We saw 3 phones officially launched at MWC that are powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system on chip. This chip is the latest high-end SoC from Qualcomm and will be the chip powering most of this year’s flagships.
With the Snapdragon handling the vast majority of the functions, it is interesting to see what aspects of the chip manufacturers focus on, which they omit, and how the phones are priced. During my Snapdragon roundtable, it was highlighted how the current 3 announcements all appear to focus on a specific feature to promote their phone, and how it is up to the OEM how they invest their money to make the most of the SoC
With the Samsung Galaxy S9, there has been a strong focus on its camera, and it has just been awarded the best score from DxOMark, besting the Google Pixel 2 by just one point.
Sony, on the other hand, are holding off on their new fancy dual camera set up this year, instead, they have focussed on the 4K HDR abilities of the new Xperia XZ2 phone, and it is the first phone able to shoot 4K HDR, and it will upscale SDR content on the fly. The video demo between the XZ1 and the XZ2 showing the differences between SDR and HDR was very impressive. The phone can now also shoot 960 frames per second at 1080p HD.
Lastly, there is the underdog ASUS ZenFone 5Z which has a focus on its AI abilities. When using the camera, it will adjust shots based on what images it detects; it will also only charge your battery to 80% while you sleep then finish the charge just before you wake, this helps lengthen the longevity of the battery. In reality, the main selling point of the ASUS ZenFone 5Z will be the aggressive pricing of just EUR 479.
Apart from these 3 focuses how do the phones compare to each other?
In the table below, you can that for a large part there are an awful lot of similarities. Screen size is the first big difference, with the Zenfone using a massive 6.2” display even though it is only 0.15” or 3mm wider than the Sony. The Samsung display is AMOLED which may give it some advantages.
The design is also essential, I think everyone prefers Samsung, but it is exactly the same as last year, which makes in kind of boring. The Sony has a completely refreshed design and has drawn lots of compliments. The Asus, on the other hand, has been heavily criticized for being derivative, copying Apple, but if you can get over the copycat design, it does look and feel great.
I get frustrated by battery sizes every year, and Samsung continues to use a small 3000 mAh battery whereas Sony and Asus use 3180 and 3300 mAh respectively.
Memory and Storage have different options across the companies, but the base model will be the same for each brand at 4GB/64GB
The cameras are an interesting comparison, we can safely assume the Samsung has the best camera, but the Sony has the larges MP count. Asus did highlight that they are using the best Sony sensor available, and the specifications look good, but we will have to wait and see if they can even get close to Samsung.
Both the Asus and Samsung have a 3.5mm jack, while Sony omits it.
Pricing and availability is another significant factor here. Samsung will be the most expensive at £739 but they are first out of the door and regardless of the price we all know they will sell the most phones.
The Sony hasn’t got an official price yet, the Compact is slightly more expensive than last years model, so I have estimated the same is try for the full-size version.
Poor Asus will be 3 months behind Samsung, but their very aggressive pricing of just 480 Euros should mean the device sells well, but we don’t know when the new OnePlus will be announced or for how much.
|Saumsung Galaxy S9 (USA Version)||Sony Xperia XZ2||Asus Zenfone 5z ZS620KL|
|BODY||Dimensions||147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm (5.81 x 2.70 x 0.33 in)||153 x 72 x 11.1 mm (6.02 x 2.83 x 0.44 in)||153 x 75.7 x 7.9 mm (6.02 x 2.98 x 0.31 in)|
|Weight||163 g (5.75 oz)||198 g (6.98 oz)||155 g (5.47 oz)|
|Build||Front/back glass (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame||Front/back glass (Gorilla Glass 5) & aluminum frame||Front glass, aluminum body|
|SIM||Single SIM & Dual SIM Models||Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|- IP68 certified - dust/water proof over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes||- IP65/IP68 certified - dust/water proof over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes|
|DISPLAY||Type||Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors||IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors||IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||5.8 inches, 84.8 cm2 (~83.6% screen-to-body ratio)||5.7 inches, 83.8 cm2 (~76.1% screen-to-body ratio)||6.2 inches, 96.9 cm2 (~83.6% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1440 x 2960 pixels, 18.5:9 ratio (~570 ppi density)||1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~424 ppi density)||1080 x 2246 pixels, 18.5:9 ratio (~402 ppi density)|
|Multitouch||Yes||Yes, up to 10 fingers||Yes, up to 10 fingers|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 5||Corning Gorilla Glass 5||Corning Gorilla Glass (unspecified version)|
|HDR10 compliant||HDR BT.2020 compliant||- 95% DCI-P3 coverage|
|3D Touch (home button only)||Triluminos display||- ASUS ZenUI 5.0|
|Always-on display||X-Reality Engine|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 8.0 (Oreo)||Android 8.0 (Oreo)||Android 8.0 (Oreo)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 845|
|CPU||Octa-core (4x2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver) - USA & China||Octa-core (4x2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)||Octa-core (4x2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)|
|GPU||Adreno 630||Adreno 630||Adreno 630|
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSD, up to 400 GB (uses SIM 2 slot) - dual SIM model only||microSD, up to 400 GB (uses SIM 2 slot) - dual SIM model only||microSD, up to 400 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)|
|Internal||64/128/256 GB, 4 GB RAM||64 GB, 4/6 GB RAM||256 GB, 8 GB RAM or 128 GB, 6 GB RAM or 64 GB, 4 GB RAM|
|CAMERA||Primary||12 MP (f/1.5-2.4, 26mm, 1/2.5", 1.4 µm, Dual Pixel PDAF), phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash||19 MP (f/2.0, 25mm, 1/2.3", 1.22 µm), gyro EIS, predictive phase detection and laser autofocus, LED flash||Dual: 12 MP (f/1.8, 24 mm, 1/2.55", 1.4 µm, PDAF) + 8 MP (f/2.0, 12 mm, 1/4", 1.12 µm), phase detection autofocus, gyro EIS, dual-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Features||Geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection, Auto HDR, panorama||Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, panorama, HDR||Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama|
|Video||2160p@60fps, 1080p@240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR, dual-video rec.||2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps, 1080p@960fps||2160p@60fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@240fps|
|Secondary||8 MP (f/1.7, 25mm, 1/3.6", 1.22 µm), autofocus, 1440p@30fps, dual video call, Auto HDR||5 MP (f/2.2, 1/5"), gyro EIS, 1080p||8 MP (f/2.0, 24 mm, 1/4", 1.12 µm), gyro EIS, 1080p|
|SOUND||Features||3.5mm jack, - 32-bit/384kHz audio - Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic||NO 3.5mm, - 24-bit/192kHz audio - Dynamic vibration system - Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic||3.5mm jack - 24-bit/192kHz audio- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic - DTS Headphone X|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX||5.0, A2DP, aptX HD, LE||v5.0, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS|
|Radio||FM radio (USA & Canada only) - To be confirmed||No||FM radio|
|USB||3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector||3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector; USB Host||2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector|
|BATTERY||Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery (11.55 Wh)||Non-removable Li-Ion 3180 mAh battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery|
|PRICE||£739||Unannounced predicted £629||480 EUR (£450-ish)|