Sony’s new flagship device was a statement more than anything from the Japanese company, after 2012 almost ruining the chances of the smartphone line revival. Past Sony smartphones have been nice: built well, good Android skin, decent performance. As most Android phones, they lacked anything that brought users to the phone.
The Xperia Z is Sony’s new flagship and breaks the mould with some new features only on the new smartphone. Originally released at CES, the smartphone got “best phone at event” and a number of other top remarks.
Design & Display
The five-inch smartphone was overdone at both CES and MWC, with names of manufacturers we didn’t know existed making that size smartphone. The Xperia Z has the five-inch screen with an impressive 1920×1080 display. This is one of the best displays on any phone and it really does show. Text and colour reproduction is near perfect and the smartphone plays videos in beautiful 1080p HD quality.
The Xperia Z is very durable and Sony has made the point that it is definitely one of the stronger phones in the industry. The phone is dustproof, scratchproof and waterproof. The colour of the smartphone is indefinitely black, as all Sony products are, there is a white and purple version too, although they aren’t as industrially impressive. The smartphone feels very durable and incredibly well designed.
The Xperia Z has the much used quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor running at 1.5GHz. This is backed up with 2GB of RAM and comes with 32GB of internal storage. The phone has 4G capabilities. On test runs, the phone actually outperforms all smartphones with similar chips, including the Galaxy Note 2.
Battery life and overheating are two problems the Xperia Z suffers from after intense mobile gaming or extended use. We suspect this is simply because Sony hasn’t put any layers of protection to the stop heat and the battery isn’t large.
Operating System & User Interface
The Xperia Z comes with Android 4.1 and, as always, Sony has added their BRAVIA engine to the smartphone. We actually find the BRAVIA engine an incredibly good looking Android skin, better than TouchWiz or Sense.
The UI works pretty well and you can navigate around the phone without any trouble. While the skin does take away some customisation you still get a lot of the Android feel.
As we have always understood, Sony has a slight advantage when it comes to cameras. Their 13MP shooter may take a good 2 seconds to start up, but once it is ready to shoot it takes some great photos.
This is one of the first 13MP shooters that actually work well, it is partly down to Sony distributing the power with a Exmor R sensor and making sure all the camera functions work well with each other. Sometimes the 13MP shooter has a poor sensor and a pathetic UI, not on the Xperia Z.