Sony has recently launched a new high-end device called the Xperia Z1 – a follow-up to the company’s flagship Xperia Z handset which was launched earlier this year. The phone comes at a time when the company has been struggling to keep up with the competition posed by the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2 and HTC One. With the Xperia Z1, the Japanese company is hoping to stay competitive by focusing on providing a unique experience that can help it distinguish itself in the high-end Android segment of the market.
Let us find out more about this device. In this short review of the Sony Xperia Z1 we will let you know that it isn’t simply a camera phone which have been posted on many blogs and forums due to its 21-megapixel high end camera, but the Xperia Z1 is a complete smartphone loaded with packages that are mostly found in top flagship devices.
Design and Display:
The Sony Xperia Z1 is a large phone compared to its competitors which have the same-sized screens or in some cases even bigger screens. It is about 5 mm taller, 3 mm wider and 0.6 thicker than its predecessor, and has a weight of 170 grams. The main resolution for the larger dimensions is the introduction of an aluminum frame, bigger battery and large 1/2.3 inches 20.7 MP camera sensor on the back. In terms of other design aspects, there’s not much of difference between the Z1 and the Xperia Z. It has a rectangular shaped body with slightly curved corners built using an aluminum frame and Dragontrail glass panels. Sony has also retained the waterproofing and dust resisting capabilities (IP58 certification) to ensure that the phone can withstand exposure to water. To achieve this, all the ports except the 3.5 mm headphone jack, are secured with flaps to prevent water from seeping into the internal circuitry of the phone. Due to its large size, the Xperia Z1 might pose some problems in handling if you’ve small hands, but most users will find it relatively comfortable to operate with a single hand. All the main controls like the two-step camera key and power key are present on the right edge of the device along with microSIM card slot. On the left side, you’ll come across the microSD card slot and the microUSB port.
At the front, the Sony Xperia Z1 houses a 5-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, which is of the same size and resolution as the one available on the Xperia Z. However, Sony has brought in new technologies, adapted from its Bravia TV series in order to provide a superior viewing experience. The most important among them is the Triluminos Display technology which improves the color reproduction, thereby creating a natural and vivid viewing experience. Other technologies include the X-Reality image processing engine, OptiContrast and Direct Touch. Unfortunately, the Xperia Z1 display doesn’t have ideal viewing angles compared to its mainline competitors, which is a big letdown. Nonetheless, you’ll enjoy reading, browsing the internet, watching movies, playing games on the screen thanks to its excellent image quality quality and bigger screen estate.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is right up there with the best in terms of performance and internal specs. It is equipped with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with quad-core power and 2 GB of RAM, which delivers an incredibly fast and smooth performance at all times. The phone runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operated stacked with Sony’s customized user interface, but the company has tinkered much with the basic look and feel of the stock Android version. You also get plenty of pre-installed apps like the Album gallery, Walkman player with Music Unlimited Integration, Playstation, Movies, Play Memories and much more. All the apps open instantly and you’ll be able to scroll and swipe past the UI menus and home screens smoothly without experiencing any sort of slowdowns. Another excellent addition by Sony on the software front is the dedicated Power Management section which offers features like the Stamina Mode and Location-based Wi-Fi mode to improve the battery life of the phone. When the Stamina mode is enabled, the Xperia Z1 automatically disables data and Wi-Fi when you put the phone on stand-by mode. If you still wish to receive provide internet access to certain apps, you can add them to a whitelist and the phone’s software will continue pushing notifications from them.
The Sony Xperia Z1 comes with the highest resolution camera on the Android platform; it has a 20 megapixel 1/2.3″ rear-facing camera sensor with f/2.0 lens and LED flash, which provides a great overall photo experience. The camera app is quite comprehensive in terms of features, scenes, shooting modes and settings, which can be altered to get the perfect shot according to the situation. By default, the phone captures photos and videos using the Superior Auto mode, which automatically determines the proper settings according to the lighting conditions and surroundings. The sensor is capable of full-HD 1080p video recording at the 30 frames per second and can capture still images in various shooting modes like Sweep Panorama, AR effect, Portrait, Anti-Motion Blur and much more. As for the image quality, a majority of the photos captured with the camera have excellent detail, amazing clarity and realistic color reproduction. Sony has also included additional features like Info-Eye, Social Live, Augmented Reality, etc. which further enhance the functionality of the camera.
The Sony Xperia rolls out with a built-in 3000 mAh battery which offers a long-lasting performance. According to official tests, a fully-charged unit will offer up to 36 days of stand-by time, up to 14 hours of talk time and up to 110 hours of music play. In real life, a high capacity of the battery and Sony’s software optimizations should help most users get through a full day without any problems. Additionally, there are the optional power saving modes – Stamina mode, Low battery mode and location-based Wi-Fi, which can be activated to further extend the battery lifetime.
Norma McGovern is a UK-based software engineer with interests in mobile computing, tablets and other mobile technologies. Her website offers the latest information about Sony Xperia Z1 Contract offers available in the United Kingdom.