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Sony Xperia Z1 (Honami) hands-on

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Sony Xperia Z1 (Honami) hands-on

Introduction


Finally, the Honami! Or maybe we're supposed to call it the Xperia Z1 now... Anyways, this phone has made so many appearances in our news section during the last few months that we've gotten used to calling it the Honami. But all leaks and rumors should be put to rest now, as the Japanese company has officially introduced its new flagship smartphone.

The Sony Xperia Z1 is a very ambitious smartphone. It's not a secret that Sony has been having a very hard time on the smartphone market, but now the comapany hopes to turn things around with this new high-end product. Will it be capable of getting its message heard across the sea of Galaxies, however, that we don't know yet.

Design


Sony CEO Kaz Hirai introduces the Xperia Z1.

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai introduces the Xperia Z1.

Visually, the Sony Xperia Z1 is very close to the Xperia Z. It retains the familiar rectangular shape of its predecessor, but adds a cool metallic frame around the sides for a more premium appearance and feel. The Honami (Z1, Z1, Z1...), is very thin, which is a good thing considering its bulkiness. On paper, the Xperia Z1 isn't so much bigger than something like the Galaxy S4, for example, but in reality it feels significantly larger due to its rectangular shape. On the plus side, the Sony Xperia Z1 feels like a very high-quality product, thanks to its classy glass-and-metal construction. The phone is also a looker! The clean, recrangular shape is giving the Honami a very minimalistic, yet luxurious-looing design.

An additional advantage of the Xperia Z1's exterior is that it has some water, shock and dust protection, which isn't found with most other Android flagship smartphones currently.

Display


Now that Sony has finally fixed its LCD displays with the so-called 'Triluminos' screen, which first appeared in the Z Ultra phablet, the Z1 has absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to its display panel. It's the same Trilumios tech here, which delivers nicely warm and saturated colors, along with some pretty likable viewing angles. We can't really say too much about the screen quality at this point, but it seems to be perfectly competitive.

Resolution is, of course, 1080x1920 pixels, and with the 5" diagonal that makes for a wonderful pixel density of 443 ppi. Needless to say, everything looks incredibly crisp and clear on this display. In addition, Sony has utilized its X-Reality software engine which is used for enhancement of image and video content playback. It basically tweaks things such as the contast, colors and noise present in an image in order to make it more visually appealing. The feature does work and we enjoy viewing those X-Reality-enhanced photos and videos. True, the end-result may not be perfectly close to the original content, but the effect is worth it most of the time, and if you want to view your content as-is, you can always turn the X-Reality effect off.

Interface


The Sony Xperia Z1 runs Android 4.2.2 with Sony's custom UI on top

The Sony Xperia Z1 runs Android 4.2.2 with Sony's custom UI on top

There's nothing that interesting when it comes to the Xperia Z1's UI. It's running Android 4.2.2 at this time with Sony's usual custom user interface on top. The UI is by no means bad - it's actually well-polished, but we just don't find it particularly attractive. The interface works in the standard way, while there are a good number of Sony services and apps present to add some additional functionality. You can read more about this UI in our Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review. The good thing to report here is that there isn't even a hint of lag with the Z1, which is to be expected with that monster of a chipset it's equipped with. Speaking of which...

Processor and Memory


The Sony Xperia Z1 is armed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 - the latest and greatest chip by the increasingly popular mobile SoC producer. With a quad-core 2.3 GHz processor and the Adreno 330 GPU, there are not many handsets out there who can challenge the level of performance and power the Xperia Z1 offers. The new GPU is said to deliver up to 50% more computing power compared to its already quite powerful predecessor, so it's safe to say that all games and apps will work flawlessly on that 5" Triluminos display.

In terms of internal storage, the Xperia Z1 will arrive in 16 GB and 32 GB flavors, while system memory is 2 GB - more than enough to guarantee smooth performance of the system.

Camera


A 20.7MP camera has been equipped on the Sony Xperia Z1

A 20.7MP camera has been equipped on the Sony Xperia Z1

The camera is a key feature of the Sony Xperia Z1. The company has outfitted the device with a 20.7-megapixel 1/2.3" sensor of the Exmor RS variety with an aperture of f/2.0. While this so-called 'G Lens' camera sounds quite impressive on paper, though, we can't be sure yet if it's going to take good images. We mean, they'll surely be good, we just don't know how good, and how well they are going to look against the competition. Anyway, all this sensor size and aperture talk should mean one thing - the Z1 should be able to take some pretty good images in low-light conditions, which is weak spot of almost all camera phones these days. We're surely be able to tell you more about the quality of the G Lens camera found in the Xperia Z1 as soon as we have our own review unit. Video is recorded at no higher resolution than 1080p so yeah, no 4K videos yet.

Release Date, Price and Expectations


Announced today, the Sony Xperia Z1 (Honami) is scheduled to go on sale internationally by the end of September - in just about a couple of weeks. Sony hasn't discussed pricing, but it's safe to assume that the Z1 will have a premium price tag - not much different from what other flaghip phones are currently selling for, such as the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. If Sony manages to score a deal with a US carrier, the Z1 will probably retail for around $199-299 on a two-year contract.

Sony is obviously putting a lot of faith in the Xperia Z1, and we can see why the company believes it has a strong contender on its hands - the Z1 has an appealing, albeit bulky design, all the hardware power to make it future-proof, as well as as camera with great potential. Will it manage to overpower the stiff competition in the form of the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One? We can't be sure about that, but at least, by the looks of it, Sony's offering will be a mighty contender in pretty much every area.

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posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:46 16

1. lee480 (Posts: 171; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


Awesome design!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:21 8

22. -box- (Posts: 3699; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


No, no it isn't. *sigh*
It still has that stupid lip around the edge which feels terrible in hand, arguably worse than an iPhail.
It looks like a Chinese knockoff of a Lumia 925 with some android and iPhail bits thrown in (FFS, the camera is in the corner, on a device that's touting its camera as a major feature? UTTER FAIL.)
No Xenon flash.
No OIS.
*facepalm*

I was really rooting for sony here, I'd much rather see them have android market share over Samsung since they're more truly innovative and appealing, and they make some genuinely good products - especially their laptops - though not phones (yet) Sony was one of the last manufacturers to use Symbian before it became essentially Nokia-only, and I respected them for it.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:54 5

38. AnukulVcool (Posts: 116; Member since: 02 Jun 2012)


wake up

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:05 1

46. Fluxman (Posts: 46; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


What lip? It looks like the lip is gone on the Z1. Even the glass is rounded at the edge. Should feel way better.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 21:12 4

62. chocolaking (Posts: 428; Member since: 22 May 2012)


I would say this is the traditional japanese style design.
well done!! squary edge like this will last for a long time to get bored..
i wanna see how the Z1 raps the not3 in camera :D

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 01:57

68. Trex95 (Posts: 540; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


You still in the BOX!

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 20:03 5

73. KillgoreTrout (Posts: 53; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


I stop reading a comment when the person feels the need to use a word like "iphail". It is not smart or witty. I am guessing you are just copying what other people said. It is like you are the very thing you hate. No sammy, no iphail, no xbone. Let's act like adults, shall we?

posted on 08 Sep 2013, 10:48

84. RomeoJDR (Posts: 237; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)


Especially when your use of word play iPhail on a product that turned a company into being the most profitable in the world. I'm not a fan of the locked down and overly simplified iOS, but certainly not too ignorant to realize it is as far opposite of a fail as possible.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:12

43. ahomad (Posts: 138; Member since: 15 May 2012)


it is priced at £599 in the UK sony store, which is quite high

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 16:17

55. akki20892 (Posts: 3221; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


not awesome, it's so fast.

http://cdn.alltheragefaces.com/img/faces/large/surprised-rainbow-face-l.png

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 17:37 3

56. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1646; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


What design? It looks like the first xperiaZ.. only with a silver line, of material on the sides..

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 00:10 1

66. Droiderr (Posts: 32; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


Woah!!! looks like you completely missed earlier xperia z phones. Can you tell me what exactly is diferent in the desiagns? I can predict that this phone sucks. Apart from the camera i don't why was this device made any way.

And they will charge INR 40K+ for this for sure.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:48 10

2. lee480 (Posts: 171; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


it will definitely sell more than Lumia 1020/925. Good job Sony!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:49 5

3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7242; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I thought it was clocked at 2.2GHz instead of 2.3GHz...

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:50 9

4. ila420 (Posts: 7; Member since: 24 Apr 2013)


This will be my first sony device and the first with capacative buttons, goodbye Sammy.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:50 9

6. MrKoles (Posts: 290; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


In my eyes this is the true Sony flagship, not the Z.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:51

7. emadshiny (Posts: 1127; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


WOW, that LED notification looks gorgeous
but i think Sony's stock background makes the display look cheap. Use another background Sony!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:52 10

8. GrapeEyes (Posts: 243; Member since: 01 Sep 2013)


This is nothing compared to the Lumia 1520

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:45 3

31. SonyPS4 (Posts: 248; Member since: 21 May 2013)


Explain.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:44 4

51. GrapeEyes (Posts: 243; Member since: 01 Sep 2013)


The Lumia 1520 will be released in Oct/Nov:

6 inch of pure Full HD
128GB internal storage
4GB ram
21 megapixel
much more to be revealed soon

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 15:49 12

54. SonyPS4 (Posts: 248; Member since: 21 May 2013)


Just a rumour not confirmed yet.

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 00:11 1

67. Droiderr (Posts: 32; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


Dude you need to set you expevtations low. Dunno about other things but you are never going to see a 4 gig RAM in a windows phone. They are still to take up 2 gigs 1st.

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 11:37 2

71. g2a5b0e (Posts: 2089; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


The 1020 has 2GB of RAM. Not any time soon, but never say never.

posted on 06 Sep 2013, 23:35 1

75. Gamefreakz1994 (Posts: 3; Member since: 06 Sep 2013)


Actually it just takes one thing to beat this....... ANDROID

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:59 9

10. gazmatic (Posts: 503; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


you can smell the bias of reviewers

this device feels "premium" while the l920 is "heavy"

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:00

11. remyrz (Posts: 184; Member since: 28 Oct 2010)


no video hands on?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:01 4

12. pwnarena (Posts: 813; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


see that wallpaper really ruins the beauty of the display. it really does not translate well in photos. i've seen a lot of video previews and photos today and it's obvious that stupid wallpaper is destroying sony's marketing for that triluminos display. they should've changed that wallpaper. really really really awful wallpaper for marketing.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:39

48. TMach (Posts: 348; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Buy it and use a different wallpaper! Called choice, I believe....

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 21:14

63. Remmy (Posts: 52; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


True! If Sony had used a wallpaper with a combination of deeper dark and light colors, then it would easily show the improvements in the display. :

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:05

13. AfterShock (Posts: 1983; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


I think I can over look size for the over all package.

posted on 07 Sep 2013, 09:32

77. TMach (Posts: 348; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Having now held it in my mitts and compared it to the Xperia Z, I will say this, feels premium, gorgeous screen, rapid and generally looks and feels quality.....but I will pass as it feels, does not necessarily look, bigger than the Xperia Z! Will wait for the mini version or get something else as this, for my tastes, bigger and not particularly pocket friendly....;-( ! Ignore the bezel comments, when you see the phone in the metal, you hardly notice them!

posted on 07 Sep 2013, 10:06

81. TMach (Posts: 348; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Waiting for news of the Nexus 5, if it has memory card slot (not holding my breathe), Google can take my money now! If not then may very well use my upgrade to get the LG G2 even though it is limited to 32gb!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:10

15. SonyFindOneDroidple (Posts: 441; Member since: 11 May 2013)


I really hate those bezels.. but i love its Camera ;(( LG g2 and Sony z1 already defeated s4 when it comes to camera.. samsung must focus now on camera, new UI look and design 3.0 to maintain their reign because Sony LG Moto and HTC are playing VERY WELLLL!!!!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:13 10

16. smallworld (Posts: 412; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


To Phonearena: don't let Ray. S review this phone.
Thanks.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:27 12

25. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5042; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


To PhoneArena: Please let Johnnnnnnn V. review this phone.
Thanks.

posted on 07 Sep 2013, 09:47 2

78. TMach (Posts: 348; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Absolutely agree!

Dear PhoneArena - please, please, please, DO NOT let Ray S review this phone!!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:14

17. Zakriya (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Aug 2013)


Please tell us something about handling.You missed this part which is important in my opinion.
Anyway Awesome Device And Fantastic Design And Features :)

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:15

18. theruleslawyer (Posts: 108; Member since: 23 Apr 2012)


I really hope a US carrier picks this up.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:17 1

19. wicpromd (Posts: 266; Member since: 20 Aug 2013)


Nokia fans now dont cry
check this
Methodology and test assessments have claimed Xperia Z1 takes better photos as compared to lumia 1020,iphone 5 ,htc one,lumia 925 and galaxy s4
this is the official proof which was done.and claimed

www.sonymobile.com/global-en/legal/testresults/xperia-z1/#camera-overall

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:22 5

23. -box- (Posts: 3699; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Yeah, you're quoting something from SONY'S WEBSITE. Of COURSE they're going to say their own is the best. I'm sure it'll beat the One and S4 and 5, but not the 1020.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:56 2

39. AnukulVcool (Posts: 116; Member since: 02 Jun 2012)


what is "nokia" hahahaa

posted on 07 Sep 2013, 09:48 1

79. TMach (Posts: 348; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Sorry, what is a 1020?......lol

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:17

20. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5042; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Good job Sony, this phone is superb! But I have a question, should I get this or wait for the Z2? The Xperia Z1 is a good cameraphone, I like it, but somebody said that the Z2 will be announced in next year February.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 12:58 1

40. AnukulVcool (Posts: 116; Member since: 02 Jun 2012)


its common with sony, there are two flagships each year!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:40 1

45. pwnarena (Posts: 813; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


they are forced to release 2 flagships every year because of docomo's policy. they sell well with docomo so they have to please that giant japanese telco.

the s4 was dropped by docomo because they said they wanted a new flagship.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:00 1

41. Avenger337 (Posts: 59; Member since: 14 Apr 2013)


This is how to do high-end smartphones, excelling in every aspect. Indeed, a moment of silence for the deceased Nokia and windows phone.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 13:36 2

44. ghassangs7 (Posts: 9; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


Good bye my XPERIA S look at your big brother..... he is fantastic!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:23 3

47. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1646; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Not really impressed, ill take the ultraZ, anyday over this...imo

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:39 1

49. osanilevich (Posts: 235; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)


does anyone know if the Z1 comes with any new features? specs upgrades are great but what did they do to improve the user experience?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:43

50. TMach (Posts: 348; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Go look at the sample picture from the unfinished product on GSMA, it is awesome. Can't wait to see what the final version will do. Love the UI which is close to stock android. MOst of the bloatware on my S4 is turned off as it is just that...BLOAT, and of absolutely zero use. Upgrade due end of this month and trying to decide what to do.....Z1 (only negative for me is the size, not bezels), iP5s (not a fan and Apple lost me after 4s in truth or LG G2 (build quality, plastic and support (lack of) is a worry)!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 14:53

52. Phaze0085 (Posts: 99; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


I hope this AR Mode is coming to the ZU.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 15:15 1

53. GeekMovement (Posts: 1499; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Please come to the US market and to Sprint.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 17:55 1

57. philansel7 (Posts: 27; Member since: 14 Aug 2013)


fcuk man this phone in killing me ! my wallet just shed a tear of joy :P

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 18:02 6

58. xperias (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


Huge bezel like grannys underwear..such a turn off!

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 01:59

69. Trex95 (Posts: 540; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


XD Lol

posted on 07 Sep 2013, 09:50

80. TMach (Posts: 348; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Hmmm...what exactly were you doing with granny's underwear......weird!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 18:40

59. lazure (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


Frankly phone in terms of design and performance is very strong which is similar Tamam phone ultra z but Sony made ​​a mistake when you do not provide phone recording 4k as a science specifications note 3 was leaked before the show did not take advantage of these points were based on specifications which is similar to the ultra z and Samsung superior upon specifications ram and 4k provided and new features in order and I see the Sony screen is not that clear when he worked compared with another phone

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 18:43

60. lazure (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


Frankly phone in terms of design and performance is very strong which is similar Tamam phone ultra z but Sony made ​​a mistake when you do not provide phone recording 4k as a science specifications note 3 was leaked before the show did not take advantage of these points were based on specifications which is similar to the ultra z and Samsung superior upon specifications ram and 4k provided and new features in order and I see the Sony screen is not that clear when he worked compared with another phone

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 19:50 3

61. cameogt (Posts: 88; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)


the bezel. its ugly.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 23:45 2

64. DONUT (Posts: 266; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)


i dont get what is sony's obsession with huge bezels

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