Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Nexus 6 Camera Comparison

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Nexus 6 Camera Comparison

By Rich W Woods

It is the smallest flagship on the market against the largest. Why not? The truth is that I don’t have my Sony Xperia Z3 review unit anymore so we’re going to have to use the Xperia Z3 Compact. For camera comparison purposes, it won’t make a difference.

I have been living with the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9 for a little over a week now. It is the first time that I have used both an Android phone and an Android tablet as my daily drivers. Personally, I can’t wait to go back to my iPad Air 2. I could take it or leave it with the Nexus 6 and the iPhone 6.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Nexus 6: Specs

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Nexus 6
Processor 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805
GPU Adreno 330 Adreno 420
Display 4.6″, 720p, 319 ppi, LCD 5.96″, 1440p, 493 ppi, AMOLED
Body 127.3×64.9×8.6 mm, 129 g 159.3x83x10.1 mm, 184 g
Camera 20.7 MP, 5248х3936, 2.2 MP Front 13 MP, 4128×3096, 2 MP Front
Video 4K UHD – 30 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps 4K UHD – 30 fps, 1080p – 60 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps
Aperture F/2 F/2
Storage 16 GB, Expandable to 128 GB 32/64 GB
Battery 2600 mAh 3220 mAh
Price $525 $649/$699

There are a couple of things we can take away from these specs but first, I’m going to show you some benchmarks, as people have been requesting them. If you don’t know what they mean, that’s fine. They rarely mean anything when it comes to real world use.

Ok, so we have specs and benchmarks. As you can see, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a much better battery than the Nexus 6 does and this is true to real life. The reason for this is mainly the display. Each pixel on the display is like having a light on. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a 720p display and the Nexus 6 has a 1440p display, so the Nexus 6 has four times as many lights on. The question is, can you even tell the difference or is it a waste of battery and processor power?

You’ll notice that Geekbench and AnTuTu processor benchmarks are higher, which is reasonable because the Nexus 6 does have a more powerful processor. GFXBench was in the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact’s favor, which was a bit surprising. The Nexus 6 does have a much higher resolution display but the Snapdragon 805 SoC (system on a chip) comes with a much more powerful GPU (Adreno 420) than the Snapdragon 801 does (Adreno 330).

As far as specs go, these devices are right on par with each other. The Nexus 6 has that super high resolution display and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a 720p display, so the lower RAM and slightly less powerful processor make more of an impact on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Nexus 6: Rear Camera

Both the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and the Nexus 6 have very high resolution cameras. The truth is that it is impossible to tell the difference between a 13 MP photo taken with a Nexus 6 and a 20.7 MP photo taken with a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. The reason for that is because the resolution of the photo is higher than the resolution of the display. 720p is less than 1 MP, 1080p is less than 2.1 MP, 1440p is less than 3.7 MP, and 4K UHD is less than 8.3 MP.

Both the Nexus 6 and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact use Sony sensors. The Xperia Z3 Compact uses a newer sensor, in the Sony IMX220 Exmor RS while the Nexus 6 uses the Sony IMX214 Exmor RS.

There are similarities and differences between the two sensors. The main similarity is that they both use an f/2 aperture. Aperture relates to depth of field. A smaller aperture means a larger depth of field, meaning that the background will be more focused. A smaller aperture is a larger number. For example, f/3 is smaller than f/2.

The most notable difference between the two sensors is the resolution; however, the Sony IMX220 Exmor RS also has a larger sensor, coming in at 1/2.3″.

Please note that in order to enlarge the images, simply click or tap them. To view the full size image, there is a link in the gallery.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Nexus 6

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One thing I don’t like about the Sony Xperia cameras is that the tap to focus function doesn’t work great. You can tap to focus but all that really does is pick the spot on the screen that you want focused. It refocuses the image as soon as the user presses the shutter button. Because of this, it’s not easy to tell just how focused the image is before you take it.

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is much better in low light than the Nexus 6 is, which is no surprise. Low light photography is something that both Motorola and Google have struggled with in the Moto X and Nexus 5, respectively.

The photos taken with the Nexus 6 seem sharper and more saturated without being oversaturated. The photos taken with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact seem messy. Of course, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact offers the user to set manual settings on the Sony Camera app.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Nexus 6: Video

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is one of the few phones that actually records 1080p video at 60 fps. The Nexus 6 does not.

There are two factors that affect video quality: resolution and frame rate. Resolution is how sharp the picture is and it is the only factor in the quality of a still image. Frame rate is how many frames the video shows in a second. Think of it this way. A video is nothing more than a string of photos being shown to you. More photos in a second results in a smoother video.

It’s interesting because the Sony IMX214 Exmor RS certainly allows for 1080p at 60 fps, yet Google simply has not implemented it in the Nexus 6. This is true of many phones that use the IMX214 Exmor RS sensor, such as the OnePlus One.

The Nexus 6 uses Google Camera as the stock camera app. Since this app is available for all Android devices, I took a video with the Google Camera app with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact as well. Unfortunately, Google Camera does not allow for 4K UHD with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, or any device that’s not the Nexus 6, as far as I know.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 4K UHD – 30 fps

Nexus 6 4K UHD – 30 fps

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 1080p – 60 fps

Nexus 6 1080p – 30 fps

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 1080p – 30 fps Google Camera

Nexus 6 720p – 30 fps

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Nexus 6: Front Camera

While the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact’s front facing camera is listed as 2.2 MP and the Nexus 6 is listed as 2 MP, they are the exact same resolution. Both are exactly 1080p at a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Of course, the user has the option of switching to a 4:3 aspect ratio if he wishes but the options are different on each device. On the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, the only options for the front facing camera are 2 MP at 16:9 or 1.9 MP at 4:3. On the Nexus 6, the highest resolution for 4:3 is 1.2 MP.

The one thing that is always lacking on Sony’s phones is the front facing camera. They have this effect that seems to blur the photos that can also be seen in the HTC One M8.

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vote in the poll and let me know what you think. Think I’m an idiot? Let me know in the comments!


All Nexus 6 Camera Comparisons

All Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Camera Comparisons

All Sony Xperia Z3 Camera Comparisons

About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

  • I am not biased by the way, (I think!) Because i don´t own either of these phones. But, I have to say that the nexus 6´s clarity is superior and captured way more correct lighting/white balance. Low lighting you can see that the z3 compensates for a small chip with longer exposure time. The clarity is better on N6 but very dark, much more dark than the z3, although it came out blurry on the z3. Love the punch the N6 has in good lighting though!:)

  • Who in the world is voting for the Z3 on this? The colors look much better on the Nexus 6. The Z3’s colors look dull and washed out.

    • rwoods716

      The Nexus 6 tends to look a bit saturated. Also, poor low light.

  • Vader Derth

    Z3 makes the closer “true to life” photos than N6, N6 saturates the colors too much…may be a little clearer, but the Z3 pretty much delivered a decent performance compared to Google’s flagship device