Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Are you wondering whether you should buy Samsung Galaxy S7 or Sony Xperia Z5 Compact? Do you feel overwhelmed by tons of different reviews and opinions about these two phones? Don't be!

I have been an owner of both Samsung Galaxy S7 and Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, so I will tell you all you need to know about these phones from the perspective of a real (and a bit demanding) user. You will make the right choice. Let's begin!

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Practical Comparison

As you have probably noticed, there are tons of in-depth reviews where every tiny detail and technical specification of each of these two phones is analyzed and discussed.

I know from my own experience that very often the knowledge we get from these reviews doesn't have much to do with the everyday practical use of our phones.

In this short comparison I will only analyze the most useful and practical aspects of both Samsung Galaxy S7 and Sony Xperia Z5 because it were the practical and everyday aspects that made me change my mind and switch from Z5 Compact to S7 which is my current phone (and will be for a long time).

Unless you need to buy a phone that meets some specific technical requirements or has the one single feature you are looking for, it will be mainly practical aspects that will decide about your satisfaction with your phone. Let's get into it!

Technical Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S7 is more than half a year younger (and newer) than Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, which gives it a small technical advantage. However, we should not forget that we are talking here about two flagship phones which, by default, are aimed at the most demanding users.

Here are the most important  specifications together with my own comments:

Samsung Galaxy S7

Release date: March (2016)
Dimensions: 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm (5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 in)
Weight: 152 g (5.36 oz)
Water & shock resistance:  IP68 certified - dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
Display type and size: Super AMOLED, 5.1 inches (~72.1% screen-to-body ratio)
Display resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels (~577 ppi pixel density)
OS: Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820
Memory: microSD (up to 256 GB),  32/64 GB of internal memory, 4 GB RAM
Primary camera: 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, 1/2.5" sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size
Secondary camera: 5 MP, f/1.7, 22mm, dual video call, Auto HDR
Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@240fps, HDR, dual-video rec.
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
Key features: Fingerprint, Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)

COMMENT: This phone is a bit bigger, a big heavier, a big quicker, has a bit bigger screen, a bit better camera and better screen... and a bigger price.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Release date: October (2015)
Dimensions: 127 x 65 x 8.9 mm (5.0 x 2.56 x 0.35 in)
Weight:  138 g (4.87 oz)
Water & shock resistance: IP68 certified - dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
Display type and size: IPS LCD
Display resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels (~323 ppi pixel density)
OS: Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop), v6.0 (Marshmallow), planned upgrade to v7.0 (Nougat)
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810
Memory: microSD (up to 256 GB),  32/64 GB of internal memory, 2 GB RAM
Primary camera: 23 MP, f/2.0, 24mm, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, 1/2.3" sensor size
Secondary camera: 5.1 MP, f/2.4, 1080p, HDR
Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps, HDR
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 2700 mAh battery
Key features: Fingerprint, Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)

COMMENT: This phone, as its name suggest, is a compact version of one of the flagship Sony phones. It's almost all of the best specs packed in a small 4.6 box you can take anywhere in your pocket.

If you are interested in full technical specifications of both of these phones, take a look at GSMARENA: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and Samsung Galaxy S7.

Looks, Size & Display

Looks is a matter of taste, but I would say that Samsung is more "elegant" in its style while Sony is more "sporty" and colorful. Nevertheless, both phones look solid and nice.

Samsung is a big bigger so it's a bit less comfortable to operate it with just one hand (while it was quite easy to do so with Sony). For me the size and dimensions of Sony were just ideal for putting the phone in the pocket while, for example, running. I obviously got used to the dimensions of Samsung Galaxy S7 but Sony was more, let's say, "portable".

However, a slightly bigger display (5.1  in comparison to 4.6) of Samsung Galaxy S7 compensates for its overall greater dimensions. The display of this size is just ideal, i.e. you can easily browse the web, chat with friends and even read e-books quite comfortably. In the case of Sony, the display of 4.6 sometimes proved too small, especially during longer conversations on Facebook Messenger where I had to scroll too much and too often.

You will easily see the difference in resolution (~323 ppi pixel density in Sony and ~577 in Samsung) , which means that the display of Samsung is simply beautiful and the one of Sony is OK (or quite good).

Performance

Both phones have high technical specifications and one of the latest CPU units. You won't find much difference in how quickly they respond and operate on a daily basis unless you really want your phone to do multitasking.

The main difference between these two phones is the amount of RAM which is 4 GB in Samsung and only 2 GB in Sony. Unfortunately, I felt that difference in RAM very hard.

My Sony Xperia Z5 Compact kept crashing and overheating when it was paired with my car over Bluetooth (and playing music through my car's head unit) and I wanted to use two navigation apps simultaneously. Restoring factory settings and optimizing apps didn't help, so I decided to buy Samsung Galaxy S7 in which the problem never occurred.

Moreover, Sony likes to overheat a lot. As far as I remember, my Sony was always hot when its screen was on for a longer time. This is just something you have to get used to if you want to have a Sony phone. My Samsung also happens to overheat but this is much less frequent even though both phones have a Snapgragon (which is famous for overheating).

Camera

Even though the camera of Sony has more megapixels, it's Samsung Galaxy S7 that is a clear winner in this category and there is no doubt about that. Galaxy S7 has probably the best camera on the market right now and it can easily replace a stand-alone camera (unless you are a professional photographer).

The biggest difference in quality of photos can be seen in worse light conditions where Sony clearly underperforms. Both phones are capable of recording 4K videos which are of really great quality (and weight).

Below are two example photos taken by these two phones (click to see the photo in full size):

Samsung Galaxy S7

Two photos taken in very good light conditions.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

These two photos have also been taken in ideal light conditions but are of clearly worse quality (even though they resolution and weight are  bigger).

If you want to see more examples of photos taken with both of these phones, read these reviews on GSMARENA: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and Samsung Galaxy S7.

Durability, Water and Shock Resistance

Both phones have Gorilla Glass and are IP68 certified, which means that they are scratch and water resistant. However, even though Sony is IP68 certified, its manufacturer does not recommend putting the phone in water on purpose. I put both of these phones in water and accidentally dropped them a few times. Here is what happened to them:

  • My Sony Xperia Z5 Compact back glass broke entirely when I dropped it accidentally. Unfortunately, the phone was without any protective cover at that time.
  • The audio jack of my Sony stopped to work properly after putting the phone in water. It later failed to recognize the headset or recognized it even if it hadn't been plugged it. It wasn't a problem for me because I mainly use a Bluetooth headset. Anyway, this shouldn't happen to a IP68 certified phone.
  • I put my Samsung in water multiple times and nothing happened to it. :)
  • I accidentally dropped my Samsung (and it also had no protective cover) and the edge of its screen broke. The drop was only from 15 cm. :(

Battery Life

Sony has a smaller battery and a smaller screen than Samsung, which makes the battery life of both phones comparable. In many tests I found on the Internet Sony performs a bit better than Samsung (86h endurance rating in comparison to 80h).

In practical everyday use the battery life of these phones is very similar (because they both have the Doze mode). If you use your phone a lot (Wi-Fi, mobile data, browse the Internet etc.), it will last one day. If you use it mainly for making calls, texting and occasionally go online, it will last even up to 3 days.

Fingerprint sensor

Both phones are quipped with a fingerprint sensor and in both cases it works great. Samsung decided to put its fingerprint sensor under the home button and Sony placed it on the edge of the phone under the power button. Both placements are comfortable and I cannot really say which one is better.

If you are really into security and want to secure your phone with a fingerprint, both Sony and Samsung will meet your expectations.

Final Words

Both Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and Samsung GalaxyS7 are flagship phones so we cannot really complain about them much. Gone are the days when Android phones kept crashing or rebooting on their own. Both of these phones are great and will make their owner happy.

However, in the case of the most demanding users (gamers especially), Samsung Galaxy S7 may be a better choice because it has more RAM and clearly a better camera. Sony, on the other hand, will also offer great technical specs but in the "light" and cheaper version.

If you are interested in buying one of these phones and have already made you mind, these are the links to the phones I have bought: Samsung Galaxy S7 and Sony Xperia Z5 Compact.


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