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Sony Xperia XZ vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Which is best?

We compare Sony’s shiny new Xperia XZ flagship phone with the brilliant Samsung Galaxy S7, to see which of these mighty mobiles is best for you. Here’s our full Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7 comparison review.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is one of the best mobiles of 2016, but now it might have some serious competition from Sony’s Xperia XZ. The Xperia XZ is Sony’s new flagship phone, packing the Japanese giant’s smartest camera tech to date. So is the XZ the new mobile camera king, or is the S7 still the champion? And how do they stack up in every other area, from performance to battery life?

Here’s our full Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7 comparison review, so you can see which is best for you. And check out our hands-on Xperia XZ review for more info on Sony’s latest blower.

Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7: Specs comparison

Phone Sony Xperia XZ Galaxy S7
Screen size 5.2-inches 5.1-inches
Screen resolution 1920×1080 2560×1440
Weight 161g 152g
Water resistant? Yes Yes
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 820/Exynos
Memory 3GB 4GB
Storage 32/64GB 32/64GB
MicroSD Yes Yes
Battery 2900mAh 3000mAh
Rear camera 23-megapixel 12-megapixel
Front camera 13-megapixel 5-megapixel

Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7: Design

Although these handsets pack similar-sized screens, the Galaxy S7 is a bit easier to use one-handed. Samsung’s curvy, slender frame fits in the palm perfectly, while also looking absolutely gorgeous. That said, Sony’s Xperia XZ is also perfectly comfortable to clutch thanks to those rounded edges, although the rectangular design means it’s trickier to operate with a single mitt.

The XZ looks very similar to previous Xperia X-range phones, such as the Xperia X. Sony’s new metallic Alkaleido frame should hopefully keep its shine over time, and the platinum and dark blue models really are attractive. The matt finish means the phone doesn’t pick up ugly scuff marks and fingerprints either, unlike the Galaxy S7’s glossy rear.

Both phones have proved reasonably hardy, however, and they’re also both water resistant to survive any toilet tumbles. You also get a built-in fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy S7 and Xperia XZ, to quickly and securely unlock your handset without having to remember and constantly input a PIN.

Read next: Xperia XZ vs OnePlus 3, which is best?

Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7: Screen and media

The Galaxy S7’s 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen is better than Sony’s on paper, offering a super-sharp Quad HD (2560×1440) resolution. In comparison, the Xperia XZ packs a 5.2-inch IPS panel with a trimmed-back Full HD (1920×1080) resolution.

However, both the Xperia and the Galaxy still boast gorgeous visuals. Images are perfectly crisp, while Sony’s Super Vivid Mode is on hand to boost the XZ’s colour vibrancy, so you can enjoy rich hues just like you can on the Galaxy S7.

Either phone will suffice if you want to carry around loads of movies and music. You get up to 64GB of internal storage and can slip a microSD memory card inside to add even more space.

Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7: Performance and battery life

The Xperia XZ and Galaxy S7 both offer best-in-class performance, thanks to the Snapdragon 820 processor that’s packed inside. Note that the Galaxy S7 comes with an Exynos chipset in some regions, which also gives an impressively fast user experience.

Either phone can play the latest games with silky smooth frame rates and we haven’t seen much in the way of pauses or stutters during everyday use. We’re hopeful that they’ll both stand the test of time too, lasting the full length of a two-year contract.

We haven’t had the chance to fully test the Xperia XZ’s battery life, but so far the latest Xperia flagship seems to happily make it through a full 24 hours, just like the Galaxy S7. Sony has also added some smart battery tech, to keep the built-in cell from degrading over time. By preventing the battery from overcharging when it’s left plugged in all night long, you’ll hopefully still get over 24 hours of life in a year or two.

Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7: Cameras

When it comes to camera tech, these two phones are fierce rivals for our best mobile snapper of 2016 award.

The Galaxy S7’s camera is impressively versatile, capturing sharp, detail-packed shots in almost any conditions. Even more eyebrow-raising is its low-light functionality. We almost always get attractive shots in dark pubs and at night, as long as our subject is standing still.

The Xperia XZ’s camera also appears to perform well when the lighting is less than adequate. Sony’s new laser-guided autofocus and predictive focus helps to keep your subject sharp, while the smart new 5-axis image stabilisation cuts down on blur when you’re moving or attempting to shoot something up close.

Either phone can shoot up to 4K UHD video, or you can drop down to Full HD if you don’t want to fill up your phone’s storage. Results are again impressive on both counts, with plenty of detail packed into every frame and the camera lenses coping well with changes in lighting and focal points.

As for selfie cameras, both phones can shoot crisp, attractive photos using their front-facing lenses. The Xperia XZ is the winner overall, however, as it captures more natural snaps with its mighty 13-megapixel snapper.

Video: Xperia XZ vs Galaxy S7 hands-on review