Sony has entered the flagship war with the Xperia Z by which to some extent saved some grace of Sony. But this was not enough. Even with a great camera, powerful hardware and IP 57 certification, it couldn’t be any close to ‘winning’ the competition. Xperia Z has its own limitations. But this time around Sony seems to taken care of Xperia Z’s limitations and launched its successor the Xperia Z1. It somewhat feels like a combination of Xperia Z and Xperia Z Ultra but with an even more better camera. Let us see how this device performs and what it has got to impact the competition.
Design & Display:
The Xperia Z1 follows the similar design to that of its predecessor but with more refinements. The body is rectangular, with sharp edges and full glass both on the front and back of the device. If Xperia Z felt beautiful, this phone is even more better than the formal and feels more premium. But it doesn’t have a firm grip and the back panel easily attracts smudges and scratches. This one too has dust and water resistant capabilities, so all the ports and connectors are covered with flaps. The phone is thinner at around 8.5mm but this phone seems too big when compared to the rivals with the same screen size. The phone has a 5 inch 1080p display with 441 ppi. The display is much more improved and colors look so vibrant. But viewing angles aren’t so good. This might be because of reflective glass at the front. Overall Sony has to be appreciated for an improved design over its predecessor.
The phone comes with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Sony’s own UI on top of it. Users can also upgrade to 4.4.4 KitKat via software update. The UI looks familiar to the one we have seen in its predecessor. The notification panel is neat with few toggles. The icons and widgets seem similar to Xperia Z. Users can also choose themes, which changes wallpapers, widgets and icons colors accordingly. Sony’s UI feels more lighter and it doesn’t eat up much processor or RAM like some of the custom UI’s we have seen in other rivals. The phone runs smoother on the UI and we didn’t face any hiccups during the usage.
Camera & Audio:
The phone comes with a 20MP auto focus camera with LED flash at the back and a 2MP cam at the front which can record videos upto 1080p at 30fps. The camera UI is very neat and feels similar to the ones we have seen in Xperia Z or Z Ultra. Sony has loaded lots of scene modes, options and tweaks to experiment on the picture. So looking at specs, it feels great but it doesn’t really deliver the image quality expected from a 20MP shooter. So you need to switch to manual mode to get higher resolution. The image quality is nothing to boast of, but feels more improved. The Superior Auto Mode works well but it takes pictures at 8MP rather than 20MP. There is a good detail in the images captured and color reproduction is decent. The AR effects are so cool are works well. The loudspeaker produces clean audio but not so loud enough. With a pair of headphones plugged in, the quality is great and Walkman music player work well in this case. Overall, though the camera doesn’t take the full advantage of 20MP, it still better than some of the 13MP rivals and captures good pictures.
Connectivity & Additional features:
The phone comes in single sim version; supports one micro sim. Network reception is very good and we didn’t face any call drops. In call audio is also good with good noise cancellation but loudspeaker output could have been louder and better. The phone also supports Wifi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 3G, Stereo FM Radio and A-GPS. Internal memory is of 16GB and it also supports micro SD cards upto 64GB. The phone is IP 58 certified, somewhat better than its predecessor in dust and water resistance. Sony advertises as if you can go into the pool with this phone and in most of the conditions, the water resistance works well enough.
Performance & Battery:
The phone runs on Snapdragon 800 chipset with Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 processor along with 2GB RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. This is one of the powerful hardware among the phones released in the same year and the phone performs great. The phone was able to score well better in benchmark tests, scoring around 30k in Antutu and 20k in Quadrant, beating HTC One and Galaxy S4 in both the cases. Multi tasking works great and even if you load some heavy apps, the phone doesn’t feel sluggish ever. Some of the heavy games like Asphat 8, Real Racing 3 played very well and we didn’t observe any frame rate drops or lags at all. Battery capacity is of 3000mAh which is quite good and easily lasts for more than a day. Stamina mode works well and helps you get the best out of the battery.
Good and improved camera
Camera doesn’t use the full potential of 20MP
Glass surface prone to scratches so easily
Feels too big for a 5 inch phone
Non removable battery
Loudspeaker could have been more louder
So far, there is almost nothing wrong with the Z1 and the experience is quite awesome. Of course the only major weakpoint is not utilising the full potential of 20MP but may be it could be fixed to some extent with software updates. The display is good but viewing angles are again not as expected due to reflective screen. But anyhow, the camera is still better than most of the 13MP rivals and the performance is impeccable. For a phone in this segment, Xperia Z1 beats most of the rivals easily and this is one of the most powerful phones interms of performance. If you could adjust with the weak points, the Xperia Z makes a great choice.
Sony Xperia Z1 Rivals: