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iPhone 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3: The latest flagship super phones battle it out

It’s become commonplace for Apple to send the world in to a craze each September with a big announcement, and this year proved no different. The rumors about what would be revealed had spread for months, and excitement was high – even for Apple – in the run up to the event. As Tim Cook and his various friends took to the stage, Apple quickly revealed not one, but two new iPhone models, and also its first foray in to the smartwatch game with the Apple Watch.

Related: Apple unveils its Apple Watch, set for release in early 2015 

So with the dust now settled, and Apple’s newest iPhone fully revealed, it’s only natural we give its specs a run through a gauntlet of the best smartphones on the market. Next up? Sony’s own marquee smartphone, the Xperia Z3. With the Z3 (a minor upgrade over its impressive Z2), Sony throws its hat in the ring for smartphone supremacy and gives the iPhone a serious run for its money.

Can’t decide which of these two company’s flagships is for you? To help make the decision a little easier, we’ve compared the new iPhone 6 side-by-side to Sony’s Xperia Z3 and highlighted what makes each phone especially unique. What follows is our no holds barred spec showdown between the two.

iPhone 6

iphone6-box-space-gray-2014

Xperia Z3

XperiaZ3

Size 5.44 x 2.64 x .27 inches 5.75 x 2.83 x .29 inches
Weight 4.55 ounces 5.36 ounces
Screen 4.7-inch 5.2 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
Resolution 1334 x 750 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels
OS iOS 8 Android OS 4.4.4 KitKat
Internal Storage 16, 64, 128 GB 16, 32 GB
Expandable Storage N/A >microSD, up to 128 GB
SD Card Slot No Yes
Processor Apple 64-bit, A8 chip Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 Snapdragon 801
RAM 1 GB 3GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, USB 2.0, HSPA+, NFC
Gesture Controls Yes Yes
Camera Front 1.2MP, Rear 8MP Front 2.2MP, Rear 20.7MP
Video 1080P HD 1080P HD
Bluetooth 4.0 Yes, version 4.0
NFC Yes Yes
Water Resistant Yes Yes, IP 68 rated
Battery TBA, 14 hours of talk time 3100mAh, 16 hours of talk time
Charger Lightning Micro USB
Marketplace Apple App Store Google Play Store
Color Options Silver, Gold, Space Gray Black, White, Copper, Silver Green
Avg. Price $650, $200 with a two-year contract Approx. $850
Availability September 19 on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile Fall 2014 on Sony, T-Mobile
DT Review 4.5 out of 5 stars Hands-on

Power and productivity

Both phones pack top of the line processors, with the Z3 touting the Snapdragon 801 and the iPhone 6 rolling out its new Apple A8 chip. The iPhone has Apple’s new iOS 8 operating system installed, while the Xperia Z3 comes with Android 4.4 KitKat. The iPhone 6 brings back the Touch ID from the iPhone 5s as well as the three-axis gyro, accelerometer, and proximity sensor. Apple added a new barometer to the A8 chip, which has the ability to sense air pressure and keeps track of your elevation.

Where the Z3 leaves the iPhone 6 in the dust is with its 3GB of RAM, compared to just the 1GB of RAM in Apple’s phone. Both feature 4G LTE access, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity, and use Bluetooth 4.0. On the audio side, the Xperia Z3 will play Hi-Res Audio files, plus for gamers, the PlayStation Remote Play feature due later this year will make the phone even more tempting.

As is always the trend with Apple phones, the iPhone 6 does not feature an external SD card slot, and comes standard in 16, 64, 128GB models. Sony’s Z3 comes standard in a 16 or 32GB model while allowing for up to 128GB of external storage via an SD card.

Related: Apple announces its new Apple Pay feature

Apple included NFC technology in the new iPhone 6 — already standard in the Z3 — and also introduced its new Apple Pay feature which allows for convenient and secure payments with any credit cards you own. Both of these phone are at the top of their respective classes, though those of you who prefer more RAM or more storage may want to veer towards Sony’s Xperia Z3.

Winner: Xperia Z3

Design

Though the iPhone 6 touts bigger dimensions than its predecessor, the Sony Xperia Z3 still trumps it in every specification category. Coming in at 5.44-inches tall, the iPhone 6 features an upgraded 4.7-inch LED-backlit screen with 1334 by 750 pixel resolution. The Z3 on the other hand, measures 5.75-inches and packs a 5.2-inch LCD screen with 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution.

Apple has revamped the overall design of the iPhone, and claims it’s more comfortable to use with one hand. One noticeable change is Apple included another line of applications on the home screen, upping the quantity from five on the iPhone 5c, to six on its new iPhone 6. Sony’s Xperia Z3 uses Android 4.4, but has a custom user interface over the top, although it’s not especially intrusive. Delve a little deeper, and Sony’s Walkman app has been improved, and there are several fun photo apps with which you can brighten up your pictures.

Sony saves its ace card for last – the Xperia Z3 is water and dust resistant, and has an impressive IP65/IP68 rating, making it good for a 30 minute dunking down to 1.5-meters. The iPhone 6, on the other hand, isn’t water proof at all.

Winner: Xperia Z3

Camera

Yet another category in which the Xperia Z3 towers over Apple’s new iPhone 6 is in regards to the phone’s camera. While the iPhone 6 features an upgraded 8 megapixel rear camera, and 2.1 megapixel front facing camera, the Z3 uses an impressive 20.7 megapixel rear camera to go along with its 2.2 megapixel front facing camera. At 20.7 megapixels, the Z3’s rear facing camera is as good as they get on smartphone’s today and puts the Z3 in a class all its own. The Xperia Z3 can even shoot 4K quality video. Apple again included slo-mo video and its Burst Mode camera feature, though these technologies hardly make up for the lack in megapixels compared to Sony’s flagship.

Winner: Xperia Z3

Price

Among Apple’s big announcements during its press conference was the breakdown in price for its various iPhone 6 models. Starting out at just $199.99 (with a 2-year agreement of course), is a 16GB iPhone 6, then $299.99 for a 64GB, and $399.99 for the massive 128GB model. Sony’s Xperia Z3 however, currently doesn’t have a confirmed price for the U.S., though early speculation has it hovering around the $600 price range for an unlocked phone. It’s assumed you’ll have the ability to pick up the phone for a bit cheaper if it’s also tied to a two-year agreement through the lone announced carrier, T-Mobile.

Winner: iPhone 6

Conclusion

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the Apple frenzy — especially in the aftermath of its big press conference — but Sony has quietly put together an impressive smartphone worthy of toppling the mighty iPhone. With a water resistant body, more RAM, the ability to expand the phone’s storage with an SD card, and an incredible advantage in terms of its camera’s megapixels, the Xperia Z3 stands tall above Apple’s new flagship. Of course, if you have your life integrated with everything from Macs to iPhones, the entire Apple eco-system is enough to sway you to purchasing a new iPhone 6. There’s no denying the iPhone’s ease of use, as well as its familiarity at this point, and the iPhone 6 is definitely the best version we’ve ever seen.

Related: iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus.

Related: iPhone 6 vs. Galaxy S5.

Related: iPhone 6 vs. Fire Phone.