The most powerful mobile device I've ever tested
Sleek, glass and aluminium design
Razor-sharp, bright screen
Camera doesn't particularly impress
Disappointing battery life
The Xperia Z1's slick, waterproof design, its good screen and of course its monstrously powerful processor make it a hugely impressive phone, easily justifying its flagship status. It's let down, however, by a high-resolution camera that doesn't produce attractive photos, and its battery life is disappointing too.
Personally, I think it's unfair to judge battery life when the phone is so new. My experience is that batteries don't tend to perform at full capacity for a good week or so.
He also criticizes the camera. In all fairness, the pictures he's taken are gank. He does admit, that with a bit of tinkering, you can get some decent shots.
All I'm looking for in a mobile camera is the ability to snap a semi decent pic of my wee boy doing something awesome and use it for my wallpaper or print it and send it to my mum or dad or whatever. Looking at some of the test shots here & here, I think the Z1 will do ok with that.
Stylish sturdy design, very powerful, vibrant HD screen, brilliant camera, waterproof.
Sony's custom UI skin can prove annoying, pricey
We think the Xperia Z1 is the best smartphone Sony has ever released, proving that Sony is getting better at developing good, sturdy and stylish smartphones that are built to last.
We weren't the biggest fans of the firm's custom software skin or the handset being prone to scratches, but the Xperia Z1 is a huge leap for Sony.
Thanks to its excellent touchscreen display, 20.7MP camera and slick performance, we think the Xperia Z1 handset gives the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One a run for their money, even if it does annoy those that just invested in the now old flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is, without a doubt, the best smartphone you can buy right now; it is honestly difficult to find any major flaws with it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you’re considering buying a high-end HTC or Samsung device right now, you owe it to yourself to check out the Xperia Z1 when it becomes available because I think you will change your mind. Sony has finally built a thoroughly modern Android smartphone with a beautiful design, premium materials, quality components, top-notch performance, class-leading imaging and a well-thought-out software stack. It doesn’t just represent the best of Sony; it represents the best of the mobile industry and gives the HTC One a run for its money. With the Xperia Z1, you no longer need to put up with Windows Phone in order to have a brilliant camera in your smartphone. Sony is well and truly back at the top of their game.
Beautiful Full-HD display
Good design and build
Compact camera class imaging quality
Major fingerprint magnet
Battery performance could be better
Expected better imaging performance from the hardware and software
Does the Xperia Z1 have what it takes to differentiate itself from the other two camera phones mentioned at the start of our review? Our answer is a definite yes. If you look around the competition right now, we are hard pressed to find an equal.
The Xperia Z1 is the only flagship device we've seen so far with water/dust-proof properties, a relatively large battery, a unique design and a capable camera module. There is simply no other Android flagship device in the market at the moment that can come close to matching what Sony has offered on the Xperia Z1. Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom on the other hand acts more like a camera with phone functionality than the other way around and is a fair bit bulky.
While the Xperia Z1's imaging capabilities fell short of the Nokia Lumia 1020's lofty standards, it performs as well as a standard digital camera and much better than other smartphones. It's not far-fetched to say that with the Xperia Z1, you can finally put off the purchase of a compact camera and just bring the phone everywhere you go.
There's also a strategic edge that the Xperia Z1 has over the Lumia 1020 - apps. Running on the world's most popular operating system, the Xperia Z1 gives you access to a rich library of apps, most of which are yet to be found on the Windows Phone ecosystem. Even though Windows Phone has caught up quite a bit over the past two years, app availability is still a concern and isn't as established as the Android or iOS ecosystem.
Putting the focus back on the Xperia Z1, we actually expected more from Sony's G lens. Our hopes were high on the Xperia Z1 standing shoulder to shoulder with the Lumia 1020, but there is certainly room for improvement. Its battery performance is still a sore point for us, and Sony really needs to pull up its socks on better power management on its mobile devices. Nonetheless, Sony has a very strong footing this time with the Xperia Z1 and we foresee it holding the fort comfortably against the upcoming LG G2 and Apple iPhone 5S. Already it is a leader among the existing 5-inch smartphones as far as platform processing prowess is concerned. Overall, you could say the Xperia Z1 is quite a good successor to the original Xperia Z as it has made substantial improvements on on all fronts.
Plenty of decent software refinements
Battery life with Stamina mode
Solid build quality
Fun camera features
Display not best in class
Seems larger than it perhaps needs to be
Device can get very hot
Camera not as far ahead as we'd hoped
There's a lot to love about the Sony Xperia Z1. It's a valiant effort, but not infallible. We like the the design overall, it's a smart looking device that exhibits plenty of quality and there's stacks of power under the hood of that 5-inch HD display.
It's the power that really shows off, as the Z1 skips through anything you can throw at it, but there are niggles: the display isn't the best in class, it gets too hot when you push it in the processor stakes, and all the efforts in the camera department don't seem to really bring huge gains.
It's saved by a user experience that's well refined and a battery life that's surprisingly good given the specs. But, as we've found, the Sony Xperia Z1 isn't the out-and-out winner in this class based on all its fancy specs.
In short: the original Z is bettered here, but in the fast-paced landscape of mobile phones it's not the best of the best. The physical size is chunky - a little bit too much for our liking, and we think others will feel the same; either go for one-handed comfortable use or super-sized Galaxy Note size - and the presence of lots of capable competitors out there means the Z1, despite all its positives, doesn't shine as brightly as its spec sheet would suggest.
Stylish and well-built
Superb 20.7MP camera
Too big for some
Speaker is average
There’s a lot to this phone, and its high-end credentials are not in doubt. It looks good, feels great in your hand and the Sony speciality of waterproofness remains a key, if gimmicky, feature.
The camera is good, though Nokia’s Lumia 1020 will give it a hard run. And though this phone is too big to suit every hand, if the size isn’t a problem this is a very powerful, fast, highly enjoyable handset.
They say:- Pros
Dedicated camera button for underwater shooting
Curvy. more comfortable design
Speedy, overall performance
Disappointing low-light camera performance
Average viewing angles
Flimsy latches protecting ports and connections
Should I buy the Sony Xperia Z1?
The Sony Xperia Z1 is a phone that addresses the key issue that plagued its predecessor, the design. The curvy look is a subtle change and makes the 5-inch smartphone so much more comfortable to hold and operate, but that's not to say it's not big. Adding a camera button makes having a waterproof design more useful now that you can actually take pictures and shoot video underwater. It’s one of the most powerful smartphones we’ve had the pleasure to test. The camera is not as ground-breaking as the Nokia Lumia 1020, but it's still a great performer. Throw in the option of the QX100 and QX10 lens accessories and you can get something closer to a high end compact camera. Putting it up against its 5-inch rivals it more than matches the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One it in terms of performance and design. Sony’s take on Android is a great alternative to Samsung's TouchWiz and HTC's Sense UI once you get to grips with it.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is powerful smartphone with an improved camera and elegant design to make it one of the best 5-inch smartphones to currently buy.
.........I don't always get your questions right.... but you'll certainly know I've tried.
P.S. Many thanks for the Thanks votes. Thanks received are converted into a charitable donation.
The Following User Says Thank You to Beards For This Useful Post:
Well I received my Z1 together with the QX10 lens at 11.46am this morning and by 12.32pm it was boxed up and back in the bag ready to go back to the Carphone Warehouse!!
Don't get me wrong, there are good points but the bad outweigh those for me.
It's a gorgeous phone to hold. The weight of it screams build quality and the glass and aluminium are lush to look at but.....
Those bezels!! WTF?
I have an original Samsung Galaxy Note 1 that is now 2yrs old and the bezels on that are smaller than those on the Z1! It's supposed to have a 5" screen, the same as my Note 1, and yet it isn't as wide and with the on screen buttons not as tall either! And what's with that huge black space at the bottom of the screen? What's that all about? This is the main reason for taking it back. I don't want to go from a 2yr old 5" screen to a brand new phone with smaller screen real estate.
I had a quick play of the camera and the pictures displayed on the screen were 'OK'. Didn't blow me away as I was expecting going from an 8mp to a 21mp. And when I tried the Augmented Reality setting it would only work on close up objects. If I held the phone up and pointed about 6 foot away the AR wouldn't work.
I also experienced a crash. Can't remember what I was doing at the time, possibly playing with the camera, but the phone just froze, crashed and reset itself!!
So overall, for a flagship phone, I wasn't overly impressed with my hour of use. And I didn't even bother getting the QX10 lens out of the box because I had already decided to return the phone!
For the time being I'm sticking with my 2yr old Galaxy Note 1. It's never let me down. It's not an HD screen and yet I've never actually seen a pixel on it. And the 8mp camera shoots good pictures and takes 1080p video. So what more do I need. Not the Z1 I'm afraid!
Sorry Sony but you've disappointed me with the Z1.
It's a fair and balanced review, but for those who don't want to read it here's a quote from the summary:
The Sony Xperia Z1 introduces some very important improvements to the Z, which was a decent but not outstanding smartphone. The screen is now superb, the processor is one of the most powerful you can get in a smartphone and the camera is impressive. Add to the fact that it’s waterproof, looks altogether lovely, is built like a brick outhouse and the case could be made for it being the best smartphone in the world at the moment in time.
For the ones worried by the battery life, I put it to test; 4 hrs and 40 minutes of screen time, and after 20 hrs on battery, I still had 10% left. So I am pretty sure that the first review I saw mention battery life wasn't good, I can testify they didn't even test it.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is one of Sony's biggest flagship smartphones for 2013. It features a 20-megapixel camera, a 5-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and more.
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