Xperia Z1s.

Sony and T-Mobile's Xperia Z1s is a breath of fresh air amid an increasingly stale smartphone market

It was the Xperia Z, released early last summer as a T-Mobile exclusive, that drew my attention to Sony. It was the company’s first high-profile smartphone to hit US shelves, and it was radically different from its competitors — with Sony’s exciting and fresh design language, polished UI, and superb production quality, the Xperia Z (quietly) put the rest of 2013’s Android flagships to shame, and I called its release a watershed moment for Sony here in the states.

With the Xperia Z1s, Sony has followed up in a big way, and it’s now clearer than ever that the US smartphone market has a serious new player.

The Xperia Z1s, first introduced earlier this month at CES, might not be the flashiest smartphone on the market. It may not ship with the longest list of features, or with the most powerful and future-proofed specs. You won’t see a flood of marketing hit the airwaves anytime soon, nor will you see Xperia billboards high above Times Square. But in its own reserved way, Sony and T-Mobile have quietly released one of the best smartphones on the market today. 

Inside this review: Hardware | Software | Cameras | Bottom line | Xperia Z1s forums


Xperia Z1s Hardware: What's on the outside

Xperia Z1s.

Sony has sharpened its design language over the past two years into a clean, simple, and eye-catching formula: like other Xperias before it, the Z1s is a black slab monolith, with sharp corners, clean surfaces, and a premium finish. The Xperia Z1s is a sharp smartphone, and though its design hasn’t changed much since the Xperia Z, it still remains one of the most handsome you’ll find on a smartphone.

The Xperia Z1s is crafted from plastic rather than glass, which means it’s a bit more durable than the Xperia Z albeit a bit less premium. Its rear surface is a smooth and reflective black sheet,  while its perimeter is an amalgam of matte black and glossy silver. Though the corners are sharp, the edges are curved just enough to make the Z1s comfortable to hold in one hand.

On the top of the Z1s you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack; the right side houses the power button, volume rocker, camera shutter and SIM card tray, while the left side houses the microSD slot, microUSB charger and two-pin magnetic charging mechanism. A long mono speaker can be found on the bottom of the device, capable of high volume yet largely limited in depth and clarity. It’s good, but not great.

Xperia Z1s. Xperia Z1s.

Xperia Z1s. Xperia Z1s.

The Xperia Z1s is fully waterproof, and not in the casual “water resistant sense” — it’s submersible up to 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. This isn’t only great for the accident-prone, but also for enthusiasts who want to snap underwater photos, as the Z1s remains fully functional while submerged.

The Xperia Z1s display is five inches of full 1080p goodness. It uses Sony’s “TRILUMINOS” technology to achieve what’s marketed as the “widest color spectrum ever offered on a smartphone display,” as well as X-Reality, a mobile engine that selectively analyzes and processes images to reduce noise and optimize contrast, color and texture. Sony has also given the Z1s an OptiContrast panel, which eliminates the sensor layer and integrates it directly into the lens for less reflection and clearer viewing.

So what does all that technology mean in everyday use? For starters, this is one of the brightest displays you’ll find on a smartphone today. It looks superb in direct sunlight, and it remains readable and vivid even at 25 percent and 50 percent brightness. It’s also sharp and detailed thanks to its 441 ppi pixel density.

But it’s not perfect. The X1s suffers from truly terrible viewing angles, and colors tend to appear washed out and faded. And though whites are incredibly bright, blacks aren’t nearly as deep as they are on AMOLED and even LCD displays. Removing the preinstalled screen protector helps to some degree, but it doesn’t remedy the problems entirely. Some might also be turned off by the Xperia Z1s’ large bezel, though I liked the room it gave my fingers to rest on while viewing movies and other multimedia.

What's on the inside

Sony struck a nice balance between beauty and brains with the Xperia Z1s, equipping it with a Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 processor and 2 GB of RAM. The combo is more than enough to keep things speeding along,  and I’ve yet to throw the Z1s a curveball it couldn’t handle.

Not only does the Z1s chug through things like game play, video editing, and multitasking with agility, but it also does so with stamina. Thanks to its incredible 3,000 mAh nonremovable battery, the Z1s can run for hours on end without a charge. I was able to make it though a full day of moderate to heavy usage with juice to spare, and when I played my cards right, I was able to easily coast into the next morning. Results vary, as you’ve seen in other reviews of the Z1s, so be sure to spend some time tweaking the device’s thorough power management settings. Rest assured, though, that those who aren’t playing 1080p videos on a loop for hours on end will find the Z1s’ battery more than sufficient.

Xperia Z1s software

Xperia Z1s.

Perhaps what’s most exciting about Sony’s recent evolution isn’t its superb hardware alone, but also its focus on a clean, lightweight, and cohesive UI. Sony’s user experience has tightened with each Xperia release, and here on the Z1s, running atop Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, it strikes a beautiful balance of fun and function.

Holistically speaking, Xperia UI is gorgeous. It’s playful without seeming silly, incorporating themes of blue, red, orange and green amid a mostly light palette. There aren’t any cartoonish sounds or visual effects here, yet it’s noticeably more welcoming than stock Android. Sony has clearly put a lot of thought into its UI, realizing that more and more consumers are looking beyond a smartphone’s exterior.

Xperia UI is lightweight, sacrificing the laundry list of overwrought features we’ve seen from Samsung and LG to maintain a level of usability and simplicity. Whereas competitors are creating custom apps and experiences for their smartphones, it seems as though Sony is simply linking its already existing features to its Xperia devices.

Xperia Z1s.

  • Both the Playstation Network and Playstation Mobile are here, bridging the gap between your console and your mobile device. The Playstation Network puts all of your Playstation’s social features in the palm of your hand – stay in touch with friends, keep an eye on the leader board, and connect directly to your PS4 using this app. Playstation Mobile is where you’ll be able to download Playstation games optimized for your smartphone and play them on the go.
  • Smart Connect brings all of your Sony products under one umbrella, and automates your devices based on how you use them. Connect your Xperia Z1s using NFC to your Sony-enabled television, camera, headphones or console to streamline all of the devices into one cohesive experience. Once connected, you’ll be able to automate each device directly from the Z1s based on time of day or location.
  • You’ll find movies and TV from Sony Entertainment in the Video Unlimited app, where you’ll be able to browse, purchase, and stream content directly to you Z1s. There are cheaper alteratives out there like Netflix, Hulu, and even Google Play, though Video Unlimited features some exclusive titles that could be worth the extra dollar or two. You’ll be able to share this content from your Z1s to your Sony television if you’re so inclined.
  • Walkman, one of Sony’s most recognizable brands, is present here in the form of a superb music player. It’s great for listening to your own collection as you’ll have access to Sony’s ClearAudio+ optimization software, which increases the bass and clarity of your music. It’s also great for exploring new music through Sony Unlimited, the company’s $9.99/month answer to Rdio and Spotify. Its collection isn’t as robust as its competition but again, its seamless integration with Sony televisions and Playstations may be worth the membership alone.
  • Socialife News is Sony’s (poorly-named) answer to HTC’s Blinkfeed – it collects news, videos, photos and social updates based on your preferences and aggregates them in an attractive, easy-to-navigate app. Similarly, the Xperia Lounge is a beta app that contains mostly Sony-specific content, though I’m hoping that it will expand to other sources once the app exits its beta stage.

The Xperia Z1s ca​mera

Xperia Z1s.

Most of the hype around the Xperia Z1s is centered on its camera, which Sony is calling one of the best on the market. Sony’s reputation in the imaging world is unmatched, so high expectations for the Z1s’ shooter aren’t unfair, especially given its spec sheet: with 20.7 megapixels, a 1/2.3” Exmor RS sensor, Sony’s G Lens and Bionz image processing engine, we were expecting some truly stellar results.

Unfortunately, the Z1s doesn’t always live up to its hype.

Like the Z1 (and its identical camera) before it, the Z1s produces a mixed bag of stellar and not-so-stellar shots. In good lighting, you’ll find that the Z1s produces well balanced, rich, and detailed shots. I found the colors to be balanced and vibrant without seeming unnatural, and photos were sharp and detailed even when zoomed or cropped. I was really impressed with the Z1s’ macro shots, which are some of the best I’ve ever seen from a smartphone camera.

It’s in low light where the Z1s stumbles. I found Bionz processor to be overeager in compensating low light, producing noisy images with inaccurate colors and a washed out finish. The LED flash here is quite good, though, so  at least that alleviates some of the disappointment.

In terms of video quality, you've got full 1080p here with Sony's stellar SteadShot -- results were as good as you'll find on a smartphone today. 

Though I was let down at times by the Z1s photos, I was never bored with its camera app. You’ll find that the Z1s is a downright blast to shoot photos and video with, and its handful of shooting options can be played with to create some truly interesting results.  And with a dedicated shutter button, the Z1s has almost everything you need to replace your point and shoot.

Xperia Z1s.

Stick with Super Auto shooting for the Bionz processor to choose the perfect settings for the scene. If you’re brave enough, try playing with the Manual setting for control over exposure and white balance and access to scenes like Softskin, Night, Sports, Party, and Snow. There’s even a scene specifically designed for capturing photos of your food. Switch over to Picture effect for filters, or to Sweep Panorama for a simple-to-use stitcher. Then there’s Info-eye, which provides helpful popup information based on what you’ve captured in your viewfinder.

Xperia Z1sAndroid Central

The most fun of all the Z1s’ shooting features has to be the Background Defocus mode.  It’ll pick out the forefront of your photo and give the background a bokeh effect that can look like DSLR quality. It works the best in ideal lighting and when your subject is well defined from its background.   

Xperia Z1SXperia Z1SXperia Z1SXperia Z1SXperia Z1sXperia Z1sXperia Z1sXperia Z1s

The bottom line

Xperia Z1s.

Call me an Xperia convert. As a longtime fan of HTC, I’ve used the One as my personal device for months now, and though I’ve used the S4, Note 3, Moto X, G2 and various BlackBerry and iPhones extensively, I’ve never been tempted to jump ship. Until now.

Sony has done something very exciting with its Xperia line by making smartphones that are exciting while still remaining familiar. The Z1s doesn’t look or feel like any of its competitors, and that’s a good thing. It’s a breath of fresh air among an increasingly stale smartphone market.

The Z1s’ design is striking and unique, and its UI is empowering without being overbearing. I love the display, despite its quirks, and the Z1s’ battery life is some of the best I’ve ever encountered. And though the camera stumbles in low light, it’s fun to use and capable of producing some really great results.

I’m excited to see the next fruit of T-Mobile and Sony’s partnership, which is quickly shaping up to be the most productive in the mobile industry today. We’re in the middle of a renaissance for both companies, and Xperia’s future is finally bright both abroad and here in the United States. 

Pros

  • Gorgeous design
  • Waterproof, dustproof
  • Comfortable one-handed usage
  • Bright and beautiful display
  • Fun-to-use camera
  • Lightweight and useful UI

Cons

  • Low-light photo quality is lacking
  • Display suffers from poor viewing angles
  • Speaker is tinny and sounds hollow

 
There are 111 comments

Rydsmith says:

I'm very excited for this phone. I currently have mine on hold at the T-Mobile store, though it's street dated and can't be sold until Wednesday.

Jumping from AT&T to T-Mobile and significantly reducing my mobile bill in the process.

tone84 says:

Reducing your data speed as well

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Amir47 says:

False.

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NoNexus says:

Depends on where you live. But we digress...

TRUE!, had been with T-Mobile for more than a year and could not stand their intermittent data drop connections!, sure there's spot where LTE connects and fast but for the most part phone was constantly switching between g and hspa AND HORRIBLE connections speeds!,switched to straight talk(uses at&t towers in my area) have not had the same problem!

yankeesusa says:

Who said? I switched and get same or higher speeds than att. In fact, T-Mobile hspa+ in my area is faster than att hspa. My current speeds with T-Mobile are around 25 to 38mbps. Since I no longer have att I use my friends att phone and he gets around 22mbps with some 32mbps once in a while. So it depends where your at. If where you live att is faster then go with them. No need to tell other people what speeds they get. It cracks me up when people report the great signal and speeds they get with a certain company and then you have someone else say "well you shouldn't get that speed" so and so is faster. Who cares. If it works for you great.

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Amir47 says:

Hspa is supposed to be faster on T-MO. I think AT&Ts only goes up to 14 whereas tmo goes to 42 so......

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swagsaunders says:

Definitely not true!

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Mobius360 says:

Ugh.... depends on location. Both networks are fast.

Posted via G2 + Nova

Tmobile speeds are definitely great and you will enjoy Tmobile far better than At&t and unlimited data at it's best

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App

SirBobaFett says:

Period?

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squiddy20 says:

For *you* they may be great, but for other people in other parts of the US, maybe not so much. Take your horribly wrong blanket statements somewhere else.

astraith says:

That is true for EVERY carrier. I'm on ATT, and have great service where I live. I go to my sisters house and can't even roam. No service at all. Verizon has great service at her house but you go to where I work and no one but sprint has service there. So, you take your general comments and put them in a dark hole.

However, if T-Mobile has service in your area, you'll love it!

keith2k1 says:

no reduction in speed with t-mo

JonAis says:

Switched from Verizon and I'm not noticing any speed reductions, cant wait for the extra $100 in my pocket every month. Also, picked this phone up. On JUMP until the New Nexus.

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Mazrim says:

If I were heading back to the States tomorrow (currently stationed overseas) and signing up for service, it would be with T-Mobile and this phone. Mainly due to form factor, SD card, and camera. The Nexus 5 and Moto X would also be in conetion but I'm pretty sure the Z1 would win out.

It'd be great to hear what you think of it once you get yours.

Amir47 says:

With talks of Z2 around the corner it makes me wonder if this phone is worth it. and it's late to the states.

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Jay Holm says:

Sony phones are always, always late to the states!!! I have more hope for Windows Phones in the U.S than I do for Sony phones in the U.S!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

thatguy97 says:

Ya good phone but late especially with a superultra kickass sony phone coming our way soon apparently

Sent from my Nexus 7 2013 or iPhone 5

Jay Holm says:

"Soon" & "Sony" in the same sentence? Wow! Never thought I'd see that!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

yankeesusa says:

Yea, the z2 looks great.

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jdbii says:

This would be a nice option for the next 6 months for T-Mobile customers, especially those on JUMP. People might not want to wait for the Galaxy S5 or the next HTC One, and who knows when they finally will be released on T-Mobile. Due to the better battery, you also might choose this over the Nexus 5.

astraith says:

Well, I think the Z2 is going to Verizon, and next year T-Mobile will get the Z2S. And so on. Even if I'm wrong, with JUMP you can upgrade anytime.

reeper55 says:

Even though they say it's waterproof, and I'm sure is, that first time you dunk a $600 smartphone under water has to be a high anxiety moment.

Posted via Android Central App on my Republic Wireless Moto X

Troneas says:

ya. i wonder how many people actually submerge this device purposely.

nbell978 says:

I did it with my Z1. Worked as advertised. :)

astraith says:

I'm doing it on Tuesday! Or Wednesday if I don't have time. But I'll be going under water to take some cool pictures!

Agreed!!!

the big print giveth, the small print taketh

Mobius360 says:

I watched a T-Mobile employee dunk his Z to show a customer.

I spend a lot of time on the lake and definitely like this phone for that reason.

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judasmachine says:

I hope it floats too. Otherwise the phone ain't the only thing taking a swim.

Kolten Nay says:

Haha reminds me of a time while boating my friend threw his iPhone 5 into the lake because he thought his Life proof case floated. Funniest thing ever.

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astraith says:

Lol! I would never throw my phone, water proof or not, in a lake! A pool ... Maybe with a case, but in a lake!? That would have been hilarious to watch though.

Seriously with the viewing angles and colors?

The colors are great when you put them next to an iPhone or the HTC One, are they not? I'm guessing if you actually went to calibrate them, they'd have a more accurate color tone and saturation.

On the angles, do people really use their phones at weird angles? Yes, it washes out more than my Nexus 5 and HTC One, but not enough to make it so you can't see the screen, and only when at an angle that doesn't even make sense to use the phone at.

ultravisitor says:

Honestly, aren't poor viewing angles somewhat of a benefit? That way the people next to you can't be constantly creeping on you and what you're doing on your phone.

Jay Holm says:

Wow! What a paranoid weirdo!!! Stay home, and inside! Better off there, than any public places.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

yankeesusa says:

Actually he makes a good point. I use bank apps all the time and also emails and text. Unless you like to post all your bank info and emails on a projector and show it off to people he sure has a great point.

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jdbii says:

I agree. It's a valid point.

tastisnax says:

Yeah, they should market the poor viewing angles as a feature. It's one I would like!

astraith says:

That would be ballsey. Advertising your greatest weakness as it's greatest strength. You should work for Sony's marketing team, because all those negative video's on YouTube would have turned into positive ones.

xlDeMoNiClx says:

Do you ever post comments that are the slightest bit useful? Cause so far I haven't seen any from you.

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astraith says:

Yes! Now people can't watch me watching porn! Lol jk

alias3800 says:

Have any of you ever worked at an office? Placing your phone on the desk will create the angles at which this phone washes out.

astraith says:

Does anyone ever use their phones on their desk? And even if you do, buy the dock which fixes the angles.

jwyche007 says:

Not going to lie, this thing may be in the running for my next smart phone.

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yankeesusa says:

I would wait for the z2 announcement. Unless your on T-Mobile and they don't get the z2 initially.

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jwyche007 says:

Hey Andrew which has a better camera, this or the G2?

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Not sure Anndrew has used the G2. Alex has put up a good number of thoughts on the original Z1's camera though.

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nbell978 says:

The front and back are glass, just like the Z1. It's the frame that's plastic, instead of aluminum like the Z1.

yankeesusa says:

What a great review. I loved my Xperia z and my wife still really likes hers. Maybe I'll pick that phone up for myself over the note 3 and I'd I don't like it hand it off to the wife and sell her Xperia z.

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jlczl says:

Dropped by my local T-Mobile store to see it and it looks nice but man is it a fingerprint magnet! Like none other.

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yankeesusa says:

Even more than the z? Maybe it's because people are trying it out a lot now. Either way I'm waiting for z2 to be announced. Maybe the z1s will go down in price and hopefully the Xperia line will start getting kitkat update.

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balantoy says:

Isn't it a plus if your phone is fingerprint magnet?You'll always know if your phone is dirty and needs a cleanup and see the beauty though while you clean your Z1's glass like your'e taking your bath:)

"Sony’s reputation in the imaging world is unmatched"

Unmatched? don't think so. Yes they are good, but lets not stretch it.

Also - I can't believe how many times that Sony guy said "As well" in that hands on video.

Jay Holm says:

^^^Grammar nazi^^^!!!! Big whoomp! "As well", big frinkin whoomp!!!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Fidelio_o says:

Is it compatible with AT&T LTE? On AT&T want to buy this outright.

thatguy97 says:

Wish Verizon had it

Sent from my Nexus 7 2013 or iPhone 5

Jay Holm says:

Vzn, Sony? That's far and in between! Sony doesn't show very much determination in the U.S.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

bhatech says:

Useless carrier is not used to offer customer choice. Verizon only offer phones from OEMs ready to sell their soul and screw up the device. Only Apple had the guts to show the middle finger. Useless Verizon, Thank god for gsm carriers at least I can use whatever device I want.

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Jay Holm says:

+1!!!!!!!!! The only unlocked phones I ever used were the Sharp V903, cause I wanted a REAL camera phone back in 2006,...and the other unlocked phone I've had was the Nokia N95-3, unfortunately, wireless carriers never gave Nokia's S60 OS a fair chance in the U.S. S60 was a fine OS, and the N95 was an amazing smartphone for it's time, it just never got a fair chance in the U.S.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

DJCBS says:

Very nice review. Good to see Sony's smartphones are beginning to impress in the US.

I must say I was a bit disappointed by the Z1 camera too. But to be honest, I have no intention of retiring my Nokia's as my P&S camera. So as long as Sony nails down everything else, I'll be happy to use their phones as daily drivers.
Eventually Sony will also nail down the mobile phone camera tech. Maybe with a couple of Nokia patents.

Exactly, as long as my phone has a decent camera is all that matters because I'll always use my real camera if I want great pictures, not my cell phone. Looks like I'm gonna be switching to T-mobile from Sprint with all these deals they have going. Bank of America is also giving its customers $150 cash back by switching to T-Mobile.

Fidelio_o says:

where is this at? Link would like to check it out.

Jay Holm says:

+1! I haven't heard of BoA doing any such promotion.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Adiliyo says:

i've seen a promotion in my bofa cash back deals section. it might still be there, never really looked at the details though to see how much they were giving as i'm happy with att.

Troneas says:

its a nice design, but i am not convinced its nicer than the htc one. ill have to see it in person. as for the UI, it smacks of iOS 7 with all its neon and bright colours. pass. and round icons? i don't think so. i look forward to a second review down the line andrew after the honeymoon period ends.

Jay Holm says:

Oh boy! A person who is concerned about design. Sounds like the "IPhone mentality" appearance over function.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Troneas says:

as opposed to being concerned about specs? specs which mean little to nothing in everyday use when you compare any flagship phone released in the past year?

rampage1979 says:

Except this phone has both:-P

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jlczl says:

I placed my HTC One next to the Z1s at the TMobile store and, while nice, I still rank the One ahead as far as aesthetics.

The Z had a great build quality? So the show that was just tonight here on tv was completely bogus? A consumer program where a lot of customers where complaining about the quality of the phone, usb,screen problems and so on. And Sony not really handling those complaints to well..

But Sony stands for me for one thing, they make the biggest phone for every screen size, z/z1 biggest 5" you could get, now with the 4.3" the same, screen size they make the biggest package. For example the Z is closer to a Note3 then a S4!

I wanted to buy the Z in the beginning of previous year. But after playing with in for a few minutes in a store a walked quickly away from it. What a horrible package to hold in you're hands.. the S4 a bit later is so much better. Until Sony learn to make the bezels way way smaller and the phone way more nice in the hand, then i could live with the terrible view angles and maybe could buy one, but until then no way

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yankeesusa says:

Then it looks like the z is not for you. I bought one for my wife and ended up getting one for me. I loved it. Only reason I sold it was because I missed my Note 2 and the spen and I don't like the locked bootloader although with kitkat I won't mind a locked bootloader.

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bleached says:

I agree completely. The large bezels make the phone seem cheap next to the S4. I had the same issue with the HTC One. If these companies want to make a 5" phone, they need to minimize the bezel.

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xchange says:

cheap next to the S4? LMAO.
As for bezels, those of us who use their phone quite often in landscape are extremely thankful for the bezels. Makes games, videos, and holding the phone for pics and recording video much easier.

drokssilva says:

I've been through hell with tmo.

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yankeesusa says:

Then if it's still not working for you i recommend att. If T-Mobile doesn't work for me I calculated that the 8gb share value plan with AT&T is only about $12 to $15 more than what I'm paying now with my corporate discount on T-Mobile. But so far for me T-Mobile has been great. Looking forward to trying out out on my next vacation.

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drokssilva says:

Tmo works fine now.

It wasn't a service issue.

I got a better service rep this time.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

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Feel your pain man, had the same AWFUL experience with t-mobile in SW Fla., maybe in bigger more relevant cities connections better, but in Sarasota fl DEAD SPOTS EVERY WHERE!

annedev says:

seems very good!

luke31 says:

I bought my Nexus 5 last Saturday when switching to T-Mobile. The phone seems to have insane signal issues. When it loses signal, it drops to "Emergency Calls Only" mode, and in order to re-connect to the T-Mobile network, I physically have to go into the network settings, search for available networks, and reconnect to the network.

The Z1s looks pretty enticing. I'd love to stick with the Nexus, but it seems to be plagued by signal issues. I have until next Saturday to return the Nexus, so I might just do that and get this instead. It has similar internals, but a beastly battery and a much better camera.

yankeesusa says:

You might have to check your phone out. From everyone I know that has the nexus 5 they love the signal on it. Plus it has the newest bands to take advantage of the latest upgrades. Hope you figure it out. The nexus 5 can be a really nice phone.

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teomor says:

Or get an LG G2. I almost bought the Nexus 5, but right next to it was the G2. It's a superior device (both hardware and software, except the OS update speed). The camera is better, the battery is AWESOME (I used to have a Razr Maxx and I missed that huge battery life a lot) and the KnockOn feature is pure genius!

dhappyman0 says:

I currently have the HTC one, have been a long time HTC fan, owning the Droid Incredible, Droid Incredible 2, EVO 4G LTE and not the One, I am glad to see a phone that has enthused a long time HTC owner (Andrew).

The absolute best part about this phone that I see is the return of the microSD card slot in the phone. That has been one complaint that has plauged me as a long time HTC user. I am also very interested to see if other carriers will offer the z1s or even the z2. I am on Sprint now and would love to see a Sony device hit there (yes I know, Sprint but its cheap).

I will have to go check it out for myself!

nyc_rock says:

I have no idea what about this phone makes it more appealing that the G2, S4, Note 2, HTC one or one 2, the iphone or the GS4 Active.

Sony makes these phones so big. Look at the bezels. Couldn't they have figured out how to make the phone smaller, like LG did? Its not being released with Kitkat, which is a joke. Sony is doing the same thing they did last year with the internal specs. The Snapdragon 800 is great, but aren't the next gen phones going to be using the 805? Isnt 3 gig of ram becoming the norm?

Im sorry, but I would see no reason to purchase this phone over the GS5, HTC's next phone or even the Iphone 6.

bleached says:

I have one good reason. None of those phones are available or even been announced yet. It will be a couple months at least before that happens and Sony will also have their next gen phone out by then. This is a late last generation phone. It has been available for quite some time in other markets.

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Having a hard time understanding the positive slant of this review. You indicate the rest of the smartphone market is stale, but this seems like a warmed over Z from last year with all the same complaints - but lesser material qualities. What makes last years Z ho hum and this years so exciting?

Camera still sucks, sound sucks, screen suffers from viewing angle issues still, stil have to fart around with a plastic door to charge, still uncomfortable form factor.

Just not feeling it and certainly don't see any info in the review that makes this a better choice than the prior year version.

So what is up with this?

paul-c says:

Now Sony just needs to bring the Z1 Compact to the States.

Jim Nash says:

Bought 2 of these for my wife and I. Kept them for 3 days and are sending them back today. I didnt think I would care about the viewing angles but they are horrible. The display also looks washed in certain apps that it does not on either my wifes iphone 5s or my Note 3. I know they use different technology displays but the Sony doesnt look good. Also I did a test with a dead pixel finder app and found 4 dead/stuck pixels. Last compaint is that the phone is large for the display size. I have the note 3 and it seems easier to handle and has a much larger screen. Just my opinion but until they start using better (IPS) displays I will not buy one. Oh and the camera is HORRIBLE!! Fuzzy, noisy pictures in low to medium light. I took side by side shots with my wifes 5S and my note 3 and the Sony pictures look terrible.

I would advise to stay away from this device until the new HTC or Samsung Galaxy s4 are released.

Hargoth says:

Got a Z1s yesterday on JUMP from my Z.

It has much rounder edges than the Z.

The volume button, which I use constantly in Kindle for page turning, is also somewhat rounded which saves irritation from constant use.

The screen is gorgeous! Performance is top notch, and since I use Action Launcher Pro, the interface changes are minimal. However, I do prefer the old white text on a black background for system settings. :(

Happy guy.

Looks like a great phone. I actually considered the Z1 a while back but it wasn't comfortable in my hand due to the sharp edges. I know that's their design.

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cenkaetaya says:

I think the article should really point out that the whole Water Proof / Water resistant is complete BS.

This is just false marketing.

The warranty in no way covers water damage. So sure, take your $600 dollar phone under water. If there is any problem then have fun buying a new phone...

This pretty much defeats the whole point of having a device like this.

Very disappointing.

nbell978 says:

And how is it false marketing? They plainly state that as long as all the flaps are closed, the phone is waterproof in up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. And it is.

cenkaetaya says:

and if the phone stops working then buy a new one....

if it was really properly waterproof they would offer a warranty and give you a new phone if it got water damage.

duoFurious says:

So is the back glass or plastic? Or glass with a faux protector like the front? Someone who knows not just a rant for an answer. Thank you.

Posted via Android Central App

nbell978 says:

glass with that crappy anti-shatter film just like the front. it's the frame that's plastic, instead of aluminum like the z1. the author just mixed it up :)

duoFurious says:

Thanks for the clarity

Posted via Android Central App

Ill take a look at the phone in person tomorrow when it comes to stores. But I wonder if the negative remarks will overcome the positives. I have a nexus 5 but my wife likes how the z1 feels already so for sure she'll be getting that. But i'm still deciding whether to jump on the z1s or stick with the n5. Of course i'm not trading my n5 in haha. Switching from sprint's network.

quailallstar says:

Would love this phone in a white variant. This would look sick.

Posted via Android Central App

cguella says:

Why have ports on a water resistant phone?
How did they skip the Qi wireless charging?

duoFurious says:

What resist thing. I think that's why they did the magnetic connect instead. Keep the device smaller and qi might not be tested in such a device yet

Posted via Android Central App

StarTrigger says:

Anyone know if the low light performance of the camera can be improved with software/firmware updates?

Possibly the biggest flaw in the z1s which might entice you not to buy it... http://j.mp/1eFyWeT

raguram88 says:

Nice article and now the device is available in T-mobile stores(for details http://www.gadgetride.com/news/sonys-new-xperia-z1s-now-available-in-t-m...).

born2ride41 says:

I guess I don't understand the viewing angles complaint....does it have a viewing angle problem yeah I guess when u turn it different angles sure the colors look a little different but when u look at your screen straight on which is how I look at all the screens I watch not just my phone it looks Great. Y would you be looking at your phone at any angle besides right at it???

Posted via Android Central App

glow hockey says:

Sony Xperia Z1 is one of the bets smartphones ever launched in the market. They got features and functions that you truly want in a mobile. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.crittermap.airhockey

peterdroid says:

very beautifull ))

Lambertoid says:

So with the snapdragon 800 quadcore processor this phone kills my old moto x off and HTC one Idk what everybody is complaining about besides stock Android sonys ui is top comparing to HTC and Samsungs heavy ui. The camera is sick this phone is not plasticy feeling compared to the s4 and LG g2. the viewing angles People are complaining about is stupid the screen is beautiful when you text and watch shows like a normal person lol. So personally this phone works for me all the bashing of this phone is crazy go check it out and see how quick smooth and nice the phone feels b4 you bash it for the name and style. Of it.

Posted via Android Central App

Gunnyman says:

I bought this phone and used it for a DAY. The viewing angles and the fact the phone hurt my hands had me returning it to T-Mobile the next day.
I have nerve damage in my right hand and as much as I wanted to love it, the camera and its software were excellent, I couldn't keep it. I got the LG G2 and surprisingly, though it has a bigger screen, it fit my hand better. I wish Sony didn't make such hard rectangle shaped phones.

hey guys !! i feel very happy to having this mobile and this is what i want ..for more details visit at : http://www.androidstablets.com/

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