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Galaxy S5 or Xperia Z2: what's the best Android device of the moment?

The two hottest smartphones of the moment are clearly the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2. Tech sites, social media, and blogs are teeming with comments favoring one device over another. The difference between them may be small, but for people planning a purchase in the following months, it's important to know which is better. So, what's the hottest Android device of the moment? What would you pick between the Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z2?
March 7, 2014

The two hottest smartphones of the moment are clearly the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2. Tech sites, social media, and blogs are teeming with comments favoring one device over another. The difference between them may be small, but for people planning a purchase in the following months, it’s important to know which is better.

So, what’s the hottest Android device of the moment? What would you pick between the Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z2?

Join us in the discussion, vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments!

Joe Hindy

I think the reason why this has launched into such a heated debate is because there are so many things between the two devices that are a matter of preference. It’s all about whether or not you like the design of the phone itself, the UX put in place, and other things like that. People who prefer the Samsung way of doing things are obviously going to prefer Samsung whereas proponents of Sony (and people who just plain don’t like Samsung) are going to be rooting for the Z2.

Let us also not forget the All New HTC One will be in contention in 2 1/2 weeks.

It really is difficult to decide a clear cut winner. Both have the Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330, SD card support, 16GB of internal storage, essentially the same sized screen (.1″ is not big enough of a discrepancy to declare one better than the other), and both are running the latest version of Android. So all the important stuff is more or less the same. Hell, they’re both even water and dust resistant.

For me personally, I like the Xperia Z2 but I’ve always preferred Sony’s angular design choices and colorful UX. Other than being able to say “this is what I prefer”, I have no objective reasoning to choose the Xperia Z2 over the Galaxy S5. I simply like it better. I’ve also owned 3 of the last 6 flagship Samsung phones released and now that I’m all but positive the Xperia Z2 will actually show up in the United States, it makes me really want to try out an Xperia.

Bogdan Petrovan

Galaxy S5 or Xperia Z2? It’s a legitimate question, especially in the light of the awards we gave out at MWC last week, which stirred quite a bit of controversy in the comments section. Android Authority chose the S5, but the Xperia Z2 deserved the award probably just as much. Alas, we could only pick one for the winner.

I was disappointed that the S5 is basically unchanged in the essential areas from last year’s S4. Yes, the back plate feels way nicer than the glossy plastic, but overall the difference is not that large, especially if you throw a case on it. The same can be said about the UI, which for me is a hodgepodge of old and new that lacks consistency. However, I’ll give Samsung fans this – the S5 is a great phone, even if it doesn’t bring that radical overhaul I’ve been hoping for.

The Xperia Z2 is even more iterative, so why are people not disappointed with Sony? It’s because Sony, legendary as it may be, is still perceived as an underdog in the mobile industry. And that’s okay, I too have a soft spot for them.

What phone would I pick? The choice is difficult, but I think I’d get the Galaxy S5, preferably in blue, which looks awesome in real life. I guess I prefer its lighter, smaller footprint, to the angular bulkiness of the Xperia Z2. Oh, yes, and AMOLED is still unmatched in my opinion. Yes, Sony’s Android implementation is sleeker and more attractive than Samsung’s, but while you can use launchers and ROMs to change the UI, you can’t do anything about hardware. So, Galaxy S5 it is.

Andrew Grush

I’m just going to get this out of the way now: Neither handset is really so impressive to me that I want to rush out and buy one of them, and both are very similar to their predecessors in many ways including hardware design, software and more.

That said, no one really expected the Xperia Z2 to be a massive departure from the Z1. Sony is known for pumping out flagships in relatively quick order to ensure the latest possible mobile tech is always available under the Sony brand, which is a good or bad thing depending on your take. For what it’s worth, the Z2 did address many of the Z1’s shortcomings, such as the much better display viewing angles.

The Galaxy S5 is really more of a jump forward from its predecessor than the Xperia Z2, but the problem is we expected more. From the many rumors out there to the comments made by Samsung execs, we had our expectations extremely high. Ultimately, the Galaxy S5 will sell well and is a worthwhile member of the S family — if not a radical departure.

Honestly, 2014 will likely be the year of incremental upgrades for most of the major manufacturers, at least as far as the first half of the year is concerned. We already have evidence of this from Sony and Samsung, and HTC’s all-new One also looks to essentially be just an incremental upgrade to the original.

If I were to pick up either the Xperia Z2 or Galaxy S5? It would be the Xperia Z2. Why? Because it’s closest to what I’m looking for in an Android device: a near-stock experience (at least compared to Touchwiz) with excellent aesthetics. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Galaxy S5 isn’t a nice handset, and I highly recommend it for those that enjoy the expanded apps and features found with customized UIs like Touchwiz.

Kevin Nether

If you were to ask me this question two months ago, I would suggestion the Galaxy S5. The S4 was a phenomenal device. I always felt the “S” line of devices were the flagship, and they were on the cutting edge after each rendition. The bar was set with the “S” devices. The other OEM’s needed to take its crown.
Let’s fast forward to the S5 announcements. I will be the first to admit it, I felt a bit disappointed. Sure the camera may change the game, but the other features are nothing that really interests me so much. The finger print scanner to unlock the phone is a cool idea, but it’s been done. Also, if it does not work correctly the first few time, its something that would be disabled. The heart rate sensor on the back of the device also is a fun idea, but once again, something I would not use. I rather have a device that monitors that for me without going into an extra app. Samsung is running into a problem. When you are on top, it’s harder to innovate. Why make changes to something so popular? If you make too many changes you could ruin the very thing that made that product so well received. Rather roll out small features and see what people think about it. Each product sadly becomes an incremental update.

Sony on the other hand is the underdog. They’ve been a non-factor for a while in the market now, and here is their chance to strike. They are not going to outsell the S5, but they will have a chance to make a splash. The Z1s was a highly rated Android phone, but still didn’t have much traction behind it. I’m sure Sony’s advertising dollar does not shake a stick at Samsung’s. It has been rumored that Sony will be pushing more advertising dollars within North America so people can really get to know these devices. They have the spec sheet to back it up as well. Things that is important the phone has, great camera, quick software, water resistant body, and great build quality. At this time, the ball is in their court to really get these phones into the consumer’s hands. The hard work has been done.

For me, I’m more so excited about the Z2 rather than the S5. S5 feels stagnate at this time, and I’m ready for a change.

Darcy LaCouvee

The Galaxy S5 represents the pinnacle of mobile technology. We will always be disappointed with their flagships, we live and breathe bleeding edge and we hold them to an unreasonable standard.

That being said, Sony’s strong command of design, their support of the developer ecosystem, and their adherence to a stripped down version of Android make them a fan favorite. This is likely to be a signature year for Sony, but they will never be able to challenge the technological leadership or marketing prowess of Samsung.

If it were up to me, which device would I have in my pocket? The Galaxy S5 – but in a slim case. If I exercised more and went out on the town like I used to? Most likely the Sony Xperia Z2. Both are exceptional. Both are amazing. The camera in the s5, it’s 128gb expandable memory capability, faster download speeds and beautiful AMOLED display make it the best device I’ve seen so far. I’m all for underdogs but Samsung really hit it out of the park this time around. Flame on.

Robert Triggs

As we’ve all mentioned over the past few days, these are two top of the line handsets with very little to tell between them. You preference is likely to boil down to little differences in display type or aesthetics, and for me I’d choose the Xperia Z2 for its software.

As someone who prefers stock Android over Touchwiz, I’m drawn to the OS and UI offered by the Xperia Z2. Snappy performance and useful pieces of first party software, like Sony’s Walkman app, appeal to me much more than bloat like Samsung’s S Health.

Of course your opinion will change based on your own upgrade path, and might not feel the same way if I already owned an Xperia Z1 or Galaxy S4. Hardware wise, I feel that Samsung has done a better job at offering new features for brand loyal customers than Sony has, party because the Z1 was a mid generation handset. Unless you really can’t live with the Z1’s display, there’s very little point in hopping across to the Z2, whilst Galaxy S4 owners will receive better performance and new features, like waterproofing and a fingerprint scanner, if they chose to move on up to the Galaxy S5.

Then again, for consumers willing to swap between brands, the choice is very tough to call. Fortunatly us Android owners are completely spoilt for choice with flagship handsets, and neither is a bad upgrade in my book.

What do YOU think?

Join us in the comments and vote in our poll.

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