Sony Xperia Z1 (Honami) hands-on

Sony Xperia Z1 (Honami) hands-on


Finally, the Honami! Or maybe we're supposed to call it the Xperia Z1 now... Anyways, this phone has made so many appearances in our news section during the last few months that we've gotten used to calling it the Honami. But all leaks and rumors should be put to rest now, as the Japanese company has officially introduced its new flagship smartphone.

The Sony Xperia Z1 is a very ambitious smartphone. It's not a secret that Sony has been having a very hard time on the smartphone market, but now the comapany hopes to turn things around with this new high-end product. Will it be capable of getting its message heard across the sea of Galaxies, however, that we don't know yet.


Visually, the Sony Xperia Z1 is very close to the Xperia Z. It retains the familiar rectangular shape of its predecessor, but adds a cool metallic frame around the sides for a more premium appearance and feel. The Honami (Z1, Z1, Z1...), is very thin, which is a good thing considering its bulkiness. On paper, the Xperia Z1 isn't so much bigger than something like the Galaxy S4, for example, but in reality it feels significantly larger due to its rectangular shape. On the plus side, the Sony Xperia Z1 feels like a very high-quality product, thanks to its classy glass-and-metal construction. The phone is also a looker! The clean, recrangular shape is giving the Honami a very minimalistic, yet luxurious-looing design.

An additional advantage of the Xperia Z1's exterior is that it has some water, shock and dust protection, which isn't found with most other Android flagship smartphones currently.


Now that Sony has finally fixed its LCD displays with the so-called 'Triluminos' screen, which first appeared in the Z Ultra phablet, the Z1 has absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to its display panel. It's the same Trilumios tech here, which delivers nicely warm and saturated colors, along with some pretty likable viewing angles. We can't really say too much about the screen quality at this point, but it seems to be perfectly competitive.

Resolution is, of course, 1080x1920 pixels, and with the 5" diagonal that makes for a wonderful pixel density of 443 ppi. Needless to say, everything looks incredibly crisp and clear on this display. In addition, Sony has utilized its X-Reality software engine which is used for enhancement of image and video content playback. It basically tweaks things such as the contast, colors and noise present in an image in order to make it more visually appealing. The feature does work and we enjoy viewing those X-Reality-enhanced photos and videos. True, the end-result may not be perfectly close to the original content, but the effect is worth it most of the time, and if you want to view your content as-is, you can always turn the X-Reality effect off.


There's nothing that interesting when it comes to the Xperia Z1's UI. It's running Android 4.2.2 at this time with Sony's usual custom user interface on top. The UI is by no means bad - it's actually well-polished, but we just don't find it particularly attractive. The interface works in the standard way, while there are a good number of Sony services and apps present to add some additional functionality. You can read more about this UI in our Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review. The good thing to report here is that there isn't even a hint of lag with the Z1, which is to be expected with that monster of a chipset it's equipped with. Speaking of which...

Processor and Memory

The Sony Xperia Z1 is armed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 - the latest and greatest chip by the increasingly popular mobile SoC producer. With a quad-core 2.3 GHz processor and the Adreno 330 GPU, there are not many handsets out there who can challenge the level of performance and power the Xperia Z1 offers. The new GPU is said to deliver up to 50% more computing power compared to its already quite powerful predecessor, so it's safe to say that all games and apps will work flawlessly on that 5" Triluminos display.

In terms of internal storage, the Xperia Z1 will arrive in 16 GB and 32 GB flavors, while system memory is 2 GB - more than enough to guarantee smooth performance of the system.


The camera is a key feature of the Sony Xperia Z1. The company has outfitted the device with a 20.7-megapixel 1/2.3" sensor of the Exmor RS variety with an aperture of f/2.0. While this so-called 'G Lens' camera sounds quite impressive on paper, though, we can't be sure yet if it's going to take good images. We mean, they'll surely be good, we just don't know how good, and how well they are going to look against the competition. Anyway, all this sensor size and aperture talk should mean one thing - the Z1 should be able to take some pretty good images in low-light conditions, which is weak spot of almost all camera phones these days. We're surely be able to tell you more about the quality of the G Lens camera found in the Xperia Z1 as soon as we have our own review unit. Video is recorded at no higher resolution than 1080p so yeah, no 4K videos yet.

Release Date, Price and Expectations

Announced today, the Sony Xperia Z1 (Honami) is scheduled to go on sale internationally by the end of September - in just about a couple of weeks. Sony hasn't discussed pricing, but it's safe to assume that the Z1 will have a premium price tag - not much different from what other flaghip phones are currently selling for, such as the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. If Sony manages to score a deal with a US carrier, the Z1 will probably retail for around $199-299 on a two-year contract.

Sony is obviously putting a lot of faith in the Xperia Z1, and we can see why the company believes it has a strong contender on its hands - the Z1 has an appealing, albeit bulky design, all the hardware power to make it future-proof, as well as as camera with great potential. Will it manage to overpower the stiff competition in the form of the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One? We can't be sure about that, but at least, by the looks of it, Sony's offering will be a mighty contender in pretty much every area.

Related phones

Xperia Z1
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(15h 3G talk time)



1. lee480 unregistered

Awesome design!

22. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

No, no it isn't. *sigh* It still has that stupid lip around the edge which feels terrible in hand, arguably worse than an iPhail. It looks like a Chinese knockoff of a Lumia 925 with some android and iPhail bits thrown in (FFS, the camera is in the corner, on a device that's touting its camera as a major feature? UTTER FAIL.) No Xenon flash. No OIS. *facepalm* I was really rooting for sony here, I'd much rather see them have android market share over Samsung since they're more truly innovative and appealing, and they make some genuinely good products - especially their laptops - though not phones (yet) Sony was one of the last manufacturers to use Symbian before it became essentially Nokia-only, and I respected them for it.

38. AnukulVcool unregistered

wake up

46. Fluxman

Posts: 51; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

What lip? It looks like the lip is gone on the Z1. Even the glass is rounded at the edge. Should feel way better.

62. chocolaking

Posts: 495; Member since: May 22, 2012

I would say this is the traditional japanese style design. well done!! squary edge like this will last for a long time to get bored.. i wanna see how the Z1 raps the not3 in camera :D

68. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

You still in the BOX!

73. KillgoreTrout

Posts: 53; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

I stop reading a comment when the person feels the need to use a word like "iphail". It is not smart or witty. I am guessing you are just copying what other people said. It is like you are the very thing you hate. No sammy, no iphail, no xbone. Let's act like adults, shall we?

84. RomeoJDR

Posts: 245; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

Especially when your use of word play iPhail on a product that turned a company into being the most profitable in the world. I'm not a fan of the locked down and overly simplified iOS, but certainly not too ignorant to realize it is as far opposite of a fail as possible.

43. ahomad

Posts: 175; Member since: May 15, 2012

it is priced at £599 in the UK sony store, which is quite high

55. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

56. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2360; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

What design? It looks like the first xperiaZ.. only with a silver line, of material on the sides..

66. Droiderr

Posts: 35; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

Woah!!! looks like you completely missed earlier xperia z phones. Can you tell me what exactly is diferent in the desiagns? I can predict that this phone sucks. Apart from the camera i don't why was this device made any way. And they will charge INR 40K+ for this for sure.

2. lee480 unregistered

it will definitely sell more than Lumia 1020/925. Good job Sony!

3. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I thought it was clocked at 2.2GHz instead of 2.3GHz...

4. ila420

Posts: 8; Member since: Apr 24, 2013

This will be my first sony device and the first with capacative buttons, goodbye Sammy.

6. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

In my eyes this is the true Sony flagship, not the Z.

7. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

WOW, that LED notification looks gorgeous but i think Sony's stock background makes the display look cheap. Use another background Sony!

8. GrapeEyes

Posts: 248; Member since: Sep 01, 2013

This is nothing compared to the Lumia 1520

31. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013


51. GrapeEyes

Posts: 248; Member since: Sep 01, 2013

The Lumia 1520 will be released in Oct/Nov: 6 inch of pure Full HD 128GB internal storage 4GB ram 21 megapixel much more to be revealed soon

54. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013

Just a rumour not confirmed yet.

67. Droiderr

Posts: 35; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

Dude you need to set you expevtations low. Dunno about other things but you are never going to see a 4 gig RAM in a windows phone. They are still to take up 2 gigs 1st.

71. g2a5b0e unregistered

The 1020 has 2GB of RAM. Not any time soon, but never say never.

75. Gamefreakz1994

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 06, 2013

Actually it just takes one thing to beat this....... ANDROID

10. gazmatic

Posts: 818; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

you can smell the bias of reviewers this device feels "premium" while the l920 is "heavy"

11. remyrz

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 28, 2010

no video hands on?

12. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

see that wallpaper really ruins the beauty of the display. it really does not translate well in photos. i've seen a lot of video previews and photos today and it's obvious that stupid wallpaper is destroying sony's marketing for that triluminos display. they should've changed that wallpaper. really really really awful wallpaper for marketing.

48. TMach unregistered

Buy it and use a different wallpaper! Called choice, I believe....

63. Remmy

Posts: 189; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

True! If Sony had used a wallpaper with a combination of deeper dark and light colors, then it would easily show the improvements in the display. :

13. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I think I can over look size for the over all package.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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