The Amazon Fire phone is unique and loaded with features but in order to win the smartphone market, it has to compete with well-established Android giants like Sony, Samsung and LG.

This spec war places Amazon’s newest Fire phone against Sony’s Xperia Z2. Before we get started, you should know that Sony’s Xperia Z2 has received high marks internationally for its accurate and stellar photo quality. In low-light photos, Sony’s Xperia Z2 captures lighting as it is in real time and doesn’t overexpose lighting as does the HTC One M8. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 ties with Sony’s Xperia Z2 in image quality – so, if Amazon’s Fire phone couldn’t compete with Samsung’s best, what about its competition with Sony’s best?

We won’t spoil it for you. Without further ado, let’s get into this spec war.

Display

The Amazon Fire phone comes with a 4.7-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) that features a 1280 x 720p (315ppi) screen resolution, while the Sony Xperia Z2 features a 5.2-inch LCD screen with a 1920 x 1080p (full HD; 424ppi). Sony’s Xperia Z2 offers you half an inch more screen real estate than does the Amazon Fire phone, although some people will find the Fire phone worth the investment because of phone ergonomics. The Xperia Z2, however, not only has more on-screen experience but also a better on-screen viewing experience. There may be legitimate reasons behind why Amazon went with 720p instead of the 2014 industry standard of 1080p, but it still doesn’t look as attractive as full HD resolution. The pixel density of Sony’s Xperia Z2 will be noticeable and distinct from the viewing experience of the Amazon Fire phone. We give the win in the display category to Sony’s Xperia Z2.

Cameras

Amazon’s Fire phone boasts a 2.1MP front-facing camera and a 13MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization (or OIS). Sony’s Xperia Z2, however, packs a 2.2MP front-facing camera and a 20.7MP rear-facing camera. Sony’s 20.7MP camera has received high marks for its photo quality and low-lighting capabilities, and only Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has been able to match it so far. Cameras (or smartphones, for that matter) haven’t been Amazon’s area of expertise the last few years, so we highly doubt the 13MP will provide clearer images than Sony’s best. Sony has been at cameras, camcorders, and photo quality for a long time. The Sony Xperia Z2 wins here for edging out the Amazon Fire phone’s front-facing camera – and for crushing the Fire phone’s back camera. OIS doesn’t produce more detail in photos, but only removes motion blur. When it comes to Sony’s Xperia Z2, you’ll see that there are a number of factors where the Xperia Z2 outpaces the Amazon Fire phone.

Processor and Battery

Sony’s Xperia Z2 features a 2.3Ghz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, while the Amazon Fire phone features a 2.2Ghz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. Amazon’s Fire phone features a processor that is now 10 months old. LG’s G2 was the first smartphone in the United States to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and the Amazon Fire phone, launching in the US soon, will’ve a 10-month-old processor. As is the case with 10-month-old smartphones, there will be some noticeable lag. It’ll likely be a small problem (or a negligible one) for most consumers, but it is something that a semi-trained eye will notice.

The Amazon Fire phone houses a 2,400mAh battery while the Sony Xperia Z2 houses a 3,200mAh battery. Whether or not manufacturers pay attention, 3000mAh batteries should become the standard for smartphones that have snappy Qualcomm quad-core processors. In this category, Sony’s Xperia Z2 not only offers more battery life, but also features the 2014 standard Snapdragon 801 processor. It’s been said that the Snapdragon 801 processor is more about graphics improvement than LTE processing and so on, but Sony’s processor is clocked slightly higher. There may be little difference now, but six months into your smartphone buy will reveal a different story.

Memory

The Amazon Fire phone has 32GB and 64GB memory storage models along with 2GB RAM, but lacks a microSD card slot. The Sony Xperia Z2, on the other hand, features 16GB memory storage minimum (with higher storage models), but does something the Fire phone doesn’t – it features a microSD card slot with expandable storage up to an additional 128GB. 32GB is a nice minimum memory storage amount, but you’ll run out of it soon enough. Sony’s 144GB of memory storage in its device means that you can start with a small collection of apps, photos, and documents, and expand as you see fit over the next two years or longer. The Sony Xperia Z2 wins this category by a landslide. Some manufacturers are starting to understand that expandable memory storage is a factor worth paying for in a smartphone.

Conclusion

One factor worth mentioning as we conclude our spec war between the Amazon Fire phone and the Sony Xperia Z2 is the Z2’s water and dust resistance. The Xperia Z2 has an IP55/58 rating for both water and dust resistance, whereas the Amazon Fire phone has neither water nor dust resistance. When you consider that the Amazon Fire phone costs as much as the Xperia Z2, whether, on a two-year contract or off-contract ($199 and $649, respectively), you realize that the Xperia Z2’s Google Play Store access and Android updates, coupled with its water and dust resistance and surpassing camera, give the Xperia Z2 the win for its top performance in a number of areas. The Amazon Fire Phone will be released on July 25, 2014 while Xperia Z2 is supposed to arrive in Q3 2014.

We acknowledge Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s commitment to making a respectable attempt, but we wonder why it is that the company decided to utilize a 720p display instead of the industry standard 1080p. We see no reason why you shouldn’t get through a day’s work on the Amazon Fire phone, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 will make multitasking easy indeed – so you can use all four front-facing cameras on the Fire phone to your liking.

At the end of the day, however, the Amazon Fire phone can’t be the Xperia Z2. We’ll have to see how the Fire phone’s 13MP camera with OIS functions when it arrives to the US in July, but we’ve seen the Xperia Z2 receive so many awards for its stellar photo quality that the Fire phone will’ve to be extremely “hot” in order to beat it.

Key Specifications:

Phone Amazon Fire Phone Sony Xperia Z2
Display 4.7-inch HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi 5.2-inch 1920x1080p Triluminos Display, 424ppi
Processor 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core
OS Fire OS 3.5.0 Android 4.4.2
Memory 2GB of RAM 32/64 GB internal storage 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage
Micro SD support No Yes, upto 128GB
Size 139.2 x 66.5 x 8.9mm, 160 grams 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm, 163 grams
Cameras 13 MP rear, 2.1 MP front 20.7MP rear, 2.2MP front
Video Recording 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps (front- and rear-facing cameras) 1080p@60fps, 720p@60fps
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, Micro USB 2.0 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, USB 2.0
Sensors Dynamic Perspective sensor system with invisible infrared illumination, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Battery 2400mAh 3200 mAh
Water and dust resistance No IPX5 and IPX8 (waterproof), IP5X (Dust protected)

2 COMMENTS

  1. Fine write-up. Though you didn’t mention the 4k video 30fps video recording with the z2 nor did you mention it records at 120fps when in 720p recording mode.

  2. Interesting comparison. I would never buy the Amazon one personally.
    Some things I noticed though. In the section about screens you put the “seven inch screen” I’m assuming typo.
    Also about storage I’m not sure if you are aware but phones need more internal storage because apps can no longer be installed to SD card. No matter how large SD card you get you must only use it for personal files.

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