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Sony Xperia Z Review

Last month Sony launched their latest Android smartphone Xperia Z in India for Rs38,990. It is probably the best Smartphone launched by Sony both in terms of design and performance. Recently we did the unboxing of the Sony Xperia Z, so do checkout the post if you want to see the contents of the Xperia Z retail package. One of the best feature of the device is that it is both water and dust resistant up to a certain extent.

Sony Xperia Z

After the launch of Xperia Z we saw the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC would also be launching the HTC One in India later this month. So does Xperia Z has what it takes to stand against these devices or it would just loose its charm in front of other Android smartphones. Read on to find out.

Display & Design

Undoubtedly Xperia Z is the best smartphone created by Sony till date. At the first look you would definitely feel that the device has a premium look. Once you hold the device, it feels quite Solid in hand with amazing build quality. It has a rectangular slab design with glass covered front and back panel. The phone has a dimension of 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm and weighs around 146 grams. Though at 7.9mm in thickness it is not the slimmest phone but still feels quite slim and light weight.

The front of the device features a full HD (1080p) 5 inch display powered by Sony’s Bravia Mobile Engine 2. The display has a 441 ppi pixel density which is quite impressive. But despite having an awesome display viewing angles are not so good and the contrast levels are pretty average for a flagship device. The phone has a good sunlight readability and the contrast levels are boosted while viewing photos or watching movies thanks to the Bravia Mobile Engine 2.

Sony Xperia Z front

Below the display you don’t have any touch buttons since the lower part of the display offers virtual navigation controls. You just have a microphone under a grill.

Sony Xperia Z mic

Above the display you have a 2.2 megapixel front facing camera, ear piece, notification LED,  ambient light sensor and proximity sensor.

Sony Xperia Z top

At the top you have a 3.5mm audio jack for attaching the stereo headsets. The port is covered with a flap to prevent dust and water from entering the device. The flap fits tightly on the port but it is easy to open it.

Sony Xperia Z top port

There are no ports present on the bottom of the device.

Sony Xperia Z bottom

On the right side of the device you have a signature power/lock key and a volume rocker. These two are the only physical buttons present on the device.

Sony Xperia Z right side

Above the power key on the right side you have a micro SIM card slot protected by a flap. Once you open the flap you would find a plastic SIM card tray. You need to put your micro SIM card on the tray and insert it back. We didn’t face any problems or issues while inserting the SIM card.

Sony Xperia Z sim slot

You also have a speaker outlet on the right side of the device. Unlike Xperia ZL there is no dedicated camera key present on the device.

Sony Xperia Z speaker

A lanyard eyelet is built into the bottom right corner of the device.

Sony Xperia Z bottom

On the right side you have a microSD slot and a MHL enabled microUSB port. Both these ports are protected by plastic flaps. Along the micro SD slot you also have a dock connector.

Sony Xperia Z left side flap closed

Sony Xperia Z  left side

At the back of the device you would find a 13 megapixel camera along with LED flash, secondary mic for noise cancellation and Xperia Branding in the center.

Sony Xperia Z back

Overall the phone has a good design and great build quality but it is a fingerprint magnet. This is surely a device which would give iPhone a tough competition in terms of design & the build quality.

Hardware & Performance

Xperia Z is powered by a 1.5Ghz quad core Snapdragon S4 processor along with 2GB of RAM. For providing the enhanced graphics quality company has included Adreno 320 GPU in the phone. The specs clearly shows the power of the device and it would be more than sufficient to run any app or game on the device. We performed a NenaMark benchmark test on the device to check the graphic and gaming capabilities of the device.

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The phone scored an impressive 60fps (59.9 to be precise) in the test which is the highest fps a device can get in the test. It means the phone has amazing gaming quality. But that was just a  benchmark test and since playing games on any device is one of the best way to test the performance of a device, we did a gaming test on the device to see how does it perform while playing the most famous games available for the Android Platform. You can check out the below videos to see how did the device performed in our gaming test.

The device performed pretty well in our gaming test and we were able to play 10 out of 10 games on the device without any lag or problems. This clearly shows how powerful is the Xperia Z. But still if you are in doubt about the performance of the device as compare to other smartphone, just check out the results of the quadrant benchmark test we performed on the device.

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The phone scored an impressive 8005 points. It clearly beats majority of Android smartphones such as Galaxy Note 2, LG Optimus G, HTC One X+ etc. So you should not worry about the performance of the device even if you are planning to do multitasking on the device. The device is powerful enough to easily handle your daily tasks, apps and games.

The phone comes with a 16GB internal storage which can expanded using a microSD card. Talking about the connectivity features, it supports 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC. The device is both water and dust resistant and has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP55 and IP57.

Sony has always been known for its music quality and to test the device we made a small video showing the music and the video playback quality of the device. It would give you a brief idea about the quality of the display and loudspeaker present on the device.

In short Xperia Z is a powerful device with good music and video playback quality.

 Software

Sony Xperia Z runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS along with Custom UI on top. The first screen which you would encounter on the device is the lock screen. You just need to swipe in any direction to unlock the device. You can launch the music app or the camera from the lock screen directly. When the music player is active you would find the music controls on the lock screen.

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By default there are 5 home screens and you cannot add more unless you install a custom launcher. You would also notice the 3 onscreen buttons, back, home and recent apps. Since the phone does not have any physical buttons these onscreen buttons would be present on all the screens. The phone comes with few custom made Sony widgets such as connectivity toggles, Walkman player etc.

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When you open the app drawer you would find that each screen contains 20 icons. On the top of the app drawer screen you have an option to search the apps and arrange them according to your preferences.

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You can arrange the apps alphabetically, by most used apps, by recently installed apps first or choose your own order.

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Talking about the music apps and features on the device, Xperia Z has tons of apps related to music and video. First of all we would talk about the TrackID which you might have seen in previous Xperia devices. It is one of the most awesome music apps we have came across. While listening to music on any other device like TV or any speaker you can bring your device near the music source and tap the center button present in the app to find out the artist and track information.

xperia z screenshot (1)

The walkman app which is the default music player present on the Xperia Z. It contains two tabs, Playing tab for checking the current song being played and the My Music tab for accessing all the songs present on your device. It also has an option called Friend’s Music which can be used to find out various songs your Facebook friends are currently listening.

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Xperia Z comes with a Sony Car app which is specially designed specifically for driving. The app contains huge icons which can be easily accessed while driving the car. You can easily check recent call history, access GPS app or the music player.

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The phone has an app called smart connect which lets you connect and manage additional devices such as Sony smart watch with the device.

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At last we would like to mention about the Xperia Link app which lets you connect to the internet from tablet/PC using the network connection of the phone.

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So if we just talk about the software present on the Xperia Z, it does not lack anywhere as the global rollout of the Android 4.2 Jelly bean OS for the device has already started and it has some cool preloaded apps, Sony’s custom widgets and not to forget 1000’s of awesome apps which are available on the Google PlayStore.

Camera

Sony Xperia Z comes with a 13 megapixel back camera with LED flash and a 2.2 megapixel front facing camera for video calling. The camera comes with a Exmor RS sensor technology which enables the camera to capture good images in both bright and low light conditions.

Sony Xperia Z back side

The camera has an interesting mode called the Superior Auto mode where the camera itself selects the best scene and other settings based on the conditions. When we tried the Superior Auto mode we were able to capture good images in most of the conditions.

The camera also supports High dynamic range (HDR) photography, image stabilization and full HD (1080p) video recording. Here is a quick video overview of the settings and the interface of the Xperia Z camera.

Here are few Sample images captured using the back camera of the Sony Xperia Z.

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Here is a sample video (full HD 1080p) recorded using the 13 megapixel camera present on the device.

The 2.2 megapixel front camera also supports full HD video recording at 30fps.

Overall, Xperia Z has a great camera which can capture amazing images in bright light conditions but in low light conditions it gets beaten by devices such as HTC One and Lumia 920. The phone also lacks optical image stabilization as in the case of Lumia 920 and HTC One so it won’t be able to beat these devices when capturing images/videos with shaky hands.

Water & Dust Proof Nature

It is the first flagship Android smartphone which is water and dust resistant in nature. The device has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP55 and IP57. So you can it in nearly all weather conditions and even while taking a bath. Here is a small video where we did a water test on the Xperia Z by submerging the device in water.

This is really a cool feature and for the first few days we washed our device multiple times and even tried to shoot a under water video using the device. You can keep the device in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.

Battery Life

Sony Xperia Z comes with a 2330mAh battery which has a rated battery life of 14 hours while on 3G network. Sony has also included a Power Management option with the device to provide more battery saving features such as Stamina Mode which disables all active data connections when you turn off the display. Similarly you have Low battery mode and other options such as Location based WiFi to preserve battery.

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With moderate usage we were able to use the phone for an entire day. During the day we made few calls, searched few things on internet, played music for around 1 hour and our 3G connection was on for the entire day.

Conclusion

Sony Xperia Z is a great smartphone with awesome build quality and design. Though the device has amazing build quality but the Glass back attracts a lot of fingerprints. The phone is quite powerful and you won’t face any lag or problems while performing any task on the device or while running any app.

The phone has a great camera but still other devices in the market such as HTC One or the Lumia 920 have better camera. One of the unique features of the device is its dust and water resistant nature. The device is available in India at a price of Rs 38,000 which makes it a good choice for the users looking for a high end Android Smartphone with good design, powerful hardware and weather proof nature.

Pros:

  • Good build quality & design
  • Powerful device
  • Water & Dust resistant
  • Good Music & video playback quality
  • Decent Battery life

Cons:

  • Low contrast display
  • Fingerprint magnet

Author: Akshay Aggarwal

Akshay is a Tech Enthusiast who loves to write about Technology and Gadgets. He is very passionate about blogging and has been blogging since 2009.

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