At the beginning of this year, Sony revealed its new flagship phone – the Xperia Z in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013. The phone is a culmination of Sony’s expertise in the fields of cameras, televisions and gaming devices. In this review, we’ll taking an in-depth look at each aspect of the Xperia Z.
Build Quality and Display
On first impressions, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the feel and looks of the Sony Xperia Z. It is an extremely well-built phone with a tempered glass-clad body which feels nice and resists scratches and scrapes. The square-shaped design with slightly rounded corners is simplistic, but the real USP is the IP57 certification for dust and water resistance. The Xperia Z can survive up to 30 minutes in 1 meter deep water without suffering any damage and keeps dust from reaching the internal parts.
With a thickness of just 7.9 millimeters and a weight of 146 grams, the phone can be slipped into your pockets and fits perfectly into your hands. However on the negative side, the glass body is prone to fingerprint smudges and doesn’t offer the best of grips. At the front, you get a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixels LCD capacitive touchscreen display, a proximity sensor, ambient sensor, status LED, front-facing camera and the microphone. The Xperia Z doesn’t have any hardware keys for navigation, instead it uses virtual on-screen keys for Back, Home and Menu functions. The back panel is non-removable, so there is no way to access the 2330 mAh battery residing underneath, but you do get a microSD card slot on the left edge of the phone.
Like most of the next generation phones, the Sony Xperia Z comes with a 5-inch display featuring a resolution of 1080 X 1920 pixels and a 441 ppi pixel density. Needless to say, the picture quality is among the best you’ll find on a smartphone display which makes it brilliant for web browsing and HD video viewing. Also, the screen supports multi-touch of up to 10 fingers and has amazing touch sensitivity.
The Sony Xperia Z possesses a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera which has become the standard sensor on flagship smartphones these days. The camera works pretty well in daylight conditions, providing sharp photos and videos instantly. However, it performance is affected a bit in low-light conditions even if when you’re using the LED flash. As far as specifics are concerned, you’ll be able to record full high definition 1080p videos and images of up to 4128 x 3096 pixels.
The phone doesn’t have a dedicated camera key, so you’ll have to rely on the onscreen controls to taking photos. However, there is a Touch Capture feature which can be toggled on and off, allowing users to capture photos by simply tapping anywhere on the display. Also, the volume rocker of the phone can be used for the zoom in and zoom out functions.
The camera interface is easy to use and comes loaded with a host of shooting modes and scenes like Burst Mode, HDR Mode, sweep panorama, fireworks, sports, anti-motion blur, night, pet, snow, party and landscape. You also get filter modes like Partial Color, Nostalgic, Sketch and Fish Eye.
The Sony Xperia Z arrives on shelves with Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 and a customized user interface. Sony has also released an over-the-air upgrade which will allow users to run Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. There are a total of five home screens which can be customized by adding widgets, app shortcuts, etc. and a lock screen which allows users to launch the camera and music player instantly without having to navigate through menus. On the hardware front, the phone brings along a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon Krait processor, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory.
The 2330 mAh non-removable battery of the Xperia Z keeps it running for up to 2 days with normal everyday usage on a single charge. However, you might have to charge the phone more often if you intend to use it for a majority of resource hungry functions like video-watching, web-browsing, video calls, etc. Sony has also included a Stamina Mode feature in the phone’s software which automatically turns off unwanted background apps when the screen is off, thereby improving the performance of the battery.