Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z3+ comparison: hot competition

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We put the latest and greatest from Samsung in a fierce head-to-head battle with the newest from Sony to see which comes out on top. Both are beautifully designed, but it is what's on the inside that counts, right? Find out which device will win in this Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+ comparison.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Design and build quality

Glass and metal are hot in 2015 (especially for Sony, but more on that later) and we have two devices here with that premium look and feel that we've been clamoring for lately.

The Galaxy S6 and Xperia Z3+ (known as the Xperia Z4 in other regions) are similar in materials, size, thickness and in weight (check the specs tablet at the bottom for details): the key difference is the shape.

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The rounder Galaxy S6 (left) and the square Xperia Z3+ (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy S6 is the rounder, more ovular handset and the Z3+ is a square slab similar in appearance to its predecessor, the Z3. Both have the glass back and aluminium sides, but the Xperia Z3+ is the only one which benefits from ip68 dust and water resistance (despite that its charge port no longer needs to be covered). 

The Galaxy S6 has a lone music/media speaker on the bottom whereas the Xperia Z3+ has two speakers subtly hidden at the top and bottom of the device's face.

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It's a super-slim glass and metal design for the Galaxy S6 and Xperia Z3+. / © ANDROIDPIT

Both devices are easy to hold, easy on the eye and feel silky smooth. As far the as design goes, you’re basically choosing between whether you prefer a square or a more rounded shape, and whether the dust and water-resistance of the Z3+ appeals to you.

The protruding Galaxy S6 main camera sensor on its back, compared to the dainty (and completely flat) Xperia Z3+ rear, might be taken into consideration also.

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The rear camera sensor on the Galaxy S6 (left) protrudes. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Display

Both of these phones have wonderful displays. In terms of hard numbers, the Galaxy S6 has QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) Super AMOLED display with 577 pixels-per-inch and the Xperia Z3+ is rocking a Full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS LCD screen with 424 ppi. 

The Galaxy S6 is the crisper of the two, with better viewing angles, and it's also warmer. Less so when using the “adaptive” display preset in the settings, but the “basic” preset ensures that whites on screen are basically orange.

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Both device have fantastic display quality. / © ANDROIDPIT

But what the Z3+ lacks in pixel density it makes up for in luminosity: it's definitely the brighter display, and outdoor visibility is stronger.

We’ve said time and time again that the Galaxy S6 has one of the best displays on Android. However the Xperia Z3+ employs some great technologies such as TRILUMINOS, X-Reality, and Live Color LED to enhance its screen. 

Though it’s not as sharp or detailed, there really is something to be said for the softer edges the Z3+ produces. It houses a beautiful coolness too, and I’ll be damned if there are many brighter smartphone displays.

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The Xperia Z3+ (right) has the brightest display, but the Galaxy S6 is more detailed. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Camera

And so we come to the camera. The Galaxy S6 has one of the most highly detailed an impressive cameras on Android. Its 16 MP main camera, combined with optical image stabilization, autofocus and LED flash, ensure it produces amazing pictures in any lighting condition. 

The main Xperia Z3+ camera has a higher pixel count at 20.7 MP, with a super-wide 25 mm wide-angle lens (making it ideal for landscapes) as well as autofocus and LED flash. 

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A 20.7 MP rear camera on the Xperia Z3+ (right) takes on the 16 MP Galaxy S6 s / © ANDROIDPIT

On the front the Galaxy S6 has a 5 MP camera which shoots 1440 pixels at 30 fps, with dual video call functionality and auto HDR. The Xperia Z3+ has a 5.1 MP camera which captures video at 1080 pixels at 30 fps and HDR. 

Comparison photos can be found below, but aside from the image quality, something else must be mentioned about the Xperia Z3+ camera.

The Z3+ suffers from an overheating issue which stops the camera working in some circumstances. When using AR effects, or running it with 4K video, the device will overheat and the camera app will fail within around 20 seconds. 

Thankfully, we have been informed by Sony that an over-the-air update will fix the issue. You can read more about the Xperia Z3+ camera crash problem at the link. 

The comparison pictures were taken at the highest resolution in 16:9 (5248 x 2952 pixels on the Z3+ and 5312 x 2988 on the Galaxy S6) with HDR off. On the front, it's 2592 x 1944 resolution for Z3+ and the Galaxy S6 in 16:9 (HDR also off). The Galaxy S6 image is always on top. 

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The Galaxy S6 has the higher saturation and the darker tones compared to the Z3+ camera. / © ANDROIDPIT
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The Galaxy S6 produces the truest red. Sony devices have a tendency to turns make reds a little pink. / © ANDROIDPIT
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The brightness of the Xperia Z3+ makes for the better image above. / © ANDROIDPIT
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The Galaxy S6 picture has the deeper, more saturated tones.  / © ANDROIDPIT
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You won't be disappointed with either "selfie" camera. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Sound

The Xperia Z3+ beats the Galaxy S6 in audio performance. The Galaxy S6 has a passable single speaker mounted at the bottom of the device and it just can’t compete with the Sony Xperia Z3+’s audio quality.

The Z3+ also comes with some audio enhancements like ClearAudio+ and Dynamic normalizer, but even without these additions, the dual speaker setup provides for a superior sound experience.

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The Galaxy S6's lone speaker (top) is no match for Sony's dual-speaker setup. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Hardware and performance

The Galaxy S6 comes with Samsung's own Exynos 7420 processor, and the Sony Xperia Z3+ comes with a Qualcomm competitor: the latest issue Snapdragon 810 v2.1.

This version of the Snapdragon 810 is said to run cooler and faster than the throttled original 810 (which can be found on the LG G Flex 2 and HTC One M9). But despite this, the Xperia Z3+ still gets too hot in certain conditions (like when using the camera, as described above).

The Galaxy S6 is one of the strongest and fastest performing Android handsets, but it’s only slightly visibly faster than the than the Z3+.

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The Xperia Z3+ (bottom) has expandable storage which the Galaxy S6 lacks. / © ANDROIDPIT

Realistically, how much does performance differ between modern handsets? If you really want to see it, the Galaxy S6 is faster, but aside from the speed of the camera launch (S6 is fastest), I wouldn't recommend one device over the other in terms of performance (especially if the aforementioned overheating problem is addressed sufficiently).

Both devices house 3 GB of RAM, and are extremely capable. 

The Xperia Z3+ does come with expandable storage however, via a MicroSD slot. As this was one of the areas where Samsung turned many of its long-time Galaxy fans off, if it's an essential feature for you, the Xperia Z3+ memory can be expanded up to 128 GB.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Battery

The Xperia Z3 has been noted for its superior battery life, though it lacked certain features like quick-charging and wireless charging. Once it was pumped up, it would last for more than a day on a single charge.

Despite the slightly smaller battery capacity at 2930 mAh, the Xperia Z3+ has the same great battery life, and this time comes with Qualcomm quick-charge 2.0 functionality to offer around 5 hours battery life in 10 minute charge. 

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A look at the Xperia Z3+ battery page. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy S6 houses a paltry 2550 mAh battery and it depletes rather quickly. That being said, it also houses quick-charge, and can also be charged wirelessly.

Though the Xperia Z3+ is lacking on wireless charging, I’d say it’s still the better choice for battery life. With the bigger battery than the Galaxy S6, and a lower resolution screen, it will give you that sought after two-day battery life. It’s just a shame that neither battery is removable.

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The Galaxy S6 battery page indicates less standby time despite more charge in the tank than the Xperia Z3+. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Software

The Galaxy S6 comes with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and Samsung's TouchWiz UI, while the Xperia Z3+ is running Android 5.0 with Xperia UI.

TouchWiz on the Galaxy S6 is wonderfully customizable and light on bloatware, but sadly the same can’t be said for Sony's Xperia UI. The fact that I'm forced to keep truly vacuous apps such as AR Effect is extremely frustrating.  

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The Xperia Z3+ menu (left) looks a little neater than Samsung's. / © ANDROIDPIT

The new version of TouchWiz houses Samsung's own-brand Themes store so you can personalize the look and feel of the interface. The Sony team also makes themes, available in the Play Store, but there aren't many of them, and they are usually nothing more than vaguely disguised movie promotions. 

Once again, I’d have to favor the Samsung Galaxy S6 in terms of software. I prefer the Xperia Z3+’s menus, but the Xperia UI doesn’t offer the end-user the same value as TouchWiz now does. Samsung did a good job this time around and it’s turned a bit of a corner on the old software front.   

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. Sony Xperia Z3+ technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy S6 Sony Xperia Z3+
Dimensions: 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm 146 x 72 x 6.9 mm
Weight: 138 g 144 g
Battery size: 2550 mAh 2930 mAh
Screen size: 5.1 in 5.2 in
Display technology: AMOLED LCD
Screen: 2560 x 1440 pixels (576 ppi) 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)
Front camera: 5 megapixels 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 16 megapixels 20.7 megapixels
Flashlight: LED LED
Android version: 5.0.2 - Lollipop 5.0 - Lollipop
User interface: TouchWiz Xperia UI
RAM: 3 GB 3 GB
Internal storage: 32 GB
64 GB
128 GB
32 GB
Removable storage: Not available microSD
Chipset: Samsung Exynos 7420 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.1 GHz 2 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Price

The Samsung Galaxy S6 currently comes in at 567.86 USD on for the 32 GB version, and the very recently released Sony Xperia Z3+ can be found for close to 700 USD off-contract for the 32 GB international version also. 

The Z3+ will sold in the US as a Verizon exclusive under the name Sony Xperia Z4V; the price for that version is yet to be revealed. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Conclusion

I’m a firm believer that Sony devices are largely underrated, but this is a win for Samsung. The Xperia Z3+ is so similar to its 2014 counterpart; the faster Snapdragon 810 processor is a significant addition to the Xperia Z3, but from a consumer perspective this means very little.

The performance difference to anyone but the most discerning of smartphone users is intangible, so compared to the Galaxy S6 powerhouse, it's still a step behind. 

Samsung responded to lackluster device sales by producing one of its best handsets ever, an improvement over its predecessor in most areas that consumers wanted. Sony responded by releasing a device which is almost irrelevant. (The one reservation I have with saying that wholeheartedly is that quick-charging is a welcome improvement.)  

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Which device do you think is best? / © ANDROIDPIT

Comparing any device to what might be the best Android phone in the world was going to be tough, but the strengths of the Galaxy S6 really highlights the shortcomings in what seems like a rushed device from Sony.

The Galaxy S6 has a better camera, performance, and software, and though the Z3+ has benefits (such as better battery life, water-resistance, and expandable storage) the strengths just aren't as strong as the Galaxy S6's, and it's (for the time being) more expensive.

We’ll have a full review of the Xperia Z3+ up shortly, in the meantime you can check out the Galaxy S6 review to see why we loved that phone so much.

Do you agree with my thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Sony Xperia Z3+? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Mohamed Khaleel Aug 19, 2015 Link to comment

    I would say its a good review. I am using both the phones. I would say both the phones work perfectly.
    I feel Xperia Z3+ sometimes lag a little.
    There is a very important thing you have missed. Xperia Z3+ is a dual SIM phone with an SD card maximum 128 GB. I can change which SIM data to be used in the SIM management. Dual SIM is very important to me. Previous version have to use slot 1 as the data.
    I love both the phones.
    Thank You.

  • eL banaag Jul 7, 2015 Link to comment

    for the camera, better if you adjust the whitebalance to a warmer tone for Z3+, and for sure, colors will be the same :) hope this makes things clear that any camera settings can be adjusted :)

    • Marvin Lastimado Aug 2, 2015 Link to comment

      I agree with that, all you have to the with the 20.7mp to get more accurate, crisp and realistic photos is to adjust the WB from auto to the sun symbol ans set the iso value to 50-100 to lessen the noise
      for dailight

  • Sourabh Tyagi Jul 5, 2015 Link to comment

    It seems S6 Edge has real manufacturing defect ie while using headset the phone has voice problem & the other person at the receiving end cannot hear your voices. I get it cross checked with different S6 handsets also & the results were same. Even Samsung service centres are clueless about this so far they have replaced all the major parts of my phone but still the problem isn't solved. It surprising for me that I haven't seen any review or feedback over the net...

  • sibongile Jun 26, 2015 Link to comment

    They said sumsung s6 edge screen is solid and cannot brake but mine broke within two months after buying it.

    • Pieter Uys Jun 27, 2015 Link to comment

      Sibo, no one ever claimed the screen cannot break. The claim is that the S6/S6 edge sports Gorilla Glass 4, which is substantially tougher than it's predecessor.
      You do have one screen replacement in the warranty, so use it.

      • sibongile Jun 27, 2015 Link to comment

        Thank you Pieter . Will do that

  • Evan Aktoudianakis Jun 26, 2015 Link to comment

    Dear Scott,
    I loved your review and I must say I found it unbiased and fair, to the point. However I will raise some arguments (with me being an OCD technology junkie).
    I've, as of recent refunded/returned my 4th S6. Though I am not the strictest of consumers, I have certain standards that I refuse to abandon (and which Samsung has, continuously, let me down with).
    My first S6 - completely yellow tinted screen, even on AMOLED mode.
    My second S6 - blown speaker.
    My third S6 - yellow/pink tint all over the screen.
    My fourth S6 - the best of them all, but with a visible red/pink hue line across the top.
    Was the same when I was looking for a 4K TV - I went for the HU7000 by Samsung - great colours, incredible light bleed. My next two JU7000 had dead/stuck picels, and my third one pixels and banding. In the end, and after TOO many returns I found a SONY with minimal bleed/clouding, only noticed in the darkest of conditions.
    Today I am waiting for my Z3+ to arrive from Amazon. Provided there are no dead pixels and light leak is uniformal, I will keep the device. My point -
    Most reviewers praise (and rightly so) Samsung for its innovation and boldness when it comes to design and taking the game a step further. Unfortunately, however, too few of you fail to note that what Samsung promises in theory is not as glamorous in practice. A visit in XDA forums under known issues for S6 will convince you of the fact - Samsung suffers from terrible, terrible QC. Though its ideas are phenomenal, the end result is often limping and while this may not affect every day users, it's a thorn in the side of an expert or dedicated smart-fan.
    I am hoping that my Z3+ will have a better build/performance quality, like my mum's z3+ compact.
    Bottom line - I choose QC and less innovation over a very innovative but poorly constructed device :( I wanted to love the S6, pity that Samsung wouldn't allow me to.
    Great review and all the best !

    • Balal Jun 26, 2015 Link to comment

      i have got my s6 replaced 5 times and my current one is still bad. I've had pink tints/yellow tints, loose home buttons, bad build quality, dead pixels and the back came pre scratched once. I'm on a contract so i can't do anything apart from keep getting it replaced.

    • Vaishnavi Ray Sep 30, 2015 Link to comment

      You are colossal. Nailed it. Just what I wanted to say. Sony gives in amazing quality.
      Dad always told me, good things never come cheap. Same with Sony.

  • Michael D Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    You might want to get your hands on a non pre-production Z3+. The 4k video & AR effects will last a lot longer than 20 seconds (still not great though, I will admit). The Z3+ is also on 5.0.2, just like the S6.

  • usman mug Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    sony selfie camera good

  • Philip N Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    I don't see why you think the Sony phone is more expensive, in the UK you can pick them both up for around the same price

  • Dennis Williams Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Nice review and enjoyed but in some cases you are wrong.but keep it mind iam not a samsung or sony fanboy am just a guy who is using apple devices.first of all in the camera part, in my opinion sony does a great job than the s6 the reasons are samsung adds some colours to their photos, which is kind a bit annoying because my brother has been using xperia z3 about six months i 've seen some photos from xperia z3 which gives more real colours and soft images as a apple fanboy i loved sony camera photos, but i don't say s6 produces bad images im trying to say that s6 dont produces real colour images and the next part is the UI , in the UI part Xperia UI is the clear winner becuase it has a clean UI it don't have some unnecessary features like in the Touch wiz and a another reason is when using samsung UI i feel like that im using some cheap android phones. but consider that these review is written by a apple user . Thank You

  •   6
    Deactivated Account Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    My S6 gets 21 to 24hrs up time daily and 4.5 to 5.5hrs screen on time daily. Sony has nothing on Samsung S6 that's for sure.

    • eL banaag Jul 7, 2015 Link to comment

      Wrong, it's Samsung who lost on battery life.. having QHD + 2550mah.. you only get 21hrs up time daily and 4.5-5.hrs screen on time, while sony can go up to 2 days without charging on average use, and 8-10hrs screen on time.. so S6 can't touch battery life of Sony.. note4 is even better than S6 battery life.. Note4 comes 2nd to Sony Z3c in terms of battery life before any android or ios does.. the only thing that Samsung wins is the QHD, and Auto Software on Camera,, but on manual mode, Sony produces more natural colors.. not too warm and not too cold.. whitebalance is adjustable anyway.. so camera is up to the user's preferences, either you choose boosted colors or more natural colors with white being still white and not yellowish.. so for camera it is a Tie..

      Sony has even better useful features aside from having a good camera such as waterproofing, Hi-Res audio capable, Better Battery Life which is very crucial with to a user.. design is even more elegant than samsung :) price is just about the same...

      • Marvin Lastimado Aug 2, 2015 Link to comment

        i'll stick with my z1 now i know the tricks how to get a great shot and realistic color just by adjusting WB in depends on your environment and set the ISo value to lower when daylight
        like 50-100 but if about a bit dark room set it to 200-400 iso value to get the real pic color and less noise

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