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Blackberry Priv vs Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z5: Which is best?

We compare the impressive Blackberry Priv mobile with two other five-star Android phones of 2015, Sony’s Xperia Z5 and the Samsung Galaxy S6, to see which has the best screen, camera, battery life, performance and overall user experience.

The Blackberry Priv isn’t just the best ‘Berry we’ve reviewed in the past few years, it’s also one of the best Android phones of 2015. But of course it’s been another strong year for Android handsets, with the Sony Xperia Z5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 also proving themselves as brilliant, user-friendly phones packing best-in-class displays and cameras and Android Marshmallow adding some serious improvements to Google’s OS.

So, which phone is best for you? Check out our full comparison review to find out.

Blackberry Priv vs Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z5: At a glance

Phone Blackberry Priv Samsung Galaxy S6 Sony Xperia Z5
Screen size 5.4-inch 5.1-inch 5.2-inch
Weight 192g 138g 154g
Screen resolution 1440×2560 (540ppi) 1440×2560 (577ppi) 1920×1080 (428ppi)
Processor Snapdragon 808 Exynos 7420 Snapdragon 810
RAM 3GB 3GB 3GB
Storage 32GB + microSD 32/64/128GB 32GB + microSD
Fingerprint scanner? No Yes Yes
Battery 3410mAh 2550mAh 2900mAh
Bonus features QWERTY keyboard Heart rate sensor Water resistant

Design

The Sony Xperia Z5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 sport similar designs, with glass and metal frames that are slender and attractive. The Galaxy S6 is curvy, lightweight and pleasingly slim, proving the easiest Android phone in this round-up to fiddle with one-handed. However, the glossy back does smudge up rather easily, whereas the Xperia Z5 sports a frosted rear that hides scuffs.

Blackberry’s Priv has a very different look and feel to the others. It’s by far the biggest and heaviest phone here, with dimensions close to phablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. You can just about use it one-handed, but you’ll have to adopt a different grip to the norm. The Priv also looks more like a business phone with its all-black design but it’s not too serious or by any means ugly. In fact, the subtle curves at the edge of the screen give it a funky appeal and the rubbery back helps to aid grip, unlike the smooth surfaces of the S6 and Z5.

There’s also a nostalgic joy to the Priv as the screen slides up a couple of inches, revealing a physical keyboard beneath. More on this in the ‘user experience and features’ section.

It’s also worth noting that the only water-resistant phone in this round-up is the Sony Xperia Z5. The others will perish if you submerge them in water.

Screen and media

If you look at the specs alone, the Blackberry Priv and Samsung’s Galaxy S6 are the best for media as they have the sharpest screens here (both Quad HD panels) while the Xperia Z5 only has a Full HD display.

However, all three phones are excellent devices for enjoying movies and video on the go. That Full HD resolution still keeps images sharp on the Z5 and you’ll have to try really hard – and possess eyes like a cat – to make out individual pixels.

The Galaxy S6’s screen just wins out for vibrancy as it’s a rich Super AMOLED display, but the Priv is also pleasingly colourful and Sony has added a Super Vivid Mode to the Z5 which boosts colours, so they really pop off the screen.

Read next: Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 vs LG G4 vs iPhone 6S Screen Test

As for audio, the Xperia Z5 and Priv both have front-facing speakers that are impressively powerful for mobile blasters, with the Xperia Z5 boasting dual speakers (one above the screen and one below). The S6 still puts out decent audio too, but the Xperia Z5 is the only phone here with support for Hi-Res Audio so that’s your best choice if you demand the absolute best music experience.

If you have a massive media collection that you wish to carry around, we recommend the Xperia Z5 or Blackberry Priv. Both phones support microSD memory cards to store huge amounts of music and dozens of HD movies, while the Galaxy S6 sadly doesn’t. You’ll instead have to stump up for the expensive 64GB or 128GB model if you want to cart around your entire collection.

User experience and features

All three phones here boast a very different set of features that will appeal to different users.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Sony’s Xperia Z5 basically change up the look and feel of Android with their own desktops and widgets, but also add some extra features on top. For instance, Sony’s big feature is Remote Play, which allows you to stream your Playstation games direct to your phone. Handy if you want to blast through a bit of Until Dawn while sat on the lavvy.

Samsung has more of an emphasis on fitness with its S Health app, which allows you to take a reading of your pulse via the rear-mounted heart rate sensor. And speaking of sensors, the Xperia Z5 and Galaxy S6 both boast accurate fingerprint scanners which can quickly and securely unlock your phone – something unfortunately missing from the Blackberry Priv.

However, the Priv adds loads of great features to Android, practically transforming it into a whole other beast. Check out our ‘top ten ways Blackberry has improved Android‘ feature for more info, but the Priv will definitely suit anyone who manages a lot of accounts (email, social media etc) and who uses their phone to stay organised.

And if you need a phone to smash out non-stop emails on the move, the Priv is again your best bet. Not only does it have a solid physical QWERTY keyboard hidden beneath the screen, but the virtual board is one of the best we’ve used in a long time, with excellent and intuitive predicitive text and gesture recognition built in.

Performance and battery life

All three phones here are solid performers, handling everyday life without a struggle and playing the latest games with a smooth and satisfying frame rate. However, the Galaxy S6 is the best performer in benchmark tests and doesn’t occasionally pause for a brief moment when switching between tasks, unlike the Xperia Z5 and Blackberry Priv.

As for battery life, the Xperia Z5 proved the best in our tests, but not by a wide gap. You can expect a day and a half of life with everyday use, with the Priv and Galaxy S6 coming in at closer to a day. Meanwhile, the Xperia Z5 can play back video for seven and a half hours on a single charge, while the Priv manages six to seven and the Galaxy S6 around six.

However, the Galaxy S6 is the only phone here to support wireless charging out of the box.

Cameras

One of the biggest strengths of all three phones is their camera tech. No matter which handset you choose, you’ll be able to shoot crisp, detail-packed photos in a wide range of conditions thanks to the excellent auto modes, as well as Full HD and 4K video with image stabilisation built in.

Check out our Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S6 camera supertest for a direct comparison and our Blackberry Priv camera review for our full thoughts.

Verdict

All three phones here offer an excellent Android experience, but also appeal to different users based on priorities. The Priv is a no-brainer if you’re after a phone to stay productive and organised on the move, while the Xperia Z5’s long battery life and gaming credentials make it a solid entertainment device. Meanwhile the Galaxy S6 is an all-round marvel, boasting excellent hardware and a slant towards fitness features, that is also a solid way to stay entertained on the go – with the lack of expandable storage its only weakness.

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