Sony Xperia Z smartphone review

| November 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

UPDATE: Sony Xperia Z smartphone review

Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z

Sony has finally made its Xperia Z smartphone official – the 5-inch, Full HD smartphone has been leaked weeks before its scheduled launch, but now we finally caught an official glimpse at the device.

Sony has put all of its efforts into the Xperia Z, and from our initial impressions it looks like it paid off. The elegant style of the device is really a work of art and it’s finished in black and made up of water resistant polycarbonate.

It’s thin, light-weight and fits well in your hand, despite the large 5-inch screen. It’s roughly as thick as an Apple iPhone 5 however has the additional advantage of being waterproof – you can even use it with dirty fingers and can take it into the shower.

Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z

To seal the phone, Sony has used flaps to hide each and every port – together with the 3.5mm headphone jack. But these are much sturdier than those we’d seen previously on the Xperia S and we expect them to handle a good amount of punishment while not breaking.

There’s no physical camera button – possibly a consequence of the waterproof seal – but otherwise the Xperia Z sounds like a smartphone snapper’s dream. The 13.1-megapixel Exmor RS device has been in development for a few time, and eventually makes its debut here, turning into the world’s first smartphone to support high dynamic range (HDR) video. Sony still retains many of its signature camera options, together with sweep panorama, burst mode up to ten shots per second and also the choice to capture full resolution stills once shooting video. The few sample shots we took looked nice, with low noise.

The other reason photos looked really sharp was because of the beautiful Full HD screen. It has an enormous 443ppi density, that is considerably over the ‘retina’ iPhone, and also the detail on screen in photos is amazing. Sony’s Bravia Mobile Engine 2 additionally enhances colors, distinction and brightness in photos and videos for optimum playback; bright red hues actually looked richer than on our HTC One X once placed side-by-side. This color process doesn’t apply to the whole Android OS, and there’s a choice to disable it if you like. Viewing angles were nice and there was ample brightness. It’s simply among one of the best smartphone displays, and when it comes to resolution it’s tough to beat.

The phone will launch with Android 4.1, instead of the newer 4.2 Jelly Bean update seen on Google’s own Nexus 4 smartphone, however brand new owners won’t have to wait that much for the new update – Sony product manager Svardsater confirmed that Android 4.2 would be coming back to the Xperia Z “shortly after launch”.

Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z

It will be a welcoming update, adding options like lockscreen widgets and an improved notification bar that is integrated within the short settings menu. Android 4.2 additionally includes a brand new camera app, with the new wide picture Sphere mode, however we have a tendency to doubt it’ll be that interesting – Sony has put plenty of effort into its custom camera app, that already supports wide photos.

Even in its current state, Sony’s own Xperia skin and distinctive content libraries mean there are a lot of features to keep you busy – also with Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited, you may get PlayStation Mobile to transfer games. The interface is easy and refined, and far less obtrusive than the likes of HTC Sense or the Samsung TouchWiz.

Sony misjudged the competition last year in terms of hardware, sticking to single and dual-core processors and was left behind by quad-core handsets from the likes of HTC and Samsung. It will not make the same mistake twice, choosing a snapdragon S4 quad-core chip running at 1.5GHz, paired with 2GB of RAM. It actually felt snappy running Android and loading apps, even though we couldn’t install Quadrant or GLBench to check its raw performance.

We were able to take a look at its NFC options. We could use the phone to make it connect to a pair of wireless headphones, transmit YouTube videos on to a TV  and stream music to a Wireless speaker instantly. As long as NFC is enabled you don’t need to launch an app or open a menu – it simply works, in just 2 seconds.

As you’d expect for a flagship phone, the Xperia Z can support 4G LTE networks, together with the 800, 2,100 and 2,600MHz spectrums employed in the United Kingdom.

Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z

Based on what we’ve seen, Sony finally made a smartphone to be pleased with, and one that may well be put against with the likes of Samsung, HTC and Apple. It’s due to release in March. SIM-free it will cost £550, however no network or contract specifics are confirmed by Sony. With such a beast of a phone, Samsung might want to up their game.

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Category: Smartphone & Android Reviews

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