Sony Xperia Z Review
Sony has traditionally been strong in the camera department. Even then, its smartphones haven't always had the best shooters, which comes to show the heated competition in this space. For the Xperia Z, however, the company from Japan has used its newest sensor, the 13-megapixel Exmor RS. This new sensor allows for some neat new features like HDR video recording and an advanced burst mode. Will the quality of its photos be high enough, though? With capable opponents like the Lumia 920, iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III, Sony's Xperia Z will really have to show us something spectacular. Let's take a look at its camera UI first!
We enjoyed working with this camera interface, due to its simplicity and optimized layout. There are still many different settings and options to play with, but most of them are neatly placed in a single sub-menu, making the UI feel simple and clean.
The 13MP camera with Exmor RS sensor of the Xperia Z is fine, but nothing to write home about. Details in outdoor, daylight conditions are a bit muddy, and the images tend to come out a bit dark at times. The built-in HDR mode can fix this in most situations, though not always. Colors are on the colder side, which we don't really like, but overall the results are tolerable with no major issues.
Indoor images taken in brightly lit rooms are mostly OK – there's a bit of noise but nothing out of the ordinary. As the light starts to get dimmer, the photos naturally start to become muddier and noisier. The LED flash will allow you to take a picture of something even in complete darkness, but do not expect any pleasant surprises. The good thing is that the camera manages to stay away from any color anomalies when shooting indoors, so the photos look natural for the most part.
Sony Xperia Z Sample images Fullscreen
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Sony Xperia Z Sample images
The 1080p video recording is quite smooth, but once again the details level is medium at best, so the overall video quality fails to impress. The interesting thing about the camcorder of the Xperia Z is that it can capture HDR video. This option may come in handy in some low-light or night situations. You can see the two night video samples below - one of them is taken without HDR, and the other one is with HDR. As you can see there, HDR makes the image a big brighter, but also introduces quite a lot of unpleasant noise in the scene, so it'll really depend on the specific situation whether or not it's worth it to use HDR video.
|Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better||Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better||CamSpeed score Higher is better||CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S III||2.5
|Sony Xperia Z||3
|LG Optimus G||3.30
|Samsung GALAXY Note II||3.4
wonderful phone to watch video on. The display is gorgeous and very big so you can easily watch full-length movies on it. It supports all the popular formats, and even if you manage to find a video that is not playable with the stock player, you should be able to fix this by downloading a capable third-party player from the Play Store.
The Xperia Z comes with a Sony headset in the box, the sound it provides is quite enjoyable. Sony has even provided additional ear-gels so that you can find the right size for you. And finding the right size for you is pretty important, by the way. When you're listening to music with that headset, make sure that it fits tightly, because otherwise you won't be enjoying any bass. The Walkman music player is quite cool and simplistic. It lacks “bonus” features like the “Music Square” from Samsung's phones (not a big loss), but has all the necessities such as some sound enhancing tools (ex. xLOUD) and an equalizer with many presents, including a custom option. If you don't like the Walkman player, the Xperia Z also comes with the standard Jelly Bean player, as strange as having two music players might be.
The picture and video galleries have also been customized by Sony, and we have to admit that the result is very good. The new apps have a very fresh and consumer-centric design. The Sony touch has worked quite well here.
Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z 0.37
Samsung Galaxy S III 0.3
Samsung GALAXY Note II 0.30
LG Optimus G 0.28
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z 67
Samsung Galaxy S III 79
Samsung GALAXY Note II 80
LG Optimus G 84
1. zuckerboy (Posts: 628; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)
only 8.5 ? I though buy xperia z but xperia death for me now
9. boosook (Posts: 728; 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: 3628; 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: 628; 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: 107; 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: 237; 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: 665; 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: 683; 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: 144; 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: 729; 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: 650; Member since: 24 Jun 2012)
now wait coz beast is coming soon..............S
48. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 373; 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: 373; 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: 170; 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: 729; 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: 3447; 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: 5155; 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: 3447; 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: 2103; 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: 3510; 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: 2103; 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: 919; 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: 729; 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: 919; 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: 2377; 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: 683; 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: 254; 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: 1997; 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|