Sony Xperia Z Review
Sony made the switch to Android quite some time ago, and has been constantly working to improve its devices ever since. Even though the manufacturer tried to make something happen with its high-end models of recent years like the Xperia T and S, it wouldn't be a lie if we say that its efforts have largely remained unnoticed in this world dominated by Galaxies and iPhones. What do you have to do to become a factor in this business? It certainly isn't easy, considering that a company such as Sony, which has an almost fanatical following, hasn't been able to disturb the status quo.
Sony's smartphones have obviously lacked some of these prerequisites, but Sony has proven to be resilient. It is now ready to try again. A new flagship model, a new Xperia phone is here to try and overpower the dominant species. Is that even possible? Why, we say nothing is impossible!
Ladies and gents, we're giving you the Sony Xperia Z!
And here it is, encased in its beautiful glass body. Sony has taken a different approach this time, and instead of using a soft-touch plastic for the back panel, it has went with an all-glass design. We can't tell you how happy we are because of this fact. The glass body gives the Xperia Z a much more striking look, plus it makes it less slippery in your hand.
The Xperia Z is a super-thin smartphone at only 7.9 mm, but thankfully, it's still not too thin so as to become uncomfortable to hold. The handset is built very well. It feels quite solid and premium – just the way it should feel considering its class. If we have to compare it to its Android competitors, we should say that Sony has managed to trump most of them in this respect.
One thing we don't quite like about the design are the sharp edges of the rubberized frame of the body. If those were a bit smoother, holding the Xperia Z would have been that much more comfortable.
With such a large, 5" display, it's understandable why the Xperia Z is so bulky. Even though it's quite thin, the handset is still a bit difficult to handle, especially if you want to accomplish something using one hand only. But such is the case with all 5” handsets, so it's not Sony's fault.
You can compare the Sony Xperia Z with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The keys around the sides of the Xperia Z are limited to the power key and volume rocker. Both the rocker and the power button could be a bit better. Not that they are bad, but they lacks a defined “click” feel when pressed. We expected a bit more considering the special, new design of the power/lock key.
There are absolutely no “holes” around the Xperia Z. Every port or slot is covered by a protective plastic flap. This was probably needed to make the device dust- and water-resistant, speaking of which...
The power/lock key
There are absolutely no “holes” around the Xperia Z. Every port or slot is covered by a protective plastic flap.
very large, 5-inch display. The resolution is also quite extreme at 1080x1920 pixels, which makes for a super-high pixel density of 441 ppi. As you can guess, there isn't even the slightest hint of jaggedness with this display, no matter what you're looking at.
In terms of image quality, the display is quite good, although not necessarily as good as the very best. For example, its contrast could be a little higher and the colors could be a bit more saturated. You know, just to make things a bit livelier. Sony has implemented its Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine, which aims to enhance certain settings in order to make media content appear better on the screen. We've tried older Sony handsets with BRAVIA engine and have to say that images really get that extra edge thanks to the enhancement. Sadly, this only works when viewing images or video with the respective apps, so if you're, for example, viewing pictures inside the web browser or in Facebook, those won't benefit from the BRAVIA 2 enhancements.
Outdoor visibility is OK, you won't have problems there as long as the brightness is set to the max and the sun isn't directly reflected in the screen. The viewing angles, however, could also be a tad better. Overall, it's an awesome display that will make all kinds of activities super-fun, though Sony will have to do a bit more tweaking if it wants to be as good as the big boys of the industry.
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Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Sony Xperia Z||440
|LG Optimus G||394
|Samsung Galaxy S III||294
|Samsung GALAXY Note II||292
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung GALAXY Note II||52.7%
|LG Optimus G||72.1%
|Samsung Galaxy S III||No data
|Sony Xperia Z||No data
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
1. zuckerboy (Posts: 709; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)
only 8.5 ? I though buy xperia z but xperia death for me now
9. boosook (Posts: 768; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
LOL! Do you really base your choiche of what to buy or not to buy on a rating on a single website? Go and try the product yourself, or at least check and compare reviews on multiple websites, youtube and forums from users that you know are reliable.
What can disappoint someone can be positive for others, for example I like sharp edges and hate rounded phones...
42. jroc74 (Posts: 3959; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Exactly...lol. If I based what buy on 1 website's review, I would have neve got the Droid X.
Consumer Reports is the exception when it comes to cars, and maybe cameras...lol. For everything else I go to many sources.
In fact....I and probably all of us would probably have an iPhone if I, we based it off of reviews....
106. Emily1985 (Posts: 123; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)
Nokia Lumia 920 Review score: 9.0
Sony Xperia Z Review score : 8.5
Nokia Lumia 920 Win !!!!!
260. zuckerboy (Posts: 709; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)
920 can only win brick of the year 2012 :P
303. giri555 (Posts: 95; Member since: 15 Mar 2012)
So many Negative comments and feedback about your site?
Hope you have learnt a lesson??
Don't underestimate the knowledge of the visitors of this site, visitors will not buyin to whatever garbage you throw...why am I even coming back to this filthy site...damn I wasted my time typing this...
75. danny_a2005 (Posts: 114; Member since: 06 Oct 2011)
Ray S just gives 9.0 and up to apple devices even though they are all the same, if Joooooohn V had this review done it would have at least 9.0. I think this phone is perfect... And I'm buying it even if it had a 1.0 review
80. Ray.S (Posts: 239; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)
Actually, I haven't done a single review of an Apple device, so you don't know how much I would give it. :P
86. MartyK (Posts: 669; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
He got you confuse with Alan F. , now that person loves some Apples...hahaha
94. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 154; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
gsmarena preview said the camera is excellent and the video is awesome and you said that the video failed to impress ? explain
145. hung2900 (Posts: 713; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Don't make the fake quote, man.
GsmArena just told us a little bit about camera user interface and some functions without evaluating the quality , so where could you find the words"excellent" or "awesome"?
264. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 154; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
Videos come up with excellent detail and a solid 30fps framerate
this from the preview and I won't keep the whole review in my mind with the very words
119. AshishRomea (Posts: 145; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
your biased ! this needs atleast 9.0 , common whats even wrong with the phone ?
155. chaosnightmare (Posts: 31; Member since: 20 May 2010)
the brand i guess, sony sucks so much
192. schinnak (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
It was a good review. S3 was top of the cream when it was launched in terms of specs and new features on touchwiz. It fully deserved the score.
Now you have droid DNA, galaxy note 2 etc with similar specs which came before xperia Z. Apart from the dust proof and water proof thingy - what else sets this phone apart and on the top???
The score and review is fully justifiable.8.5/10 is a good score for this phone.
214. ravearamashi (Posts: 11; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)
Absolutely true. It's all about software features, benchmarks and processor power doesn't matter anymore as long as the device is running on Jelly Bean, any dual core and above phone would be able to run it lag-free in theory. It goes the same to Droid DNA and Optimus G and Note II. DNA and Optimus G specs and benchmarks blows Note II out of the water, but in terms of software features such as the Multiwindows while on Optimus G and DNA, you don't have lots of features compared to Note II, and that's why Note II overall just wins because Samsung took the device potential to the max
273. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 832; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
Better design, NFC support, thinner, better construction, better build, better functions (ie, battery stamina mode) expandable storage, higher resolution camera (better detail), thinner, lighter,Jelly Bean out of the box,
194. kclgphilsbsa (Posts: 762; Member since: 21 Jan 2013)
galaxy s3 got 9.3
galaxy s4 might got 9.5 above or else that wud be very disappointing haha
22. Wiki_jaan (Posts: 660; Member since: 24 Jun 2012)
now wait coz beast is coming soon..............S
48. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
oh please, 8.5 isn't bad at all. by the looks of your comment it looks like you never had any interest in the z in the first place and just need smthing bad to point out. anyway lets look at the con shall we. disappointing camera? i agree it isn't what it was hyped up to be but it still isn't 'dissappointing'. its not the best but it isn't bad and is still an excellent camera. plus, rating is different for every site and anyway what did the note 2 score? a 9, which is just a point 5 away and is also due to the extra functionality of the S pen. also many of the things are subjective so you have to choose what you like rather than what other people like.
77. mansoor (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 Feb 2013)
8.5 is bad because it deserves a lot higher score than that.
193. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
but you are forgetting that phonearena, or at least the author was never known to be too optimistic of sony. it surely deserves higher scores but for phonearena, well you should get used to this sort of stuff. you know what i do? i add 1 or at least a 0.5 to their score if its sony and -1 if its apple.
148. DerryAhmad (Posts: 179; Member since: 05 May 2012)
The Xpera Z got 8.5 while the iPhone5 go 9.0 just doesn't seem right.
Also It'd also be nicer if we get to see the camera comparison between the Z and iPhone5/Galaxy S3/Lumia920 in the review to see where it stand in the competition.
262. gboo2565 (Posts: 10; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
I have a feeling you wouldn't like the result of that camera comparison Derry..Does seem a bit strange though that Sony can't get their camera quality up..
274. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 832; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
I know, the Iphone doesn't even have a 720p HD screen, and many phones made in the same year did! -_-
57. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 271; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)
Sad that the emerging leader in almost every class of camera can only come up with "mediocre" image quality for their flagship device.
67. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
The camera was like I always said average. It's actually disappointing as per Ray S. My HTC Droid DNA has a better camera, it has the 1080p HD screen & the Qualcomm Krait S4 Pro. Also I have had all that tech since Nov. of 2012.
People should skip this phone & get the new HTC M7/One or the Samsung Galaxy S IV, because those 2 phones will be out weeks after the Xperia Z if not sooner.
71. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5278; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Another reason (for me at least) to skip the Z - no VZW service. The GS IV will certainly be available on VZW. And maybe the HTC will be available on VZW as well.
Sony should have learned from Nokia about not releasing a phone on VZW. It tends to hurt your U.S. sales.
74. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
That is a GREAT point.
I like the Sony Xperia Z but my problem is that it's too similar to last years HTC Droid DNA/Butterfly J.
The Xperia Z is 2012 tech not 2013 tech like the new HTC M7/One or the Samsung Galaxy S IV.
79. Taters (Posts: 2359; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
The M7 is going to be even more outdated than the DNA. the Qualcomm 600 isn't ready yet and the Tegra 4 will probably suck, so the M7 will be a 4.7 inch S4 pro phone that is the same size as the DNA and bigger than the Xperia Z. Talk about fail.
89. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3643; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
You say that like it's a fact. The S600 is sampling right now, and it's going to be available in Q2. So that mean HTC could announce it in late February, and have it launched a little bit more than a month later when Q2 starts.
Also, the Tegra 4 will definitely not suck. With 28nm true A15 cores, and they're buffed up GPU which might be up to par with the PowerVR SGX554MP4 in the iPad 4, I think the Tegra 4 would be a pretty big improvement from the S4 Pro.
162. Taters (Posts: 2359; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Not according to what I read. The Qualcomm 600 is still a ways away and in that same article he said that the Tegra 4 was no competition and similar to the S4 pro. So yeah...
112. HDShatter (Posts: 1014; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)
@SuperAndroidEvo this phone competes with the HTC One specs, the HTC One is a droid DNA with some monior upgrades like 13mp camera. The s4 pro is still the best processor in phones in 2013 right now this isn't outdated till a phone gets a Tegra 4, snapdragon 800 or exynos 5 quad core which won't happen till this summer.
104. gescalona (Posts: 9; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)
Ray S. gave 8 to the HTC Desire C and 8.9 to the Samsung Galaxy S III mini. So, the Sony Xperia Z is just a bit better than the HTC Desire C, and worse than the Samsung Galaxy S III mini. really Ray S.?
108. feres13 (Posts: 295; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
Dude it's like comparing an audi Q5 to a Porsche cayenne, they're not in the same class, compare the audi to the bmw x3 and the porsche to the x5, the S3 mini is a midrange phone and the xperia z is a high end phone.
137. gescalona (Posts: 9; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)
8.9 for a midrange phone and 8.5 for a highend phone ? is that make any sense to you? I wasn't compare the phones, i just saying that Ray S. believe that the S3 mini is better than the Xperia Z. according to his reviews
141. Birds (Posts: 927; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
He doesn't think the SIII is better, Ray S. just isn't 100% satisfied with the handset considering that is is supposed to be high end and only performs "well" in some areas and not "spectacular".....
For the SIII mini, it is the most pleasing handset with the particular hardware limitations it was built with. Do you get my point now?
176. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Below the rating, there is a link to the page explaining it:
If you want to compare the rating and judge "which is better", you should compare the Z with recently reviewed high-end smartphones. However, to get an objective information, we suggest reading the whole review text (not only the rating!) and get all the facts. Also, we do VS articles, comparing two phones directly.
190. mansoor (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 Feb 2013)
"Release date: A phone released a year ago and rated as excellent should not be compared to a device that has just came out and has received the same rating. As the technology evolves, it is logical that the new models should meet higher expectations."
What kind of expectations are we talking about here? It seems unclear to me that the fact that it is a high end phone with high IP rating, first phone with HDR, Bravia Engine 2, Glass back and front, very sexy design, 2.2Mpix front face camera (/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9y55J3jyWME), good battery life.
"8.5-10 - Excellent : the performance and the features offered by the device are superb."
Given that the XZ only got 8.5 score, it just got the minimum grade to have it categorized as an Excellent phone which is annoying that a great phone like XZ to receive only this much.
236. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
you clearly don't understand the way how PA scores
160. soshi (Posts: 154; Member since: 08 Mar 2012)
If this xperia Z consider as midrange phone with same price as sIII mini it will score 15/10. It is going to be weird if low end phone score 1/10 because the comparison also with high end phone.
Score should showing us not about what feature it has but how good is that feature qulity. For example, Sony xperia A with single core processor but optimize it speed at max will score better than Sony xperia B with quad core but perform only slightly better than dual core phone.
We can read all the feature in specification sheet, so score review need to tell us how this feature work in reality
275. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 832; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
You can't compare phones with release dates that has big gap.
323. rey514 (Posts: 3; Member since: 06 Mar 2013)
hahaha.. what is that? samsung galaxy s3 mini with a dual core processor 1ghz, 5 mp camera and with a screen that isnt a gorilla glass beats sony xperia z, a quad core 1.7 ghz monster, water resistant, scratch resistant and a camera that boast a 13 mp... instead of informing the people, we try to confuse them...
166. mickaahmed (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
dnt blv in phonearena they r the most worst mobile review site :S they r anoyning people cuz 1 of my frnd living in japan he bought a xperia z he told me that its most beautiful set in current market and its camera is 1 of the best in mobile he compares its camera with other populer divices only nokia pure view's camera is little bit good otherwise this divece is far batter than any other like galaxy s3 note 2 iphn 5 and some htc im really dispointed with phonearena :P in beanchmark tests xperia z is far ahead to any other divics
248. Birds (Posts: 927; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
The simple fact of the matter is that the 13 megapixel camera on the Xperia Z isn't better then the competition. I wouldn't mind if they put a larger sensor on these phone because this whole dumbass thing about I have to have the thinest and lightest phone urks my nerves... I wouldn't mind a few extra ounces on a phone so it can have an above average camera.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the camera is bad. The camera is well above average and can perform just as well as other flagships, but it doesn't out shoot them which is why Ray S. says the photos aren't anything to write home about. I would go deep in depth about the photos but keep in mind these photos are taken under overcast conditions.
197. SleepingOz (Posts: 2466; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)
This is the best android flagship atm, but I doubt it'll stand a chance against the upcoming flagships of HTC, LG and ofc, Samsung.
Not to forget the Motorola X as well.
292. nanotechnos (Posts: 1; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
Yes it's my first post, so what ? um um
Just got my Sony Xperia Z in pre-pre-pre sale (ok 4 day is like a pre sale no ? :D)
Slick and beautiful device, in comparaison my Note 2 seems to be a plastic toy (but wait ! It's in plastic :D)
Screen is really sharp, but the contrast is... disappointing to be fair. Color aren(t as vibrant as the Bravia Engine 2 was expecting to do.
The ip57-55 certification is really fun, it might fzeel awkward to wash you phone the first time, but it indeed seems "logical" after a few wash.
Comparing my Note 2 in term of screen, both has their pros and cons, the Xperia z seems tiny in comparaison of the Note 2.
But, the image is really sharper, although it seems lavish.
Comparing to my good old iPhone 4s, the quality of the iPhone regardless the tiny/minuscule/ size of the screen looks and feel superior. Contrast and colors especially.
When the 3 phone face off, they all fit a certain usage.
Note 2 for the autonomy and the AWESOME stylus (no more "Where is that godamn f*cking pen ?!" when you receive a call). 1 full day with CONTINOUS HSPDA/call/internet mail.
Xperia Z to get the feeling of an iPhone and the quality of android. Did I say it's washable ? Really good device, but regarding the price, I might end up to sell him and keep Note2+iphone 4S.
iPhone 4S, for an all in one device (that audio and apps) with miserable autonomy... (but I will never get rid of it :D)
339. X55526622233 (Posts: 17; Member since: 14 Apr 2013)
just buy gs4 xperia z htc one That is how I will compare these phones. right now I have xperia z. waiting for htc one. One word for xperia Z "AWESOME"
2. hung2900 (Posts: 713; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
One more time the gimmicky 13 MP camera is proved to be pointless, when the details are only marginally better but have to trading off the noise reduction and color reproduction. The last year Exmor R of Xperia S is not very good, this one is better but still compromising.
I checked a lot of Xperia Z reviews , and most of them say the camera is just OK.
HDR video cam is the only good point here.
43. Feanor (Posts: 273; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
I agree that if you don't implement correctly a novel technology, you will not get the results you were hoping for, but so many comparisons in the web demonstrated the camera of the Z as a clear winner over iPhone 5, Samsung GS3 and Note 2 and many others. Until I bumped on this review I was quite impressed with this camera. And honestly speaking the way that this review explains the camera doesn't sound like a very accurate way to judge. You need proper comparisons with the competition for this and in those cases the Z really shone. Maybe Phone Arena was hoping that the Exmor RS sensor will offer DSLR levels of shooting quality, but for me anything that is marginally better than the already very good iPhone 5 and GS3 is already a great achievement.
135. _Bone_ (Posts: 2061; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
The photo quality is a bit shocker, Sony uses so much noise reduction that results look like upconverted 8MP pictures. Even more interesting how Oppo manages to produce SIGNIFICANTLY SHARPER images with better color reproduction and compression method, I read somewhere it features the 2nd version of the Exmor RS, but is it possible that Oppo got one technology newer than Sony's own flagship?
Check the details up close, these are genuine 13MP shots with proper pixel sharpness, and dynamic range is also top notch as advertized. Not bad during the night or up close either.
Now someone tell me how Oppo makes this much better pictures with the same Sony sensor...
220. ubuntu (Posts: 40; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)
op op op op op op op op op
Why do u always talk about oppo gangnam style!
i see you everywhere lol
|Display||5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (443 ppi) TFT|
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064, Quad core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||5.47 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches|
(139 x 71 x 7.9 mm)
5.15 oz (146 g)
|Battery||2330 mAh, 11 hours talk time|