Sony’s flagship Xperias go head to head with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac.

Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac.

Sony added the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact to its smartphone lineup at IFA last week, and they’re the best devices the Japanese company has built so far. But are they good enough to take on Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? Can a water-resistant form factor and PS4 Remote Play beat Touch ID and Cupertino’s speedy A8 processor?

Find out how the latest flagships from Apple and Sony stack up against each other below.

Please scroll the table left and right to see all of its contents

iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus Xperia Z3 Xperia Z3 Compact
OS iOS 8 iOS 8 Android 4.4.4 Android 4.4.4
Display 4.7-in (1334×750) 5.5-in (1920×1080) 5.2-in (1920×1080) 4.6-in (1280×720)
PPI 326 401 424 319
CPU 2.4GHz A8 (64-bit) 2.4GHz A8 (64-bit) 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801
Storage 16GB, 64GB, 128GB 16GB, 64GB, 128GB 16GB, 32GB + microSD (up to 128GB) 16GB + microSD (up to 128GB)
Cameras 8MP (rear) + 1.2MP (front) 8MP (rear) + 1.2MP (front) 20.7MP (rear) + 2.2MP (front) 20.7 (rear) + 2.2MP (front)
Fingerprint Yes Yes No No
Other NFC, M8 motion processor, barometer NFC, M8 motion processor, barometer Dust- and water-resistant, NFC Dust- and water-resistant, NFC
Size 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm 146 x 72 x 7.3mm 127.3 x 64.9 x 8.6mm
Weight 129g 172g 152g 129g
Battery TBC TBC 3,100mAh 2,600mAh

Sony’s new flagships are slightly better than their predecessors, but only slightly. They do not have Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 805 like the Galaxy Note 4 or a Quad HD display like the LG G3, and so they’re not the most spectacular Android devices on the market anymore. They don’t look particularly exciting up against the new iPhones, either.

Apple's new iPhone camera has Focus Pixel for super speedy autofocus. Photo: Apple.

Apple’s new iPhone camera has “Focus Pixels” for super speedy autofocus. Photo: Apple.

While the Z3 has a slightly better pixel-per-inch count that the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s not a difference the naked eye would notice; the same can be said for the difference between the smaller iPhone 6 and the Z3 Compact. As for power, the iPhones’ A8 processors are likely to be snappier than the Snapdragon 801 thanks to their 64-bit architecture and the efficiency of iOS 8.

The iPhones do have only 1GB of RAM, which is disappointing – especially up against the Z3’s 3GB — and there’s no expandable storage. But you do get up to 128GB of built-in storage and the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. And while Sony’s 20.7-megapixel camera may look better on paper, numbers don’t mean everything.

The iPhone’s camera has always been impressive, and Apple has made some big improvements this time around, including optical image stabilization on the iPhone 6 Plus, which promises better photos in low light. With none of these devices shipping at this point, however, it’s still too early to say which will be best in the photography department.

The iPhone 6 has Apple's new 64-bit A8 processor. Photo: Apple.

The iPhone 6 has Apple’s new 64-bit A8 processor. Photo: Apple.

Perhaps the biggest downside to choosing an Xperia, and something you should bear in mind before splashing your cash, is the fact that Sony likes to refresh its flagship phones every six months. If you buy a Z3 when they go on sale later this month, then, it’s going to get replaced next spring — likely at IFA in February.

Buy an iPhone, however, and you have the latest model for at least 12 months.