Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1 Review – Performance, Camera & UI – Best WaterProof Smart Phone of 2013

The Sony Xperia Z1 was firstly thought to be a very minor upgrade to the Xperia Z but Sony decided to come up with two flagship devices in the same year and they came up with the Xperia Z1, which although didn’t show any difference with the display, had got some advancements with the processor and the camera. We did play around with the device for a few days and finally would say, the Xperia Z1 can easily be a better replacement to the Xperia Z1 but there is no real good reason why you should upgrade from the Xperia Z to Z1, only because the camera has got an upgrade and the processor of the Xperia Z isn’t that bad to make you spend $700 again only for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor in the Xperia Z1.

Sony Xperia Z1 Colors

Design wise, the Xperia Z1 looks just like the Xperia Z with the single glassy body which looks excellent, and it’s a waterproof device, thus there’s a casing to every socket that is located on the side panels. The front side has the 5-inch Full HD Triluminos display, and there are the sensors, front camera and the Sony branding on the top, while the capacitive touch buttons are located below the display. The sturdy aluminum framing is what keeps the phone waterproofing at its best, and as said above, there is a casing for every connectivity socket located.

Sony Xperia Z1 Bottom Sony Xperia Z1 Top

Sony Xperia Z1 Side Panel Right Sony Xperia Z1 Side Panel

The 440ppi display looks vibrant and quite excellent, and Sony has done an good job with the output of the graphics, thanks to the Bravia Engine 2. But when you actually compare this to the display of the Xperia Z Ultra, there is no much wide viewing in the Z1 as you can see some fading away of the content as you move away at an angle from the screen.

Camera is where Sony has put the main concentration on, because the Xperia Z1 comes with the G Lens that is usually powered in their digital cameras, and it’s the 20.7-megapixel camera that is powered in the device. The G Lens comes with 27mm wide angle and f/2.0 aperture, and the processing of the images through the camera app is done using the Bionz image processing engine, which has made the makers to include some special effects and modes of capturing, with my favorite one being the Timeshift Burst where, in a couple of seconds, a total of 61 photos are captured. Although if you didn’t want the Xperia Z1 to capture using the special effects, the Superior Auto mode does all the best efforts to bring out a neat capture.

Sony Xperia Z1 Camera

Although the 20.7-megapixel camera, Sony hasn’t provided a 20.7MP pictures, because that gets scaled down to 8.3-megapixel images just like what the PureView cameras from Nokia do. Still, the scaling down here doesn’t hamper the quality of the photos. The modes you get to select from, include Timeshift burst, Picture Effect, Sweep Panorama, AR Effect, Info-eye, Social Live and Evernote. The video recording quality is quite neat, but surprisingly although so much of enhancement, the HDR mode in video recording is gone, after it was available in the Xperia Z. While recording the videos, one can capture 2MP photos at the same time. The 2-megapixel camera on the front also can capture 1080p videos, from which one shouldn’t expect anything good except the numbers.

Check out the Sony Xperia Z1 Camera Capture Samples

The device is non-laggy and the playing of heavy games happened flawlessly, thanks to the latest best processor and the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean is very much modified to make it a unique Sony-special user interface with loads of options. There are several pre-installed apps already included in the Xperia Z1 and the performance, multitasking all becomes good with the 2GB RAM and the dedicated GPU for the graphics output. Just like with the Xperia Z, we did see some heating up of the device on heavy usage, but nevertheless, you can just dip it in some cold water as that’s what is advantageous with the waterproof smartphones, and the Sony’s Xperia series holds an edge over the other devices for that feature.

Sony has packed in a 3000 mAh battery within the unibody of the Xperia Z1, but we have never been a fan of the battery life of Sony devices, although it didn’t discharged completely within a day. There are loads of connectivity options, and Sony hasn’t done anything wrong with the interface which doesn’t keep itself too simple like the TouchWiz UI in Samsung Android devices.

Final Verdict

The stuff shown in the video below is what makes the different with this device!

For the price of Rs. 44,500 this can be a great competition to the other flagship devices launched recently – Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the LG G2, as one cannot select one of them because for me – S Pen & Camera in the Note 3 are quite good, the camera of LG G2 is excellent and the Xperia Z1 has been the best for the waterproofing and design.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lori

    October 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Hi Chetan,

    Great review. Just one question, where did you find or how did you determine that scale back of the photos from 20mp to 8.3mp? I guess I’m kind of perturbed at the fact they are marketing it based on the 20mp, if in fact that’s not what you end up with. I guess my question would be then, is the quality of the pictures better or the same as in the Xperia Z?

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