If the Sony Xperia Z met the Google Nexus 4 in a fight, who would win the day? We could give the first phone a de-icing spray, the second a plastic scraper, and let them race to clear a frozen windshield the quickest. Or we could let the specs decide over 10 tech rounds? The specs, you say? Oh go on then…
Round #1 – Connectivity
Good wireless connectivity is vital and both phones pack some of the best technology you can find. The Xperia Z, for example, features NFC, 3G/HSDPA, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP. It also has 4G (on networks that support that particular ‘whoosh’). In comparison, the Nexus 4 features NFC, 3G/HSDPA, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi And Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP. There’s no 4G in this model, however. Boo.
Score: +1 to Xperia Z (1-0)
Round #2 – Size & Weight
The Xperia Z is slightly skinnier than the Nexus 4 with a machined chassis that’s only 7.9mm thick. The Xperia Z is also wider, measuring 71.0mm to the Nexus 4′s 68.7mm. Measure the weight of the duo and the Xperia Z tips the scales at 146g, while the Google Nexus 4 ducks in at 139g. The Google phone takes the round and ties the scores.
Score: +1 to Nexus 4 (1-1)
Round #3 – Cameras
The Xperia Z’s camera boasts a whopping 13.0 Megapixel resolution. Frills include autofocus, LED flash, face/smile detection, touch focus, image stabilization and 1080p video recording. There’s also a 2.2MP front-facing camera for video chat/Skype.
Yes, we know that raw megapixels isn’t an accurate indication of camera goodness. But even with autofocus, an LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection and 1080p video recording, the Nexus 4′s 8.0 MP camera just isn’t as good. It’s not the only camera. Another 1.3 Megapixel lens located on the front is ideal for video calls.
Score: +1 to Xperia Z (2-1)
Round #4 – Screen/keyboard
The Xperia Z features a stunning 5.0-inch touch-sensitive Reality display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The screen has 2073600 pixels in total, giving it a rating of 440.6 pixels per inch – a brilliant number.
Nexus 4′s touch-sensitive True HD IPS display is slightly less roomy – it measures 4.7 inches. Unfortunately, it boasts a lower screen resolution than the Xperia Z, although it’s still a creditable 768 x 1280 pixels. Do the math again and the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is a strong 317.66. At the end of this round, the Xperia Z has edged into an early lead?
Score: +1 to Xperia Z (3-1)
Round #5 – Processor
Can the Nexus 4 fight back? It’s processor vs processor next. Under the hood, the Xperia Z boasts a 1.5GHz quad core Qualcomm APQ8064 processor. Crack open the Nexus 4 and you’ll find the same Snapdragon chip, also rated at 1.5GHz.
Score: +1 to both phones (4-2)
Round #6 – Software
The Nexus 4 runs a pure version of Android 4.2, while the Xperia Z uses Android 4.1.2, skinned with Sony’s Timescape UI. We prefer the undiluted experience (below), which should make the Nexus 4 first on the list when it comes to Android upgrades.
Score: +1 to Nexus 4 (4-3)
Round #7 – Applications
This round is all about apps. Here, both phones can download new apps from Google Play, so this round finishes in a tie.
Score: +1 to both phones (5-4)
Round #8 – Storage
Onto storage. Which phone will take this round? The Xperia Z kicks off proceedings with 16GB of internal storage. The Nexus 4 offers you a choice of different storage capacities, namely 8 or 16GB. Take the top-end options and both come packing the same amount of memory.
Of course, that’s not the end of the storage story. The Xperia Z also features a microSD slot, which supports cards up to 32GB. This will boost the overall storage to a roomier 48GB. Google didn’t build an expansion slot into the Nexus 4, so there’s no way to extend its default capacity. Shame.
Score: +1 to Xperia Z (6-4)
Round #9 – Battery life
Fully powered-up, the Xperia Z weighs in with 14.0 hours of talk time; the Nexus 4 in comparison boasts 15.0 hours of talk time. In terms of standby times, Sony’s phone can last 530 hours, while Google’s model boasts 390 hours. Neither phone wins the round this time.
Score: +1 to both phones (7-5)
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
Onto the final round and the Xperia Z also includes GPS/A-GPS, NFC, accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, stereo FM radio, TV-out, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. And did we mention that the Xperia Z is also waterproof to a depth of one metre? We didn’t? Well, it is.
In comparison, the Nexus 4 features GPS/A-GPS, NFC, an accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, barometer, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot feature and TV-out connection.
Score: +1 to Xperia Z (9-5)
BPF Verdict: The Sony Xperia Z wins!
The Sony Xperia Z is proving to be a tough phone to beat and it smacks down the Google Nexus 4 in two key areas – storage and screen. Crucially, the Xperia Z possesses an amazing full HD display that represents the current pinnacle of display technology. The PPI of 440.6 (441 if we round it up) is so much better than the screen on the iPhone 5, it’s almost embarrassing for Apple. And despite the fact that the Xperia Z has a slightly bigger screen, it’s also the thinner and prettier of the two phones. Sony has a winner on its hands with this one.
See if these two phones make our Top 20 Best Smartphones list…