The Samsung Galaxy S5 is official but it’s not the only new Android phone to break out at MWC 2014. The Sony Xperia Z2, successor to the Xperia Z1 is as camera-centric as its predecessor and is set to go head-to-head with the S5, iPhone 5S and the yet to be announced HTC One 2.
Which one should you be breaking your phone contract for or lining up as your next upgrade? We compare the specs to see how the Samsung Galaxy S5 squares up to the Sony Xperia Z2.
Watch our Galaxy S5 video
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2: DesignSamsung Galaxy S5 - 8.1mm thick, Plastic body
Sony Xperia Z2 - 8.2mm thick, one-piece aluminium 'Omnibalance' body
The bad news (at least for us) is that Samsung hasn’t decided to go down the metal body route as many of the rumours had speculated, sticking with the plastic body that gives it a very similar look and feel to the S4. The back now has a perforated effect design to aid grip and there's a plastic cover to conceal the charging port to give the S5 its IP67 certification for dust and water resistance.
Meanwhile, the aluminium framed Z2 doesn't shy too far away from the Z1 with its square-edges, metallic effect sides and toughened glass plates that sit on both the front and back. It’s now just 8.2mm thick and weighs 163g making it heavier than the S5 (145g). Like the Z1, the Z2 is IP58 certified waterproof, so you can go for a dip up to 1.5m deep and take pictures with the dedicated camera button.
In this respect the Z2's water resistance is superior to the Galaxy S5's as Samsung recommends you don't submerge the S5.
As for which is the better design, there isn't a great deal in it. The Z2 has a slight edge, but not enough to make a serious difference.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2: ScreenSamsung Galaxy S5 - 5.2-inch Super AMOLED Full HD screen
Sony Xperia Z2 - 5.2-inch Full HD Trilluminous IPS display
Samsung has not budged from a 5-inch Super AMOLED 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD resolution display but it’s difficult to suggest how they could dramatically improve things. It has included new adaptive display technology that will adjust the brightness depending on your environment, and it'll be interesting to see what impact this has when we test it.
Sony has decided to go bigger with the Z2 moving up to a 5.2-inch display and sticks with a Full HD Trilluminous IPS display. Tapping into the technology from its Bravia TV engine once again it now introduces Live Color LED tech to generate brighter and more colourful images. It's abundantly clear that both smartphones are well equipped for watching high resolution video.
Again, then, the differences are small. AMOLED screens tend to be oversaturated compared to more 'faithful' IPS LCD screens, but AMOLED has better contrast and is one of the keys to Samsung's new Ultra Power Saving Mode -- more on which later.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2: CameraSamsung Galaxy S5 - 16-megapixel main camera and 2.0-megapixel front-facing camera
Sony Xperia Z2 - 20.7-megapixel main camera and 2.2-megapixel front-facing camera
The Galaxy S5 jumps from a 13-megapixel up to a 16-megapixel main camera that now offers auto focusing at a super-quick 0.3 seconds and a new Selective Focus mode, so you can shoot photos then change the focal point later. It’s similar tech that is already supported by the Nokia Lumia 1020. Other notable features include a new HDR Live mode to balance the light and dark portions of photographs.
The Z2 matches the camera credentials of the Z1 using the same 20.7-megapixel main Exmor RS camera with Sony G Lens and Sony Bionz for mobile image processing engine on board. It also comes with an improved 2.2 megapixel front-facing camera and new custom camera modes like TimeShift video to take slow motion footage. The biggest news for both is that the Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z2 will be able to record 4K video if you want to shoot ultra high definition footage and have a 4K TV or laptop to play it back on.
We need more time with both to make a judgement here, but Samsung's new Hybrid AF system (as found in most DSLRs) is the most intruiging addition.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2: CPU, RAM and Battery LifeSamsung Galaxy S5 - 2.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 2800mAh battery
Sony Xperia Z2 - 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, 3GB RAM, 3,200mAh battery
The S5 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with a new more clutter-free TouchWiz UI where icons are larger and more visible. Powering performance is an updated 2.5GHz processor, a Snapdragon 801 as also featured in the Z2, with 2GB RAM of take care of multitasking. It will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions and microSD card support up to 64GB. The battery has been given a minor upgrade but the most intriguing feature is the new Ultra Power Saving mode that turns your display black and white and can last for 24 hours in standby on 10% battery. Due to the way LCD and AMOLED work, making a colour screen 'greyscale' wouldn't have a huge impact on battery life, whereas it can save power on an AMOLED.
Sony's X2 runs on a lightly skinned version of Android 4.4 KitKat and makes some minor improvements in the power and battery departments. The Z2 moves up to the newly announced Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz with an extra 1GB of RAM more than the Z1. It features the same Adreno 330 GPU and Krait 400 cores as the Xperia Z1. There's also 16GB of internal storage with microSD card support giving you plenty of additional space. The Z1 was no slouch in the battery department so with a bigger 3,200mAh battery and the great battery stamina mode you can expect to get even more life out of the Z2.
We need to do some proper testing here, but it'll be interesting to see whether Samsung's Ultra Power Saving mode makes up for the fact the Z2 has a higher capacity battery.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2: New featuresSamsung Galaxy S5 - Fingerprint sensor and heart rate monitor
Sony Xperia Z2 - Not a lot
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so Samsung has joined Apple by including a fingerprint sensor embedded into its home button. You’ll need to swipe your fingerprint eight times to memorise the digits. Unlike the Touch ID, which has no third-party app support yet, the S5 equivalent can be used to authorise payments via PayPal.
Samsung has been making a big play on health and fitness and with the S5 is introducing S Health 3.0. As well as a built-in pedometer there’s also a new heart rate monitor at the rear of the device that like the Withings Pulse scans your index finger and to give you an idea of how hard you are working. Other notable features include a new Download Booster feature that downloads large files using Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity simultaneously for faster connection speeds.
Camera updates aside, the Z2 doesn't offer much that hasn't already appeared in the Z1. So it still includes NFC for one-touch sharing, screen mirroring and 4G LTE support with EE and Vodafone already confirming that it’s carrying the new Sony smartphone on its 4G network. The Z2 does, however, included stereo speakers, which could give it edge over the S5's mono speaker.
The Xperia Z2 feels like little more than a light upgrade from the Z1, which launched just six months ago. The screen is slightly improved and there are one or two extras like the stereo speakers, but the differences aren't huge. It's clearly a very good phone, though, even if it isn't worth upgrading from a recent phone.
As for the Galaxy S5, it's a very promising phone with some interesting features. Its Hybrid AF system on the camera is arguably one of the more innovative developments of late, one that could give it an edge in challenging low-light conditions.
It's too tight to pick between these two phones just yet, however. On paper the Z2 wins in some ways, the S5 in others. We need to test them before offering a definitive verdict.
Next, read our Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S comparison