Sony Xperia Z hands-on

Sony Xperia Z hands-on
Watch out Samsung! There's someone gunning to dethrone you in the Android smartphone space, and more importantly, it looks as though they're getting started ahead of everyone. That's right folks, it's none other than Sony who is shaking things up here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Just as the leaks have shown in the last month or so, Sony's upcoming flagship is indeed for real!

Simply known as the Sony Xperia Z, it’s the Japanese company’s dubbed flagship device – and boy does it have the impressive specs sheet to live up to that recognition! Certainly we’re drooling over its wicked hardware, which consists of many lovable elements that would crush most of the existing line high-end smartphones on the market right now, but interestingly enough, it merely matches some of the stuff we’ve seen already put forth by the HTC DROID DNA most recently.

First and foremost, the Sony Xperia Z travels in a different path from some of the other Xperia branded devices we’ve seen in the last year. Even though it might retain some of the Xperia design DNA, it’s a little bit different this time – mainly because it’s sporting a glossy finish with its casing, as opposed to some sort of cleaner looking finish. Of course, it’s a big magnet for things such as fingerprints and smudges, but to tell you the truth, it’s soundly solid with its construction. At the same time, Sony has been able to keep its profile relatively thin. Overall, it’s undoubtedly a handful to hold, but when you combine its sharp industrial design with its sturdiness, which includes being waterproof and dustproof, it’s a safe bet to assume it’ll withstand a lot more punishment than some of its highly esteemed rivals.

Turning on the Sony Xperia X, our eyes relish the vibrant screen it’s packing along. Specifically, it’s a 5-inch 1080p display that’s using the Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine, which simply comes to life with its high contrast, robust color reproduction, and sharp viewing angles. Right away, it’s really the centerpiece of the Sony Xperia Z, since it’s the first thing to really catch our eyes from afar.

Under the hood, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor coupled with 2GB of RAM is running the show. Although it’s able to win us over with its mostly responsive performance, we’re still seeing some sluggishness perusing around the UI – though, it’s worth noting that this is a pre-production model we’re scoping out, so it could be other software bugs that can be the culprit behind it. Rounding things out, it’s impressively packing along a 13-megapixel auto-focus camera that features an Exmor RS sensor, LED flash, and 1080p video recording. Additionally, it’s carrying along 4G LTE connectivity, a microSD card slot, 2,330 mAh battery, and NFC.

With this particular pre-production model, it’s running Sony’s specific custom UI, an updated version of Timescape of course, which definitely packs its own set of eye candy, but from our cursory exposure, it doesn’t seem to be drastically different in terms of comprehensive functionality. Oh yeah, did we mention that it’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with an anticipated software update to 4.2 sometime after launch?

In the greater scheme of things, Sony neglected to provide an exact price point and release date for this monster, but it’s currently slated for a Q1 release, which means it can potentially be out any time before March. Needless to say, time might be working against this one indeed launches later in March, but if it really wants to take the crown by force, they need to get this one out sooner than later – with a price point that’s no doubt on the aggressive side as well.

Related phones

Xperia Z
  • Display 5.0 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 13.1 MP (Single camera)
    2.2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 2330 mAh
  • OS Android 5.1 Lollipop



97. mobileexpert55

Posts: 5; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

if its late im gonna f**king buy htc m7

96. timtimity

Posts: 196; Member since: Aug 13, 2012

Just seen a review of the Xperia Z. I hoped it would be good, but I didn't expect it to be rated as highly as this.

93. giri555

Posts: 111; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

I Pray to GOD, Xperia Z should not endup lagging like many of the other Sony phones(with excellent build quaity, but laggy software) Does 1080p need Octacore for Top performance? (like S4) 1080p/Octacore and 720p/Quadcore, qHD/Dual Core? Is this the optimal performace combination?

92. RomeoJDR

Posts: 245; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

Big HD screen with a not so big battery. Maybe the Razr Maxx has me spoiled, but I can't go back to carrying a charger with me everywhere. I'd forgo a couple mm of thinness for some extra juice.

91. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Why do people have to post with "FTW", or "fail"? It just looks stupid that people write stuff like that - stop being a tool at the beckoning of society. Be different.

90. ovalle

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

the xperia tablet z have front facing camera

89. Imaxxacre

Posts: 76; Member since: Aug 23, 2009

For the most part, this looks like a real home run device. But god damn, those are some lousy viewing angles.

88. docj8404

Posts: 73; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

First & foremost, to each their own, but while I'm partial neither to Samsung or Sony, how could anyone say with any amount of certainty or conviction that "The Xperia Z is going to crush the Galaxy S IV"? - The internals for the Galaxy S IV are all rumors as of now, but a lot of these "reliable" rumors are pointing toward a quad-core Exynos 5250 (or 5452) which ate obviously both based on A15 architecture, opposed to last years S4 Pro ( Which is in NO WAY a slouch I may add) - Aside from that, I'm pretty sure Samsung will probably introduce their new diamond/hexagon shaped pixel arrangement into their superAMOLED FHD displays from here on out, breathing new life into a top contending technology. With all that said, for Sonys sake, I hope they can finally put out a flagship device that can truly contend with the likes of the HTC M7, GS IV & other up & coming world class devices. While I don't mind that "polycarbonate, plasticy" materials of the phones today, I respect the fact that people demanf for more solid, concrete & premium build materials - those which seem to be present on Sonys new superphone. While speculating is half of the "fun", people can only make accurate, realistic observations when both of these behemoth of phones hit the market, which isn't technically too far off. Again: to each their own, but let the "best" phone "win".

87. Jonathan41

Posts: 532; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

That thing is beautiful.

86. InspectorGadget80 unregistered


85. amirata_xman

Posts: 33; Member since: Jan 05, 2013

Its aweesome

82. technut

Posts: 205; Member since: Aug 03, 2012

Does anyone know if an unlocked version will be available at launch?

80. theZED

Posts: 25; Member since: May 09, 2012

When it's rolling anything is nothing to Sony. See the history. It will again be the most trusted Electronics brand.

78. buysell

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 15, 2013

Awesome phone, i just bought samsung galaxy S advance, Hope to get this soon....

77. aliboyd

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 15, 2013

Until you hold this beautiful device in your hands, you will never appreciate the gloss finish combined with sleek yet strong build quality. Having been to CES I got to see the phone in its different environments and feel the handset sit nicely in my palm. The fact that this amazing product can be fully submerged into water is extremely difficult to comprehend, but as Sony provided more fish bowls than the convention centre did with actual seats, you really see the power of the Xperia Z

74. richguypoor

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 14, 2013

For the life of me I don't understand why no one except Samsung can make a great phone with a REPLACEABLE BATTERY. Who cares about battery life when you can carry a spare battery with you. As for me, I will only buy a phone that has a removable battery, and right now, that means Samsung!

81. technut

Posts: 205; Member since: Aug 03, 2012

I would have loved to see a removable battery as well. But the fact that it is waterproof more than makes up for it in my eyes.

71. wfegffffffffffffa

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 12, 2013

where is the speaker on the phone? is it loud?

70. osanilevich

Posts: 287; Member since: Sep 29, 2009

This phone looks great, would have loved it if they had capacative buttons instead of onscreen ones

69. tombcd

Posts: 25; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

I had SGS 3 and have Note 2 and have to say that Samsung's devices, compared to this, look like a plastic crap. They are my favorite devices but I have to be honest and say this. Maybe at last Samsung will change the design because it is the only company that produces such phones (=zero desing innovation) nowadays.

65. brycdavis

Posts: 30; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

Might be finally time to move away from HTC!

63. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Okay, this phone and Iphone looks a like...more so then say , all Samsung phones; I wonder why Apple won"t go after these guys?.

66. kobainez

Posts: 454; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Because Iphone was based on SONY JONY concept phone genius. Apple wouldnt dare to sue SONY cuz SONY will sue apple back and stop supplying camera to iphone. Iphone is the one that copied SONY

67. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Make why isn't all the ifan scream thief?...

68. kobainez

Posts: 454; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Because they knew APPLE are the thieves :)

58. sebaa

Posts: 28; Member since: Jun 30, 2009

The ZL has on the right a camera button , but in the Z has NOT, can any one confirm that ? because in the photos i don't seeit.

57. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

I never like xperia s because the screen was crap. BUT I know Sony is changing after breaking with Ericsson. I am impress with this Xperia Z. So today I purposely go try it latest Xperia V and I already like it screen. So I am sure this Xperia Z won't disappointed me! First time I fail in love with Sony android phone deeply! This Xperia Z definitely my next phone for replacing my current S III. Xperia was elegance & powerful. Deeply loving it!

56. anbu9

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

its better than iphone 5

51. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

the phone is solid, but I dont know how those spec will handle nexts yrs contest. The cpu is the same as nexus 4/ siii quad core which is still very fast but s IV is coming and those spec r goin be monster. If sony upgrade the internal hardware its a solid 2013 flagship device, it will probably be amazin till mid 2013. the price is also kinda high, when cheaper but high phones lk nexus 4 are out there.

76. TMach unregistered

The Quad core SIII, does not pack 2gb RAM (only the dual core version does), it does not have 1080p full HD screen nor is it packing 443ppi and so on and so forth...... so the S4 makes the coffee, butters your toast and draws your bath.....who gives a toss? I sure don't, after poor experience of using the S3 with its plasticky poor build quality and inexplicable hairline cracks. Pity they don't pay quite as much effort into build quality and Quality Control! This phone fulfills my needs completely in respect of what I want from my phone.....full stop! Perhaps one day people will see through the hype then again maybe not afterall, the iFruit still has millions of fans around the world with its dual core processor which still satisfies some people's needs and good luck to them.

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