Sony Xperia Z Review

· · · Mobile Phone, Review

Sony Xperia Z will be on sale in Singapore from 1st March 2013 for S$988 (without contract). Three colors will be available, black, white and purple.

Sony Xperia Z is known as the water-resistant phone, you can submerge it in water up to 1 metre deep for 30 minutes. Of course I tested this!

Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z In Water
Sony Xperia Z In Water

Sony Xperia Z - Box Front
Sony Xperia Z – Box Front

Sony Xperia Z - Box Back
Sony Xperia Z – Box Back

Sony Xperia Z - Box Contents
Sony Xperia Z – Box Contents

The moment you held onto the Xperia Z, you will feel that it is a solid phone, the build quality is fantastic, there is no squeaking sound when you press on the phone. Since the Xperia Z is blocky, the edges are all very straight, griping on to the phone for a long time may cause slight discomfort for some people.

After using it for many days, I notice that the phone gets hot easily.

Technical Specifications

  • OS: Google Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz (Quad Core) Qualcomm APQ8064+MDM9215M (Snapdragon S4)
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Flash memory: Up to 16 GB
  • Expansion slot: microSD card, up to 32 GB
  • Display: 5″ TFT, 16 million colors, 1920 x 1080 pixels, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2
  • Screen: Scratch-resistant, shatter proof sheet on mineral glass
  • Back Camera: 13 megapixel Exmor RS camera with Auto focus and flash
  • Front Camera: 2 megapixel, Exmor R, 1080p
  • Networks: LTE/GSM/UMTS HSPA+
  • Durability: IPX5/7 (Water-resistant) & IP5X (Dust-proof)
  • Weight: 146g
  • Dimensions: 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm

Sony Xperia Z - Audio Jack
Sony Xperia Z – Audio Jack (Top)

Sony Xperia Z - micro USB Port
Sony Xperia Z – micro USB Port (Left)

Sony Xperia Z - microSD Slot
Sony Xperia Z – microSD Slot (Left)

Sony Xperia Z - micro SIM Slot
Sony Xperia Z – micro SIM Slot (Right)

The micro SIM is very difficult to remove!

Sony Xperia Z - Volume Keys & Power Button
Sony Xperia Z – Volume Keys & Power Button

The Snapdragon S4 processor on the Sony Xperia Z runs on a quad core 1.5GHz and that makes everything fast. I did not feel any slowness or lagness when using the phone. Doing a AnTuTu Benchmark on the Xperia Z give me a score of 20.9k, in comparison the Samsung Galaxy S3 only gives me a score of 15.5k.

Sony Xperia Z - Speaker
Sony Xperia Z – Speaker

There is only 1 mono speaker in the Xperia Z which is located on the bottom right side of the phone. If you see the above image, the speaker is actually the small opening on the left of the volume keys. There is a very slight distortion at max volume but no crackling sound. If you place the phone into water and immediately use it, the speaker volume will be very much softer because of the water being trapped at the water resistant membrane in the speaker. Just give it a day to dry itself.

Sony Xperia Z - Unlocking Lock Screen
Sony Xperia Z – Unlocking Lock Screen

The screen of the Xperia Z packs a Full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels in a 5″ TFT screen which brings the Pixel Per Inch (PPI) to 440.6. The viewing angle of the screen is limited and when viewed at an incorrect angle, it looks very washed out (it looks milky). With regards to visibility under direct sunlight, I would say it is as bad as my iPhone 5. I am not very impressed with the screen, it is inferior when you compared it with Samsung’s HD Super AMOLED or HTC’s Super LCD 3. Coming from Sony who does TVs, I expect them to do better.

The vibration of the phone is strong and you can actually hear the vibrating motor.

The LED notification located on the top right of the front screen enables you to have full color spectrum and hence you can set different colors for different system events and notifications using Light Flow.

Two issues I found which maybe just related to my review set, firstly is the camera glitch (which I can’t reproduce anymore) and another is 1 stuck white pixel on my screen. It is not visible unless you run through a screen test.

Sony Xperia Z - Camera Glitch
Sony Xperia Z – Camera Glitch

Sony Xperia Z - Application ListSony Xperia Z - Application List
Sony Xperia Z – Application List

Speaking of camera, I am not impressed with the camera, it sucks pretty badly under low light. After taking the photo, I was looking through the applications list to find the photos I taken, I was looking for the word “Photo”, “Gallery” or “Images but I could not find it because Sony use the name “Album”, WTF!

Sony Xperia Z - Camera Test
Sony Xperia Z – Camera Test

Sony Xperia Z - Camera Test (Low Light)
Sony Xperia Z – Camera Test (Low Light)

Did I mention that the Sony Xperia Z is also a fingerprint magnet?

Sony Xperia Z - FIngerprint Magnet
Sony Xperia Z – FIngerprint Magnet

Sony Xperia Z - Lock/Home ScreenSony Xperia Z - Lock/Home Screen
Sony Xperia Z – Lock/Home Screen

Sony Xperia Z - Notification/Multitasking ScreenSony Xperia Z - Notification/Multitasking Screen
Sony Xperia Z – Notification/Multitasking Screen

Summary
Retailing for S$988 the Sony Xperia Z is targeted at the high end market, if you are going to get it, I would wait say wait for a week or two for the price to drop. I know many people are comparing this and HTC One. Having played with both phones before, personally I prefer the HTC One.

The build quality for both the Sony Xperia Z and HTC One are equally good, is boils down to personal preference of glass (heavier & thicker) vs aluminium (lighter & thinner).

The HTC One loses to the Xperia Z because it lacks microSD slot and is not water resistant. However, the HTC One is dust resistant to a certain extent because it has a zero-gap aluminium unibody.

But in terms of screen, camera and sound quality, HTC One wins hands down.

Pros:

  • Very solid build
  • Water & dust resistant
  • Strong vibration
  • Fast processor

Cons:

  • Camera is average
  • Edges are too straight, might be uncomfortable to grip it for long
  • Why are photos stored under “Album” instead of “Gallery” or “Photos”?
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Poor viewing angle of the screen
A

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