- Dedicated camera button for underwater shooting
- Curvy. more comfortable design
- Speedy, overall performance
- Disappointing low-light camera performance
- Average viewing angles
- Flimsy latches protecting ports and connections
Review Price to be confirmed
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.
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