Sony Xperia ZR Review
It looks like Sony is going for a Samsung-like approach when it comes to its portfolio of Android handsets, as the company is continuing to release multiple models that tend to be dangerously similar to one another. The latest example is the Sony Xperia ZR, which can safely be considered a somewhat toned-down Xperia Z.
Still, with a 4.5” 720p screen, a 13-megapixel Exmor RS camera and the Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset in tow, the Xperia ZR is certainly not your average mid-range model. What's more, the phone has kept the Xperia Z's signature ability to be water-resistant, which will undoubtedly boost its appeal even further.
With the Xperia ZR, Sony is looking to offer a solid contender in the upper-mid-range space that will go up against devices like the popular HTC One mini, the Nexus 4, or the Galaxy S III, which can still be found at most retailers. It's more than an uphill battle, going against such tough opponents, but hey, if the product is as good as it seems to be on paper, it could easily give those competing devices a run for their money.
In the box:
- microUSB cable
- Wall-charger attachment
- Earphones with additional ear-gel sizes
While the Sony Xperia ZR has kept most of the Z's design DNA, it definitely shows that it's not exactly a premium model due to its significantly thicker profile of 10.4 mm, versus the Xperia Z's remarkable 7.9 mm. Despite that, the phone feels comfortable in the hand and not bulky.
The choice of materials for the Sony Xperia ZR is another thing that reminds us of its mid-range nature. Pushing its front glass panel down, we notice that it's not made of the most firm type of glass, while the back side of the device is made of a very ordinary plastic that is sure to leave you indifferent at best. Unfortunately, it attracts a lot of fingerprint smudges, but at least it's likely to repulse bad guys that might be willing to get a hold of your smartphone.
Handsets equipped with 4.5” displays used to be considered pretty big, but now that 5” smartphones are commonplace, we actually see them as relatively compact offerings. Not that the Xperia ZR is small or anything, but it's definitely easier to handle compared to those 5” beasts. For example, the ZR's dimensions are 5.16 x 2.65 x 0.41 inches (131 x 67.4 x 10.4 mm), while the GS4 measures 5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches (136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm). In terms of weight, though, the Xperia ZR isn't the lightest handset with its 140 g, (the 5” GS4, for example, weighs 130 g). Still, that doesn't make the Xperia ZR feel heavy.
131.3 x 67.3 x 10.5 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)
132 x 63.2 x 9.25 mm
4.30 oz (122 g)
137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)
water-resistant nature, its microUSB and 3.5mm ports are protected by tight plastic covers, with the one of the 3.5mm connector being somewhat difficult to remove. Watch out not to break your nail while struggling to open it!
We aren't really fascinated by the execution of the physical keys, all of which are situated on the handset's right hand side. Basically, all of them — which includes the power/lock key, volume rocker and camera shutter — work fine, but aren't particularly “clicky” and comfortable to use. What's more, the volume rocker has an unusual position near the lower end of the Xperia ZR's right hand side, which makes it not as easy to reach as it would have been if it was in its traditional position towards the upper end. Meanwhile, the camera button is so tiny that you can almost fail to notice it's there.
The power button, camera shutter and volume rocker are on the right
The microUSB port is on the left
The bottom side of the phone
The Sony Xperia ZR isn't ready to make many compromises in the display area. The sizable 4.5” screen sports a more than decent resolution of 720x1280 pixels, which works out to a satisfying pixel density of 323 pixels per inch. In comparison, the HTC One mini packs a slightly smaller display at 4.3 inches, but having the same 720p resolution, its pixel density comes in at 341 ppi.
Back to the Xperia ZR, its LCD TFT display can get reasonably bright at about 470 nits max, which isn't a staggering number, but manages to keep the screen visible under daylight.
Overall, we're pleased with the image quality of the screen, as its colors appear well-saturated and lively. Meanwhile, contrast is pretty decent in your normal, straight-on viewing position, though viewing angles are once again pretty poor (same as on most other Sony Android phones), so as soon as you start tilting the phone to one side, things get very washed out.
Thankfully, the Sony Xperia ZR hasn't missed out on the Mobile Bravia engine, which makes media content viewed on the phone's screen appear more appealing. It does nothing more than to apply some software enhancements to the image, but we enjoy it.
3. Kurai (unregistered)
It's Ray S. after all . . .he's an apple fanboy, what would you expect ?
5. TechFreak (Posts: 15; Member since: 22 Mar 2013)
Sony smarthones so far have been average..
Deal with it..!!!!
6. Kurai (unregistered)
It's a goddamn mid-ranger . . .
34. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
the ZR has a better processor, GPU, 2gigs of ram and is water+dust resistant. the One doesnt even have microsd slot for storage expansion.
40. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
sony is always one step behind htc and samsung..
49. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
I’m sure right now every manufacturers is one step behind Samsung.
but are you sure Sony is always one step behind HTC???
one step behind in what?
55. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
innovation / design / premium feel / ui / sound / screen maybe remain anything else ?
but in lag sony is monster for sure.
59. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
If you talk about innovation HTC is way behind Sony.
Sony have won many design award, and absolutly have premium feels and looks.
Please don’t talk about sound because Sony is of the best when it comes to sounds and audio quality/technology (i’m talking about walkman).
Screen last time i check HTC doesn’t have screen tech, those so called SLCD that HTC used is just IPS LCD made by other manufacturer and the one who developed IPS is Hitachi.
Let me show you just few Sony screen tech
Triluminos, WhiteMagic, Floating touch, Opticontras, TrueBlack Display, Super Top Emission(OLED Displays), Pixel Eyes, Vistarich wide viewing angle technology for 180 degree left/right and up/down viewing. + the one who make flexible display.
maybe you want to borrow my Xperia Tablet Z or my brother Xperia V and show me that “lag monster”
70. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
correct sony one of the best in sound but not in z..
gsm and PA reveiws clearly show it..
also in screen z have a such problem that u know better than me!!
to many name of any parts of tech isnt important when all of them Not collected in one perfect phone..
its clear htc one`s screen easily over shade z` screen..
not matter how!!ips-lcd3 and .... my eyes tell me one` screen better than z like to many sites often point it .
also in sound z cant compete with boom sound speakers(with beat software) and even ability that called dual filltering bering 4 u the best term of call quality with clear sound in htc one` sound.
73. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Hey why you off topic you said “Sony is always one step behind HTC and Samsung”
Everything what i have said is all about Sony, if sony use S-Master Chipset and Magnetic fluid speaker in the upcomin Honami it will crush HTC One
everybody know that HTC One have better screen and speaker than Xperia Z.
but the problem is the one you mentioned is “SONY” not Xperia Z.
and HTC is no way near SONY in almost everything
77. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
cus i talk about flagship phone dude.. we are only users and whats matter for us sony or htc..
we always attract to the best phone specually with high price then going for best..
ZR is good enogh and it must deserve atleast 7/10 but u dont belive sony repeat its mistakes each time>>
-good screen(but not best anytime)
-per inovation that attract us(maybe watter resistance only)but sony need to great software more than over ago.
78. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
90. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Hahaha flagship??? something really bad must be happen with your head,
first this is Xperia ZR review an upper mid range phone and some people compare it with HTC One Mini.
Xperia ZR is better because with about the same amount of money it have something more to offer than HTC One Mini.
Please don’t talk BS about ui and software because from what you have said you doesn’t anything about it.
91. SonyNguyen (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Jul 2013)
i don't agree with boring UI part, I regularly visit some sony forums and quite a lot of samsung, htc users come there to ask for Xperia launcher port for their phone.
This is just a matter of taste, I personally think Sony's UI is very nice, simple, easy to use yet stylish to some extend. You may want customise but after you try most of them you will want to come back to stock and Sony's stock is pretty nice. Besides, Sony continuously update their UI through updates unlike samsung with its cartoonist UI
92. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
let me tell you once again stop post some BS and stay on topic.
81. skyguy7567 (Posts: 148; Member since: 17 Nov 2012)
I'm very happy with my Xperia Z. I think the speaker is great. I was playing music through the speaker and the sound was wonderful. My mum admired it too. HTC One has dual speakers so obviously it is better XD but the screen I don't think that the Z is worse than the One.
75. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
According to Gsmarena loudspeaker test
Xperia ZL with single speaker have better result than HTC One speaker
60. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
The only problem with Sony is until this day they never use their full power.
56. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
almost in every tech sites htc one was selected number one 2013..techradar-technobuffalu-phone dog-mwc- IDEA and ...about sony!!??i didnt see anything and still im waiting for one.
65. rgxVOiD (Posts: 435; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)
Xperia Z's CES 2013 award are given by:
Cnet, Computer Act!ve, Engadget, Gizmodo, GottaBeMobile, Laptop Mag, Mobile Geeks, PC World, PC Pro, Popular Mechanics, Stuff, TechnoBuffallo, TechRader, Ubergizmo,The Verge
Did you said something?
69. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
sorry but z even isnt in top 5 mobile by People's and expert`s Choice Rankings:
in the end 2013 u will sure z will not to top 5 ranking..
wait and see dude.
71. rgxVOiD (Posts: 435; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)
Top 5 by phonedog?
Phonedog is still relevant? lol Do you live in the past?
No one cares about phonedog anymore. Get over it, Z got more awards than your precious One and that's fact
94. Hassan420i (Posts: 24; Member since: 23 Jun 2013)
What a joke... Xperia Z is behind Lumia 925 ranked by experts.. Seriously phonedog?? u called them experts??
67. rgxVOiD (Posts: 435; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)
And also, Computex. It's in Taiwan. Where did HTC originate from? Taiwan. So obviously, it would win in Computex.
79. AnukulVcool (Posts: 134; Member since: 02 Jun 2012)
long ago it was....worlds first phone with snapdragon 800 processor is xperia z ultra, and first company to announce 4.3 jellybean upgrade for their phones is sony.
36. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Windows fanboy now apparently:
43. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3024; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Ray S just went full retard with this review!
I actually thought this device is better than the XSP, hardware wise.
SP got a higher score...that's mind boggling.
103. buccob (Posts: 1557; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
And whats worst... the low midranger Xperia L has the same score... while having significantly less specs...
lower ram, processor, camera, no ip58, smaller and lower display res... etc
48. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)
Sony Xperia ZR (cheaper):
720p screen, 13mpx camera, Quad core, 2GB ram, 4.5inch screen - 6.5
Galaxy Minis S4 (expensive):
540p screen, 8mpx camera, Dual Core, 1.5GB ram, 4.3inch screen - 8.5
THIS is PhoneArena for you my friend.
82. skyguy7567 (Posts: 148; Member since: 17 Nov 2012)
With Bravia Engine and ExmorRS thrown in, and the wonderful power button.
S4 mini? lame power button and horrible camera quality
104. Akfred (banned) (Posts: 76; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)
I hate PA for this, PA if u like u ban me i dont
Care anymore. Cos i see no reason why ZR should score less
Than Htc one mini and s4 mini. Am out of here bro.
4. spiderpig2894 (Posts: 444; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)
Saying 4.1.2 is disappointing because the 4.3 is out and the Nexus is getting now? WTF! What kind of logic is that?
14. Birds (Posts: 1028; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
I agree. there is no visual difference between all the jellybeans and that is what Google is aiming at. And the fact that 4.3 came out like yesterday really makes me question his quality of reviews. I get that reviews are biased and as an individual, each reviewer has a natural inclination to have an opinion on a phone, but sometimes you have to be realistic. 4.3 is fresh out the whom and not many devices are going to ship with it right away....
23. lee480 (Posts: 178; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)
Xperia ZR (middle range)
-Average call quality
- Average camera (Avg quality for the price)
- Bland visuals
Congratulations PA! You just lost your credibility completely. I just hope it's a mistake. But judging by how this Ray S reviews previously, he must add his biased into it. Go to gsmarena. Reviews are honest and fair. Another example of pure biasness.
" last year's Nexus 4 seems like a much better deal with its lower price and comparable specs. "
Why I don't see PA mentioning that on the S4 Mini review? fyi, ZR have quad core and it's cheaper than S4 Mini dual core. S4 mini is much more expensive and all I see is praises for it. isn't the nexus 4 a better deal than S4 mini?
" shell out just a bit more cash, you can just go for the HTC One or the Galaxy S4, which will offer you that true high-end feel"
Why don't you mention Xperia Z? and form of biasness. This is a Sony phone and you recommend HTC One / S4 for a true high end experience instead of the Z.
Both are prime examples of biasness PA always denies.
You said S4 Mini camera is average and you didn't list it down as a con. You say Xperia Z feels laggy sometimes and Xperia ZR have solid performance.
37. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
This is getting ridiculous. I'm not usually a proponent of using the rating system here, but a lot of people use it to directly compare two competing phones. That the S 4 Mini got an 8.5 and this phone got a 6.5 is an absolute farce, which I can only imagine stems from PA using two different reviewers with two CLEARLY different mindsets when it comes to reviews. It may be a logistical hassle, but I'd suggest the same person review every phone from the same weight-class (e.g. John V. reviews flagships, Nick T. reviews mid-range, Ray S. doesn't review anything, etc.) in order to retain credibility.
Hopefully people haven't been using these reviews to make informed decisions about their purchases.
7. Dunexus (Posts: 5; Member since: 22 Jul 2013)
S4 / One: high end flagship
Why did you compare their perfs?
46. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)
Its PhoneArena after all, this Xperia ZR has better specs than the S4 mini, and cheaper price tag.....but for PA is a lot worse.
8. aditya.k (Posts: 482; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)
PA. Please stop giving such reviews! I won't read any reviews for Sony smartphones again on PA!
9. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
Ray, are you kidding me? This phone deserves more than 6.5!
47. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)
Not for Ray, it needs a Samsung name for that.
11. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Hahaha Xperia ZR only get 6.5 but overpriced midrange phone like S4 Mini can get 8.5.
PA Reviewer really have some serious problem with Sony phone
12. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
PA should have let John V review this. If it's John V, he will rate it at least 7 or 8.5.
16. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Yeah maybe John V can give us more better review.
but one thing that i know for sure that PA is not the right place if we really need detailed and unbiased reviews
21. jael206 (Posts: 130; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)
"PA is not the right place if we really need detailed and unbiased reviews"
You sir deserve my +1, here take it
15. kobainez (Posts: 302; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Plus s4 mini has a weak processor and low ppi screen lol. This is samdung arena
63. SonyNguyen (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Jul 2013)
PA's problem with Sony is way too obvious. Right from the home page you can see that Sony is not listed in MOST POPULAR MANUFACTURERS while Motorola made its way (I really don't think Motorola is more popular than Sony right now).I don't hate Motorola, it's just seem unfair for Sony.
And this review of ZR, they don't even put Xperia ZR's highest water resistent with removable battery in the Pros which Sony emphasis in most of their ads (yet they put this as pros for Optimus GJ)
They's already said it had Flawless Performance...
They even compare ZR to One mini which hasn't been release yet...
Average call quality and camera mean they are not bad consider this is a midrange. And what is blands visual?
I'm actually would be surprised if they give Sony phone high score since most of their review for Sony phone.
76. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
for average call quality just compare phonearena vs pocketnow
S4 Active have one of the loudest earpiece we’ve tested and microphone our voice is loud, but sounds noticeably artificial.
S4 Active call quality is average at best both in earpiece and microphone even they said 5 year old HTC Dream have better call quality.
Xperia ZL have average call quality
Xperia ZL call quality is amazing.
84. skyguy7567 (Posts: 148; Member since: 17 Nov 2012)
LOL I'm not having a single problem with my Z's call quality. Calling using speaker is not an issue.
BTW Xperia ZR
User Rating: 9.7
13. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
Phonarena rating: 6.5
User Rating: 9.7
this phone at least deserves 7.5
25. jael206 (Posts: 130; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)
This site is slowly losing their credibility because the bias, aka fanboyism, among some of its writers is so obvious.. I use to love this site. Now it's just silly
105. Akfred (banned) (Posts: 76; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)
Same here bro, i just wish i could talk to Ray and ask him why
He made this kind of review. So backward and baised
41. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
hey dude only 4 users give it 9.7!!
maybe they understand more than PA reviewer!! :-d
51. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Yes those 4 user can do better review than Ray S.
lets compare the reviewer from phonearena vs gsmarena.
Phonearena: The choice of materials for the Sony Xperia ZR is another thing that reminds us of its mid-range nature. Pushing its front glass panel down, we notice that it's not made of the most firm type of glass, while the back side of the device is made of a very ordinary plastic that is sure to leave you indifferent at best.
Gsmarena: Thanks to the high quality plastic used, wich feels very sturdy an premium.
|Display||4.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (323 ppi) TFT|
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064, Quad core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||5.17 x 2.65 x 0.41 inches|
(131.3 x 67.3 x 10.5 mm)
4.87 oz (138 g)
|Battery||2300 mAh, 13 hours talk time|