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Sony Xperia Z hands-on

Posted: , by John V.

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Sony Xperia Z hands-on
Watch out Samsung! There's someone gunning to dethrone you in the Android smartphone space, and more importantly, it looks as though they're getting started ahead of everyone. That's right folks, it's none other than Sony who is shaking things up here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Just as the leaks have shown in the last month or so, Sony's upcoming flagship is indeed for real!

Simply known as the Sony Xperia Z, it’s the Japanese company’s dubbed flagship device – and boy does it have the impressive specs sheet to live up to that recognition! Certainly we’re drooling over its wicked hardware, which consists of many lovable elements that would crush most of the existing line high-end smartphones on the market right now, but interestingly enough, it merely matches some of the stuff we’ve seen already put forth by the HTC DROID DNA most recently.

First and foremost, the Sony Xperia Z travels in a different path from some of the other Xperia branded devices we’ve seen in the last year. Even though it might retain some of the Xperia design DNA, it’s a little bit different this time – mainly because it’s sporting a glossy finish with its casing, as opposed to some sort of cleaner looking finish. Of course, it’s a big magnet for things such as fingerprints and smudges, but to tell you the truth, it’s soundly solid with its construction. At the same time, Sony has been able to keep its profile relatively thin. Overall, it’s undoubtedly a handful to hold, but when you combine its sharp industrial design with its sturdiness, which includes being waterproof and dustproof, it’s a safe bet to assume it’ll withstand a lot more punishment than some of its highly esteemed rivals.

Turning on the Sony Xperia X, our eyes relish the vibrant screen it’s packing along. Specifically, it’s a 5-inch 1080p display that’s using the Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine, which simply comes to life with its high contrast, robust color reproduction, and sharp viewing angles. Right away, it’s really the centerpiece of the Sony Xperia Z, since it’s the first thing to really catch our eyes from afar.

Under the hood, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor coupled with 2GB of RAM is running the show. Although it’s able to win us over with its mostly responsive performance, we’re still seeing some sluggishness perusing around the UI – though, it’s worth noting that this is a pre-production model we’re scoping out, so it could be other software bugs that can be the culprit behind it. Rounding things out, it’s impressively packing along a 13-megapixel auto-focus camera that features an Exmor RS sensor, LED flash, and 1080p video recording. Additionally, it’s carrying along 4G LTE connectivity, a microSD card slot, 2,330 mAh battery, and NFC.

With this particular pre-production model, it’s running Sony’s specific custom UI, an updated version of Timescape of course, which definitely packs its own set of eye candy, but from our cursory exposure, it doesn’t seem to be drastically different in terms of comprehensive functionality. Oh yeah, did we mention that it’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with an anticipated software update to 4.2 sometime after launch?

In the greater scheme of things, Sony neglected to provide an exact price point and release date for this monster, but it’s currently slated for a Q1 release, which means it can potentially be out any time before March. Needless to say, time might be working against this one indeed launches later in March, but if it really wants to take the crown by force, they need to get this one out sooner than later – with a price point that’s no doubt on the aggressive side as well.

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posted on 08 Jan 2013, 03:50 38

1. Savage (unregistered)

We wants this!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:07 9

4. MeoCao (unregistered)

John says the contrast is high, but it looks washed out to me.

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:15 38

7. pyradark (Posts: 854; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

that's bcoz, its TFT LCD, when you watch it on youtube its ugly but in real life hands on its beautiful, that's why sony called it "Reality Display" get it

Xperia P Owner

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:26 20

12. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)

YUP ..i know ..i have a Xperia P ....

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:36 15

15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3757; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

And this comes with Engine 2 so expect something more better!!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 05:57 7

29. ebubekir26 (Posts: 318; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

i don't want to disrespect x peria S owners but ,,, i owned an xperia S ,, at first i tought it's amazing cuz on paper it was faster than a galaxy Note ,, 12mp, very good display, but i was very disapointed after using it for 4 or more weeks :( , it was laggy as HELL, BATTERY SUCKED (it didn't last a day (a half day!!!), the screen was very weird , when i was playing games or simply swiping my screen to clean it , i saw like stains, just like on your pc screen, i didn't even press hard, AND THE PHONE WAS FREEZING VER VERY VERY OFTEN , I NEEDED TO FORCE CLOSE my phone, the camera was stupid ! ,, auto focus was extremely slow and simply sucked,, the pictures i took were very noisy, so i sold my phone and bought a Galaxy Note II , i don't know if you had the same problems

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 11:17 1

41. rickysam (Posts: 44; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)

i had an xperia s its cameramis crap especially in low light conditions,screen is awsome,never freezed i used for 2 mnths but bit laggy since i installed ics, battery life is ok

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:45 3

19. MeoCao (unregistered)

I saw a video of Xperia Z next to HTC One X, Z looked wahed out, but One X looked very beautiful.

Isn't One X screen TFT too?

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 05:01 1

24. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 813; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)

One X has a SLCD2 display kind of IPS panel made my a certain Japanese company if I'm not mistaken.

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 05:04 9

25. pyradark (Posts: 854; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

One X use SLCD, those are very good screen both real look and camera shoots at screen.
AGAIN, try it "Real Life Hands On" and you will know what I Mean. :))
Bravia wont let you down promise, its like watch a film on a led TV

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 05:12 5

26. MeoCao (unregistered)

tks, the commentators said it was beautiful, so Sony did a good job here.

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 08:18 3

36. abhishek48 (Posts: 164; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)

I have compared HTC one x screen vs Xperia ion....according to all reviews HTC one x had best screen...and droid DNA has even better.... Not worth the wait when DNA is available since 2 months

I own DNA..best phone in the world

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 10:30 15

39. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)

Correction: DNA... 2nd best phone in the world*

Xperia Z.. best phone in the world..*

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:52 7

22. adjou (Posts: 103; Member since: 06 Jul 2010)

Think you got used to the dark and gloomy AMOLED displays. You really need to be there to see the bueaty of Xperia screens

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:10 4

5. zazori08 (Posts: 113; Member since: 21 Dec 2011)


posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:17 12

9. Savage (unregistered)

Seems like you never heard of Gollum.

posted on 10 Jan 2013, 12:42 2

62. Airforce (Posts: 68; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)

So buying this....am always a lover of SONY..remembering my first love w7001

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 03:52 18

2. tiara6918 (Posts: 2036; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)

Killer phone! Especially with that elegant black color and design!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 03:56 24

3. jstahl (Posts: 79; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)

This is the greatest phone ever made in the history. Japan the best. Cheap chinese and korean plastic copycat phones don't match with Japanese quality.

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:38 12

18. AnTuTu (Posts: 1580; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)

Mate we all love Sony but please mind your language and words when you talk like this.
"Cheap Chinese and Korean plastic copycat phones companies" are making billions of $$$ of profit every year because they produce beast every year. You may be a kid or a person who just comments like this because he thinks its cool. Come on man

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:56 3

23. cheetah2k (Posts: 1576; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)

Yeah, iPhone is made in China. Its cheap plastic copycat yada yada LOL

posted on 10 Jan 2013, 02:25

61. btbotimtim (Posts: 184; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)

that is why sony's stock price is at around 10 bucks...

posted on 05 Feb 2013, 23:22

98. wtflol (Posts: 3; Member since: 05 Feb 2013)

You need to quit being a troll and get rid of that pathetic arrogance of yours. Ofc, Japanese quality are one of the best, no doubt about it. Besides this is not the BEST phone that's out there. HTC's One x plus is probably the best. Huawei also has the ascend D2 that also has a `1.5 quad core cpu. it's chinese design and produce. Was it a cheap phone? No! the quality can match up with sony's. it's just sony has more expierences of producing phones. you can say japan was one of the best country that produce awesome new products, but you can't put down other country and stop promoting your personal doctrine!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:11 17

6. Katrina (Posts: 84; Member since: 17 Aug 2012)

Xperia Z is only H1 flagship.

THERE WILL BE ANOTHER Sony flagship phone for H2.
A15 cortex. Compare that with the S4.


posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:46 6

20. saied (Posts: 10; Member since: 28 Dec 2012)

It is going to compete with S4 for many months and Its doesnt look good for Sony
If only there was a Tegra4 version....that would be perfect

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:17 4

8. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Looks like Sony still has some ironing to do with their JB..again trailing behind on software side. This really should be released with 4.2

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:20 4

10. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3757; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

I'd like to get drunk with this lady!!!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:21 19

11. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)

The BESTest Sony Phone EVER !!!! Full Ashashi Dragontail glass body , waterfproof , dust resistant , SEXY and elegant design .....SHUT UP and take my money !!!! i want it nowww !!!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:29 8

13. ryq24 (Posts: 722; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

the problem with this phone is the release date. march is too long! should be release next week!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:29 5

14. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)

I want it now !!!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:37 3

17. pyradark (Posts: 854; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

if they rush up, it will end up factory defect again, plus its only a little time MARCH is NEAR!!!
Cant wait to have this, I love the improvement on Movies App Weeiiiiiiii :)))

posted on 09 Jan 2013, 04:38

52. kobainez (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

It will release on february on EUROPE check xperia blog

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:37 7

16. saied (Posts: 10; Member since: 28 Dec 2012)

Its last year tech
Sony has fallen behind Samsung almost a generation and thats a pity I like them very much

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 13:27 3

43. TMach (Posts: 454; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

Apart from the HTC Butterfly which is not available generally, please tell me which of last year's phones come event remotelyclose to matching these specs? Seriously, if you do not have anything useful to say then it is better you zip it rather than make stupid comments. Stupid is an emotive word but afraid how else is one supposed to describe your comment? This phone rocks on all levels..end of! Troll much?

posted on 09 Jan 2013, 17:05

59. saied (Posts: 10; Member since: 28 Dec 2012)

And Z is available?
The first device with s4 pro (Optimus G) was announced 4 month ago and since then many others have been released,
And with A15 chips already on the market s4 pro looks rather aged for a flagship.
more so if it is supposed to change the fortunes of a company.
I love sony very much but I dont see Z sell exceptionally well

posted on 09 Jan 2013, 21:42

60. rgxVOiD (Posts: 440; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)

Then you're blind

posted on 13 Jan 2013, 12:57 1

72. erdpov (Posts: 67; Member since: 07 Dec 2012)

Galaxy s4 will blow it away! Haha, on all levels, Sammy is true innovator and marketing guru. Sony is a miserable loser.

posted on 20 Jan 2013, 03:19 5

84. amansingal14 (Posts: 309; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

I hate Samsung, its UI, its hardware, its poor design language, its childish appearance, its heavy and lag-full launcher, bad updates and no support for 90% of their phones...
Samsung for losers, Sony for winners
As for Sony, just get the pricing near to $450-$500, and what we know the next is you're killing Samsung.

posted on 14 Jan 2013, 16:44

75. TMach (Posts: 454; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

The Z may not be available but it is only a matter of 6 weeks away whilst no one is even sure about the S4, apart from speculation. The Optimus G may have been released 3 months ago but where is it available? It is not even released in Europe as yet. Dude, please keep it real. The Sony Xperia Z fulfills what a phone should be on many levels and is packing the latest specs. If you don't like it, that's cool, but suggest you go fawn over your non existent S4 on a Samsung page/blog. As I say, if you have something useful to say, people will listen but just trolling and bashing other brands is just silly. BTW, the statement that you love Sony very much just makes it worse as any idiot can see through that lie.

posted on 09 Jan 2013, 04:39 3

53. kobainez (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

HAHAH go buy ur plastic toy s4 and stop trolling here

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 04:46 2

21. mademepror (Posts: 6; Member since: 13 Nov 2012)

I read the specs, but I'm still puzzled on one aspect. Does this new phone come with or without the Sony Rootkit? Joking aside the phone looks great, but I have serious ethical concerns about Sony.

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 05:13 8

27. uchis (Posts: 12; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

i'm in love

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 05:43 2

28. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

front facing camera at the bottom of the shell? I saw this already on n9. I hope they won't call it an "innovation" in any sense.
But...keep going sony. maybe it's the first sony phone worth one's interest.

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 06:00 4

30. XYZ360 (Posts: 53; Member since: 01 Jan 2012)

serious doesn,t understand how everyone is impressd by this phone. it's such a usual lg design with thinner bezel ??

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 19:53 4

50. pyradark (Posts: 854; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

first HIGH END Phone with water/dust proof & its far more elegant than LG

posted on 09 Jan 2013, 04:48 1

54. kobainez (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

It looks like xperia gx and it was out before lg optimus g. Lg looks like sony phone

posted on 16 Jan 2013, 08:09

79. rickysam (Posts: 44; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)

may be same design but man cant you see the elegance in the finishing touches and use of some damn good materiel to pack it

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 06:29 4

31. alfalf (Posts: 6; Member since: 11 Dec 2012)

better than htc. don't buy butterfly, it's a temp model for the end of year 2012

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 06:30 1

32. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

What I'm afraid of are:
- overrated exmor r sensor which will turn out to be nothing more than a module taken straight from xperia T or arc s.
- too big to use it comfortably. My belief is that nothing above 4,5 inches is comfy enough to use it with just one hand. A phablet? No thank. but that a personal matter so let's skip this one.
- too big empty black space below the display. they could utilize it somehow. maybe retain the same screen size but for sake of phone's dimensions. see above.
- the rest looks promising. and this lovely camera button remaining the one from the htc evo 3d. a solid, metal block of two-step photo executor hopefully, the camera will hold its own)

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 06:33 2

33. aindriu80 (Posts: 5; Member since: 08 Jan 2013)

would you jump from a Sony Xperia TX to a Xperia Z or ZL ? I have a TX and like it but do wonder.

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 10:32

40. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)

It's really upto you, I think specs-wise the Xperia Z will stay upto date for much longer than the TX did, especially considering 2gb of RAM, Micro SD & Full HD display, but then again the TX is still a very nice phone!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 06:59 8

34. mydi.maus (unregistered)

Xperia z will not compete with Galaxy S4...there is still something for you GS4,..

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 07:48 7

35. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 813; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)

Or the Xperia BADASS!

posted on 09 Jan 2013, 04:51 6

55. kobainez (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

The one that will compete with s4 is using oled full hd screen and using a15 soc and it will crush s4

posted on 10 Jan 2013, 21:20 2

64. maxha97 (Posts: 93; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)

Samung will beat this xperia z with exynos octa core

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 11:00 7

83. luffybill (Posts: 14; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)

and new xperia will beat samsung gs4 also..stupid people can't see that xperia z rival is sg3 not sg4

posted on 05 Feb 2013, 04:46

95. saptakniyogi (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Feb 2013)

the new exynos is not exactly octa core, it uses two quad core but not simultaneously. one quad core is used to give high performance while other for power saving

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 09:57

37. Rexperia (Posts: 133; Member since: 28 Sep 2012)

only time will tell....

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 10:25

38. monkeytown (Posts: 125; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)

except for the on screen buttons, this thing is AWESOME!

posted on 08 Jan 2013, 13:13

42. flipjzn (Posts: 256; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)

From leaks everyday u tell us the specs, then u they ahold of the phone u don't try to take a photo or video or play a video instead u tell us the same thing, specs?! Ugh!

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