Feb 07, 2014 10:43 AM EST

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. Sony Xperia Z1S: Comparison Review of Specs, Features, Performance & More!

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1S are arguably the most powerful smartphones ever produced in Asia to date. It's tech giants South Korea and Japan battling it out this time in an all-out specs war between its two flagship devices, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1S.

Many of us were surprised in a good way when Sony release Xperia Z1S recently, in response to issues concerning its unavailability for U.S. consumers who wanted to purchase the phone through their carriers. The release of Sony Xperia Z1S has boosted the Japanese company's popularity among Western consumers, but did it take a sizeable chunk off current reigning king Samsung Galaxy Note 3's popularity? The question remains unanswered as it is still too early in the game to judge how Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1S fared in the sales arena.

However, one thing we can determine is how Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1S fares against each other when pitted in a battle between specs, features, performance and overall functionality. If you're swaying between choosing a smartphone between these two powerful devices, then look no further as we have taken the liberty of comparing their most notable aspects in this review:


First up, as always, is design. Sony stayed true to its simple design by outfitting Sony Xperia Z1S with a metal fram and glass back which gives it a handy, ergonomic feel. However Samsung Galaxy Note 3's sophisticated new take on its usual polycarbonate build sets it on a whole different level from the competition and old Samsung models. Samsung's flagship device boasts a metal frame, one that aligns perfectly and conceals the existence of the hole that houses the S-Pen stylus on the bottom profile. Looking at the back, we have a faux-leather cover with an imitation of stitching on the sides, giving the Note 3 a distinguished, if not truly premium look.


Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features an impressive 5.7-inch, 1080p Super AMOLED display that features far more saturated colors, better viewing angles and superior outdoor visibility. However, Sony Xperia Z1S' 5-inch, 1080X1920 TFT LCD panel may prove to be a worthy adversary in this area, especially since it features Sony's proprietary Triluminos tech. This gives it a supposedly wider color gamut and overall better quality but at the expense of poor viewing angles as compared to Samsung Galaxy Note 3.


Samsung and Sony have taken two different approaches in terms of interface with their flagship devices and this is the category where an obvious distinction can be made between Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1S. Sony equipped Xperia Z1S with fine balance between extra functionality and simplicity, resulting to a phone with no extremes in either direction. Sony Xperia Z1S' UI is neat and tidy, but not without its surprises, including a number of mini apps, pre-installed themes and others. Samsung Galaxy Note 3, on the other hand, is a versatile, super-functional smartphone that allows users to tinker with a ton of settings and options. The many options available for users however seems to have come at the expense of cleanliness and simplicity. Many have viewed this as a small price to pay for the wide variety of things you can do on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Processor and Memory

In terms of processor and memory, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1S are almost equal in horsepower. Both flagship handsets are equipped with Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 with Adreno 330 GPU, currently the most powerful chipset commercially available on the market. However, there are still a few notable distinctions between the two phones. Sony Xperia Z1S has appropriated the lower, 2.2GHz bin of the Snapdragon 800, whereas Samsung went for the slightly more potent, 2.3GHz one. In addition, while Sony Xperia Z1S' 2GB RAM is already impressive in itself, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 took it a step further with its whopping 3GB RAM.


Now we've come to a complicated battle between Sony Xperia Z1S' 20.7MP camera and Samsung Galaxy Note 3's 13MP snapper. While there's an obvious gap between the capabilities of the two handsets' cameras, they also come with a few features that make them almost neck-to-neck in this category.

Sony Xperia Z1S, with its G Lens and Exmor RS sensor, manages to capture more detailed photos that are slightly superior to those snapped with the Note 3. It's also got a wider, F/2.0 aperture compared with the Note 3's F/2.2, meaning better low-light shots, at least theoretically. On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy Note 3's camera excels with its wide array of features, including 4K video capture, and its ability to shoot 60FPS video at 1080p resolution. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is also capable of producing some slow-mo footage, thanks to its 120FPS capture mode.

So which smartphone works for you, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Sony Xperia Z1S?

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