Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. Sony Xperia ZL – Shootout!

by Jerry D on January 26, 2013

Time for a fight. In the blue corner we have the Samsung Galaxy S3, the reigning smartphone champion (at least at the time this post is being written). Note the quad core Exynos processor. Admire the 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display. And in the red corner, meet the Sony Xperia ZL – all the high-tech loveliness of the Sony Xperia Z, but not as rugged. Who wins? Read on and find out…

XXXX versus graphic Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. Sony Xperia ZL   Shootout! XXXX

Round #1 – Connectivity

The Galaxy S3 is superbly-specced and includes NFC, 3G/HSDPA, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP and EDR connectivity. It can also accelerate to 4G speeds. Sony’s Xperia ZL comes with NFC, 3G/HSDPA, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP as standard. It also enjoys a 4G speed boost.

Score: +1 to both phones (1-1)

Round #2 – Size & Weight

How pocket-friendly are our two phones? The Galaxy S3 and the Xperia ZL measure 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm and 131.6 x 69.3 x 9.8mm respectively. The Xperia ZL is 1.2mm fatter than the Galaxy S3. Checking on weight, the Galaxy S3 weighs 133g, while the Sony Xperia ZL is a more hefty 151g.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S3 (2-1)


Round #3 – Cameras

As for photo/video prowess, the Galaxy S3′s 8.0 MP lens features autofocus, an LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, image stabilization and 1080p video recording. There’s also a front-facing 1.9MP camera for video calls.

The Xperia ZL boasts superior technology – a 13.0 Megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, geo-tagging and 1080p video recording. Note the maximum resolution of pixels. A extra camera on the front is designed for video calling. The resolution is 2.0MP.

Score: +1 to Xperia ZL (2-2)

Round #4 – Screen/keyboard

Samsung has built the Galaxy S3 with a lovely 4.8-inch touch-sensitive display. The Super AMOLED screen has a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and an average overall pixel count of 921600. So the Galaxy S3 has a pixels per inch rating of 306.042. That’s pretty good. At least until you see what the Xperia ZL has to offer…

In comparison, the Xperia ZL’s touch-sensitive Reality screen is 5.0 inches wide. Compared to its rival, the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is a top-end 440.6. That’s right, 440.6. Amazing stuff.

Score: +1 to Xperia ZL (2-3)

Round #5 – Processor

In terms of CPU prowess, the Galaxy S3′s engine is a powerful 1.4GHz quad core Exynos 4412 chip; while the Xperia ZL relies on a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8064 processor, rated at 1.5GHz. Both pack a good punch and it’s difficult to separate them.

Score: +1 to both phones (3-4)

Round #6 – Software

Android 4.0.4 comes installed on the Galaxy S3, while the Xperia ZL comes with Android 4.1.2.

Score: +1 to both phones (4-5)

Round #7 – Applications

In this round, we compare the number of apps available for each phone. As far as this fight is concerned, both the Galaxy S3 and the Xperia ZL connect to Google Play. Consequently, this round ends in a tie.

Score: +1 to both phones (5-6)

Round #8 – Storage

Which handset wins the storage battle? The Samsung Galaxy S3 includes 16, 32 or 64GB of internal storage. The Sony Xperia ZL only features one option, stacked with 16GB of storage. Here, the 64GB in the high-end Galaxy S3 trumps the 16GB capacity of the Xperia ZL. Of course, the Galaxy S3 also has a microSD interface, which can extend the overall capacity to a whopping 128GB. The Xperia ZL’s overall capacity can also be increased to 80GB via its own microSD memory card slot.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S3 (6-6)

Round #9 – Battery life

Measuring battery life isn’t an exact science. But Samsung boasts 12.0 hours of talktime for its Galaxy S3, versus 10.0 hours for the Xperia ZL. The standby times are 790 hours for the Galaxy S3 and 500 hours for the Xperia ZL. A win for the Galaxy S3 in this round. Not by much though.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S3 (7-6)


Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.

Round #10 – Extras

Moving into the final round, the Galaxy S3 has a slender lead. In terms of extras, Samsung’s phone also includes GPS/A-GPS, NFC, an accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, barometer, stereo FM radio with RDS, S-Voice, TV-out and Smart Stay eye-tracking.

The Xperia ZL is also crammed with goodies, specifically GPS/A-GPS, NFC, an accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, stereo FM radio, TV-out, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 image processing and an IR remote. Sadly, there’s none of the waterproofing that features on the Sony Xperia Z.

Score: +1 to both phones (8-7)

BPF Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S3 wins!

Here’s how this fight played out… The Galaxy S3 just takes the fight with a score of 8-7, offering buyers (like you) the most memory as standard and a thinner, lighter build. That said, the Sony Xperia ZL has a better screen and matches the Galaxy S3 feature-for-feature elsewhere. We reckon you’ll be happy with either one of these super-smartphones.

See if these two phones make our Top 20 Best Smartphones list…

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