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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Samsung Galaxy Note 5 quick look

We see how the latest Sony flagship fares against the competition, in this quick look at the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Samsung Galaxy Note 5!

Published onSeptember 4, 2015

Sony took the wraps off of their latest flagship offerings at an event in Berlin, ahead of IFA 2015, and introduced to the world the first smartphone to feature a display with a 4K resolution. Naturally, you may be wondering how Sony’s latest high-end device fares against its direct competition. Here is a quick look at the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Samsung Galaxy Note 5!

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Both Sony and Samsung tend to price higher.. could their fans benefit from an upgrade program?

The Xperia Z5 Premium looks and feels just like any other Sony device, being a clean, rectangular slab with a metal frame, and glass panels on the front and back. If you’re used to Sony smartphones, you will love the design of the Xperia Z5 Premium. It does feel great in the hand, with a very solid, substantial feel to it. The simplistic design certainly looks great, but is quite familiar at this point.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 5 comes with Samsung’s new premium design language first seen with the Galaxy S6, and now also features a metal and glass construction, similar to the Xperia Z5 Premium. The Galaxy Note 5 has more of a curve to it however, and is also thinner than the Xperia Z5 Premium, resulting in a handling experience that is better in the case of the former.

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Both devices are certainly premium but while the Galaxy Note 5 focuses on the luxurious, the Xperia Z5 Premium is definitely for the functional thanks to its water resistant abilities. A fingerprint sensor is certainly needed on a true high-end device and both devices tick this box. The Galaxy Note 5 houses it in the home button beneath the screen, while Sony have put it in the power button on the right. The scanner on the Galaxy Note 5 works as well as it should, but the placement of the sensor on the Sony device actually seems to make more sense. It also seems to be extremely accurate and fast, which is always good to see.

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Speaking of the screen, the Xperia Z5 Premium aims to steal the show, thanks to its incredible 4K display that touts an insane 806 ppi pixel density. This happens to be the first smartphone with a 4K resolution screen, and while the Galaxy Note 5 does have a Quad HD panel, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Z5 Premium, at least on paper. Samsung offers one of the best displays on the market and while the Super AMOLED panel on the Note 5 is impressive, the incredible density of the Z5 Premium screen makes for some amazingly crisp text, images, and video. It has to be said that the display of the Galaxy Note 5 is definitely brighter, which makes it a lot easier to see outdoors. Both these displays are absolutely fantastic for pretty much everything you may want to do on a smartphone.

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None of these devices are a slouch, and while Sony have packed the Xperia Z5 Premium with a 1.9 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM, Samsung have stuck their own Exynos 7420 inside the Galaxy Note 5, along with 4GB of RAM. Both devices are quick, snappy, and responsive and whichever you choose, you should have no performance worries.

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Like other flagships, both devices come packed with a full set of components to keep the experience pristine. The Xperia Z5 Premium comes with 32 GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot, while the Galaxy Note 5 comes with either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, but no microSD expansion, so Sony definitely wins out here if expandable storage is a must have for you. Both have all the usual connectivity standards and come with NFC, while the Note 5 is also compatible with the Samsung Pay mobile payment standard and comes with the S-Pen stylus, to take advantage of features like Air Command to create memos, crop images, create screen grabs, and also write on whatever may be on the screen.

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A flagship isn’t a flagship without an impressive camera, and while we haven’t tested the Xperia Z5 Premium camera, we’re betting it’s impressive, considering Sony’s track record when it comes to cameras. The Note 5 packs a 16MP sensor with OIS and, as covered in our review, it is a great camera. The Xperia Z5 Premium comes with Sony’s new 23MP Exmor RS sensor with super fast phase detection auto focus, steady shot stabilization and a 23 mm wide angle f/2.0 G Lens. Up front, both devices have 5 MP front facing shooters which should be good enough for most of your needs.

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With all those power-hungry specs and advanced functions, both smartphones need large enough batteries to handle whatever you throw at it. The Note 5 comes with a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery that is mostly impressive, while Sony has packed a large 3,430 mAh battery inside the Xperia Z5 Premium. Sony swears the Xperia Z5 Premium will provide 2 days of usage on a single charge, but we’ll certainly have to wait to see what kind of effect this high resolution display will have on the battery life. If that claim does end up being true, the Xperia Z5 Premium will have the edge over the Galaxy Note 5, which typically lasts just a little more than a day.

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In terms of software, the Xperia Z5 Premium and the Galaxy Note 5 are running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, but their respective takes on the user interface result in experiences that are very different. The Sony device features a close to stock Android experience with its Xperia UI, which doesn’t really add too much to Lollipop. A lot of the Material Design elements can be seen here, but there some staple Sony software features that return here, such as Small Apps, and the PlayStation integration. The TouchWiz UI seen with the Galaxy Note 5 has been cleaned up quite a bit by Samsung this year, with a lot less bloatware and unnecessary features. The device does pack quite a bit into the software experience, mostly because of the S-Pen stylus and all that it is capable of.

So there you have it for this quick look at the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Samsung Galaxy Note 5! The Xperia Z5 Premium is Sony’s way of going all out, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, with its sleek new design, fantastic performance, and improved features, is certainly not making the competition easy for the Sony flagship.

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