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Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Which is best for me?

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium comparison review: We compare Samsung’s premium 5.5-inch phone with curved edges to Sony’s top-end 4K smartphone to see which is best for you.

Samsung’s mighty 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge is bound to attract the attention of anyone who demands a big smartphone display, for enjoying movies, games and more on the move. But how does it compare to Sony’s own premium phablet, the Xperia Z5 Premium, which boasts a 4K resolution screen?

Here’s our full comparison review, taking a look at the cameras, displays, performance, battery life and more.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: At a glance

Phone Galaxy S7 Edge Xperia Z5 Premium
Screen size 5.5-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 2460×1440 3840×2160
Water resistant? Yes Yes
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Storage 32GB + microSD 32GB + microSD
Processor Exynos 8890/Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 810
Memory 4GB 3GB
Cameras 12MP + 5MP 23MP + 5.1MP

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Design

Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium is the bigger of these two behemoths, although only by a snifter. However, it’s Samsung’s slick contoured design that makes the Galaxy S7 Edge significantly more comfortable to clutch with one mitt. The Edge’s lack of bezels means it’s quite skinny and the curvy backing fits neatly in your palm, so you can just about use it one-handed despite the phablet-esque size. And the Edge is a lot lighter than its Sony counterpart too, at 157g compared to 180g.

Sony’s Premium sports the same angular design as the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact. The edges do sport a very subtle curvature, but it’s essentially a rectangular slab that stands out against rival handsets. Both the Sony and the Samsung are constructed from metal and glass, and they’re good-looking phones in their own unique way, but we prefer the aesthetics and handling of the Galaxy S7 Edge.

If you can’t bear to be without your phone in the shower, then good news; both of these mobiles are water resistant, so they won’t conk out when they get damp. However, the S7 Edge has an issue with water invading the charging port and speaker, which means you’ll need to sit it upright and allow it an hour or two to dry out if it gets wet.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Screen and media

Both phones here sport a 5.5-inch screen, pushing them close to full-on phablet territory. However, when it comes to pure resolution, the Xperia Z5 has an advantage over the Galaxy S7 with its insanely dense 4K screen. That’s 3840×2160, giving a frankly ludicrous 806 pixels-per-inch. The Galaxy S7 by comparison sticks with a measly Quad HD panel (2560×1440), packing just 577 pixels-per-inch. Pah.

Of course, in reality that makes absolutely no difference to your viewing experience. The S7 Edge still produces gorgeous visuals and you’ll not make out a single pixel, even if you squash your eyeballs up against the glass. And with a serious lack of 4K content available right now, you’ll rarely have a chance to make the most of the Sony’s screen.

Read next: What’s the point of a 4K screen on a phone?

On a more technical level, the Sony offers up cleaner, crisper whites, but the Samsung boasts much deeper blacks. Both phones can produce vibrant colours that really leap off the screen, although you’ll need to switch on Sony’s Super-Vivid mode in order to get the same eye-popping visuals on the Premium.

However, the main issue with the Xperia Z5 Premium’s screen is the brightness. You’ll have to crank it up to maximum and turn off the adaptive brightness to make sure you can clearly see in bright daylight. Viewing angles are poor too, so images become murky and dull as soon as you tilt the phone.

Read next: Xperia Z5 Premium screen review

By contrast, the S7 Edge’s screen is bright and enjoys very strong viewing angles. So for our money, we’d rather have the Samsung.

Both phones can be expanded via microSD, so you can carry around a good collection of movies and music.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Features

Android Marshmallow has been tweaked and painted over on both phones, so while these phones essentially offer the same everyday experience, they also have their own Samsung and Sony features built in.

Sony’s additions are much more successful in general. Support for Hi-Res Audio is a major plus for music fans, while the PS Remote Play feature means Playstation owners can enjoy their games from anywhere in their home. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Always On display is useless thanks to its lack of third party support and the Upday news widget is stuttery and rubbish.

Thankfully both phones boast dependable fingerprint sensors, which can be used to securely and swiftly unlock to your desktop. They’re equally accurate, although the Xperia’s side-mounted sensor is slightly more comfortable to operate than the bottom-mounted scanner on the S7 Edge.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Performance and battery life

Samsung is the clear winner when it comes to performance. In benchmarking tests, the Galaxy S7 Edge’s Exynos processor (and the Snapdragon 820 found in some markets) rules over the Xperia Z5 Premium’s Snapdragon 810, and it stays a lot cooler during intensive use too. So while the Sony phone gives you smooth gaming and multi-tasking right now, it’ll show signs of ageing before the Samsung.

When it comes to everyday battery life, the two phones are closely matched, just about seeing you through the day on a single charge. They also charge up in roughly the same hour and a half, direct from the mains. However, the S6 Edge also supports wireless charging out of the box and performs better in our media tests, streaming video for a whopping eight to nine hours compared with the Premium’s five hours.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Cameras

Both phones sport some of the best camera tech you’ll find on a modern mobile, so either way you’re getting yourself an awesome snapper.

The Xperia Z5 Premium’s 23-megapixel camera and the Galaxy S7’s 12-megapixel snapper both capture plenty of detail, producing photos that look fantastic when viewed back on a large display. Colours are accurately reproduced and even tricky lighting conditions are deftly handled. The lenses are both super-efficient at locking onto your subject too, so you can snap away almost instantly and fast-capture a bunch of photos in just a couple of seconds.

The Galaxy S7 Edge’s advantage is in very low light conditions. In pubs, clubs and the rest, the lens sucks up plenty of light to produce brighter shots with less grain than the Premium.

Read next: Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera review and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge camera review

Both phones can shoot up to 4K video and quality is excellent, complete with decent image stabilisation. And the front-facing cameras are also solid, capturing a terrifying amount of detail for those Facebook posts.

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