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Sony Xperia Z1S Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Sony Xperia Z1S Review

Sony Xperia Z1S Review
Sony Xperia Z1S Review
Sony Xperia Z1S Review
Sony Xperia Z1S Review
Sony Xperia Z1S Review
Sony Xperia Z1S Review
Introduction


Sometimes it sucks being a diehard Sony smartphone fan in the good ol’ United States of A-merica. Those Sony fans are undoubtedly dedicated, seeing that Sony’s presence in the US smartphone market is nowhere close to the levels of its rivals. In fact, the last major one launched stateside was none other than the Sony Xperia Z for T-Mobile, which came out just close to 6 months ago. Overseas, the Sony Xperia Z1 proved to be a viable competitor for the busy holiday season, but there was no word about a potential release domestically over here.

Fortunately, Sony isn’t waiting any longer to get this new year started with a bang! During CES, they announced the upcoming availability of the Sony Xperia Z1S – a slight variation of the company’s flagship smartphone, bound for T-Mobile yet again. Unlike the lengthy time frame between the announcement and actual launch of the Xperia Z last year, Sony surprised many (including us) during this past CES by making the aggressive decision to the release the Xperia Z1S right away. It’s no doubt a specs monster like the rest of the stuff out there, but knowing that it’s only a slight variation of the Z1, will US consumers be enticed by it – knowing what is on the horizon?

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • User Manual
  • Warranty Card

Design

It's not everyday we have a flagship smartphone that we can use while taking a shower, so it's surely unique for that. Plus, it doesn't skimp out with the premium offerings.

Following in suit to other smartphones added with a letter “S” to their name, the Xperia Z1S looks and feels much like, you know, the Xperia Z1 from before – so there’s not a whole lot too different here. Firstly, we’ll give Sony credit for crafting a solid smartphone that has a prominent premium feel to it, which is evident by its glass front and back sides, metallic trim frame, and shiny looks. As much as we appreciate the glass, it’s something that attracts a lot of fingerprints and smudges very quickly, so don’t be surprised to find yourself wiping it constantly. Not to mention it makes the phone feel slippery and delicate!

For a device bearing a 5-inch display, the Xperia Z1S looks and feels bigger than most other flagship smartphones. Specifically, there’s just a lot of dead space on the top and bottom sides of the smartphone. You think they would’ve chiseled it down a bit with this model, so that it’s more form-fitting, but they didn’t. Regardless of that, we can’t deny that it’s more premium than many of the other flagships floating about. Throw in the fact that it has an IP58 rating, which means that it’s waterproof in under 4.9 feet of freshwater for 30 minutes, it means that it’ll survive a dunk into a pool – something that many smartphones can’t say they offer.

In order to keep its waterproof nature, the majority of its ports are tucked away under plastic flaps – with the exception of the 3.5mm headset jack. It’s actually exposed, though, Sony says that the port has been treated to protect it from getting damaged. Giving flexibility to the user, the handset is armed with a microSD card slot, a dedicated 2-level shutter key, and a spot for a lanyard. Surely a photo-centric thing, it’s packing number crunching 20.7-megapixel auto-focus camera.

Display

Looking spiffy from a straight head-on look, the display's continuing poor viewing angles really diminishes its glow. We were hoping to see an improvement in that front.

Alas! We thought that Sony learned from the last time, but unfortunately that’s not the case here. Honestly, the specs are good with this one, as it’s blessed with a contemporary 5-inch 1080p Triluminos display – a TFT panel at heart. Certainly it produces a sufficient amount of detail thanks to its 441 ppi pixel density count, but the more pressing matter here is the poor viewing angles we’re treated with yet again. From the front, it’s vivid and very pleasant, but at slight angles, it washes out to the point that color distortion is evident. Good news is that it handles outdoor situations without much fluff.



Sony Xperia Z1S 360-Degrees View:



61 Comments
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posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:23 3

1. aranauser (Posts: 58; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


8.5 really? i mean really?
This device is not worth 8.5
i wouldve given not more than 8 IMHO

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:24 16

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


I wonder , what r the cons for you ?

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:40 2

8. aranauser (Posts: 58; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


*sarcasm

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 08:01 7

23. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2953; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Didn't really sound like that IMHO

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 08:10

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


lol ok

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 10:24 10

32. jcdz89 (Posts: 70; Member since: 01 Mar 2013)


Phonearena is a good site for latest updates not for reviews. Just hillarious when Iphone 5c got "9"....

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 01:59 2

42. reckless562 (Posts: 851; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


damn really it did? guess they were smoking crack that day

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:25

5. aditya.k (Posts: 463; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)


And why?

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 07:05 3

16. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5554; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Cuz he's a Sony hater.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 09:22 1

26. pwnarena (Posts: 933; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


sarcasm he said

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 11:21 6

34. Extradite (banned) (Posts: 316; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


Wow the iPhone5s gets a 9.3 and the SonyZs gets 8.5... Bias

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 11:56 3

36. JerryTime (Posts: 468; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


No Sh!T when the 5C is nothing more than a 5 with a different chassis, and a lower quality one at that... I just ignore the ratings on this site now for the most part. The only reason I read this one, is because I have a Z1S OTW to me in the mail.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:23 1

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


sony should use ips...

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:23 16

3. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5554; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Xperia Z1 - 9.2/10
Xperia Z1S - 8.5/10

WTF?

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:26 5

6. aditya.k (Posts: 463; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)


That's what I was thinking! XD

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:28 9

7. Qawi94 (Posts: 9; Member since: 13 Jun 2013)


Ikr. Z1s has 32gb internal memory.It is slightly better

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:42 1

9. aranauser (Posts: 58; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


go and read PA's "how we review"
you will get your answer

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:49 6

10. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5554; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Both phones are basically the same phone, it's just that the Z1S is the US variant of the Z1 and the Z1S has 32GB internal storage while the Z1 has 16GB.

So, I don't get the answer.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:54

13. aranauser (Posts: 58; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


no offence but...
by reading your comment im sure you didnt read "how we rate"
go pls check that.you will get your answer

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:56 5

14. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5554; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Both phones are basically the same phone, it's just that the Z1S is the US variant of the Z1 and the Z1S has 32GB internal storage while the Z1 has 16GB.

So, I don't get the answer.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 07:10 1

18. aranauser (Posts: 58; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


ratings will change with time

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 09:47 2

29. jellmoo (Posts: 690; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


Absolutely, but it isn't like we have hit a new technological peak in that time frame. High end devices are still using the same chips and overall specs.

In order for ratings to truly change over time, there needs to be newer handsets available to warrant that change. There simply aren't.

posted on 07 Feb 2014, 12:17

63. sgodsell (Posts: 1289; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Z1 has an aluminum band around the phone where as the Z1s has just a plastic band around the phone. Also I think the T-mobile version supports the new 4G that t-mobile is soon to release if not already.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 11:23 1

35. Extradite (banned) (Posts: 316; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


And guess what, he won't reply to any off our posts.... Shows how that he is in the wrong, orelse he would've disputed why and why it got that mark.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 15:52 2

39. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4069; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


The Z1 was reviewed by Ray S., the Z1S was reviewed by John V.

posted on 17 Jan 2014, 09:41

54. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)


Ray S vs. John V??

posted on 21 Jan 2014, 08:09

59. jshan (Posts: 197; Member since: 25 Dec 2011)


cz they dont nice as they looks like ..

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:50 1

11. toondewachter (Posts: 53; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Come on! Get the facts straight Phonearena!

The phone has a 720p display and not a 1080p as you mention in the review. It also carries a 2300mAh battery instead of the 3000mAh battery you guys claim it has.

This is sloppy copy paste work from the Xperia Z1.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 06:54 19

12. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5554; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Well, it looks like you've messed up the Z1S and the Z1 Compact.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 07:01 1

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


and yours is a sloppy comment written by a stupid POS who either can't read or know nothing about smartphone world.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 14:27

37. toondewachter (Posts: 53; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


And you sir, are rude! Did I ever offend you? I don't think so... but I'll remember you as the person who likes flaming like an idiot. Who are you to tell me I don't know anything about smartphones or that I am stupid?

@Phonearena: I sincerely apologize for my mistake. I understood the Z1S and Compact were one and the same thing, which they apparantly are not.

Thanks to all of you who politely explained that to me, unlike BillyG.

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 15:42 1

46. rdaex (Posts: 91; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Youve now hopefully learned the proper way to point out what you think are flaws.
The vitriol sent your way was only sent because your 'correction' was sent in much the same manner.

You could have said "I thought this phone was 720p and with a smaller battery" and no one would have attacked you

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 07:33

20. craxyphone25 (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Jan 2014)


And the screen is 4.3" no 5

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 09:49 2

30. jellmoo (Posts: 690; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


This is the Xperia Z1S, an Xperia Z1 variant for T-Mobile. You are thinking of the Z1 Compact. They are different devices. This device has a 5 inch, 1080p screen.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 07:08 1

17. twens (Posts: 668; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)


Well am no Sony fun but I think any android phone with an s800 chip,2gb ram,16gb,1080p screen and 8mp camera and above should be rated above 8.5. Most phones with the new hardware are great performers. Even the iPhone 5c is rated above 8.5 so why can't android devices get the same treatment.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 07:30

19. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2691; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


9 would have been good. Anyways good review.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 07:57 2

22. papss (unregistered)


Why oh why can't Sony get their screens on phones right??? This phone would be a beast had it not been for the lackluster screen

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 08:07 1

24. MrKoles (Posts: 325; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


Why to review this phone if it is the same as Z1... ?

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 09:41

27. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8614; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Because it really isn't. International vs. US variant are different.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 09:54

31. MrKoles (Posts: 325; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


Oh, so you say that designwise and in functionality it is a completely different phone? I don´t think so.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 15:39 1

38. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8614; Member since: 14 May 2012)


It is different design and functionality wise, hence the exclusive camera mode and different design elements that deserved a new branding of the Z1.

Checkmate.

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 09:10

45. MrKoles (Posts: 325; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


You are wrong, but you have a lifetime to improve your sight.

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 09:46 1

28. Amir1 (Posts: 267; Member since: 20 Aug 2013)


the best flagship of any company for the best of you. :-)

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 11:20 1

33. JerryTime (Posts: 468; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


When I get mine in the mail, I will post my own review. ;-)

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 16:44

40. Bioload25 (Posts: 210; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


Same story with Lumia 920 and 925/928
A new phone with the same specs as before is NOT a new phone
Ok,32 gb and all but it is basically the same phone,Z1 32gb or Z1 USA
In nokia's case there's some changes in design,flash and screen tech but it isnt enough to justify paying more for a new model

posted on 14 Jan 2014, 22:36 1

41. jdot104 (Posts: 53; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)


This is a really bad score. Nothing in this review seems to justify such a low rating. To be honest I find that Ray is much fairer in his reviews than John. I'm not sure if it boils down to one person but that's sure what it seems to be.

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 03:18 1

43. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 1132; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)


cant believe this scored 8.5 while moto G scored 9,this is bs review.something is really really wrong.:(

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 07:37 1

44. anleoflippy (Posts: 292; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


Not quite sure why the Z1S scored lower than the Z1. If anything, the Z1S should be scored higher than the Z1 because of the 32gb storage.

posted on 15 Jan 2014, 22:44

47. jdot104 (Posts: 53; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)


That's what I don't get. The Z1s is more waterproof, has more storage and is also supposedly easier to hold. The lower rating makes no sense.

posted on 16 Jan 2014, 10:37

48. Apian (Posts: 8; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)


That not Z1S

posted on 16 Jan 2014, 10:45

49. Aqrrab (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jan 2014)


This is the worst device I ever had. The screen showed colored lines after two weeks of purchasing and then it went off. I took the device to the warranty office and they told me they repair it if I pay 350 $ because they claim that the screen is not included in the warranty. Really garbage services sony, it seems they know about screen problems and decide to not included in the warranty. I decided to stop buying any sony products for the rest of my life and I am writing plenty of comments in websites like this. Whoever suffered from Sony garbage warranty please be welcomed to the campaign against sony until they fix their malfunctioning machines from their own pockets.

posted on 24 Jan 2014, 09:30

62. anleoflippy (Posts: 292; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


#yolo swaggity booty

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 04:13

64. Aqrrab (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jan 2014)


what is that?

posted on 16 Jan 2014, 18:29

50. theo14461 (Posts: 165; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Uhm, T-Mobile? No thank you, I'll pass, this network is the worst.

posted on 16 Jan 2014, 19:46

51. COZMAN (Posts: 99; Member since: 28 Nov 2013)


I think Sony is great in so many areas but phones? I think they should pack it in and focus in on what they do best. Phones is not one of them.

posted on 17 Jan 2014, 02:53

52. TougeMobile (Posts: 3; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)


I have the Z1 and when the phone is idle it runs about 900mb of memory, but I bet the Z1S is loaded with bloatware from T mobile. Honestly speaking, I have the t mobile version of the note 3- wife and I have to say the screen and feature of the note 3 is superior. The z1 can't even move apps to SD card and the weird angel and low light performance of the camera is not as great as the note3. Also it doesn't come with voice control software for driving. The phone feels a bit more premium than the note 3 but damn when you put two phone side by side the screen size of the note 3 just completely scatter z1 =/ and u know the dimension is about the same.

posted on 17 Jan 2014, 09:35

53. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)


Jeez. LG/Moto can fit a 5.5" display in a body of same dimensions as the XZ1.

posted on 17 Jan 2014, 18:31

55. scsa852k (Posts: 295; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)


Sony couldn't afford to throw in a freakin earphone?

posted on 19 Jan 2014, 02:45

57. Taters (Posts: 3259; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


The two cons are pretty much the two most important parts of a flagship so this automatically should get less than an 8.5. Or those two things at the very least carry more weight than a lot of other areas.

posted on 24 Jan 2014, 08:47

61. Aqrrab (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Jan 2014)


Sony Xperia z 1 is like a Ferrari engine in 1990 toyota corolla car driving 300 km per hour, what is the result, total catastrophe, the device is very very fragile and a living proof of sony failure to catch up with giant apple and Samsung, who would believe that sony is lagging way beyond samsung? Before 6 years no one will believe that..

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