Sony Xperia Z1 ReviewSony Xperia Z1 9.2
Thankfully, the user interface is very easy to use, especially when you're sticking with Sony's Superior Auto mode, which attempts to automatically pick the best settings for you, depending on the scene you're trying to photograph. Still, Sony has also included a Manual mode, which allows you to tweak a variety of different settings on your own.
There are also some other interesting camera modes in the Xperia Z1. For example, there's Info Shot, which will attempt to give you useful information about the object that you're photographing. Or, there's also Social Live (powered by Bambuser), which lets you livestream up to 10 minutes of video directly to your Facebook feed – very cool feature indeed! There is, of course, a number of picture effects, as well as the more interesting AR (augmented reality) effects, which kind of blend the real scene in front of you with a 3D scene of your choice. Looking past the limited number of 3D scenes, you can get some interesting results with these settings.
Obviously, the expectations towards this camera will be quite high, and we're happy to say that it doesn't disappoint. Quite the contrary! Images tend to have very realistic, vivid and lively colors. At the same time, the handset doesn't oversaturate or overwarm them to artificially make them look prettier. Exposure is also great most of the time – the dynamic range is good enough to let you take immersive photographs that feature both darker and lighter areas, and it will all look natural and appealing. The only drawback we can find is that some very bright areas sometimes come out overexposed, but this doesn't happen very often.
Details are superb with the Z1's photos – even when compared to some of the best phone cameras out there, such as the G2. If you view the 20.7 MP photos in actual size, you might dislike the mostly pixelized look, but if you scale these gigantic images down to something like 13 MP and compare them to awesome 13 MP photos such as those from the G2, you'll be surprised to find that the Xperia Z1 actually captures detail quite well. Even when viewed in actual size (100%), the Xperia Z1's photos are finer than those of its biggest rivals.
Unfortunately, such superlatives cannot be said about the Z1's night photos. The handset often messes up the exposure, while colors are also somewhat off. The only thing we can do right now is to hope that Sony will improve this aspect of the camera with a future software update.
On the other hand, we simply love the images that the Xperia Z1 takes indoors. Photos have a great sense of depth and detail, with very realistic and pleasing colors. Thankfully, the LED flash also does a very good job, allowing you to illuminate a small scene.
Sony Xperia Z1 sample photos
When it comes to video recording, though, this surely isn't the best camera we've seen. Mostly smooth in nature, the 1080p video lacks fine details and fails to impress us. Its quality is OK, but it's nothing earth-shattering. Sadly, a 60 fps option is missing to let us record even smoother video, such as the one on the LG G2.
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The Walkman music player is quite cool and simplistic. It sports some interesting features like ClearAudio+, which aims to give some more clarity to the sound, though it's basically a specific EQ preset. There are also some other sound enhancing tools like xLOUD, as well as a regular equalizer with many presents, including a custom option, allowing you to set your own equalizer.
The picture and video galleries are very good. The apps have a fresh and consumer-centric design. The Sony touch has worked well here.
The loudspeaker of the Z1 isn't very powerful, and on top of that, its quality is really low. It's totally lacking any low frequencies, resulting in a high-pitched, harsh and unpleasant sounding.
The supplied earphones, which are the MH-750 model, are capable of reproducing a great sound. They aren't the most comfortable earphones you can find on the market, but if you can live with that, you'll be enjoying some sweet tunes coming out of them. The clip accessory that you can use to attach them to your shirt and use them as handsfree is also a cool touch by Sony.
Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z1 Review - Camera and Multimedia
|Display||5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) TFT|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 processor
2 GB RAM
|Size||5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches|
(144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm)
6.00 oz (170 g)
|Battery||3000 mAh, 13.83 hours talk time|