not a pun related to the quality of its display), features a slightly better user interface, can accept microSD cards, and is dust and water resistant.
Other than that, these are two mostly similar smartphones, although their price tags are definitely not in the same league. Which one would you choose: the Oppo Find 5 or the Sony Xperia Z? Share your opinions using the comment section below!
Joshua Vergara contributed to this review.