Sony vs Samsung

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Sony has just announced its latest flagship the Sony Xperia 1 II – so 1 will remain the nomenclature for their flagship phones and this the mark 2.

With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, which will likely be the best selling flagship Android device of the year, let’s see how Sony hopes to try and win your custom.


Samsung has a bizarre policy of releasing the same phone but with different chipsets on different markets. In the US, China and Japan they have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. The rest of the world, including the UK we get the Samsung Exynos 990. They should (in theory) offer similar performance, but in general, the Exynos is not as good as the Snapdragon.

The Sony comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865.

Samsung has 8/12/16GB variants with storage starting out at 128GB and going up to 512GB.

Sony has 8GB LPDDR4X and 256GB.


Now, this is where things get a little confusing.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 lacks a modem, but you have to use the 5G X55 modem with it. The Samsung Exynos 990 also lacks a modem but Samsung doesn’t appear to have any restrictions on what modem they use on it.

So for us Brits, Samsung has launched a 4G variant of the S20 series which is available on the S20 and S20+.

Sony, on the other hand, has done the opposite, even though it is a 5G capable phone, in the US they have omitted 5G functionality. The logic behind this is that the SD865 lacks mmWave which is used in the US. Sony claims to be launching 5G variants elsewhere, but they are unclear about this.


The Sony display is:

  • 6.5″ AMOLED
  • 3840 x 1644 (21:9)
  • 90Hz

Samsung has three models with display sizes of 6.2-inch, 6.7-inch and 6.9-inch. Each display runs at 3200 x 1440 (20:9) and has 120Hz Refresh Rate (@FHD+ software rendering). Samsung claims they will enable 120Hz at full resolution via a software update.


Sony cameras

The Sony uses three main camera lenses and a TOF on the rear. All 12MP with the primary 1.8µm Dual Pixel then a 3x telephoto and an ultra-wide. The front camera is a 8MP 1.12µm lens.

The two smaller S20 models have 12MP 1.8µm Dual Pixel primary cameras, and the Ultra has that monster 108MP 0.8µm DP-PDAF which does 3×3 Pixel Binning to 12MP.

Then the smaller ones have a 64MP 0.8µm wide angle telephoto which uses Cropping / digital zooming and the ultra has a 48MP 0.8µm 5x optical zoom.

They all have a 12MP 1.4µm f/2.2 ultra wide angle camera, then the S20+ and S20 ultra have a Time of Flight (ToF) 3D Sensor.


Samsung starts at 4000mAh then 4500mAh and 5000mAh the two smaller phone shave 25W charging while the Ultra has 45W. All of them have 15W wireless charging.

The Sony has a 4000mAh battery with 18W charging.


Sony has launched at $1099 which is $150 more than last year. The original Xperia 1 launched at $949 / £849 / €949.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G launched at $999 / 999€ / £899 – £799 for the 4G model

The S20+ 5G is $1199 / 1099€ / £999 – £899 for the 4G model

Ther Ultra 5G: $1399 / 1349€ / £1199 – No 4G model

So the 4G only Sony will launch in the US sitting in between the S20 and S20+ in terms of pricing while offering a similar camera specification, a higher resolution screen but lower refresh rate, and the same battery, but slower charging. It also has less RAM but more storage as standard.

Is this a tempting offer over Samsung? I would say they are quite well matched, but the decision to disable 5G for US models could be an issue for some. Though it could also avoid confusion with US customers buying a 5G phone then not being able to get 5G.

Last update on 2024-07-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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