The specs of the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 are very similar. Both are powered by a Snapdragon 80 2.3GHz quad-core processor, with 2GB RAM. They both have a 1080p display (the S5 is SuperAMOLED and the Z2 IPS LCD).
The Z2 has 16GB of internal storage, and the S5 is available in 16 and 32GB versions. Both have microSD card slots. The Z2 has a higher resolution rear camera at 20MP compared to 16MP on the S5, and a slightly larger front facing camera at 2.2MP against 2.0MP. It also has a bigger battery: 3200mAh compared to 2800mAh.
We say: There’s not much in it. This is, however, a rare example of a Samsung flagship phone not completely outspeccing the competition.
Neither phone has been significantly redesigned, maintaining the same design language as the Z1 and S5. The S5 adds a soft touch back to replace the much maligned glossy plastic shell of the S4, as well as the IP67 rating for protection against dust and water.
The Z2 is also protected against these, albeit to a slightly lesser degree. The size of the devices is virtually the same – the Z2 is a mere 4.8mm taller, 0.8mm wider and 0.1mm thicker. It is noticeable heavier at 163g against 145g.
We say: We prefer the more high-end styling and materials of the Z2 over the S5, but there’s little practical difference between them. The removable backplate on the S5 will be a big selling point for some.
The Xperia Z2 has a 20 megapixel camera, with a larger 1/2.3″ sensor that should improve performance in low light conditions. The video camera can shoot full 4K video video (3840×2160, 30p) with SteadyShot image stabilisation that Sony promises will produce smooth video even when walking.
Samsung claims the S5 has the fastest autofocus on any smartphone camera, at just 0.3 seconds. It’s feature-packed camera also includes the ability to blur backgrounds, even after shooting, and a powerful HDR mode. The S5 is also able to shoot 4K video.
We say: The dedicated shutter button on the Xperia Z2 will make it an enjoyable camera to use, but the overall speed of the S5’s camera could give it the edge.
The S5 has added a load of health and fitness features, including a built-in heart rate monitor, to work with its expanded suite of health apps. It also includes a fingerprint sensor, although its functionality is limited at present (for instance, it cannot authenticate purchases in the Play store).
The Z2 has fewer extra features, including software that is more in keeping with the Android style. It has a large multimedia focus, with a bright vibrant display and stereo speaker. Both devices will also work with their respective company’s range of smartwatches.
We say: For added extras Samsung is always the way to go. Whether fitness will be a big enough sell for the S5 remains to be seen.
Price and availability
Prices have yet to be announced for either phone. Both will be available on all major networks in the UK, with the Xperia Z2 available from March and the Galaxy S5 available from April.
There’s little to choose between the two phones. Both are incremental updates of their predecessors, and although have some distinctions like the health focus of the Galaxy S5, the specs are very similar. The Z2 is shaping up to be Sony’s best smartphone to date, and could be the device that sees the company making meaningful inroads into the Android market.