Premium Flagships Comparo: Samsung Galaxy S9 Vs. Sony Xperia XZ2 Vs. Nokia 8 Sirocco Vs. ASUS ZenFone 5Z

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The first flagship battle of 2018!

Here at MWC 2018, four flagship phones were launched: They are the Samsung Galaxy S9, the Sony Xperia XZ2, the Nokia 8 Sirocco, and the ASUS ZenFone 5Z. All four offer the best possible specs for a 2018 flagship, which include a high-definition 18:9 displays, top-grade, innovative camera setups, and well-crafted bodies.

Let’s check out what these flagship phones have to offer:

Samsung Galaxy S9 specs
  • Samsung Exynos 9810 octa-core processor/Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor
  • ARM Mali-G71 MP20 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 5.8-inch WQHD Super AMOLED display, 2960 x 1440 resolution, dual curved edge
  • 64GB expandable storage, via microSD
  • 12-megapixel rear camera, f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable aperture, with Dual Pixel, OIS, 960FPS Super Slo-Mo video
  • 8-megapixel front camera, f/1.7 aperture, AF
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • Fingerprint scanner, iris scanner, facial recognition, heartbeat sensor, IP68 certification, USB Type-C port, Bixby AI, 3D Emojis
  • 3000mAh battery with fast charging
  • Android 8.0 Oreo (TouchWiz UI)

Sony Xperia XZ2 specs
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.7-inch Full HD+ HDR Triluminos Display, Gorilla Glass 5
  • 64GB of expandable storage
  • 4G, LTE
  • Dual SIM
  • 19-megapixel f/2.0 MotionEye rear camera with EIS, PDAF, Laser AF, LED flash, 4K HDR recording
  • 5-megapixel f/2.2 Wide-angle front camera with EIS
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
  • Fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C, Wireless Charging, IP68 rating, Hi-Res Audio
  • 3180mAh Battery with quick charging
  • Android 8.0 Oreo

Nokia 8 Sirocco Specs
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor
  • Qualcomm Adreno 540 graphics unit
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch QHD OLED display, with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and Always On display
  • 64/128GB of expandable storage, up to 256GB via microSD
  • 12-megapixel Carl Zeiss rear cameras wide camera with f/1.75 aperture, secondary 13-megapixel 2x optical zoom camera with f/2.6 aperture
  • 5-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • Fingerprint sensor, IP67 rating, Nokia OZO Audio, wireless charging
  • 3260mAh battery, with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
  • Android 8.0 Oreo (Android One)

Asus Zenfone 5Z Specifications
  • AI-powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 6.2-inch Full HD+IPS display, 18.7:9 aspect ratio, 2246×1080 resolution, DCI-P3 wide color gamut
  • 12-megapixel main rear camera, Sony IMX363 sensor, f/1.8 aperture, Night HDR, OIS. EIS, PDAF, RGB sensor
  • 8-megapixel secondary rear camera, 120-degree wide angle view
  • 4G, LTE
  • Dual SIM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Facial Recognition
  • USB Type-C port
  • 3300mAh battery with BoostMaster and Smart Charging
  • Android Oreo with ZenUI 5.0

Internals: Flagship-grade internals, all the way

Save for the Nokia 8 Sirocco, all 2018Q1 flagships sport a Snapdragon 845 processor (or an Exynos 9810 for global versions of the Galaxy S9). All four have at least 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage, making them fit for 2018 standards. Don’t count out the Nokia 8 Sirocco for using a Snapdragon 835 just yet: Last year’s top SoC is still a performer nonetheless, as it manages to clock in at around 208K with AnTuTu’s benchmark test.

Display: A matter of preference, aesthetic-wise

Between the four, Sony went the safest route as the Xperia XZ2 uses an 18:9 display that has minimal bezels on the top and bottom. The Nokia 8 Sirocco and Galaxy S9 look gorgeous with their curved edge displays, with the Galaxy S9 offering more screen estate.

Speaking of screen estate, the ZenFone 5Z has the biggest display between the four at 6.2 inches. However, the notch found on the ZenFone 5Z will draw mixed reactions from people, though ASUS elaborated on its screen AI tech where people can avoid seeing the unsightly notch while offering an optimal viewing experience.

Cameras: Innovative in their own way(s)

For the camera department, all four flagships have their unique features: There’s the Galaxy S9’s variable aperture camera, and there’s the Xperia XZ2’s 4K HDR-capable camera. The ZenFone 5Z and Nokia 8 Sirocco chose to have a dual rear camera approach, with the former’s IMX363 primary camera and wide-angle secondary camera, and the latter’s dual Zeiss cameras with 2X optical zoom.

While all four have pretty impressive camera specs on paper, we have to do several tests before we can give our verdict on who has the best camera setup.

Battery: More than just the capacity

While the ZenFone 5Z has the biggest battery capacity on paper, this department is pretty tricky to answer, considering they have processors that have the best power-efficiency features. When it comes to battery life, it all boils down to how good is the power management of their respective UIs.

Other than that, all four offer fast charging, which means you can quickly juice them up when you need to, though the XZ2, Nokia 8 Sirocco, and Galaxy S9 have plus points as they support wireless charging.

Verdict: All four are compelling flagship offerings

At the end of the day, all four flagships offer the best possible set of internals and features for 2018. Each of the four brands have their unique ways of promoting their top-tier phones: You have the Galaxy S9 with its AR Emojis and variable aperture camera, the Xperia XZ2’s Dynamic Vibration system and 4K HDR recording, the Nokia 8’s Zeiss Optics and Android One experience, and the ZenFone 5Z’s 19:9 display and suite of AI functionalities.

However, all the best possible specs on a 2018 phone will come at a price: The Galaxy S9, Xperia XZ2, and Nokia 8 Sirocco are priced within the $963 range, which is really, really costly. The ZenFone 5Z, however, is priced starting at 479 euro, or roughly $588, making it a potential disruptor in the premium flagship phone competition. The ZenFone 5Z is slated to become available by June, so anything can happen in between those four months especially with pricing.




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