Sony Xperia Z Review

Sony made the switch to Android quite some time ago, and has been constantly working to improve its devices ever since. Even though the manufacturer tried to make something happen with its high-end models of recent years like the Xperia T and S, it wouldn't be a lie if we say that its efforts have largely remained unnoticed in this world dominated by Galaxies and iPhones. What do you have to do to become a factor in this business? It certainly isn't easy, considering that a company such as Sony, which has an almost fanatical following, hasn't been able to disturb the status quo.

Apparently, what's needed is much more than just a strong specs sheet and a recognizable name. You need to have the powerful hardware encased in a beautiful design, a fast and responsive software experience, the latest operating system, a great camera, top-notch display... and of course, you have to be ready to take responsibility for anything you might mess up and be ready to fix and/or enhance the software of the device as frequently as you have to.

Sony's smartphones have obviously lacked some of these prerequisites, but Sony has proven to be resilient. It is now ready to try again. A new flagship model, a new Xperia phone is here to try and overpower the dominant species. Is that even possible? Why, we say nothing is impossible!

Ladies and gents, we're giving you the Sony Xperia Z!


And here it is, encased in its beautiful glass body. Sony has taken a different approach this time, and instead of using a soft-touch plastic for the back panel, it has went with an all-glass design. We can't tell you how happy we are because of this fact. The glass body gives the Xperia Z a much more striking look, plus it makes it less slippery in your hand.

The Xperia Z is a super-thin smartphone at only 7.9 mm, but thankfully, it's still not too thin so as to become uncomfortable to hold. The handset is built very well. It feels quite solid and premium – just the way it should feel considering its class. If we have to compare it to its Android competitors, we should say that Sony has managed to trump most of them in this respect.

One thing we don't quite like about the design are the sharp edges of the rubberized frame of the body. If those were a bit smoother, holding the Xperia Z would have been that much more comfortable.

With such a large, 5" display, it's understandable why the Xperia Z is so bulky. Even though it's quite thin, the handset is still a bit difficult to handle, especially if you want to accomplish something using one hand only. But such is the case with all 5” handsets, so it's not Sony's fault.

You can compare the Sony Xperia Z with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The keys around the sides of the Xperia Z are limited to the power key and volume rocker. Both the rocker and the power button could be a bit better. Not that they are bad, but they lacks a defined “click” feel when pressed. We expected a bit more considering the special, new design of the power/lock key.

There are absolutely no “holes” around the Xperia Z. Every port or slot is covered by a protective plastic flap. This was probably needed to make the device dust- and water-resistant, speaking of which...

An interesting feature of the Sony Xperia Z is that it's actually a rugged phone. The handset is IP57 certified, with 5 meaning that it's protected against dust, and 7 meaning that you can immerse it in up to 3 feet / 1 meter of water, for up to about 30 minutes. Such rugged features are usually reserved for lower-class, niche type of smartphones, but we're glad that Sony is trying to shake things up here by making its top smartphone that much more resistant to the forces of nature. That's what a top-of-the-line smartphone should be nowadays! Let's hope that other manufacturers will follow suit.


As it seems to be the trend these days, the Xperia Z comes with a very large, 5-inch display. The resolution is also quite extreme at 1080x1920 pixels, which makes for a super-high pixel density of 441 ppi. As you can guess, there isn't even the slightest hint of jaggedness with this display, no matter what you're looking at.

In terms of image quality, the display is quite good, although not necessarily as good as the very best. For example, its contrast could be a little higher and the colors could be a bit more saturated. You know, just to make things a bit livelier. Sony has implemented its Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine, which aims to enhance certain settings in order to make media content appear better on the screen. We've tried older Sony handsets with BRAVIA engine and have to say that images really get that extra edge thanks to the enhancement. Sadly, this only works when viewing images or video with the respective apps, so if you're, for example, viewing pictures inside the web browser or in Facebook, those won't benefit from the BRAVIA 2 enhancements.

Outdoor visibility is OK, you won't have problems there as long as the brightness is set to the max and the sun isn't directly reflected in the screen. The viewing angles, however, could also be a tad better. Overall, it's an awesome display that will make all kinds of activities super-fun, though Sony will have to do a bit more tweaking if it wants to be as good as the big boys of the industry.

Sony Xperia Z 360-Degrees View



1. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

only 8.5 ? I though buy xperia z but xperia death for me now

9. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

LOL! Do you really base your choiche of what to buy or not to buy on a rating on a single website? Go and try the product yourself, or at least check and compare reviews on multiple websites, youtube and forums from users that you know are reliable. What can disappoint someone can be positive for others, for example I like sharp edges and hate rounded phones...

42. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010 If I based what buy on 1 website's review, I would have neve got the Droid X. Consumer Reports is the exception when it comes to cars, and maybe For everything else I go to many sources. In fact....I and probably all of us would probably have an iPhone if I, we based it off of reviews....

106. Emily1985

Posts: 127; Member since: Nov 08, 2012

Nokia Lumia 920 Review score: 9.0 Sony Xperia Z Review score : 8.5 Nokia Lumia 920 Win !!!!!

260. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

920 can only win brick of the year 2012 :P

304. giri555

Posts: 111; Member since: Mar 15, 2012 are so intelligent :)

303. giri555

Posts: 111; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

So many Negative comments and feedback about your site? Hope you have learnt a lesson?? Don't underestimate the knowledge of the visitors of this site, visitors will not buyin to whatever garbage you throw...why am I even coming back to this filthy site...damn I wasted my time typing this...

75. danny_a2005

Posts: 365; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

Ray S just gives 9.0 and up to apple devices even though they are all the same, if Joooooohn V had this review done it would have at least 9.0. I think this phone is perfect... And I'm buying it even if it had a 1.0 review

80. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Actually, I haven't done a single review of an Apple device, so you don't know how much I would give it. :P

86. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

He got you confuse with Alan F. , now that person loves some Apples...hahaha

94. ahmed_ali_yossef2010

Posts: 164; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

gsmarena preview said the camera is excellent and the video is awesome and you said that the video failed to impress ? explain

145. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

Don't make the fake quote, man. GsmArena just told us a little bit about camera user interface and some functions without evaluating the quality , so where could you find the words"excellent" or "awesome"?

264. ahmed_ali_yossef2010

Posts: 164; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Videos come up with excellent detail and a solid 30fps framerate this from the preview and I won't keep the whole review in my mind with the very words

119. AshishRomea

Posts: 145; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

your biased ! this needs atleast 9.0 , common whats even wrong with the phone ?

155. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

the brand i guess, sony sucks so much

138. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Mmmmmm... Feisty....

192. schinnak

Posts: 116; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

It was a good review. S3 was top of the cream when it was launched in terms of specs and new features on touchwiz. It fully deserved the score. Now you have droid DNA, galaxy note 2 etc with similar specs which came before xperia Z. Apart from the dust proof and water proof thingy - what else sets this phone apart and on the top??? The score and review is fully justifiable.8.5/10 is a good score for this phone.

214. ravearamashi

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

Absolutely true. It's all about software features, benchmarks and processor power doesn't matter anymore as long as the device is running on Jelly Bean, any dual core and above phone would be able to run it lag-free in theory. It goes the same to Droid DNA and Optimus G and Note II. DNA and Optimus G specs and benchmarks blows Note II out of the water, but in terms of software features such as the Multiwindows while on Optimus G and DNA, you don't have lots of features compared to Note II, and that's why Note II overall just wins because Samsung took the device potential to the max

273. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2281; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Better design, NFC support, thinner, better construction, better build, better functions (ie, battery stamina mode) expandable storage, higher resolution camera (better detail), thinner, lighter,Jelly Bean out of the box,

272. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2281; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Indeed :D

271. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2281; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Lol :D

194. kclgphilsbsa

Posts: 765; Member since: Jan 21, 2013

galaxy s3 got 9.3 :D galaxy s4 might got 9.5 above or else that wud be very disappointing haha

22. Wiki_jaan

Posts: 704; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

now wait coz beast is coming soon..............S

312. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

S? Sucker?

48. SonyXperiaNexus

Posts: 374; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

oh please, 8.5 isn't bad at all. by the looks of your comment it looks like you never had any interest in the z in the first place and just need smthing bad to point out. anyway lets look at the con shall we. disappointing camera? i agree it isn't what it was hyped up to be but it still isn't 'dissappointing'. its not the best but it isn't bad and is still an excellent camera. plus, rating is different for every site and anyway what did the note 2 score? a 9, which is just a point 5 away and is also due to the extra functionality of the S pen. also many of the things are subjective so you have to choose what you like rather than what other people like.

77. mansoor

Posts: 4; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

8.5 is bad because it deserves a lot higher score than that.

193. SonyXperiaNexus

Posts: 374; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

but you are forgetting that phonearena, or at least the author was never known to be too optimistic of sony. it surely deserves higher scores but for phonearena, well you should get used to this sort of stuff. you know what i do? i add 1 or at least a 0.5 to their score if its sony and -1 if its apple.

148. DerryAhmad

Posts: 296; Member since: May 05, 2012

The Xpera Z got 8.5 while the iPhone5 go 9.0 just doesn't seem right. Also It'd also be nicer if we get to see the camera comparison between the Z and iPhone5/Galaxy S3/Lumia920 in the review to see where it stand in the competition.

262. gboo2565

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 29, 2012

I have a feeling you wouldn't like the result of that camera comparison Derry..Does seem a bit strange though that Sony can't get their camera quality up..

274. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2281; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I know, the Iphone doesn't even have a 720p HD screen, and many phones made in the same year did! -_-

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

Xperia Z
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13.1 MP / 2.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 16GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 2330 mAh(14h 3G talk time)

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