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  • Sony Xperia Z1 is here! Thin waterproof cameraphone boasts 20 MP sensor

Sony Xperia Z1 is here! Thin waterproof cameraphone boasts 20 MP sensor

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Sony Xperia Z1 is here! Thin waterproof cameraphone boasts 20 MP sensor
If you remember, last year marked a turning point for Sony's mobile business, as it divorced amicably with Ericsson, and CEO Kaz Hirai announced the One Sony initiative, aiming to bring all the various departments and their inventions together for products that will embody the best Sony can offer in all their aspects.

Well, we can consider the just-announced Sony Xperia Z1 as actually the first One Sony phone embodying the results of this strategy, and it is every bit as exciting as it was rumored to be since day one. Let's dive into the juicy details of the next best cameraphone thing in the Android universe.


Sony Xperia Z1 is here! Thin waterproof cameraphone boasts 20 MP sensor
We have to start with the "wow" part first - the Z1 indeed sports a 20.7 MP Exmor RS sensor, just as speculated in numerous leaks before. It is, however, 1/2.3" in size, so don't expect the wonders that some of Nokia's cameraphones are capable of with their much larger sensors. Here we just have a lot of pixels stuffed into a sensor size that is about average for a smartphone. It is the lens and processing algorithms that are just as important, though, and Sony Z1 sports G lens branding, with 27mm wide angle and generous F2.0 aperture, BIONZ for mobile ISP, as well as promises for “world’s leading camera in a smartphone,” leading us to the thought that the company has put a lot of efforts to get it right this time. 

The handset also sports a dedicated camera key with almost instantaneous sleep-to-snap times, so you'll never miss that memorable frame. Interestingly, Sony also touts the camera as capable of "3x clear zoom," which might jibe with the rumors that the Z1 will be using pixel-binning technology similar to the one found on Nokia's 808 PureView or the Lumia 1020.

The upside of a regular-sized sensor and lens is that we don't have a bulky abomination dubbed as cameraphone, but rather a thin 8.5 mm Android smartphone with a one-piece aluminum frame, the familiar OmniBalance design, and catchy tempered glass chassis that comes in black, white and purple colors. Not only that, but the whole kit is waterproof to boot, with IP58 certification at that, meaning it can survive more feet of water on top of it for more time than the Xperia Z, for example.


Sony has not only boosted the camera part, something that was much needed in the Android world, but it also equipped the Z1 with futureproof internals that will let it deal with any task you through at it for the foreseeable future. We get a 5" 1080x1920 pixels Full HD display with Sony's new Triluminous technology which we found to be of excellent quality in our recent screen tech comparison. Next up, the phone is powered by the top-shelf Snapdragon 800 performer in a 2.2 GHz quad-core setup. The 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory round up the flagship offering, aided by an added microSD slot for 64 GB more storage, if needed. 

A 3000 mAh sealed battery is of the capacity we only used to see in phablets until recently, so you can rest assured the phone will last you above the average Android crowd. Sony cites 14 hours of talk time and 6.5 hours of video playback from the juicer, which are pretty decent numbers for the category.

To top it all off, the phone is very compact at 144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5mm, and weighs 170g, making it a premium handset with extra camera abilities. If the 20 MP images aren't good enough for you, and we'll have to determine that when we get a retail unit to compare with the current kings, then you can always use Sony's QX10 and QX100 lens-style camera modules it unveiled alongside the Z1 today. Alternatively, Sony also outed additional photo accessories for the Z1, such as the Smart Imaging Stand IPT-DS10M, or the Smartphone Tripod SPA-MK20M.

The phone will launch with Android 4.2 onboard, and to pepper things up on the software front, Sony has updated the PlayMemories Online app with the new All Sync option that will allow you to upload all photos taken with the Z1 without any storage limits. Another great idea is to expand the TrackID app with TV series information search and share, though for now this will only be present in Germany, UK, France, Japan and the US. The new Info Eye feature lets you snap pics of landmarks or your surroundings and the app will layer adequate info in augmented reality-style.

Sony Xperia Z1 will be available the same month it launches, marking quite the leap for the company, meaning you will see it in carrier stores and retailer shelves near you in September for a price yet to be disclosed. It is the second octaband LTE phone after the Z Ultra, so the handset supports quite the batch of 4G LTE frequencies. We have a full hands-on and comparison of the Z1 vs G2 or Z1 vs HTC One for you coming soon, complete with image samples from the next big cameraphone hope.

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posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:40 8

1. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

170g? Wow. But at least specs are promising, it's up to Sony to optimize camera app.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:01 31

16. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)

People like you are really annoying. Always complaining for the weight of the phone as if you cant handle it. Are you a sissy or something?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:07 11

26. tech2 (Posts: 3451; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

Well the phone is heavy and big TBH !

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:07 6

27. msa1988 (Posts: 418; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)

Haha - couldn't agree more. There's something wrong with you if you downgrade a high-quality phone, like this, because its GRAMS heavier than its counter-parts.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:12

34. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:18 1

40. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

you should take a look in a mirror....
even if he/she is a sissy, theres nothing wrong expecting a light device, apple and samsung can do it.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:21 1

43. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)

Why would I look in a mirror? Im not complaining about the weight. Besides, it's not like a brick. Having a larger battery, I can actually sacrifice the weight.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:17

67. caustictoast (Posts: 31; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)

Apple makes a phone 1" smaller making it easy to make it way lighter. Samsung uses plastic for their phones. This is made of aluminum and glass. This also is waterproof, has a better camera and a bigger battery than the Galaxy s4

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:26 3

47. Santi_Santi (unregistered)

Not a big deal, still in PA's review this phone will get a 6.5

posted on 08 Sep 2013, 06:52

92. the_best (Posts: 139; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)

true, but in sweden an japan it will get a perfect 10.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:07 4

28. special4u (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 May 2013)

REAL beast unleashed!

posted on 05 Sep 2013, 09:35

91. takeja (Posts: 35; Member since: 16 Aug 2013)

Yes, but:
1) no a replaceable battery for traveling
2) no Google edition
3) 140g is maximum

Make it Sony and I WILL change it for my sgs4!!!

So sgs4 is still the best for traveling

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:07 12

29. Commentator (Posts: 3684; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Heavier feels better to me anyways.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:52 3

60. CELLKONTECH (Posts: 11; Member since: 23 Feb 2013)

and where is 4K video support???? :o

posted on 08 Sep 2013, 16:00

93. Pancoon (Posts: 42; Member since: 05 Jul 2013)


posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:57 2

62. Lyngdoh (Posts: 260; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

The weight is due to the fact that its made of glass and aluminum and not plastic. I like phones that have some weight on them. Too light feels kinda cheap and empty.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:18 1

68. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)

Heavy for men and light for women. C'mon dude I had N8 with otterbox case was 165g.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:43

2. jeff_1 (Posts: 105; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)

I Love the design..it is so cool..Specs wise Im not surprised..Another beast in the android arena
sad though they are all the same..nothing is unique ..same soul..

Im gonna have this phone not because of specs..but because of the AMAZING design..collectors item just like the Xperia P..

Windows will always be my primary phone.. Stay out of the Crowd..choose windows.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:43 5

3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I'm the opposite. I love the specs, but design is lacking.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:45 3

4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

So everything that was leaked is 100% spot on. Excitement level isn't there.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:45 1

5. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Great specs though.

Edit: Stupid PA with the double post.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:13 6

36. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

then go stick with u Iphone

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:19 3

69. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I sense a little mad fanboy.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:36 2

78. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

I sense u trolling.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:42 2

81. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I sense you are mad once again. Inspector, trust me, you're fighting a losing battle buddy. Just stop while you're ahead.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:46 11

6. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)

Gorgeous design, beasty specs! But what about OIS on the camera?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:50 6

9. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Not trying to start any problems as I just want an insight, but what's so 'gorgeous' about the phone?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:27 2

48. tadaa (Posts: 267; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)

Glass + aluminum. It might be a rehash but it doesn't look uninspired. Like how 920 was a rehash of 800 but nokia still made it look good

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:28

75. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

iPhone 5 is made out of glass and aluminum also but weights a lot less...

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:35 8

51. SonyPS4 (Posts: 344; Member since: 21 May 2013)

Compare to market leader Samsung this is gorgeous.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:22 3

70. JMartin22 (Posts: 1969; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)

That's your OPINION, I find the design aesthetically unappealing. I'd prefer the "cheap" Samsung Note III or S4

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:26 1

74. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

This, especially when the phone weighs less and I'm able to swap batteries and Micro SD cards when needed. Waiting on the Note III announcement. :)


posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:13

66. HASHTAG (unregistered)

So if the leaks of the iPhone 5S/C pair well with the actual device, I expect you to say the same thing, PapaSmurf.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:22 1

72. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Well the iPhone 5 is a well crafted device and does look better than the Z1. So yes, expect me to say the same about the iPhone 5S but not the C.

The Z1 is just a plain glass rectangle and nothing more. Nothing to rave about honestly.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:06 3

65. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

The design is very "meh" to me. It mixes Lumia 925, iPhail, and generic android in a very forgettable package. Plus the camera lens is in the corner, which is so unintuitive and awkward to use, and easy to cover with a finger while trying to use it. As much as I want sony to succeed, this lacks any compelling aspects to really draw many folks away, IMHO, what with the LG G2 and Note3 coming out and the S4 already well-established.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:23 2

73. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Thank you for not joining the bandwagon and say what everyone doesn't want to hear.


posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:53

83. TrollorNo (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)

This is where we'll have to kindly disagree. And rightfully so, as design is a very subjective topic.

That said, I do very much enjoy the design on the Z1. The sharper corners, glass and aluminum body, power button placement, and just overall look and feel are quite different from other devices in the market. If you put the HTC One, LG G2, Samsung GS4, and Xperia Z1 all next to each other, I find the One and Z1 stand out for their design. The S4 and G2 with their rounded corners and similar design cues makes for the "generic android" feel. Especially when lower end devices also carry similar looks.

The Z1 and One on the other hand, stand out for their different designs. I personally find their looks more "sophisticated" and eye-catching whereas the S4 and G2 are very forgettable just because everything else looks like them.

All my phones have had the camera in the corner. I don't see what the big deal is? You'll have to explain this one to me.

On paper, the Z1 and G2 compete very well. The G2 has the slightly bigger screen/smaller bezels/larger internal storage, but the Z1 should have the better camera, is waterproof, and expandable storage.

So really, the choice comes down to a preference in aesthetics really. And I for one, like the Z1.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:59

84. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

We agree to disagree. I'd pick the G2 over the Z1.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:49

7. suneeboy (Posts: 201; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)

Wow, this looks nice. Waterproof too? Wow

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:50

8. mottykels (Posts: 383; Member since: 15 May 2013)

This is gonna be a almost perfect smartphone for me to date,
Two more things, removable battery and touchwhiz in Xperia ;) LOL

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:52

11. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1163; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

whats the catch?

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:53 4

12. jeff_1 (Posts: 105; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)

for the camera part Im afraid this gonna be another sh*t..just like ULTRAPIXEL from HTC, CLEARPIXEL from motorola, ZOOM from samsung, multi element lenses from apple..ALL OF THIS ARE GREAT on P A P E R..


i love sony though

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:59 5

15. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

You saved yourself with the last line.

I have actually have high expectations for the camera as it sounds promising, but definitely isnt going to beat the 1020's Pureview wonders.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:08 1

32. android_hitman (unregistered)

jeff dear .. you are a sad pathetic person, please go on apple forums and comment how great the iphone5 camera is and how greater it will be on the iphone5s

and just a heads up, apple is FAR FAR behind Sony, Samsung and HTC on innovations and basically on everything.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:14 3

37. jeff_1 (Posts: 105; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)

. android_hitman dear where in my comment did I say that the iphone is great? READ BETWEEN THE LINES.

dont hate apple too much it might kill you..you are pathetic SON of a BIT*H

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:41 2

53. SonyPS4 (Posts: 344; Member since: 21 May 2013)

SONY also make good camera that compete with Canon, Nikon unlike all those manufacturer you mentioned. This time their smartphone division they work with same people that make RX100, the best p&s camera so far.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:43

54. Purnama (Posts: 6; Member since: 29 Aug 2013)

Xperia Z1 gives you the best overall image quality of all leading smartphones.

The above claim was found to be supported based on a blind assessment of images captured by Sony Xperia Z1 and Apple iPhone 5, HTC One, Nokia Lumia 1020, Nokia Lumia 925 and Samsung Galaxy S4 and rated by 206 UK consumers. Research was conducted by Strategy Analytics between 12th – 15th August 2013.

see here for complete claims "sonymobile.com/global-en/legal/testresults/xperia​-z1/#camera-overall"

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:46 1

57. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

Nokia :'(

I can't take it anymore, I need a break from these tech blogs. Such a depressing week. The last Nokia press conference will be the end of this month, no more Nokia being discussed, no more Nokia articles, no more Nokia tune, no more Nokia marketing, no more anticipating what wonders Nokia will bring, no hope of an android Nokia... :'(

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 09:58 4

14. zachattack (Posts: 621; Member since: 31 Jul 2013)

Will go to T-Mobile and nowhere else and Sony will fail. This was pretty boring idk why i watched it. Verizon won't see it till it's too late and by that time i will not be caring on my G2. I feel bad for all the people that blew money to go see that live XD

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:43 1

55. SonyPS4 (Posts: 344; Member since: 21 May 2013)

Problem is too much info leaked and some people expect too much.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:32 1

76. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

The phone generated so much leaked info and hype that the announcement was boring.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:01 1

17. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

What a beauty. can't wait for this too be release

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:01

18. shuaibhere (Posts: 1986; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

After many i see a potential competitor from sony......xperia z1 is really awesome.....and those software features for camera are promising...

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:02

20. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

Very nice phone indeed and MICRO SD... the video playback seems rather low for a big battery, other phones are getting 9 hours or so with smaller battery. Also I wouldn't call it a very compact design not for a 5".. really do like the design of this though... was expecting to see a z1 mini too.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:08

31. TheLolGuy (Posts: 483; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)

I thought so too about the video playback, but then I remembered how every manufacturer takes the real results and tacks on an hour or two when marketing their product.

So if Sony is just being honest right out of the gate here (or maybe its a typo for them) I give them credit.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:25

46. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

I'm basing the video playback on gsmarena battery test... Don't think it is a typo, I think there screen just uses more power, even previous Sony phones have been rather low on video compared to others... Not a big deal but 8 hours plus would have been nice especially from 3000mah. In comparison the s4 and one with 2600 and 2300mah battery get 10 hours on gsmarena battery test..

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:03 2

21. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 867; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)

All that and still no xenon flash...

All the software in the world can't make up for that.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:32 1

77. jb4674 (Posts: 145; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)

Man, quit whining about the stupid Xenon flash!

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 10:05 4

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

Birth of Haters that means sony u r getting awesome
for example
papasmurf is so curious because he knows Note is not better than Xperia Z1
but Papasmurf and many like u, cant help it
try more harder
we are sony fans
and we will buy xperia z1
stop us if u can

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 11:37 1

79. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I must be doing something right if you're mentioning my name.

Nothing is special about the Z1. It's basically a Xperia ZS. Note III will have a bigger battery so while you run for the charger, I'll be happy listening to music and browsing the web at the same time. :)

(Want to troll? Two can play at this game.)

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