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Sony Xperia Z Review

Sony Xperia Z 8.5

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Sony Xperia Z Review
Introduction

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 Xperia Z Review
Sony Xperia Z Review
Apparently, what's needed is much more than just a strong specs sheet and a recognizable name. You need to have the powerful hardware encased in a beautiful design, a fast and responsive software experience, the latest operating system, a great camera, top-notch display... and of course, you have to be ready to take responsibility for anything you might mess up and be ready to fix and/or enhance the software of the device as frequently as you have to.

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!





Design

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.

The Sony Xperia Z is a super-thin smartphone at only 7.9 mm - Sony Xperia Z Review
The Sony Xperia Z is a super-thin smartphone at only 7.9 mm - Sony Xperia Z Review
The Sony Xperia Z is a super-thin smartphone at only 7.9 mm - Sony Xperia Z Review

The Sony Xperia Z is a super-thin smartphone at only 7.9 mm


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.

Sony Xperia Z Review
Sony Xperia Z Review
Sony Xperia Z Review

Instead of using a soft-touch plastic for the back panel, Sony has went with an all-glass design - Sony Xperia Z Review
Instead of using a soft-touch plastic for the back panel, Sony has went with an all-glass design - Sony Xperia Z Review
Instead of using a soft-touch plastic for the back panel, Sony has went with an all-glass design - Sony Xperia Z Review

Instead of using a soft-touch plastic for the back panel, Sony has went with an all-glass design


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.

Sony Xperia Z Review

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.

Left - The sides of the Xperia Z - Sony Xperia Z Review
Right - The sides of the Xperia Z - Sony Xperia Z Review
Top - The sides of the Xperia Z - Sony Xperia Z Review
Bottom - The sides of the Xperia Z - Sony Xperia Z Review

Left

Right

Top

Bottom

The sides of the Xperia Z



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...

There are absolutely no “holes” around the Xperia Z. Every port or slot is covered by a protective plastic flap. - Sony Xperia Z Review
There are absolutely no “holes” around the Xperia Z. Every port or slot is covered by a protective plastic flap. - Sony Xperia Z Review
The power/lock key - There are absolutely no “holes” around the Xperia Z. Every port or slot is covered by a protective plastic flap. - Sony Xperia Z Review
  

The power/lock key

There are absolutely no “holes” around the Xperia Z. Every port or slot is covered by a protective plastic flap.


An interesting feature of the Sony Xperia Z is that it's actually a rugged phone. The handset is IP57 certified, with 5 meaning that it's protected against dust, and 7 meaning that you can immerse it in up to 3 feet / 1 meter of water, for up to about 30 minutes. Such rugged features are usually reserved for lower-class, niche type of smartphones, but we're glad that Sony is trying to shake things up here by making its top smartphone that much more resistant to the forces of nature. That's what a top-of-the-line smartphone should be nowadays! Let's hope that other manufacturers will follow suit.


Display

Sony Xperia Z Review
As it seems to be the trend these days, the Xperia Z comes with a 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.



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
(Good)
21
(Poor)
1:799
(Average)
8250
(Poor)
1.93
4.94
(Average)
6.23
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy S III 294
(Poor)
20
(Poor)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
7990
(Average)
2.14
7.67
(Average)
6.11
(Average)
Samsung GALAXY Note II 292
(Poor)
17
(Poor)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
7793
(Average)
2.19
6.17
(Average)
8.43
(Poor)
LG Optimus G 394
(Average)
8
(Good)
1:1167
(Good)
7762
(Average)
1.89
5.83
(Average)
7.23
(Average)
View all


Sony Xperia Z 360-Degrees View

333 Comments
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posted on 13 Feb 2013, 12:11 7

42. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; 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....

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 11:00 18

1. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)


only 8.5 ? I though buy xperia z but xperia death for me now

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 11:14 63

9. boosook (Posts: 1442; 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...

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 11:36 6

22. Wiki_jaan (Posts: 704; Member since: 24 Jun 2012)


now wait coz beast is coming soon..............S

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 13:34 4

71. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 12:17 16

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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 12:34 10

57. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 13:11 12

67. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 13:41 4

74. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.

+1

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 13:42 23

75. danny_a2005 (Posts: 257; 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

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 13:49 16

77. mansoor (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 Feb 2013)


8.5 is bad because it deserves a lot higher score than that.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 13:59 4

79. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 14:00 39

80. Ray.S (Posts: 373; 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

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 14:12 7

86. MartyK (Posts: 920; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


He got you confuse with Alan F. , now that person loves some Apples...hahaha

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 14:29 4

89. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 14:40 11

94. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 164; 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

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 15:01 9

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.?

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 15:25 5

106. Emily1985 (Posts: 127; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)


Nokia Lumia 920 Review score: 9.0
Sony Xperia Z Review score : 8.5
Nokia Lumia 920 Win !!!!!

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 15:41 4

108. feres13 (Posts: 306; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 16:01

112. HDShatter (Posts: 1021; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 16:14 6

119. AshishRomea (Posts: 145; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


your biased ! this needs atleast 9.0 , common whats even wrong with the phone ?

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 18:18 4

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

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 18:27 1

138. Birds (Posts: 1171; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


Mmmmmm... Feisty....

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 18:38 4

141. Birds (Posts: 1171; 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?

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 19:21 5

145. hung2900 (Posts: 965; 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"?
http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_xperia_z-review-884p7.php

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 19:58 6

148. DerryAhmad (Posts: 285; 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.

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 22:21 3

155. chaosnightmare (Posts: 178; Member since: 20 May 2010)


the brand i guess, sony sucks so much

posted on 13 Feb 2013, 23:22 5

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

posted on 14 Feb 2013, 00:00

162. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; 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...

posted on 14 Feb 2013, 01:42

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

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Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z

OS: Android 5.1 5.0 4.4.4 4.4.2 4.3 4.2.2 4.1.2
view full specs
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (443 ppi) TFT
Camera13.1 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
2 GB RAM
Size5.47 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches
(139 x 71 x 7.9 mm)
5.15 oz  (146 g)
Battery2330 mAh, 11 hours talk time

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