Sony Xperia Z Review

The Xperia Z has received a lot of attention since its launch last week at CES.

Sony Xperia Z Review

I have been lucky enough to have hands on with a pre-production device for a few days (72 hours) to cast my thoughts and opinions on the device and provide an early Xperia Z review.

Do please consider this in concluding your thoughts as the final production unit and longer hands-on time may have an affect on my final thoughts and opinions.

If you want to just sit back and listen to the review, you can with the sound clip found HERE.

Design/Build/Size/Hardware

As many others have commented the Xperia Z looks stunning.

I class it somewhere in between the Samsung products and the Apple products. In my opinion it does not feel quite as cheap as Samsung but not quite as premium as Apple.

The front and back tempered glass give a glossy look to the device and the black band that runs over the edges makes it look solid and complete.

Buy Sony Xperia Z

The glass is certainly a fingerprint magnet. You will be forever cleaning it, so it might be worth investing in a case or the likes of Crystalusion to protect the device.

If I used this as my daily phone, I would probably struggle through with the fingerprints to admire the design.

With a 5” display there is no denying that you are not going to miss this device. It is big, but well proportioned in comparison to the competition.

I use a Samsung Galaxy S3 as my daily phone and in the hand it didn’t feel too much different, I could quite easily become accustomed to using it. Personally, I sometimes find the 4.8” display on the S3 slightly over-sized for one handed use and this goes for the Z too, but depending on your hand size you may feel differently. The device is only a little taller and you can’t tell any difference in the width. The Z does seem to have a bit of an expanse between the screen and the base of the device, which contributes to its height, but a large bezel can be expected on such a big screen.

Having said this, the Xperia Z does feel more solid – the squarer design works for and against it – coming across as a bit more robust and aggressive in the hand. I think the curved edges of the S3 make it feel more comfortable for prolonged use but the curvature also makes it a little less grippy. The Z does too feel fairly well balanced, no real noticeable additional weight at the top or bottom of the device.

At 7.9mm thick, the Xperia Z is positively thin and feels such. It is quite impressive how thin it is considering all the kit inside. However one does need to consider it is a sealed unit, so the battery can not be removed and there is slightly more length in comparison to the S3.

If you use a Note or Note 2 the Z will most likely feel dainty in hand.

image

The power button is a bold statement on the right side of the device and is quite well placed. I am left handed but have generally got used to operating all phones with my right. However, other left handed users may not agree with the button positioning.

Located just under the power button is the volume up and down keys. Often found on the left side of a device, it is an odd, but clever move by Sony to put them within close proximity to the power button and thus falls within a comfortable reach for most users.

Below the volume keys is the solitary speaker, which I will come onto later.

The headphone jack is located on the top of the phone to the right edge.

The base of the phone has product information on it and a lanyard connector. Yes, a fantastic feature that is not required by all but is a desirable and handy asset. Well done Sony; the sporty smartphone users will love this. You will be able to carry the phone around the neck or wrist or however you please using this connector, although prolonged transport of the device in this way could strain you slightly.

image

The back of the phone has the camera, LED flash, a microphone, the Xperia logo and regulatory information at the bottom. The text is not raised as it is all etched into the glass and is smooth to the touch.

A point to note here is that Sony does not disclose the toughened glass they use, but it comes up to spec of Gorilla Glass or Dragontail. It is suggested that Dragontail is what they use, but not specifying this means that they can chop and change I believe without issue. The main thing is that it is toughened and should resists scratches. Our review device did sustain a scratch, but it was put through lots of hands-on testing and is a pre-production model.

To enable the device to have its IP rating all the ports have covers. This is a positive and a negative. On the plus side, it helps keep a sleek stylish design whilst on the negative side it is a fiddle when all you want to do is connect the power cable. However, the covers are easier to open than many I have used in the past (some really good design work form Sony here) and there is plenty of play in the cover connector which therefore means you do not feel like the cover will snap off after a couple of weeks.

An odd point to note is that the MicroSD & headphone covers have a symbol on them to tell you what they are whilst the USB and SIM card slot do not. I find this inconsistency a bit puzzling, but again it could be put down to the handset being a pre-production model.

So the covers are not as big an issue as one may think, but the story gets better. On the left side beneath the microUSB and microSD covers are two gold pins. These two pins are connectors for a dock that Sony has produced. Pop the phone into the DK26 dock (landscape) and the device can charge without having to remove the cover on the port.

The Sony Xperia Z has an IP55 & IP57 rating, meaning the device is water and dust resistant and can be submerged in water of up to a metre in depth (3 feet) for up to 30 minutes and it will work fine.

We had the device in a bowl of water, in a hot tub, in a shower, in a sink, in a puddle and under a running tap and it continued to work. As with any water resistant device, operation within water is prohibitive as the screen is affected by the water pressure. Thus if you think you can play Angry Birds whilst taking a shower you may be disappointed.

 

In all reality you could probably leave it submerged for longer and at greater depth and it will most likely be fine, BUT WE DO NOT advise this. A point to note here is that covers do need to be closed otherwise water can ingress into the internal parts of the device. We understand the internals of the device are also protected against water but DO NOT try dunking it with ports open! What this means is that if in a worst case scenario it was exposed to water with a port cover open it will likely survive, but there is no guarantee.

The Z is packed with plenty of features and power. Under the skin of the device is a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of internal memory, Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi and much more.

Display

At 5” it will either be too big, too small or just right depending on your preference; however with a resolution of 1920 x1080p on Sony’s Full HD Reality Display, images were very vivid and bright and certainly give the likes of the S3 and the iPhone 5 a run for their money.

For those that are interested the Z has a PPI of 443 whereas the iPhone 5 has 326.

In terms of viewing angles the Z did not fare as well as the competition here, but I am not sure how many of you view the device at angles other than pretty much face on, but if you do the Z might not live up to par.

In short, videos and pictures looked very good, but then most screens on smartphones do these days.

Audio

A possible strength and weakness of the Z exists here.

On the positive the speaker is very clear, and it did not appear to distort at full volume so the audio quality will satisfy most.

On the downside is the fact that there is only one speaker and its location. At the bottom right corner of the device, it is prone to getting covered up by a hand or finger, depending upon how you hold the device. This issue is more prevalent in landscape mode.

As a result of the above, the audio can sound a little directional at times; if you move the device or were playing the audio to a larger group it could sound better from one angle than another. A secondary speaker on the left side would have been a real bonus.

Connectivity

The Xperia Z has loads of features that ensure it competes with all the leading smartphones.

I need not explain WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC and what that can do for you, but these all work and ensure the basic connectivity options are covered.

The Z does too have 3G and 4G connectivity (subject to your network operator support) through the SIM card. I was unable to test the 4G but I can say 3G worked as you would expect.

Using the microUSB port you can connect a plethora of accessories including memory sticks, games controllers and more. You do require a USB host cable to do this but they are easily accessible and give you a more powerful smartphone if utilised. Mobile office workers, this could be a good feature for you.

I also tested the slightly older Sony Ericsson Livedock and was able to connect a USB 2.0 hard drive to the Z which is pretty impressive. You need the Livedock to do this as it takes the additional power that is needed to power the hard drive. The phone itself does not offer enough power to the hard drive to work through the USB host cable.

The Z can also wirelessly share the device content to an HD display, although you need a compatible Sony display to do this. I should comment here that I do not know if other brands of TV’s will support the wireless display function or whether updates etc. will allow for this.

For the masses you will be looking at a more traditional cable solution to connect to an HD display. You need the MHL adapter that the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note used (available here). This is also the same adapter that the Xperia T used.

A downside to this device for something so new and cutting edge is the lack of support for microSDXC memory cards. You are limited to 32GB memory card. 64GB memory cards are supported in the Z but have to be formatted in the phone to work. Pair this with the 16GB internal (approx. 12.5GB user accessible) and this is enough for most.

imageSomething Sony have not shouted about is the fact that this is a PlayStation Certified smartphone, so the gamers out there will be able to play some of their favourite titles available on the PlayStation Network, which should be pretty good on the 5” display. Using a USB host you can connect a PlayStation controller if you so choose, or the more enthusiastic users will connect the Z to a display and use a Bluetooth controller for gaming.

You can see an in depth video on connectivity options of the Z below:

 

Camera

13 megapixels, an Exmor RS sensor and HDR for video in 1080p all sound very impressive but what were the results of this and the 2.2 megapixel front facing camera?

While my photography knowledge is not as great as it could be, I know how important the colour balance, brightness and sharpness for different people can be and I now have a reasonable level of experience having taken sample photos on 20-30 handsets over the last year or so.

However, you can make your own judgements on the Xperia Z camera based on the images we uploaded HERE.

  

The camera software on our device was buggy, it crashed a few times on me, so the image and video results are perhaps not reflective of the final device.

I generally like Sony cameras and the colours they produce. Some images were very rich and reflective of the scene that I was actually capturing whilst others were darker and over-saturated in areas, making a dark scene even darker than it was in reality. Bright sunshine also seemed to cause a bit of an issue with the colours.

The Superior Auto mode will definitely be a winner for the average Z owner, but I did notice at times that, due to light and colours, it was not detecting what I felt were the best scene modes for what I was trying to capture. In Superior Auto mode it also took images at 12 megapixels only.

To capture in full 13 megapixel glory, you need to use normal mode which worked pretty well and gave a much better scope for tweaking the images and achieving greater results for those that are a little more particular about the final product.

You can use the volume keys as zoom controls on the camera, but to be honest unless absolutely necessary avoid it. The images are awful when zoom comes into play.

HD footage was good and there was a noticeable difference with HDR; the whole image looked richer but there were issues with the image stabilisation and focus at times. There was slight lag and a lack of smoothness in some of the footage reordered; I am inclined to believe this will be resolved come launch. Video sample HERE.

There are plenty of camera controls and effects that can be used for those who want them.

The front facing camera also produced reasonably good results and is perfectly adequate for day to day use.

The lack of a dedicated camera button is a negative so it is all on-screen tapping to take pictures, unless voice gestures come in an update, Sony?! (I like this feature on the S3).

For those who want a camera shortcut from the lock screen, as with Jelly Bean 4.2, this is available unless you have a PIN/pattern security lock active.

Battery

STAMINA mode is a big selling point for the Xperia Z in that it can extend the battery life by up to four times according to Sony. As you switch the screen off, it can turn features like WiFi off as the reality is that if your screen is off you are often not using the feature. There is to be a manual override for this, enabling you to switch the STAMINA mode on or off altogether or indeed if on, deciding which functions it shuts down.

In principle I like the idea, extending the battery life is important, but I am not convinced that users will necessarily take the time to make it work best for them. For example, sometimes you may want it to shut WiFi off and other times you may want Bluetooth off, I am not sure how it will handle different routines. It is ok if every time you turn the screen off, you want everything off; I guess time and further testing will tell, but for those that are willing to take the time to configure STAMINA, learning to use apps such as Tasker or Llama may be a more rewarding option in the long run.

We didn’t have the device long enough to test this feature properly so can not report on whether it does what is says, four times seems remarkable so even if in reality it only doubled your battery life, that is still a massive bonus.

In the time we had the device we were using it extensively and the usage was not normal thus it is difficult to comment with precise figures and performance, but what I can say here is that I neither noticed dramatic decrease nor increase in the battery life/usage time.

Roughly speaking it lasted from 10am to 6pm without a need for a charge whilst we were testing.

The observant individuals noticed in a video that the Sony was dropping % on the battery quicker than an S3. However as and when the latest updates are applied to the software, it is likely this will compete much more closely with the Samsung Galaxy S3 which has seen improved battery performance through software updates.

Software

So out of the box, the Z will be running Android 4.1, but will get an update to Android 4.2 shortly after launch.

I found the performance to be up to par with comparable devices and didn’t really notice any lag or issues with the software in general.

You get all the usual Google apps including Gmail, Maps, Navigation, Google + etc but you do then too get the added apps from Sony.

Being Android there is the Google Play Store, so downloading all your favourite apps and backing up/restoring apps is simple and there is not excuse not to expand the scope and functionality of the Z.

As far as general everyday usage goes – everything performed fine, from accessing emails to making a phone call. The experience is pretty standard so to speak. Of course there is the odd Sony styling and customisation here and there which you will either love or hate, but nothing out of the ordinary.

One small enhancement that I found particularly noticeable was homescreen management.  You are able to add and remove home screens on the Z with much more ease as well as actually selecting which should be the main homescreen.

There is also the option of little pop up windows called Small Apps that sit above the screen you are on and give you additional functionality. For example, a calculator, sound recorder or notes app can be moved around and re-sized on the screen and makes for fast and efficient access. I can see for example you may have some figures on screen in an email and you open the calculator to sit on top of the screen whilst still being able to see the figures in that email. A nice touch that is not that dissimilar to Samsung’s Multi View.

The Smart Apps currently include Polaris Office, Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited, Sony Car, Xperia Link and Smart Connect.

Music Unlimted is a great app, albeit subscription based, (usually a trial period available), that is an alternative to Spotify. You pay a monthly subscription to access the content and this can be downloaded for offline playback. There is a huge music database thanks to Sony’s record label and in fact heavily underrated as a competitor to Spotify or iTunes. It is available on any Android device; just download the app from Play Store. Video Unlimited goes along the same lines.

Sony Car is a mode with bigger and simpler to use icons for use when in a vehicle. It makes those things you might want to do whilst in a car much easier.

Xperia Link assists with sharing the Z’s internet connection with other mobile devices, including tablets and laptops.

The best additional app we noticed on the device was the Smart Connet which looks to be an enhancement of Sony’s Liveware Manager and a play on Motorola’s Smart Actions whereby the device will complete certain tasks based on certain conditions. For example plug in headphones and the Z will open the music player and turn off WiFi.

At a time when hardware is so similar with negligible differences, these software tweaks make the difference and most importantly enhance the user experience. With a bit of tinkering, the phone can do a lot more for you, making you more efficient and better managed.

Conclusion

One person’s opinion will always differ to another’s, most notably because what we want from a device differs.

With all things considered for me I am really attracted to the Xperia Z, but right now I wouldn’t ditch my S3 for it. The reason being that the Z doesn’t offer me enough to be worth the switch. The IP rating is a nice safety net for worse case scenarios and the design is glorious and makes the S3 look boring, but the screen size is on the limits of what I would want as a phone at this time.

However, if I was due to upgrade or looking to replace my phone it would be a VERY tough decision. Samsung has a great name and impressive devices, but the Z appears to be a new era for Sony – it’s more pleasing aesthetically and offers practically the same features.

Users of smaller devices may find the 5” screen a bit of a step up, but it could quite possibly be one you get used to based on the thickness of the device. To a Note user, the Z will seem small but the lack of S-Pen and removable battery etc will most likely be a reason to stay with the Note rather than the Z.

I hope that I have covered most things for you. Any comments or questions leave them below and I will do my best to answer.

For more information on the Xperia Z, please click HERE.

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About Jon

Constantly challenging opinions and looking for new opportunities, Jon develops the product ranges and business activities and very much strives to maintaining growth and taking Clove in to the future.

Never knowing when to stop, he spends too much time in the office! He's very organised; writes lists, reports, spreadsheets, you name it, he's on to it!! When he does relax, however, he can be found driving his pride and joy (his Range Rover Sport), walking his Dog, down the pub or at a local restaurant. He does too like the finer things in life and often lives beyond his means, only the best hotels will do.

Comments

  1. I want this phone. I think it will be a nice upgrade from my 2.5yr old iPhone 4

  2. Hi John, I found your review informative and balanced. One ‘peeve’ I have about phone reviews (and frankly, Android devices), is the mention of release of a dated OS with some kind of vague promise (that may or may not come to be) of an upgrade. I don’t know why reviewers all do this (I don’t mean to single you out), but it has just become silly, watching the variability with which upgrades actually happen, Nexus devices aside. Thanks!

    • That’s an understandable comment Terry and thanks for bringing the issue up. Obviously stating which version of Android the device currently runs is a necessary part of the review, and as you say unless the device in question is a Nexus then the regularity of any update(s) can be put into question.
      If we ever state that an upgrade is in the works then it will be because that is the official line and promise from the manufacturer. There have been occasions when manufacturer promises don’t always come to fruition but I would say for the majority of cases the update does eventually surface.
      Unfortunately software development is a tricky business and if the manufacturer has to delay the release of an update to ensure it works correctly, I’m sure you would agree that’s better than sending out broken code. Personally I think it’s better to say that an update is in the works than ignore that fact because it could be a tipping point for someone weighing up new devices

      • Thanks for your reply! Being a science-minded fellow, I’m curious if anyone has collected ‘data’ on which manufacturers tend to be the most diligent with upgrades. So far, everything I have heard is anecdotal. I’d throw in that manufacturer “official line and promise” comment in your review just to hold them accountable :-). And I sure agree that a bug free upgrade is much more desirable. It’s an interesting topic because I’ve seen people argue that there is no incentive for the manufacturer to work on producing upgrades although I disagree. I’m guessing a significant (although probably minority) of people might weight that in the purchase of a device, especially since (where I live, in Canada), most contracts are 3 years. I suppose I’m not a ‘purist’ because I find Nexus devices a bit boring and I like “skins,” and think they can be selling points. But it’s hard for me to be know about a new upgrade that I may have on a Nexus device yet have to wait for some undetermined amount of time for a non-Nexus upgrade. Thanks!

        • Terry, whilst there is no hard scientific proof that we can quote Samsung tend to be the best at providing updates, but Sony are not so far behind. Sony tend to be a bit slower but information suggests that 4.2 will be released quite quickly after launch. We find a lot of the problem comes in that manufacturers say they are bringing an update but many are not prepared to wait and do not really consider the time and resource required to provide the update. Any manufacturer doesn’t really benefit from rolling out updates other than providing consumer satisfaction and to do that they need to do the update right, which inevitably takes time.

          • Thanks for your input! I would have said that about Samsung (maybe only based on knowing that Jelly Bean had come to the S3) but not Sony (but only b/c I’ve read others complaining about them, and maybe because I have observed that they had a fair amount of phones last year that were still on Gingerbread). So you input is helpful for me. Appreciate your response.

            Terry

  3. Do you have any details on whether the ZL will also be availale in the UK?

  4. Dennis Dixon says:

    This was a really comprehensive review but has made the decision about my next upgrade that much harder. I’ve had my heart set on the Galaxy Note 2, but now I’m not so sure. As most of these smart phones come with a 2 year contract now, which would you say would be the most durable? My HTC Desire HD is a great phone but the speaker no longer works and the volume button came off. Would the Samsung or Sony fare better after 2 years?
    Dennis.

    • Wow, tough question there Dennis. Both Samsung and Sony make really high quality devices and we see a very low return rate from both manufacturers for any kind of issue inside of warranty.
      On paper at least I would say that the Xperia Z would be the better option due to IP55 & IP57 ratings. The added durability against drops, water damage etc means that you would be far less likely to damage the phone in any way – and of course this kind of damage would be outside of warranty.
      If this doesn’t concern you as much as the possibility of a manufacturing defect to be fixed under warranty then as I said before both have a very good record.
      The other thing to consider then is the personal difference with the phones. The Note 2 is larger and has the included stylus and handwriting recognition which might be something to sway you.
      If you have any further questions then feel free to send an email to sales@clove.co.uk and one of our advisers can help further

  5. Great review!! Can you post some images of the XZ’s phone’s screen taken in side angle? I would like this display to be compared with the HTC droid dna and iphone 5 in terms of viewing angles… Thats the only thing that bothers everyone

    • Sorry we do not have these images available.

    • No sorry, viewing angles don’t bother everyone. In fact most don’t notice it. That’s why Sony sells more phones than htc for example. If viewing angles were that inportant, HTC wouldn’t be struggling as they are. Would they?

  6. i was looking at the spec sheet for the Zl on the snowmobile.com site and saw that it supported 64gb memory card. do you think this is a typo on sony’s part or do you think they have some reason to limit the Z to 32 while allowing the Zl to support up to 64gb memory card

    • We would be surprised if a typo. Comments suggest formatting the 64GB card in the Z may make it work but we have been unable to test this.

  7. Hi what is the external speakers volume like in comparison to the galaxy s3.
    Great review by the way,very in depth

  8. Bill Hayes says:

    One important question that is rarely covered by smartphone reviews.

    Can I use it to watch movies in the shower?

  9. since 1080p screen are still fairly new to the market how did the xperia z screen fare against other 1080p screens like the oppo find 5 or the htc droid dna (htc butterfly)

  10. Hi, great detailed review thanks.

    Just a couple of questions:

    I have pre-ordered it, but am just wondering if I should get it or not.

    I currently have an S2, I’m guessing it will be a good step up.

    But should I wait for the S4?

    Also are you able to take pictures with the phone under water?

    I think the fact it is waterproof is a great bonus, especially for using abroad at the beach.

    • We think it would be a good step up from the S2, all be it a bit bigger.

      The S4 will no doubt be good, but until that is announced who knows for sure. The quality of materials on the Z is likely to be better unless Samsung change their design ethos around the materials etc.

      You can essentially take the phone to a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes if you chose. Taking pictures in theory is possible but we found on our review device the touchscreen isn’t particularly responsive under water due to the pressures.

  11. Hey Clove.
    I must first thank you for the amazing review. Its by far the best and the most detailed review I have come across. And I have read a lot!

    I am currently using the iphone4. Though its now outdated technology but I don’t see much sense in upgrading to the iphone5. I do feel the need to change my phone nonetheless.

    Would you recommend giving up ios and shifting to Xperia Z. Samsung is out of question. I am not a big fan of plastics (Sorry, i do note that you use one. No offences, but it does not seem like my type).

    And how do you rate Xperia Z with the iphone in terms of the chances of breaking the glass and also the fact that there are no finger marks on my phone which I have been using for the past 2 years!

    Waiting to hear from you.

    Cheers
    Aman

    • The biggest issue here is jumping operating systems and whether you are ready for this. It can be quite a change for some, it is a very different way of doing things.

      The Xperia Z is less likely to break I think although we carried out no drop tests to really make comparison.

      We found the Z to be a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

  12. Mustafa Ziraba says:

    Hello Jon,

    Incredible review. You didn’t mention anything about Google Now. Is that exclusive to Nexus devices? Additionally the Nexus 4 and the Z, which device exudes a more premium stance in your opinion. Thanks

    Regards

    • No Google Now is not exclusive. Both are very similar in terms of quality. The Z probably looks better but the Nexus feels better. The Nexus 4 is very good value for money. It depends whether you take into account device features rather than just look for classification of premium.

  13. 64gb microSD works without any problems
    you just need to format the card in the phone, other than that great review

    • Danny, have you any evidence to confirm this?

      • I could agree with Danny on this one. It may not be officially supported but it should be.

        Having the knowledge of the inner workings of the microSDXC it’s basically the same microSDHC technology but just utilizes the exfat filesystem to expand it’s capacity.

        Hardware wise they are practically the same what they did was expanded the software limits of the driver to support the capacity of the exfat filesystem and it’s allocation size table and introduced a new enhancement which can surpass class 10 speeds of course in accordance with exfat specifications also.

        To summarize it all MicroSDXC is the same as MicroSDHC but with a new driver to support all the features of exfat filesystem and has expanded capacity.

        And yeah if the users format the MicroSDXC to fat32 it will be like any MicroSDHC card capped on Class 10 speeds with just an expanded storage.

  14. Hello John a question about the performance of the phone
    1) Is there any FRAMEDROP or STUTTERING when moving around the UI especialliy when OPENING and CLOSING APPS if you could can you close and open google maps and tell me if it lag?
    Being extremely OCD about android lagg i have return and sold various device such as the tab 10.1, NOTE 1, and the nexus 10 because the lagginess and stuttering when opening apps drove me CRAZY.

    Now pardon me if im sound rude but can your eyes notice the difference between 30 fps and 60fps? I think a lot of people claiming that their device has no LAG simply cannot TELL what LAG even is and their eyes are untrained therefore wrongfully stating that their device is “smooth” all the time.

    • Minh,

      I have no evidence to say whether or not my eyes can tell the difference between 30fps and 60fps. I would like think so.

      I didn’t notice any lag that would give me reason to question the performance of this device, but I am not that particular.

      If you returned devices like the Note and the Nexus 10 which are top end devices simply because you were not happy with them as you felt they lagged, whilst I have not made comparison between these two, I would be in the mindset of thinking are you actually ever going to find something that is truly suitable for yourself? What do you currently use? Does this have the apparent lag?

  15. i really liked xperia z while i wanted to knw the rough cost of it.! And by what month it would be launched ? ????

  16. TBH im using a windows phone atm and the only thing that i really bother me is the the transition animation of android.
    For example when opening an app on the N10 70% of the time it would be perfectly “buttery” smooth but then the other 30 would experience a hiccup or stutter when i open maps, browser, play store or whatever.

    I really could care less how the phone perform INSIDE of an app, but i put a great deal of emphasis on the TRANSITION animation smoothness. So could you tell me if possible whether or not the phone is smooth all the time when opening or closing an app. Try opening a variety and see if there is any hiccup. Thats the only thing thats preventing me from buying the phone tbh, because i dont know whether or not the s4 pro is able to keep up with such a high res.

    • Minh, we do not have the handset at the moment to test this. We advise you take a look at the videos we have recorded and decide what you think, however the performance on the final production models due in March may be slightly different.

      When reviewing this we did not focus attention on this particular aspect.

  17. Vikash Yadav says:

    I love Xperia , Sony Xperia Z is better than iPhone5

  18. Correction, The Xperia Z has an Exmor RS camera sensor. I would love to see a comparison between the Exmor R sensor in the Xperia T and the RS sensor in the Z.

  19. Thanks for review. i only would like a large screen phone, so I can video Skype with my family from whom I live far away. Tried the S3 and returned it because the other side would not hear me or broken, while Sony xperia Ray did it perfectly in the past. This would make me believe that Sony phones catch even a weak wifi on my side better than Samsung. Returned the S3, and reluctant to try the great screen but too large Note2 from same Samsung. Any comments from you or anyone on Skype abilities among different brands_ iPhone, Samsung, Sony or others?

  20. Hi will the xperia z allow you to make a standard video call not from an app, like that on the samsung s2.
    i.e go into phone select contact/number coice of voice call or video call to that person. Thanks Tony.

    • We didnt actually test this but yes that should be the idea

    • Hi Tony / Clove,
      Did you figure out how to make a video call directly and not from an app in the xperia Z?
      If Yes please let me know how to do it as I face the same issue too.

      • Having had a look through the device I cannot see an option for direct video calling so I think you may currently need a 3rd party app to use the feature.
        If anyone is able to find a method from the stock software then please comment below

  21. Hi
    I pre-ordered this phone a while back and would like to know if im eligible for the free speaker.
    thank you!

  22. is there a way to be exempted on tax?

  23. Здравствуйте скажите пожалуйста будет ли Русский язык в интерфейсе телефона Sony Xperia Z. купленный на вашем интернет сайте Спасибо

  24. Hi, Thanks for the review very detailed and unbiased. Is the Feb 28 ship date in the listing confirmed?

  25. Great review – well balanced and lots of details. Thanks. :-)

  26. Jon

    Thank you for the excellent review. Not much said though about the Xperia Z’s performance as a telephone.

    Are you able to say anything about this? For example call quality both outgoing and incoming, signal strength, the ability of the device to hang on to a signal, dropped calls…?

    • Hi Chris, we only had the pre-production unit for a couple of days to review so it was difficult to assess every area of performance.
      From what we saw of the handset we had, phone performance was on a par with most other devices, especially given that the Clove offices are in a bit of a dead spot for signal. We didn’t experience any dropped calls.

  27. Hi I am thinking of getting the xperia z but am concerned about the glass screen material. I have read that the xperia z might use mineral glass with a pre applied plastic protector instead of Gorilla glass is it as good or is sony cost cutting.

    • It does use mineral glass with a screen protector. The product they use is thought to be Dragontail which is reportedly 6x stronger. Whatever they use it is at least equivalent to Gorilla glass according to Sony.

  28. Henrick Rawlins says:

    Brother. Great review but I would not ditch my S3 either.

  29. Hi Jon!

    Thank you for your review! I am very excited about the experia z, and are planning to swich it for my iphone 4. I have killed three iphones in four years and are looking for a sturdy phone that could last and work efficiantly for several years. It looks like xperia could do that. Do you agree?

    One review I read, though, said the call quality was mediocre. What is your opinion?

    • Katrine,

      Glad you likes the review and pleasing to hear you are looking to make the switch. I can only say time will tell if the Z is more sturdy, but on paper and initial impressions (without drop tests) would lead me to believe so.

      Call quality was fine for me. Not sure what exactly someone can find mediocre about the phone other than the speaker volume. No manufacturer seems to compare to Nokia for call quality but certainly would suggest that the was comparable to most other smartphones I have used.

  30. hello..
    i just want to when will it release in india and what will be the cost in indian rupees ?
    and what are the prosedure for the pre order and its offer.?

    • The cost in £ delivered to India is £465 including DHL shipping. Based on today’s exchange rate in Indian Rupees, this is approximately 38,966.

      Place an order on our website and you will be charged for the product today and we will dispatch it on the 28th February.

      • That means she doesn´t pay VAT? Would the same be if you sent it to Norway?

        Have never ordered a phone from abroad before and are curious weather there would be any disadvantages/problems to use an “english” phone in Norway compared to ordering a phone in my own county?

        • Katrine,

          Norway is exempt from VAT so you would not have to pay it. You would pay £435 for the phone + shipping. There should be no issues or disadvantages in ordering a phone from the UK.

  31. Do you have the purple color?
    and what does it cost including the shipping out of the EU?

  32. do you know if the screen has an oleophobic coating on it the xT did not and it made it very hard to clean

  33. Could you please confirm that headphones MH-EX300AP are included into box contents of Sony Xperia Z? Thank you.

  34. Hi, I pre-ordered the xperia z like a couple of weeks ago and i was wondering when does it ship or has it shipped already? And if you know how long it would take for the phone to get to California?

    • Hello Alex, if your order has shipped then you should have received an automated confirmation email containing the tracking number for your shipment.
      If you cannot find this email then please send a request to sales@clove.co.uk with your order reference number and a member of the team will investigate for you

    • Alex,

      Backorders have now shipped. You should have received a dispatch notification. If you selected DHL then it should take 2-3 days to get to you in California.

      • Yeah i can’t log into my for some reason :( but yes i did select the DHL shipping but thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it!

  35. Is Sony Xperia Z available in bahrain stores?

  36. Can the XZ broadcast music over a radio frequency, by itself, or through an app?

    • We haven’t come across such an app or features. There are FM transmitters you can plug into the headphone jack but these are not built into the phone.

  37. Yes

  38. Can you tell me what connection lead i need to connect the experia Z to my car stereo so i can listen to my music? Thanks.

    • Chaz, it depends on your car stereo what input it accepts. Most modern cars has a 3.5mm connection. Thus a 3.5mm-3.5mm cable will do the job.

  39. hi clove, i still have a doubt. Which memory card do Sony Xperia Z support? micro SD or mini SD?

  40. I have the HTC and the Z. There are many factors that impact phone sales. I find no contest of the Z with the HTC One X or DNA screens. The latter are much more vibrant without being (in my opinion) over saturated like the S3. The Sony does have terrible viewing angles, but I agree that this in itself is not a huge issue. But the screen does appear washed out, at any angle. It’s just not really pleasing to look at.

  41. Hi Clove, nice review. I bought the Xperia Z for my wife who is partial to the Sony brand (I myself prefer Samsung)…the Xperia Z exhibits some strange behaviour….it came with a free case from Sony and whenever a call is answered while it’s in the case the phone simply stops responding and the screen goes blank..I need to pull it out of it’s case and then it starts responding…I wonder if it has some sensor which is blocked by the case…would appreciate any feedback. Another thing that happened was that suddenly the other party couldn’t hear my voice whilei could hear them clearly. A reboot fixed it though…no idea why it happened.
    Also the phone doesn’t seem to multitask as well as my Samsung Note 2.

    • Sounds like it could be something to do with the proximity sensor. Is it a pouch case?

      • Thanks for your reply…that’s what i thought too….no it’s not a pouch case but a flip cover with an additional template inside with cut outs in the shape of the phone , to keep relevant parts visible. I was trying to figure out if there was some way to disable the proximity sensor but couldn’t . Right now my wife is using it minus the case …but it seems a shame to do so when a case is available :-) . I also noticed a tiny little sticker (looks like “N” ) at the centre of the back of the phone…any idea what this does ?

      • Hi Jon,

        Just to let you know the problem seems to be solved (atleast for now)…the phone came with a protective plastic sticker on the screen which had come loose near the light sensor, I think this was causing the problem…what i did was i removed the entire plastic film and then promptly applied the scratch guard on it. So far so good .My package included two scratch guards…one for the front of the phone and one for the back…..I applied both…I removed the little NFC sticker at the back before applying the scratch guard .Now it works perfectly both in and out of the flipcover. Oh yes I updated the firmware too a couple of days ago…a pity Sony hasn’t enabled an OTA update yet…still need to use the computer for it.

  42. Hey! Ive finally gotten into my e-mail account and it took about a month because I didnt know the security question. But anyways, Ive got an e-mail from you guys on the same day I purchased the xperia z which was on Feb 15, and it said that I need to do a security procedure in order for it to ship but it has been a month now and I was wondering if its too late to get it? :(

  43. watnabe says:

    sony disappoints me next day itself issue is….
    4.1.2
    ~No video calling
    ~No Restart icon
    ~Heating within 5min of talk
    ~Crop every background picture
    ~No default flash light widget
    ~Cant play full screen game(Bottom controller)
    ~Sudden death will turn ON/OFF wifi or BT
    ~Select models for select country c6602&c6603
    ~Finger prints
    ~Notification light
    But
    Good
    ~performance
    ~Battery
    ~Water resistant
    ~Style
    The thing that sony has to do is perfect OS for perfect phone praying 4.2.2 should solve all the problems. Hardware wise good but software wise bad “Developers spoiling the name of sony”
    conveying F#$k N*%b A$0les M-F!~kr$ for the Developer Bitches 4.1.2

  44. hello sony …. its very sad to know that even spending lots of money on xperia z ….there are no features to make video calls and also file sharing over wifi direct ..will ther be any updates to avail these features any further.
    do reply .

    • Hi Rohit, we cannot comment on whether Sony will unlock these features in future firmware as we do not know.
      They are available as part of Android so it is up to Sony to allow or disallow them as they see fit

  45. Hi,I put my Xperia Z into the water,after taking out,it was fine.Great,but i tried to play music,the sound was disappointing,damn soft even I have adjust the volume to the Max point,how to fix this issue? Already few days~

    Thanks~

    • Chris Ward says:

      Hi Chinjh,

      Do you think that the sound is soft as a result of putting the handset in water or has it been like that since day one? It may be that the speaker is faulty, in which case it would probably need to be returned to Sony.

      • Hi Chris Ward,

        Thanks for your replied,the sound so soft and sometime like rough sound after taking out from the water.When I bought the device,the sound was awesome,not like this. I have compared with my friend xperia z,his device didn’t touch water for few weeks,his sound was awesome.(SAME LIKE BEFORE I PUT INTO WATER)

        • I had this problem after submerging it and I have seen others post about it in various places. But it cleared up within a day. If it persists longer than several days, I wouldn’t consider that normal.

        • Chris Ward says:

          OK in that case it sounds as though it is water damaged unfortunately. If it is a known problem Sony should be repairing it under warranty.

Trackbacks

  1. […] to the Note II’s 267. Both handsets have protective glass, although as we point out in our Xperia Z review, Sony does not specify which type of glass it uses, whereas the Note II has Corning Gorilla Glass […]

  2. […] We demonstrate the Sony Xperia Z being dropped in water, to test it’s IP rating. You may also be interested to read our Sony Xperia Z review. […]

  3. […] A video showing the Sony Xperia Z connected to a HDTV using a Samsung MHL HDTV adapter. You may also be interested to read our Sony Xperia Z review. […]

  4. […] great pre-release content released for the Xperia Z, with Clove having published a very positive early review. The review covers all aspects of the device and looks briefly at the STAMINA mode included for […]