Sony Xperia ZL Android 4.2.2

Several subtle but noticeable changes create an overall improved experience

In case you missed it, Sony started pushing out an Android 4.2.2 update to its Xperia ZL (and now Xperia Z) handsets, including the unlocked LTE model available in the U.S. market. We have loaded up the update on our own ZL, and wanted to give a quick look at everything that has changed both user-facing and under the hood.

Hang with us after the break where we break down the changes that come with an update to Android 4.2.2 on the Sony Xperia ZL, one of the few devices currently available with the software.

If you'll recall back to our original Xperia ZL review, we found Sony's changes to Android 4.1 to be small and coherent -- with most differences being purely stylistic. The same can be said now with the bump to 4.2, where Sony has just made some basic changes to integrate new features with little shake-up in usability. The biggest user-facing changes come by way of lock screen widgets, an improved launcher and customizable notification toggles. The former acts exactly the same as it would on a Nexus, with a swipe from the right taking you into the camera, and a swipe from the left revealing blank spaces to add and customize widgets.

Once you unlock, the launcher has received a facelift with now semi-transparent status and navigation bars (which were previously black), along with new shadowing when interacting with folders. There are new animations and layouts for adding/removing widgets and pages in the launcher as well. The multitasking interface has also been changed up, with larger app previews and an improved interface for adding quick launch apps to the multitasking view. Notification toggles are now customizable rather than static, and can be changed to include one of 15 different buttons from Wifi and Mobile Data to Auto Rotate and NFC.

On the inside, Sony has added support on the ZL for 64GB SDcards but has opted to stick with its original camera app and features. Under the Display settings you'll also find the lesser-used Daydream feature, which Sony has modified to show either photos from your gallery or a dynamic page of colors. You can of course download and install extra Daydream extensions to expand its capabilities.

Overall we have to commend Sony for taking the time to work on and push out an update that is in the grand scheme of things not a big deal to most people because of the limited feature set. The features that have been included are important ones -- as are the visual improvements to Sony's own software -- and it certainly gives consumers a bit of hope that Sony will continue with the upgrade cycle on subsequent releases of Android and new devices.

If you have yet to pick up the update on your own Xperia ZL via an OTA, you can always download it with the Sony PC Companion (or Sony Bridge For Mac) software.