Xperia Z1

After three months and a succession of software updates, what do we really think of Sony’s Xperia Z1?

The past year has been a pivotal one for Sony Mobile. After meandering through 2012 with a less than memorable product lineup, Sony introduced some of its strongest devices in 2013, along with a revamped design language. Among these was the company’s most impressive phone to date, the Xperia Z1, announced at the IFA conference in Berlin September and released shortly afterwards. The Z1 wasn’t a revolutionary change compared to the Xperia Z, Sony’s early-2013 standard-bearer, but it finally nailed a few important areas of the smartphone experience — specifically performance, battery life and camera.

I’ve been using the Z1 regularly over the past three months, and I’ve found that over the course of three successive software updates it’s become an even better phone than it was at launch. That said, some bugbears remain, and unfortunately many of them are longstanding issues common to Sony’s Xperia lineup.

Join us after the break for our long-term thoughts on the Sony Xperia Z1.

Xperia Z1

An unashamedly large phone

The Xperia Z1 is a great big slab of a phone.

Let’s get this out of the way — the Xperia Z1 is still sort of a brick. It’s a gigantic, blocky phone that’s as heavy as you’d expect given its glass and metal construction. It’s also got enormous bezels around its already sizeable 5-inch display. And the chunky, angular design does nothing for its ergonomics. But this is the design language Sony has settled on, and after four iterations of this design it seems it’s here to stay. That’s not to say the Z1 is horrible to hold and use — it’s certainly an improvement over its predecessor — but it takes some getting used to, especially if you’re coming from a smaller phone.

The pint-sized Xperia Z1 Compact solves these issues by downsizing to a 4.3-inch display while keeping the bigger version’s high-end internals — so at least there’s an alternative out there for those who find the full-size Z1 too unwieldy.

On the other hand, the Z1’s heft makes it feels substantial, unlike some lighter plastic phones we could mention. And that extra space also allows Sony to pack in an ample 3,000mAh battery, giving the phone enviable longevity.

Xperia Z1

New hardware, old problems

Sony's plasticky fixed screen protectors can be maddening.

We’d be remiss in not mentioning the couple of frustrating issues typical of Sony phones that continue to affect the Z1. First up are the slightly maddening fixed screen protectors used on all Xperia phones. Sony’s gotten better at making these less conspicuous in recent years, but the fact remains that with a plastic sheet covering both sides, you’ve got a glass-fronted, glass-backed phone that feels like plastic. What’s more, you can feel the rough edges of this film if you run your finger along the edge of the display. And the plastic coverings scratch more easily than the reinforced glass used in many smartphones. And they seem to impact touch sensitivity, too. The user experience is just worse all-round because of their presence.

You've got a glass-clad phone that feels like plastic.

(As an aside: you can remove the fixed screen protectors — though we don’t recommend this, and neither does Sony. You’ll lose the various bits of branding on the front and back — these are printed on the plastic, not the glass — and the oleophobic layer is applied to the screen protectors too, so the bare glass below will very easily get gunked up.)

So why does Sony continue to fit these screen protectors? At the CES 2014 show the company told us it’s intended as a shatterproof layer to keep everything intact in case of screen breakage — which is a nice idea. But if your screen breaks, your device is basically dead anyway. Compromising such a crucial part of the phone’s in-hand feel for slightly less catastrophic breakage just doesn’t seem like a worthwhile trade-off.

Xperia Z1Xperia Z1

Then there’s the fact that Sony just isn't great at smartphone displays. The Z1’s 1080p screen, with its lofty “Triluminos” monicker, looks pretty good when viewed straight-on. But drift even slightly to the left or right and things very quickly become washed-out. Though improved from Xperias Z, T and S, the Z1’s display still has pretty bad viewing angles.

It's bizarre that in 2014 Sony is still struggling with viewing angles.

Things show signs of improving with the Z1 Compact, which uses a considerably nicer-looking IPS panel — but it’s just bizarre that Sony, with its long history in televisions and other displays, has taken this long to get smartphone screens right.

Elsewhere Sony’s still using plastic flaps to protect all its various ports — a necessity for a waterproof smartphone. Thankfully unlike the Z, the Z1’s headphones jack isn’t behind a plastic door, removing one regular annoyance. The microUSB connector is still behind one of these sealed ports, but as an alternative you can use the Z1’s magnetic charging port with the official Sony charging dock, which works great. It’s probably as close as we’re going to get to having a waterproof smartphone without any real compromises.

(And on the subject of ports, it is indeed possible for them to come detached if they're open and being moved around in a bag or pocket, as I discovered while tethering in a CES press conference. Reinserting them is simple enough, if you're able to track down the tiny, loose piece of plastic. If not, replacements are readily available on eBay, and they're really easy to re-fit.)

I’ve dedicated a lot of words to nitpicking here, so let’s wrap up by saying that neither the plastic screen protectors nor the display are deal-breakingly bad. But they’re distinct areas of weakness that Sony could very easily avoid.

Xperia Z1

An updated and improved Z1

In our original review of the Xperia Z1 we highlighted a pretty nasty software bug that we ran into not once but twice during our testing. On forums this has become known as the “black screen of death” or “sleep of death,” and apparently it’s affected a number of Xperia devices in recent years. It goes something like this — after going to sleep the phone’s display will fail to power on again, permanently. A hard reset fixes the problem, but we had to perform a factory reset to get up and running again. (A nasty bug to have slipped through the net, but hey, we’ve seen worse.) Fortunately the first firmware update for the Z1 fixed this issue, and brought improvements to the Z1’s camera and battery performance too.

The first update for the Z1 fixed a bunch of issues, while improving the camera and battery life.

Back in September we found that the Z1’s camera was great at times but unreliable on occasion — autofocus could be janky, and the camera had a tendency to keep the shutter open for way too long in low-light scenes, leading to motion-blurred shots. The first (October) software update for the Z1 fixed both issues, and as we’ll discuss a little later, the Xperia Z1 now comfortably ranks among the best Android cameraphones out there.

Camera app

Onto battery performance, and on the original firmware we got a respectable 11 or so hours of mixed heavy use out of the Z1 before reaching the low battery warning level. Subsequent firmware updates have improved the Z1’s battery life significantly, and on the current Android 4.3-based ROM it’s not just good but really great. Using the Z1 on 4G LTE at CES 2014 — a punishing gauntlet for smartphone batteries — I never had to worry about a mid-day charge, even without using the Z1’s “stamina mode,” which cuts down background data when the screen is off.

Elsewhere, the phone is just a bit snappier on Android 4.3 than 4.2. And Sony has continued to add more features through app updates and new stuff on the Google Play Store, such as system-wide themes and new camera shooting modes.

Sony’s Xperia UI might not be as easy on the eyes as stock Android 4.4 or HTC Sense, but at least it’s well-designed, inoffensive and fast. I'm not the biggest user of Sony's content ecosystem, which comes preloaded on the Z1, but I've found other software features like the wide array of power management settings to be useful, as I have the fine control Sony's audio options gives you over music playback. And yes, Sony's X-Reality image enhancer might blow out colors a little and make everything look bright and shiny, but there's no denying it also makes photos captured by the Z1 look considerably better on its display.

One of the best Android phone cameras

Considered as a whole, the Z1’s camera performs admirably.

With the initial camera gripes fixed through software updates, I’ve found the Xperia Z1 to be one of the best Android cameraphones out there. It isn’t perfect in all situations — Sony’s camera app still likes to over-process things a little, and it’s clear that OIS (optical image stabilization) would greatly benefit things by allowing the shutter to remain open longer (and ISO to be reduced) in night shots. But considered as a whole, the Z1’s camera performs admirably — and crucially, both startup and shutter lag are effectively nonexistent.

The camera is a 20.7-megapixel unit behind a Sony G lens, which might seem like overkill for a smartphone, but the Z1 takes 8-megapixel shots by default, so there’s a good amount of oversampling going on. This gives you clearer shots fully zoomed out, while also allowing you to zoom in on a particular area without getting a blurry mess. (Look out for a few of these in the sample gallery.)

Camera

Sony’s camera app is designed for tinkerers and fast snappers alike. The Superior Auto setting — the default when jumping into the app via a shortcut key — will usually do a good job of working out what type of scene you’re shooting and switching scene modes accordingly. But there’s a smorgasbord of settings to tweak and tinker with if you jump into manual mode, and that’s before you even get to the Sony’s array of plugin apps, such as Timeshift Burst and Sweep Panorama.

And I’ve found the dedicated camera key to be useful, too — though mainly as a shortcut to the camera app rather than a replacement for the on-screen shutter key.

Here’s a quick selection of a couple dozen shots from the Z1 taken over the past couple of months. Not every image turns out this good, and often you have to take a few exposures to get one really great shot. But it's clear that this thing’s ceiling for image quality is impressively high.

Release cycles

Xperia buyers at the high end often have only six months or so before their phone is obsoleted.

Right now the Xperia Z1 is a little over four months old, and we’re already looking at the prospect of an Xperia Z2 launching at Mobile World Congress in February. See, Sony likes to release two flagships per year, which leaves consumers buying the company’s phones, often on multi-year contracts, in a difficult situation. That means Xperia buyers at the high end often have only six months or so before their phone is obsoleted, a dilemma they don’t have to deal with if they’re buying from Sony’s competitors, who typically operate on a yearly cycle.

Xperia family

Sure, the Xperia Z1 will be just as good when the Z2 comes along, but it’ll also slip down a place on Sony’s update priority list, a fate which has already befallen the barely year-old Xperia Z. Then there’s the fact that Sony is already being outpaced by the likes of HTC, Samsung and Motorola when it comes to Android OS updates. (Sony still has no specific timeframe for bringing the Z1 up to KitKat.)

There’s no perfect solution to this problem — clearly Sony thinks more phones are better than fewer, and if it aligns its phone releases to the availability of fancy new internal hardware, then that’s a competitive advantage. But it leaves owners of existing Xperias in a challenging situation when it comes time for the half-yearly refresh.

Xperia family

Sony’s best phone yet — but there’s still room for improvement

The Xperia Z1’s strengths perfectly mirror the Nexus 5’s weaknesses

The Xperia Z1 is Sony’s best phone yet, and still one of the better Android phones available today. Jumping between it and the Nexus 5 in recent months has been a curious experience, because as it turns out the Z1’s strengths perfectly mirror the Nexus’s weaknesses. It delivers fantastic battery life and a really great camera experience, two areas where the N5 has failed to impress. And with an attractive design and speedy hardware, it’s still worth your cash, even with its funky screen and plasticky-feeling glass.

The question of whether to buy a Z1 now is a little tricky, given that we’re probably around a month away from the launch of Sony’s next flagship phone. It’s possible to pick one up SIM-free for a little over £400, which is a good deal less than you’ll pay for whatever’s next. But if you’re buying on contract, you may want to wait the extra month and get the upgraded hardware. Similarly, if the Z1’s enormous size isn’t for you, the smaller but equally capable Z1 Compact is definitely worth a look.

Sony turned a corner in 2013 with some really great hardware.

Sony turned a corner in 2013, with some really great hardware and a foothold in the U.S. market through T-Mobile. In 2014 we'll be looking for the company to build on the strengths of the Z1 — the superb camera and excellent battery life — while cutting back on what makes it less enjoyable — the sheer bulk, subpar display and tacky, plastic screen protectors. Sony Mobile is already off to a solid start with the Z1 Compact, and there's no question that the company is in a stronger position now than it was a year ago. Nevertheless, the smartphone market is notoriously cutthroat, and new challengers from HTC and Samsung in the coming months aren't to be underestimated.

 
There are 51 comments

Excellent write up Alex.

I got the phone last week and I'm loving using this phone. The battery life and camera are stellar, which is nice coming off the Nexus 5.

Agree with the screen. When tilted, it washes out pretty drastically, but front on, it looks great. I however don't have an issue with the plastic covers on the back and front. Granted I've only had it a week and if if they start scratching up down the track then I'll have an issue.

I'm still on 4.2.2 as my carrier hasn't pushed out the 4.3 update (due next week though), so I can look forward to an even better phone next week. Good to hear it becomes even faster and has more tweaks with the 4.3 update.

But so far, it's a pretty damn spectacular Android phone. It's not perfect, no phone is, but what it does well, it does *really* well.

I also like how Android Central does the "X months on" write-ups. Phones tend to get better over time with updates, or sometimes things that may not have bugged you initially can end up infuriating you a couple of months down the track. Good to see phones being revisited.

Agree 100% with your 'Z1 strength's are the Nexus 5 weaknesses' - namely camera and battery life. Those two things were the reason why I ditched the N5 and went with the Z1. Damn glad I did too.

Alex, you're well balanced with these write ups. Been reading a lot of your reviews. You praise/criticize phones without sounding like a fanboy to any brand/phone series. Good job.

LeroyRJR says:

+1000
Excellent review

Posted via my outdated Droid RAZR Maxx HD using the Android Central App

As a fellow Z1 owner, I agree with all the points you've made!
Best all-rounder I've ever owned and it's few weaknesses aren't deal breakers for me in the slightest.

Alex Dobie says:

Thanks for the kind words :)

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Thanks Alex

Sony is about the only phones I do not have access to so it is nice to see a comprehensive review such as yours

yankeesusa says:

I loved the article. But the whole thing on the screen protector is a little too much. It's not as bad as you make it out to be. But everyone has an opinion.

Posted via Android Central App

hmmm says:

I remember my xperia play had one. I didn't mind it except it attracted finger prints easier and the smudges were harder to wipe away. I removed it and the glass underneath felt the same as any other phone I have used. I worry it is much less scratch resistant though and don't really believe them when they say it is for shatter resistance. I have never seen a phone's screen shatter out of the phone. Usually they just spider crack across the front. I personally believe it is so they can use cheap glass that doesn't have some of the scratch resistant characteristics of something like gorilla glass.

Thade780 says:

It is actually worse. I've had mine since October, it hasn't been dropped once, always kept like a jewel. Still it's so full of scratches one the back it's something absolutely ridiculous.

nyc_rock says:

I wouldn't have a problem with this phone if it wasn't so unnecessarily big. I went to my local Tmobile store to check it out and it is huge. Huge enough that you might as well jump up to the Note 3. Samsung, Motorola and LG have all shown how to get the bezels down, why Sony is still a year behind on this front is bizarre.

Maybe, with the Z2, Sony will figure out how to correct the issues that have plagued their devices for the last couple of years.

aniket96 says:

The top bezel is due to the huge camera sensor and the bottom one is just to balance things. And also, waterproof phones generally have bigger bezels(I have no idea why).

Sent from my Nexus™ 4

mtmerrick says:

Actually that's nowhere near as big as people make it out to be. I hadn't realised.

papanoongaku says:

if you want the Note3 and the cartoon XP-ish Samsung skin, then be my guest. If you want the bloated HTC skin, be my guest. if you want a near-vanilla android skin, then go with Xperia or MotoX (although now that Lenovo is getting involved, we know about the business bloat on Thinkpads)

npspears says:

I agree with Alex about the screen protectors. Go to a phone without them and you'll notice the difference. At least Sony doesn't use them in all their phones. Take the Xperia SP for example.

samxool says:

i've used both the Z and the Z1 extensively. They are both great phones! I personally think the bad viewing angles has been blown well out of proportion.

yankeesusa says:

Agreed. I had the z and loved it. I used the z1 from a friend and it wasn't bad at all. I personally didn't mind the screen protector. On the z it might be noticeably less too. By wife loves her z. Although recently she's been wanting her s3 back because she's used to Samsung. But so far she won't mind going to another xperia

Posted via Android Central App

aniket96 says:

While I agree that recent Xperia devices have viewing angle issues, Xperia S never had this issue. I had that device and viewing angles were far better than T and other 2012-13 phones (I had no screen protectors on; even removed the built-in one).

Sent from my Nexus™ 4

dat bezel...

Posted via Android Central App from Nexus 7 2013

I find it perplexing that Sony is having so much trouble with viewing angles. The picture quality on my Sony TV is fantastic regardless of the angle. Its not a small screen issue since the PSP and Vita both look great too.

Posted via Android Central App

drokssilva says:

Yeah. I don't get it.

Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

D13H4RD2L1V3 says:

Some people claimed that it's caused by the screen protector.

If that's true, Sony should really try to rectify it for their next flagship.

That said, I love the Z1, but the Z1 Compact? That's my new favorite compact Android phone (alongside the Moto G).

For some reason Sony never gave the Z or Z1 an IPS screen, which would cure the viewing-angle issue.However the new Z1 Compact will have it.Can't understand Sony's line of thinking sometimes.................

jdbii says:

Which US carriers have this phone in their line up? Was it released on T-Mobile and it's already been replaced by the Z1S, or is the Z1S the US version of this phone.

mtmerrick says:

The Z1s is T-Mobile's slightly tweaked version of this phone, and currently the only way to get a Z1 in contract in the USA

slopokdave says:

The latter is correct... It's the US version of the phone. None of the other carriers have the Z1.

baldreo says:

I am very happy nobody has the same experience than me... I bought my Xperia Z1 three months ago and just used it for 3 weeks in total...
Sent it to the service 3 times. Still I have not my phone, I am waiting for it...
Problems with the touch screen... This is frustrating!! NEVER NEVER NEVER I am going to buy another SONY....
That´s all...
Greetings from Finland..

Hargoth says:

I had an experience with the Z. A whole row of touch sensors went out in the middlw of the display. I took it to the store and they got me a new one, no problem.

However, it took two months of calling about the replacement cost on my bill before they acknowledged that they had received my old phone and removed the charges.

I do really like my new Z1s, and the Z1 magnetic dock chargers fit! You can get one for as low as $18.00. So no more playing with the port covers. :)

speculatrix says:

I got a pair of charging cables with the magnetic connectors for about GBP 7 (about USD 10) including delivery off ebay; I use one in the car with a universal small tablet dock, and one at work; these are ideal as they are where being able to connect and disconnect easily is important.

alexlam24 says:

Google play edition and better viewing angles would make this perfect

Posted via Android Central App

Another great article from Alex Dobie, the most underpaid writer at Android Central.

BIGPADDY says:

Great review agree with everything mention however don't think the viewing angles are that bad.

Having used the SONY XPERIA Z1 for a month it a great device and very glad I purchased the Z1 it is AWESOME!!!

paul-c says:

I'm on board with Alex about the screen protectors. It's the one thing that Sony does that I absolutely can't stand.

camera531 says:

It's the only reason I'm not getting the Z1 (compact). I'm not spending money on a high end phone that is extremely scratch prone. I'll never understand Sony's incompetence on this! An outstanding phone with such an unbelievable and AVOIDABLE flaw.

dante501 says:

I say again I loved my Z when I had it Germany. And if you get the docking station to charge it you really don't have to worry about those plastic tabs to get bad. The Z is probably one of my all time favorite Android phones.

Posted via Android Central App

John Buckley says:

Great piece and as a Z1 user the transition from iPhone to the Sony has been effortless had the phone since October 13 and Tbh I'm not bored of the phone everything the phone has to offer still amazes me. It was a great investment and a happy one to cannot fault the phone.

Love it

Posted via Android Central App

astarling10 says:

I went by the T-Mobile store and looked at the Z1s. The viewing angles didn't seem like that big of a deal to me. They had a horrid looking wallpaper (bunch of random splotches of color, mostly reds and yellows) that made stuff hard to see a little. I changed the phone to a darker wallpaper and it looked fine. The display doesn't look as good as the HTC One but not many other displays do either. The camera looked a little iffy but that may be because it was a demo unit and who knows what people have done trying it out. There were a lot of features in the camera app that would take a while to figure out at first glance. I have a Nexus 5 but I'm considering the unlocked version, C6906 to use on AT&T. Maybe I'll just wait till the reviews on the Z1 Compact and the Z2 (or whatever their next phone coming out will be named) say before buying a Sony phone.

Go Sony, go Japan

Posted via Android Central App

rency0722 says:

Seriously, when I bought my Xperia Z1 last November, I felt it wasn't enough, that I should bought G2 or Note 3 over this one... But sweetly Jesus how Sony worked on how to add up features to this phone time by time, this gets even more exciting for the coming days...

And looking into the leaked Sony Kitkat update including the 4K video, Timeshift Video (slow-mo), double tap to wake, as well as other gimmicks, I feel that my Z1 will still last long until 2015. This means I've nailed the right choice. And Sony will still be my first choice for high-end smartphones.

SirBobaFett says:

All solid points, I personally don't have an issue with the screen protectors, they still feel glassy to me. The size is large but it's not ridiculous. I love the camera, since the 4.3 update is much better in low light. I agree it has its weaknesses, but it's strengths are the things I value in a phone. Also the waterproofing is just cherry on top and has actually saved me once already.

Posted via Android Central App

xchange says:

The whole viewing angle thing has been blown WAY out of proportion by reviewers just looking for something to nitpick, making a mountain out of a molehill and then others jumped on this bandwagon rather than do their own thing. I'm a little disappointed that Alex chose to play the parrot reviewer game because it's more of a one sentence issue than something worthy of making an entire paragraph section about. He didn't even really touch on all of the clever functioning and great looking software enhancements Sony put throughout the phone much at all. Which is a shame really because the software on the Z1 was much better done than all of the other contenders this year and shows real talent and finesse. That got all of about 2-3 sentences from Alex.

"I’ve dedicated a lot of words to nitpicking here" You certainly did, and the quality of your review suffered from it.

There aren't any notable touchscreen sensitivity issues either, where did that come from Alex? Even XDA is pretty silent on that. If there were systemic sensitivity issues XDA's Z1 forum would be all over it and it's not. As for the size, yes it has larger bezels than most 5" phones. Which are fantastic when you're doing landscape stuff. And many of us who bought it also bought it because we love and appreciate Sony's attractive OmniBalance design. Art is a personal thing, but at least Sony HAS a talented artistic designer in Keita Hibi which isn't something Samsung or LG can claim. Xperia UI might not be as easy on the eyes as stock Android 4.4 or HTC Sense? I couldn't disagree more. It's at the very least equal to Sense 5, and certainly nicer than stock. That comment was more driven by AC's historical (recently speaking) love affair with the One and stock than it is by good taste.

I normally appreciate "3 months on" reviews, but in this specific case I would recommend potential shoppers look elsewhere for a good review that covers all of the phones strengths in detail and not just the weaknesses in such detail because I don't think Alex did a very good job here. It almost feels as if he was assigned to do this article and got it over with as quickly and begrudgingly as he could

"The whole viewing angle thing has been blown WAY out of proportion by reviewers just looking for something to nitpick, making a mountain out of a molehill"

+1

keith7120 says:

Anyone know what the name of that wallpaper is with earth and what looks to be the northern lights and a coast line? I want it. I have searched for it, I have come close to that image. I can't find it.

nickkuk says:

Great article, but I really don't agree with one comment "That means Xperia buyers at the high end often have only six months or so before their phone is obsoleted"

The phone isn't obsolete after 6 months! Its still works just the way it did when it was bought and will be the same phone for as long as you own it. There are new phones coming out all the time, and what ever you buy will be superseded by the same or another company in no time at all.

If you want the top end phone all the time, you are on an expensive road to nowhere. For most people what they buy will last the length of the contract, so it shouldn't even be an issue that a newer phone is available.

xchange says:

I have several other points, and Alex already knows about them as AC themselves have written articles on both of these points:

"Sure, the Xperia Z1 will be just as good when the Z2 comes along, but it’ll also slip down a place on Sony’s update priority list, a fate which has already befallen the barely year-old Xperia Z. Then there’s the fact that Sony is already being outpaced by the likes of HTC, Samsung and Motorola when it comes to Android OS updates. (Sony still has no specific timeframe for bringing the Z1 up to KitKat.)"

First - From Sony: "[Z1] will continue as our flagship into 2014"
source: Sony

Second - What fate as you put it has befallen the Z? It's getting all the updates that the z1 and Z Ultra are getting, and per Sony will be getting 4.4 as well

Third - What difference does it make if Sony releases two flagships per year? All the second releases do is simply refresh the more recent CPU and other current tech. So if HTC and Samsung only make one flagship per year, does that mean in the fall of 2013 the One and S4 were somehow magically obsolete? No. So why apply that logic to Sony, other than bias?

Fourth - How can you claim HTC and Samsung are better at updates? Let's start with HTC. Launched in Spring 2013, and have al;ready announced they're missing the 4.4 deadline in US and Canada. The same has happened with the Galaxy S4. Meanwhile Xperia Z1 got 4.3 within a mere 3 months of launch, and are already almost set to start rolling out 4.4. The Z1 just launched in October. Let's not mention the fact that Sony did a better job optimizing 4.2 on the Z1 than either of those companies managed on 4.3. Sony even put the immersive transparency effect on 4.2 Jellybean, 2 versions behind 4.4 from Google.

Lastly you overrated some of the weaknesses and under-emphasized some strengths. You guys gush to no end about SD cards on Galaxy phones, but I didn't see it here for the Z1. You downplayed just how fast and smooth Sony's engineers managed to make it run when the Z1 was only on 4.2, a feat other OEM's should envy. Those are in addition to other points I outlined in my earlier comment. Did you know Sony's Omnibalance design philosophy received a lot of high praise? Did you know the attractive metal band around the edge also carries function? Antenna. You know where LG put it's antenna on the glass N4? Right where you cup the phone in the palm of your damn hand. Frankly speaking Japanese workers have been known for decades around the world for their precision. They certainly beat the snot out of Korea's copy-thy-neighbour-and-do-it-low-cost approach to business in most industries (automotive sector and video game industry also come to mind).

SirBobaFett says:

Good point about the sd card. Wasn't even mentioned, yet it usually is highly praised. But what's this transparency effect? Is there a setting to make the notification bar transparent?

Posted via Android Central App

xchange says:

It's built right in, you don't have to do anything

salem_de says:

quite frankly.. this is one of the best review i have read on android community.
we are truly at need of this kind of reviews on any major flagship which shows us the practical stuff over the time, sort of like the spirit and beyond rather than the "initial first look" with numbers and manual sheets.

very pleased to read, my appreciation to you Alex Dobie.
keep it up :)

papanoongaku says:

"That means Xperia buyers at the high end often have only six months or so before their phone is obsoleted"

YOUR PHONE IS NOT OBSOLETE! It does not stop working once the new one comes out. The mindset is boggling that you'd label a $600 phone as obsolete, which does not mean what you think it means.

Also, Mobile Nations needs to change their comment system. We should be able to sort comments and see newest first. Right now, you get huge branches off the first comment and many of them have nothing to do with OP, but people just climb on because new comments are buried at the bottom.

SirKneeland says:

Z1 compact here I come!

Posted via Android Central App

My home entertainment system is all Sony, so I am a believer....seriously. Just not impressed with their phones, chunky, heavy, unnecessarily large with poor screens and unimaginative UI's. Basically nothing that sets this company apart, with the camera tech and waterproofing being the only notable exceptions.
The Note 3, LG's G2 and G Pro are the real standout devices in terms of immediate visual impact. For many, that is virtually all that is important. The camera and speed of connectivity are also considerations when it comes to signing up or buying outright.
Personally I would have bought the Z1 Compact if it were available 2 months ago.

Sony really need to look where comsumers are spending the money in the mobile segment and maybe talk to people on the street. High powered hardware alone won't sell phones.

quailallstar says:

I'm getting this phone and selling my LG Optimus G Pro. Going to be getting the C6906 LTE model that works on T-Mobile USA's network. Shame the anti-shatter film removes the SONY logo; I had an ION last year and the anti-shatter film did not remove the logo.

I heard new phones starting with the Z2 and up will have no more of these silly glass films.