One of the biggest Electronic houses, Japanese giant ‘Sony’ yesterday launched their “flagship smartphone [sch i=”itemReviewed” c=”Sony Xperia Z”]” at an event in New Delhi, India. After a long year gap Sony has come up with their stunning 5 inch crisp latest offering which they have claimed is a better phone with “dust and water resistance” at the same time. Previous ‘Sony Xperia 2012’ line-up had not so good cameras and had disappointed Sony lovers particularly with its low light picture quality. This year with their new renovated Xperia Z the Company claimed that the new 13.1 megapixel camera in this phone will turn to be the best and will compete with iPhone 5 and with the very impressive camera of Blackberry Z10.[sch i=”description” c=”So we have with us today Sony Xperia Z, a Full HD 1080p Capacitive Multi Touch screen, Quad Core, powered by Android v4.1.2 Jelly Bean at the price of INR 38,990/- to narrate its own specs and features.”]
Design, Form Factor of Sony Xperia Z
First of all the design; you will notice that the look is square, compact & sophisticated. The edge to edge front design is made of “Scratch resistant & Shatter Proof Glass” which is similar to ‘Gorilla Glass’. The dimension of Xperia Z is 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm (5.47 x 2.8 x 0.31 inch); it is not so bulky weighs only 146 gm. Although the front glass is edge to edge; but not the display, which is huge 5 inches, resolution of 1080 x 1920 Full HD (~441 ppi pixel density), 16 Million colors IPS TFT ,Capacitive 10-fingers Multi touch. The display color is no doubt crisp and vivid, thanks to its new “BRAVIA Engine 2”. As it is IP57 certified dust and water resistant so you don’t have to worry if it becomes dirty, just put it under water. And even you can put it up to 1 meter under water for 30 minutes to check its water resistance. The back of the device is same ‘glass back’ as the company has used since last year, which can attract too many fingerprints if you prefer this device in deep black or purple color instead of white. Sony assured that “the strong Scratch resistant & Shatter Proof Glass can survive tremendous pressure & will not break”. For better water resistance each ports are well covered by flaps. Ear phone jack on the top, SIM card tray on the left and microUSB port & microSD card slot on the right – all are well protected from dust and water. The overall look of the phone is splendid and we have small complain about the ‘plastic’ SIM card tray used instead of ‘metal’ tray which are common in this high range phone. Viewing angles and visibility under sunlight are impressive with no pixelation and viewing images or content appear crisp & vivid.
Performance and UI
Sony Xperia z is an Android powered phone that comes with factory installed 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and ready to be updated to v4.2 Jelly Bean. The stock Android UI is customized by Sony’s own proprietary UI that adds some new features and looks which are great and do not slow down the phone as it is power boosted by Qualcomm MDM9215M chipset, Quad Core 1.5 GHz Krait Processor with Adreno 320 GPU, on board 2GB of RAM, Internal 16GB of storage and that can be expanded to 32GB with the help of microSD memory card. We are little disappointed as at this price tag, the company should have easily given an 8GB microSD card free instead of giving a 2GB microSD card which is a shame. Like Samsung and LG’s Mini Apps and QSlide apps respectively; Sony has also brought the same named ‘small apps’, which can be seen on the top of the display screen and can be re sized and moved. There are onscreen touch buttons which can only be seen if the device is powered on; no physical buttons under the screen are available and for this Sony has wasted approx. 1mm space under the display; that space basically has nothing but only a glass protection; according to us it is a design glitch. The lock screen is again tweaked and you have to swipe upward to unlock your home screen; swiping right and left directly from the lock screen will open music player and camera, respectively. You can have maximum 7 home screens to customize with shortcuts and widgets of your choice & preferences.
Xperia Z Camera
Now, we all are expecting a lot from Xperia Z’s 13.1 Mega Pixel rear camera with Ex-Armor lens, auto focus and relatively small LED flash having Standard & Superior modes. You can take 13 Mega Pixel snaps with Standard mode but later it will restrict the image size to 12 megapixel, but you can take advantage of clicking images with Superior mode on which it optimizes various parameters according to the sense and environment of the subject to get the best possible result. But what we feel after taking snaps in both modes, Superior mode is much better but the images quality in both modes are not that much satisfactory as we expected from a 13 Megapixel camera. A normal user who has upgraded from a 5 Mega Pixel device will be amazed with the snaps but if you are a PRO then you can easily notice that the images’ colors are not true and suffer under low light conditions. If you want to upload snaps to Facebook and Flickr, this camera will serve more than you desire and its contrast level and white balance are good. But, again the image quality is not as true as iPhone 5 or Blackberry Z10’s image quality. There are features like Geo-tagging, face detection, image stabilization and sweep panorama.
Xperia Z’s camera is capable of auto focus and multi focus with touch on the display, while we took images indoor focusing from very close as the camera has ‘Macro’ feature for this purpose, we were again not happy with the color tone. The iPhone 5’s camera images were bright, rich and warm but if you zoom in, you would get better detailed images with Xperia Z. Blackberry Z10’s pic will give you slightly less bright but the best in terms of crispness and clarity while zooming in. At outdoor, shots are good and both Xperia Z and iPhone 5 handled color, detailing and brightness well but, iPhone 5’s images produced natural color and shadow areas look prominent as they’re supposed to be. However, the iPhone 5 has better exposure that gives the picture slightly more detail in the off focus areas. But if we’re talking about zoom capabilities, then Xperia Z is a clear winner as the iPhone has a limited zoom. Xperia Z also comes with a 2.2 Mega Pixel front facing cam capable of recording Full HD 1080p video @30 fps which is amazing. The rear 13.1 Mega Pixel camera is also capable of doing Full HD video recording @30 fps with continuous auto focus, video light, video stabilizer and HDR features. HD video recording is great and we experienced a big difference while turning on the HDR with normal video recording. Video quality color handling and contrast are good.
The Multimedia experience is great and Xperia Z will not let you down in this section; comes with BRAVIA Engine 2 the 1080p HD videos will play superbly without any lag or flickering. The vivid color, high brightness, noise less sound will enhance your multimedia experience. Even watching 1080p Full HD YouTube videos on this device did not harm our expectation. The speaker is housed on the lower right side and output quality is nice with xLoud mode turned on. The Walkman music player boosts the hearing experience with gold plated 3.5mm quality Sony stereo earphone. The phone has Stereo FM with RDS. You can play all HD games on Xperia Z and we have not faced any problem while playing Fifa 2012, Real Racing 3, Asphalt 7, Nova 3, Dead Trigger, etc. you will enjoy playing games on this device as the color depth, graphics and touch screen sensibility are superb. You will not face any low memory problem when installing high-end HD games. Xperia z comes with “Playstation Certification” and has access to a host of Playstation games optimized for mobile screen.
This device is a 4G capable device that means it supports 3G SIM as well as GSM SIM. It will work on any network available in any nation till date that means band selection will not become your headache. 4G connectivity of Xperia Z is not applicable in India. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC, LTE, microUSB, HSDPA 42Mbps, HSUPA 5.8Mbps and all WiFi standards (a/g/b/n). We have enjoyed browsing internet with the stock HTML5 browser on both 3G and Wi-Fi network. Webpages have opened really fast on Wi-Fi with no lag and pinch to zoom in/out worked flawlessly. We have quick lock over A-GPS and compass worked perfectly. Xperia Z is stuffed with Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass and light sensors. The battery is non-removable Li-on 2330 mAh and will capable of giving stand by up to 550hrs on GSM and 530hrs on 3G network. You will have talk time approximately up to 11hrs on GSM and 14hrs on 3G for normal use. We got 1day battery standby while testing the device extensively and turning on a feature called “Stamina Mode” (battery saver). You will have applications & features like Document viewer, TV-out (via MHL A/V link), Photo & Video editor, Google Play and Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic etc.
Xperia Z Benchmarks
We put Xperia Z under extensive test to see the performance benchmark of its powerful Quad Core 1.5 GHz Krait Processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, display, microSD card reading/writing speeds and 2d &3D graphics handling. On Quadrant standard it scored 7635, on Antutu benchmark it scored a total of 18833 and got a 5 star rating as well, on Nenamark 2 it again topped with 60.0fps and could have score more as Nenamark 2 is capable of showing 60.0fps at max. So it passed all hardware benchmark testing with a top score and there is no hesitation to say that the hardware capability of Xperia Z is outstanding. You can compare HTC One VS Xperia Z benchmarks. The handset is available in 3 colors – White, Black And Purple.
Verdict: So what we have experienced while reviewing the Sony Xperia Z is a Super phone having all the features one can desire and its CPU power and graphics are outstanding. Being an Android based Smart phone, Xperia Z have all the ability but with one big lag the 13.1 MegaPixel camera which is not up to the mark at the price of INR 38,990/-. Xperia Z will feel the heat of other rivals include HTC Butterfly (having equally powerful CPU), HTC One, Blackberry Z10, iPhone 5 and LG Optimus G Pro, and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4. Blackberry Z10 and iPhone 5 have different tastes of Operating System as compared to Android OS but both phones offers good camera, sensors and graphical display which cannot be ignored. But they will lose out to Xperia Z for its more powerful CPU and durability. Xperia Z have one competitor ‘HTC Butterfly’ which is having Full HD display and equally powerful CPU but priced INR 6,500/- more than Xperia Z which will benefit Sony. Also design-wise Xperia Z is sturdier than Butterfly and comes with relatively higher water and dust resistance. We plead to Sony, next time, take special care of camera feature as this time you have come to the market with a more powerful and sturdier device than before but image quality of the 13.1 Megapixel camera is not ‘amazing’ as we all have expected.
My Opinion: Under INR 40,000/- if you are searching for a powerful device which will serve your full HD multimedia, gaming, camera experiences without any lag or glitch then go for Sony Xperia Z; it will not let you down. We give it rating of [sch i=”reviewRating” c=”4.3″] out of 5. (Review by [sch i=”author” c=”Shubhrajit Chakraborty”])
[Disclaimer: Sony Xperia Z review is written based on inputs from various sources.]
Here is a neatly organized look at full specifications of Xperia Z in table format:
- Screen Size of 5 inch (12.7 cm).
- Display Resolution: 1920x1080
- Display Type: , capacitive multi-touch, Full HD display, scratch resistant, shatter proof glass
- CPU: 1.5GHz Quad Core processor
- There is 2 GB RAM.
- It comes with internal memory of 16 GB.
- WiFi- yes
- Bluetooth: Yes, 4.0
- Primary Camera at the rear: 13.1 megapixel
- Front-facing camera- 2.2mp, 1080p Video recording
- Out of box, it is loaded with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean OS, upgradeable to Android 4.2.
- Battery Juice of 2330mAh.
Check out the related posts given in recommended articles section below to find more about Xperia Z. Don’t forget to leave your comment, we’d love to hear from you – What do you think of Xperia Z? Are you happy with Sony’s current offering? Is Xperia Z going to be your next buy?