Sony Xperia Z1 is here! Thin waterproof cameraphone boasts 20 MP sensor

Sony Xperia Z1 is here! Thin waterproof cameraphone boasts 20 MP sensor
If you remember, last year marked a turning point for Sony's mobile business, as it divorced amicably with Ericsson, and CEO Kaz Hirai announced the One Sony initiative, aiming to bring all the various departments and their inventions together for products that will embody the best Sony can offer in all their aspects.

Well, we can consider the just-announced Sony Xperia Z1 as actually the first One Sony phone embodying the results of this strategy, and it is every bit as exciting as it was rumored to be since day one. Let's dive into the juicy details of the next best cameraphone thing in the Android universe.


We have to start with the "wow" part first - the Z1 indeed sports a 20.7 MP Exmor RS sensor, just as speculated in numerous leaks before. It is, however, 1/2.3" in size, so don't expect the wonders that some of Nokia's cameraphones are capable of with their much larger sensors. Here we just have a lot of pixels stuffed into a sensor size that is about average for a smartphone. It is the lens and processing algorithms that are just as important, though, and Sony Z1 sports G lens branding, with 27mm wide angle and generous F2.0 aperture, BIONZ for mobile ISP, as well as promises for “world’s leading camera in a smartphone,” leading us to the thought that the company has put a lot of efforts to get it right this time. 

The handset also sports a dedicated camera key with almost instantaneous sleep-to-snap times, so you'll never miss that memorable frame. Interestingly, Sony also touts the camera as capable of "3x clear zoom," which might jibe with the rumors that the Z1 will be using pixel-binning technology similar to the one found on Nokia's 808 PureView or the Lumia 1020.

The upside of a regular-sized sensor and lens is that we don't have a bulky abomination dubbed as cameraphone, but rather a thin 8.5 mm Android smartphone with a one-piece aluminum frame, the familiar OmniBalance design, and catchy tempered glass chassis that comes in black, white and purple colors. Not only that, but the whole kit is waterproof to boot, with IP58 certification at that, meaning it can survive more feet of water on top of it for more time than the Xperia Z, for example.


Sony has not only boosted the camera part, something that was much needed in the Android world, but it also equipped the Z1 with futureproof internals that will let it deal with any task you through at it for the foreseeable future. We get a 5" 1080x1920 pixels Full HD display with Sony's new Triluminous technology which we found to be of excellent quality in our recent screen tech comparison. Next up, the phone is powered by the top-shelf Snapdragon 800 performer in a 2.2 GHz quad-core setup. The 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory round up the flagship offering, aided by an added microSD slot for 64 GB more storage, if needed. 

A 3000 mAh sealed battery is of the capacity we only used to see in phablets until recently, so you can rest assured the phone will last you above the average Android crowd. Sony cites 14 hours of talk time and 6.5 hours of video playback from the juicer, which are pretty decent numbers for the category.

To top it all off, the phone is very compact at 144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5mm, and weighs 170g, making it a premium handset with extra camera abilities. If the 20 MP images aren't good enough for you, and we'll have to determine that when we get a retail unit to compare with the current kings, then you can always use Sony's QX10 and QX100 lens-style camera modules it unveiled alongside the Z1 today. Alternatively, Sony also outed additional photo accessories for the Z1, such as the Smart Imaging Stand IPT-DS10M, or the Smartphone Tripod SPA-MK20M.

The phone will launch with Android 4.2 onboard, and to pepper things up on the software front, Sony has updated the PlayMemories Online app with the new All Sync option that will allow you to upload all photos taken with the Z1 without any storage limits. Another great idea is to expand the TrackID app with TV series information search and share, though for now this will only be present in Germany, UK, France, Japan and the US. The new Info Eye feature lets you snap pics of landmarks or your surroundings and the app will layer adequate info in augmented reality-style.

Sony Xperia Z1 will be available the same month it launches, marking quite the leap for the company, meaning you will see it in carrier stores and retailer shelves near you in September for a price yet to be disclosed. It is the second octaband LTE phone after the Z Ultra, so the handset supports quite the batch of 4G LTE frequencies. We have a full hands-on and comparison of the Z1 vs G2 or Z1 vs HTC One for you coming soon, complete with image samples from the next big cameraphone hope.

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. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

170g? Wow. But at least specs are promising, it's up to Sony to optimize camera app.

16. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

People like you are really annoying. Always complaining for the weight of the phone as if you cant handle it. Are you a sissy or something?

26. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Well the phone is heavy and big TBH !

27. msa1988

Posts: 418; Member since: Mar 30, 2010

Haha - couldn't agree more. There's something wrong with you if you downgrade a high-quality phone, like this, because its GRAMS heavier than its counter-parts.

34. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011


40. BillyG

Posts: 305; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

you should take a look in a mirror.... even if he/she is a sissy, theres nothing wrong expecting a light device, apple and samsung can do it.

43. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Why would I look in a mirror? Im not complaining about the weight. Besides, it's not like a brick. Having a larger battery, I can actually sacrifice the weight.

67. caustictoast

Posts: 31; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

Apple makes a phone 1" smaller making it easy to make it way lighter. Samsung uses plastic for their phones. This is made of aluminum and glass. This also is waterproof, has a better camera and a bigger battery than the Galaxy s4

47. Santi_Santi unregistered

Not a big deal, still in PA's review this phone will get a 6.5

92. the_best

Posts: 139; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

true, but in sweden an japan it will get a perfect 10.

28. special4u

Posts: 63; Member since: May 22, 2013

REAL beast unleashed!

91. takeja

Posts: 35; Member since: Aug 16, 2013

Yes, but: 1) no a replaceable battery for traveling 2) no Google edition 3) 140g is maximum Make it Sony and I WILL change it for my sgs4!!! So sgs4 is still the best for traveling

29. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Heavier feels better to me anyways.


Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 23, 2013

and where is 4K video support???? :o

93. Pancoon

Posts: 42; Member since: Jul 05, 2013


62. Lyngdoh

Posts: 319; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

The weight is due to the fact that its made of glass and aluminum and not plastic. I like phones that have some weight on them. Too light feels kinda cheap and empty.

68. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Heavy for men and light for women. C'mon dude I had N8 with otterbox case was 165g.

2. jeff_1

Posts: 105; Member since: Aug 30, 2013

I Love the is so cool..Specs wise Im not surprised..Another beast in the android arena sad though they are all the same..nothing is unique ..same soul.. Im gonna have this phone not because of specs..but because of the AMAZING design..collectors item just like the Xperia P.. Windows will always be my primary phone.. Stay out of the Crowd..choose windows.

3. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I'm the opposite. I love the specs, but design is lacking.

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

So everything that was leaked is 100% spot on. Excitement level isn't there.

5. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Great specs though. Edit: Stupid PA with the double post.

36. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

then go stick with u Iphone

69. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I sense a little mad fanboy.

78. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I sense u trolling.

81. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

you're* I sense you are mad once again. Inspector, trust me, you're fighting a losing battle buddy. Just stop while you're ahead.

6. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Gorgeous design, beasty specs! But what about OIS on the camera?

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Not trying to start any problems as I just want an insight, but what's so 'gorgeous' about the phone?

48. tadaa

Posts: 267; Member since: Apr 18, 2013

Glass + aluminum. It might be a rehash but it doesn't look uninspired. Like how 920 was a rehash of 800 but nokia still made it look good

75. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

iPhone 5 is made out of glass and aluminum also but weights a lot less...

51. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013

Compare to market leader Samsung this is gorgeous.

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

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