Apple has released its flagship iPhone 6 at a packed-out event in the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, amid a frenzy of excited rumour and speculation.
This time last year, it released the iPhone 5S and 5C, two phones that went relatively unchallenged as the king and queen of the smartphone market. This year, things could hardly be more different. With high-end contenders like the LG G3, HTC One M8 and Sony's latest offering, the Xperia Z3, the iPhone 6 is definitely swimming with sharks.
So how does the iPhone 6 compare to the Sony Xperia Z3, and which smartphone should you buy? Let's compare all the specs and take a look.
Both Apple and Sony have played it cautious with their displays. While competitors like LG have gone for super-high definition screens on their latest flagships, both the iPhone 6 and the Xperia Z3 have relatively conservative displays.
Sony opted for the same 1080p (Full HD) screen that it packed into its Xperia Z2, helping to conserve battery life. Apple, meanwhile, has gone for a slightly lower resolution on its screen, opting for 1,344 x 750 pixels instead of 1,920 x 1,080, for a total 326ppi compared to Sony's 423.64ppi. Of course, if you want to trump for the iPhone 6 Plus, you get the full 1,920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) screen at 401ppi - which changes matters completely.
The screen of the iPhone 6 comes in two sizes of course, with one being slightly larger than the Z3 and the other quite a bit smaller - the same size as the current 5S. Apple seems to have decided on its favourite size in the 4.7in iPhone, but it's now also offering a 5.5in phablet-style phone that should attract fans of larger screens. For my mind, 4.7in is too small for a phone, and 5.5in is too large - but that's just my preference.
For me, the Xperia Z3 has it on this front, in both screen quality and size. Of course, if you want to trump for the iPhone 6 Plus, you get the full 1,920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) screen - which changes matters completely.
The Xperia range of phones has always packed impressive camera specs, bringing the full power of Sony's camera division to bear in a smartphone. The Xperia Z3 packs an impressive 20.7-megapixel camera, which frankly dwarfs the paltry 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 6. The Xperia Z3 is also capable of shooting video at 2,160p (4K) quality, which similarly makes the iPhone 6's 1,080p (Full HD) video shooting capabilities look like something from last year.
As for the front-facing selfie-cams, there's not much in it, with 2.2-megapixels on the Xperia and 1.2-megapixels on the iPhone 6.
Users should note that the battery drain from shooting 4K video on the Xperia Z3 is significant, and that there have been some overheating issues when used for videos of length over about a minute or so. However, these camera specs speak for themselves: the Xperia Z3 is better than the iPhone 6 on camera capability, too.
Size & weight
The iPhone comes in its two varieties: the 4.7in and the 5.5in. As such, it comes in two different chassis sizes, too. The smaller version comes in at 137.5 x 67 x 6.9mm, a fair bit bigger than its predecessor, the iPhone 5S, at 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm. However, it does come in a good deal smaller than the Xperia Z3, which hulks around at 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm. It's also incredibly slim. If you go for the clunkier 6 Plus, though, you'll be getting a phone that's 7.1mm thick. That being said, Apple hasn't included the slightly protruding camera lens in their thickness measurement, something that Samsung took a lot of flak for in the past.
However, the iPhone 6 is incredibly light, coming in at an astonishing 113g, compared to the Xperia's 152g. That's pretty amazing, considering the Xperia Z3 isn't one of the heaviest phones on the market today.
The specs also show that the iPhone 6 is one of the thinnest phones on the market, even thinner than the Xperia Z3, which prides itself on its svelte design.
This is pretty much a matter of taste, but Apple has always focused on the look of its devices as a priority. While Sony have made a number of design compromises in favour of functionality (for instance rubberised edges to avoid damage and screen-shattering), Apple has characteristically stuck to its guns and released a beautifully-made phone first. The iPhone 6 looks better than the Xperia Z3, but not everyone's so sure that it looks better than its predecessors.
For me, the iPhone 6 wins on this front, but it all depends how important the look of the phone is to you.
Under the hood
Sony is addicted to powerful phones. Like its predecessor, the Xperia Z3 packs 3GB of RAM on top of the latest Snapdragon 801 processor clocking at 2.5GHz. This, combined with a powerhouse of a battery at 3,100 mAh, conspires to create an extremely slick phone capable of dealing with even the toughest apps. Indeed, you can actually play Playstation 4 games via your Xperia Z3, so it's got to be a pretty powerful phone. In contrast, the iPhone 6 looks a little peaky with its 1GB RAM, 1.4 GHz, and a powerpack of only 1,810 mAh.
When the iPhone 5S was released, Apple was able to release the world's first 64-bit ARM CPU in a consumer smartphone, promising twice the speed and graphics power of its predecessor, the A6. Apple has continued its innovation with the A8, although many commentators have questioned whether the 64-bit chip actually has much of an appreciable difference on the power of the phone, or the speed of everyday use.
On this front, if you want a high-powered smartphone, the Xperia Z3 is the way to go.
The Xperia range prides itself in being the first major flagship to feature full waterproofing and dustproofing, and despite rumours that Apple's would fully waterproof and dustproof its iPhone 6, that doesn't seem to have happened.
Despite rumours that Apple would cut out ahead of the pack in terms of smartphone screen innovation, using layers of sapphire interspersed with glass in order to make the screen harder and more scratch-resistant, that didn't seem to happen. So maybe we haven't seen then end of the famously shatter-prone iPhone screens with the iPhone 6.
Apple has also included the latest version of the TouchID fingerprint scanner it debuted on the iPhone 5S, which allows for greater security - something the Xperia Z3 doesn't have.
However the Z3 does feature noise cancellation, and it can play up 192khz 24 bit audio through both 3,5mm and USB.
Apple, as always, have released a formidable phone with the iPhone 6. But this isn't 2013, and the competition have raced after the Cupertino-based company with the tenacity of ravaging wolves. With so many big fish in this pool, Apple really needed to pull something spectacular out of the bag - and it has, on many fronts. But when you run down the specs, it looks like the iPhone 6 isn't quite spectacular enough.
Sony has already outpaced Apple on so many details: the camera; the display; the computing power - and it's only Apple's famed design acumen that makes the iPhone 6 something to consider when weighing up these two phones.
Nice try, Apple - but better luck next time.
Check out some of our other spec comparisons:
|iPhone 6||Sony Xperia Z3|
|Screen size||4.7in / 5.5in||5.2in|
|Resolution||1,344 x 750 pixels / 1,920 x 1080 pixels||1,920 x 1,080 pixels|
|Pixel density||326 ppi / 401 ppi||423.64ppi|
Processor and battery
|Family||Apple A8||Snapdragon 801|
|Clock speed||1.4 GHz||2.5 GHz|
|Battery||1,810 mAh||3,100 mAh|
|Claimed 3G talk time||14h talktime|
Storage and memory
|RAM||1GB RAM||3GB RAM|
|Video||1,080p (Full HD)||2,160p (4K)|
|Standard||4G LTE||4G LTE|
|Wi-Fi||WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac||WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac|
|Integrated wireless charging||No||Yes|
|Size||138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm / 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm||146 x 72 x 7.3 mm|
|Weight||129g / 172g||152g|
|Operating System||iOS 8||Android 4.4 KitKat|
|Price (SIM-free)||iPhone 6: 16GB: £539 / 64GB: £619/ 128GB: £699|
iPhone 6 Plus: £619: $299 / 64GB: £699/ 128GB: £789
|Availability||19 September 2014||September 2014|