At the ongoing IFA consumer electronics festival in Berlin, both Samsung and Sony released two new smartphones: the Galaxy Note 3 and the Xperia Z1. Since these are the two latest phones that will be available in the market by September, we feel it is time to look at how they stack up against each other in terms of hardware and software features.
Screens and hardware: The Xperia Z1 has a 5-inch full HD screen phone, 2GB RAM and 16 GB memory space. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and also has support for a MicroSD slot up to 64 GB. The processor is Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core clocked at 2.2 Ghz. The battery is 3000 mAh and the phone supports 4G LTE. The front camera is 2 megapixel. Like other phones in Xperia series, the smartphone is waterproof and dustproof.
The USP of this phone is the 20.7 megapixel camera. It has Sony’s G Lens with F2.0 and wide angle 27mm. It also has 1/2.3-type Exmor RS for mobile CMOS image sensor which is a high sensitivity sensor capturing detailed images, even in low-light conditions.
Sony is also selling new smart lens called QX100 and RX100 which can be strapped onto the Xperia Z1 and other Xperia phones via a lens module. Once you do that, it converts your phone into a regular compact camera. The lens connects with the phone via WiFi. We'll discuss about the camera and the software features it offers in more detail later on.
As far as the Galaxy Note 3 is concerned the screen is a wider one from the previous version and is 5.7inches diagonally, is full HD with Super AMOLED display. Samsung also says the phone is is slimmer (8.3mm) and lighter (168g) than the previous version. India is likely to get the version with Octa Core processor version of device. The processor is 1.9 GHz Octa Core Processor ( A15 1.9 GHz ＋ A7 1.3 GHz).
The Note 3 will come in 32/ 64 GB User memory and a microSD slot (up to 64GB) and has 3GB RAM. The Note 3 also comes with a new improved Stylus.
It also has a 13 megapixel rear camera with BSI Sensor, Auto Focus camera with Smart Stabilisation, LED Flash, and Zero Shutter Lag. The front camera is 2 megapixels. Samsung has not gone for Optical Image Stabilisation in the camera as was being rumoured.
The Phone runs Android 4.3 build of Jelly Bean, which is the latest version of the OS. The Xperia Z1 is still on the older build of Android. Also The Note 3 offers more storage space ( 32 and 64 GB versions) while the Xperia Z1 only has 16 GB. Both phones however have a microSD support up 64GB.
The Note 3 thus has a bigger screen, more memory space and a more powerful processor. However if you feel quad-core phones are good enough and want a bigger camera, Sony's Xperia Z1 has 20.7 megapixel camera to offer.
Software features offered: As we can see in terms of specs both phones are pretty standard with quad-cores, higher memory and full HD screens. Here we take a look at what software features the companies are offering.
Xperia Z1: Camera features of the Xperia Z1, since this is biggest wow factor of this phone. These are:
• Social live which will let users broadcast recording live from Xperia Z1 to Facebook.
• Info-eye which will give users information on landmarks or items which are captured by them using the smartphone.
• Timeshift burst ensures that the Xperia Z1 takes 61 images in 2 seconds. Users can then scroll around and choose the best image.
• AR effect which lets users create customisable animations.
As far as Sony's Xperia Z1 is concerned the features are centred around the camera. The company has also loaded the phone with its Walkman and Movies app and other apps.
Galaxy Note 3: Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 has come packed with several new software features and we take a look at those now.
Improved S Note which users can sync with Evernote or a Samsung account and be enabled for accessing and viewing from different devices. Furthermore, when a user wants only a certain part of an image to be taken from the web or Note 3 content, the Easy Clip feature allows them to roughly draw around the desired image and then converts that content into a more precisely cropped image.
MultiWindow: This feature has been improved in the new version of the Note. It now allows users to toggle between applications without closing the window or opening a new page. Users can also run one application in two windows at the same time.
Pen Window: Pen Window allows users to draw a window on the screen and launch popular applications while continuing current tasks.
Find my mobile: The device is equipped with an improved Find My Mobile feature that allows users to disable the phone when it is stolen or lost. Nothing earth-shattering here given Google also a launched similar safety feature for Android phones recently.
As far as the Note 3 is concerned the biggest feature upgrades we have seen are in terms of the S Pen which can now be used to activate introduces users to Air Command, that is palette of 5 features. Users can now between screens, memorise commands, etc through this.
The Note 3 has a lot more features to offer. But as some reviewers have said, they can appear to be complicated for some users. The Sony Xperia Z1 has a great camera with few software features and the option to turn into a digital camera as well, if you are willing to shell out some extra money for the lens.
In the end, however for many users price could be the biggest determinant of which one to choose. For now the Note 3 appears to have more features to offer and a bigger screen.