Sony Xperia Z1

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Pros

  • Dedicated camera button for underwater shooting
  • Curvy. more comfortable design
  • Speedy, overall performance

Cons

  • Disappointing low-light camera performance
  • Average viewing angles
  • Flimsy latches protecting ports and connections

Key Features

  • Review Price: £550.00
  • Quad-core Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 20.7 MP camera
  • Full-HD 5-inch screen
  • 3000mhA battery
  • 16GB on board storage
  • microSD slot
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Are you looking for the: Sony Xperia Z2?

First reviewed: 20/09/2013

What is the Sony Xperia Z1?

Previously going by the codename Honami, the Sony Xperia Z1 is the follow up to the waterproof Sony Xperia Z smartphone launched last year and is the big brother of the more recently released Xperia Z1 Compact.

Hoping to provide some stiff competition for the iPhone 5S, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One,

Sony is ramping up the camera credentials of the Xperia Z1 by adding a

20.7-megapixel camera sensor. Sony also announced the Wi-Fi and

Bluetooth supported QX10 and QX100 lens accessories to turn give the Z1 even greater snapping prowess.

Watch the Sony Xperia Z1 video

The

Xperia Z1 also makes some welcome design changes and adds a 2.2GHz

quad-core Snapdragon processor making it one of the most powerful phones

around.

It improves on an already great smartphone and has the new features to keep it fighting for the title of best Android phone.

Sony  Xperia Z1 – Design & Features

Put

the Sony Xperia Z1 side-by-side with the Xperia Z, and there are some

minor, yet crucial, differences between the two Sony smartphones. The Z1

features the same glass front and back but now uses a two tone

aluminium frame to join the two together.

The Z1 weighs

169g making it considerably heavier than the Galaxy S4 (130g) and the

HTC One (143g). At 8.5mm thick, it is slimmer than the One (9.3mm) but

not quite as slender as the S4 (7.9mm).  It’s actually taller than the

Xperia Z (139mm) jumping up to 144.4mm and is thicker than the Z jumping

from 7.9mm to 8.5mm.

Some changes have been made to the

positioning of ports and connections protected by those flimsy plastic

latches. The headphone jack up top is no longer covered by one of those

little latches. The wireless charging port, microSD, micro USB ports

remain on the left side of the body. 

Over on the right, the microSIM

slot, smaller on/off button and volume rocker are now joined by a

dedicated camera button. There’s a speaker grill on the bottom of the

phone, while one of the corners has a hole drilled through it for the

addition of a wrist strap. 
The good news is that with the flaps

all closed the Xperia Z1 is dust-proof is water resistant with a IP58

certification. This means it can survive being fully submerged in more

than 1m of water for more than 30 minutes. The addition of the camera

button means you can now take photos and shoot video under water.
Despite

the overall jump in dimensions, the Sony Xperia Z1 feels much nicer to

hold than the Z. The corners are curvier and slightly more pronounced.

It seems like a small change, but it makes a world of difference. This

is a still a big phone, but there’s no doubting the Z1 is a more elegant

5-inch smartphone than the Galaxy S4.

Sony Xperia Z1 – Screen

Sony

has kept faith with the full HD 1080

resolution 5-inch capacitive screen. Tapping into the technology from its Bravia TV range the Xperia Z1

now benefits from Triluminos and X-Reality support. You can switch off

the X-Reality for mobile feature which should help conserve battery

life.

The

aim of packing the Sony TV tech in to the Z1 is to produce sharper

images and more accurate colour reproduction. Like the Z, the Z1 also

features a scratch-proof screen protector covering the entire front of

the phone.

With 441ppi and 16 million colour

contrast ratio images are well-detailed, the Xperia Z1

makes the most of the 1920 x 1080p high resolution display. It does lack

the colour depth and top level brightness you get on the S4 but it is

still a great place to watch full HD content and play games on.
The

screen protector has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus

side, it will help defend the display against keys and loose change, although it does scuff quite easily. The

down side is that it does have an impact on viewing angles,

particularly from acute viewing points. Video can look washed out and

dull. It doesn’t drastically ruin the viewing experience, but the most

eagle eyed will notice it.

The Z1 screen supports 10-finger

multi-touch and for getting around the homescreens, pinching and zooming

images, browsing the web and typing on the keyboard, it’s offers a good

response all round.