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Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Sony Xperia Z

It’s 2013 and that means a whole host of new top notch smartphones in the process of hitting store shelves, many with killer hardware to put last year’s flagships to shame, but we know one device which should stand up well to the new kids on the block and that’s the Samsung Galaxy S3 – the best selling handset of 2012. We’ve decided to pit the newer LTE model of the S3 against the first taste of flagship smartphone in 2013; the Sony Xperia Z. Let’s take a look.

Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Sony Xperia Z: Design

The Galaxy S3 is said to be ‘inspired by nature’ and this is reflected in the smooth lines, rounded corners and soft, Hyperglaze finish which covers the phone’s entire body. The plastic construction keeps things light, despite the fact it features a 4.7-inch screen. There’s also a number of hardware controls such as the power/lock key and volume rocker down the sides, single hardware home button and two capacitive keys either side. There’s also room for a microUSB port on the bottom and a headphone jack in the top with the microSIM, microSD and battery compartments behind the removable back.

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The Xperia Z features a far more imposing look, with Sony’s OmniBalance design keeping the aesthetic of the handset straight and symmetrical. The reflective black glass on the front and back is decidedly devoid of any special embellishments and all the ports and controls, save for the lock key and volume rocker are covered under reflective plastic down the sides. Whilst the S3 may be more accessible, the Xperia Z needs its unibody construction and sealed access areas to maintain its IP55 and 57 certification for water and dust resistance. Also, that vast 5-inch display means that the Z won’t play as well with smaller hands and smaller pockets.

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Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Sony Xperia Z: Screen

The 4.7-inch 720p HD Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy S3 was one of the best smartphone screens of 2012, but the Xperia Z brings a mammoth 5-inch 1080p Full HD LCD panel to the table which by comparison is hard to fault. Naturally the tech in play means that whites and colours are more accurately reproduced on the LCD of the Xperia Z, but the S3’s AMOLED screen offers excellent blacks and a punchier colour palette. The extra resolution does make even the smallest text far more readable and of course Full HD movies play in their native resolution, which looks stunning.

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The S3’s display offers better viewing angles whilst the Z’s backlight, outshone the S3’s when looking at it head on.

Winner: Sony Xperia Z

Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Sony Xperia Z: Performance

In this instance, it’s the smaller screen of the S3 which helps keep things snappy over the likes of the Xperia Z. Both handsets rock quad-core processors clocked at 1.4 and 1.5GHz respectively and each features 2GB of RAM as well. Neither phone felt sluggish, but in instances such as playing more taxing 3D games, the S3 dropped frames less often and the controls felt more responsive.

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Battery life too lasts a fraction longer on the S3, partly as a result of AMOLED’s power usage over LCD screens and the generally smaller screen both physically and resolution wise, which the handset has to power. The viewing experience may be better in the Xperia Z, but charging your phone less than daily would be detrimental for certain.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Sony Xperia Z: OS

Both phones run Android Jelly Bean, with Samung’s TouchWiz Nature UX Android overlay heavily altering the stock Android experience on the S3, whilst Sony’s tweaks and changes are less dramatic. The Xperia Z feels cleaner and thanks to the hardware on offer, runs lag-free, through all its animations and transitions.

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The widgets and customisations options offer more than previous iterations of Sony’s user experience, but still don’t quite beat TouchWiz for flexibility. It’s simple to add and remove homescreens, drop in folders, re-order and uninstall app icons as well as edit the behaviour of various elements of the S3 from the Settings menu. It might not be as clean, but if you like to tinker, the S3 has the edge.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Sony Xperia Z: Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S3’s 8-megapixel snapper has proven to be a competent all-round performer in previous camera comparisons with a wealth of options to tweak and change, Full HD video recording and smart shooting modes. Sony however have more than once proven that they know how to bring a smartphone camera to its fullest potential.

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The 13-megapixel sensor at work on the Xperia Z takes incredible shots, with special mention going to its capabilities in macro photography. The party piece however falls to the HDR shooting modes, which give significantly greater dynamic range to your stills and for the first time on a mobile handset, your videos.

Winner: Sony Xperia Z

Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Sony Xperia Z: Verdict

The Galaxy S3 might be the older of the two handsets, but with the additional RAM and 4G functionality, the gap is a lot closer than you might think. Users might prefer the Sony Xperia Z as it’s a newer device, with newer hardware and it does win out as a multimedia device, but typical smartphone users will most likely find themselves happier for opting for greater all-round balance of the Samsung Galaxy S3.

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Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

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