2017’s Biggest Smartphone Battle – Galaxy S8 Plus vs Xperia XZ Premium
It’s been a long time coming. What I have here are the 2017 flagships of the two large S’s of the smartphone industry – Samsung’s and Sony’s. From here on, I’ll be having six categories so that a draw is possible.
See also other comparisons and review
- Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Review
- Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review
- Google Pixel vs Nexus 6P vs Huawei P9 Camera Comparison
Design-wise, each caters to a specific taste. Sure, both do look sleek and futuristic in their own right, along with the responsibility of being flagships. However, the Xperia XZ Premium’s language looks archaic. Disregard the mirror finish for a bit and notice the shape. Sony has barely changed the general Xperia flagship shape since Z1.
The S8+’s sleek shaping and new curves are definitely a huge game changer, opening up avenues for future releases.
Pixel-per-pixel, the Xperia XZ Premium wins with over 150% of S8+’s pixel density and almost twice of the S8+’s WQHD+ resolution. Then again, density and resolution aren’t everything. Compared to the XZ Premium’s seemingly out-of-place 4K HDR display, the S8+’s display ratio and shape blend perfectly with the body, effectively enhancing immersion.
As for the Xperia XZ Premium’s display, the 4K panel feels more of a gimmick than an actual useful upgrade over the same old 1080p or 1440p panels. It shines when 4K video content is played or streamed to it, but other than that, it’ll look like your regular 1080p display during regular use.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8+
Same with the display, image resolution is one factor but shouldn’t be the deciding factor. I left the settings as they are in their respective auto settings.
With ample lighting, both phones stand equal and show the same clarity, even when zoomed in. Results are still similar in dim lighting. However, going for a low-light shot resulted with the Xperia XZ Premium producing a lot of less-refined output compared to the Galaxy S8+’s.
Speed-wise, XZ Premium wins, thanks to its laser-assisted autofocus compared to the S8+’s phase detection autofocus.
Moving onto video recording capabilities, both are 4K-capable and with OIS for the S8+ and a gyro-based EIS for the XZ Premium. With both still producing identical results, I find it hard to pick one over another.
Selfies are identical on both in decent lighting but the S8+ takes the cake in low lighting. For the S8+, 1440p video recording is the ceiling compared to the XZ Premium’s 1080p cap.
As for extra features (besides the usual), the XZ Premium is well-suited for sports enthusiasts because of its super slow motion capability and predictive capture.
The S8+ I have here is the EMEA version which rocks the Exynos 8895 instead of the same Snapdragon 835 found in the XZ Premium. Specs speak for themselves on paper, but it is up to the manufacturers themselves as to how well they would use these components.
So, instead of doing a vis-a-vis on-paper comparison, I’ll be basing my decision for this category based purely on average benchmark scores and in-game performance. Do note that even if the Xperia XZ Premium is equipped with a 4K display, games still run on 1080p and is then upscaled to 4K to fit the screen. On the S8+’s case, I turned down the resolution to FHD+ or 2220×1080 to make the resolution delta minimal.
In AnTuTu, the S8+ leads by over 10,000 points. As for CPU-focused benchmarks like Geekbench, the Galaxy S8+ leads in single-core performance. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium then overtakes the S8+ by just 8 points in a multi-core scenario. What surprised me were the PCMark Work 2.0 averages. The S8+ tests resulted in 5459.2 points in average while the Xperia XZ Premium gave a solid 6618.
During regular use, the XZ Premium is certainly more responsive and FPS drops do not happen as opposed to the S8+’s inability to handle multitasking properly.
And as for gaming, the XZ Premium takes the cake too. It’s upscaled 4K, the difference is barely noticeable, but the consistency, performance, and lesser heat output is a big check mark for me.
In terms of capacity, the Galaxy S8+ leads by having 270mAh more of capacity. But then again, this isn’t an on-paper comparison.
On a regular day, I always keep my GPS and either WiFi or Mobile Data on. I open Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram maybe once every 30 minutes and browse for a minute or two. Doing this for 5 days gave me an average of 10hrs 28mins of on-screen time for the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium netted 8hrs 42mins.
The Xperia XZ Premium’s 4K HDR10-compliant display definitely drags the battery life down, but considering that it’s running 4K display is nothing short of impressive with those numbers. Then again, we’re after for longevity.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8+
Volume-wise, the Xperia XZ Premium takes the lead. However, being someone with sensitive ears, I’d choose the Galaxy S8+’s clarity over the Xperia XZ Premium’s loudness.
The Xperia XZ Premium’s stereo speakers are definitely user-friendly, allowing for a naturally-shaped output. However, bottom-mounted speakers such as the S8+’s performs similarly on a front-face test, that is, with a hand.
Tallying the results, the result is 3-2 in favor of..
Samsung’s Galaxy S8+!
|SPECS, PH Price||Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus||Sony Xperia XZ Premium|
|Display||6.2-inch QHD Super AMOLED, 529ppi||5.46-inch 4K UHD IPS LCD, HDR mode, 807ppi|
|Size||8.1mm thick, 173g weight||7.9mm thick, 195g|
|Design||Metal and Glass unibody, edge-to-edge, Gorilla Glass 5, IP68 Waterproof||Alkalido Metal, Gorilla Glass 5, IP68 waterproof|
|Colors||Gold, Black, Silver, Orchid Gray||Chrome, Black, Pink|
|Chipset||Exynos 8895 octa-core, Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835|
|Graphics||Adreno 540||Adreno 540|
|Memory||4/6 GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, microSD||4GB RAM, 64GB storage|
|Main Camera||12 MP f/1.7, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, HDR||19MP f/2.0, EIS gyro, predictive autofocus, laser focuse, LED flash, HDR|
|Multimedia||4K video, 1080p @ 30fps||4K video, 1080p @ 30fps, 720p @ 960fps|
|Front camera||8MP f/1.7, HDR||13MP f/2.0|
|Connectivity||4G LTE-A, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, Iris Scanner, Facial recognition, Dual SIM||4G LTE-A, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, Fingerprint scanner, Dual SIM|
|OS||Android 7.1 Nougat||Android 7.1 Nougat|
|Battery||3500 mAh, Quick Charging 2.0||3230 mAh, Quick Charging 3.0|
|Ports||USB Type-C 3.1, 3.5mm audio||USB Type-C 3.1, 3.5mm audio|
|Official Price||P44,990 SRP||P44,990 SRP|
|Availability date||May 2017||June 2017|
|Where to buy||Samsung stores, Online||Sony stores, Online market|