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Sony Xperia Z review

8.7/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Sony Xperia Z
  • Sony Xperia Z
  • Sony Xperia Z
  • Sony Xperia Z


8.7/10
Informr score
The Sony Xperia Z currently has an Informr score of 8.7 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 45 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

As the flagship of the Xperia series, this phone is packed with features and hardware and marks a shift in focus for Sony to premium smartphone provider. Mat Smith of Engadget says “Once you get to look at the phone in person, all Xperias that came before it pale in comparison. The phone feels solid and you'd be hard-pressed to describe any part of it as plasticky.”

From the high-gloss glass weave case design of the phone to the Bravia Engine 2 and a five-inch 1080p display, reviews of the handset are positive. Chris Hall of Pocket Lint says, “If you’re not wowed when you see the Sony Xperia Z, then you should probably stop reading now. No tactile plastic, no dubious back covers, just a feeling of substance and, dare we say it, perfection.”

Other notable features include IPX5, IPX7 and IP5X ratings for both water and dust resistance, with rubber plugs and caps for the various ports on the device. Both Engadget and TechRadar tested the phone in full submersion and directed stream tests and report that the phone was unharmed. Mat Smith of Engadget notes, “It's rare to see such protection on a phone that's not being marketed as a rugged device, let alone a company's new flagship.”

Phil Lavelle of TechRadar describes the phone as “one speedy son-of-a-Sony” and says that performance is one of the first things users will notice. Unfortunately, there are some minor concerns many reviews noted as well.

One of the most common complaints in reviews was the quality of the loudspeaker on the handset. Mat Smith of Engadget says, “the speaker is tinny and, even on full blast, lacks punch during video playback.” Killian Ball of Cult of Android notes that the speaker “appears to be pretty small — and it sounds it. It’s not all that loud, and it’s a little dull.” However, most reviews note that the headphone jack offers clear audio and Bluetooth with most wireless headsets is flawless with no delays or problems maintaining sync with devices.

Another consideration is the screen. Sony’s OptiContrast display is based on TFT technology. This leads to a few issues with viewing angles and less than ideal viewing in bright lighting or direct sunlight. Comparing the display to the competition, Mat Smith says “its performance doesn't offer the same viewing angles, or outdoor performance, of HTC's Super LCD 3 screen. In fact, turn the screen away from straight-on viewing, and you'll see a grayish discoloring that starts to obscure what's going on -- especially under bright light.”

Reviews were also mixed on battery life, with reports ranging from just under six-hours from Engadget to all-day use from Pocket Lint. With a 2300-mAh battery, if you use your phone heavily, the phone will likely require daily charges. Fortunately, the mini-USB charging port will make finding travel chargers and other accessories a breeze.

Pocket Lint’s Chris Hall sums up the device well when he says “there’s a lot to like about the Sony Xperia Z. It is the strongest Android phone that Sony has produced to date, fusing power, design and features.”

The Good: Water- and dust-resistance, support for microSD cards, 1080p display, HDR video support and premium materials.

The Bad: Screen viewing angles, screen brightness in direct sunlight, weak battery and slow camera response times.


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.5 GHz
Screen Size
5"
Camera
13+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Expert Reviews

The Sony Xperia Z has the looks and the high-resolution screen to make it a worthy high-end smartphone. Currently, at least until the Samsung Galaxy S4 is released, its main competition is the similarly huge-screened HTC One. We prefer the HTC One's aluminium body, but if you don’t like the sw...

- Chris Finnamore, Expert Reviews
Mobile Syrup

The Xperia Z is a gorgeous smartphone – Sony’s best to-date. The all-glass design is something that any user would be proud to hold, but one must be careful not to drop it. Other than aesthetics, there is no real reason to choose the Xperia Z over the ZL, which is cheaper, smaller and av...

- Daniel Bader, Mobile Syrup
TelecomTiger

Sony Xperia Z is an amazing phone with brilliant features and good design. It’s loaded with latest features and applications, power packed with 2 GB RAM and 1.5 GHz Quad Core processor. The battery life is good, display is wonderful and the 13 megapixels Exmor RS main camera is outstanding and...

- TT Gadget Editor , TelecomTiger
TechRadar

The Sony Xperia Z has a beautiful design and finally represents an Android smartphone that can be used to show iPhone owners that they're not necessarily at the top of the heap anymore. The price is just a little too high in our opinion - but rush out a software update to improve the camera and you...

- Phil Lavelle , TechRadar
Business Insider

The Xperia Z is a good Android phone. However, it's not the knock-your-socks-off revolution that Sony probably hoped it would be, and it's only going to really stand out to a niche group of people who desire a waterproof phone above everything else.

- Steve Kovach, Business Insider


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Sony Xperia Z prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Sony's suggested retail price is $549.99. You can compare Xperia Z prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sony Xperia Z user manual here.


Sony backs up the Xperia Z with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Xperia Z has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sony support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sony's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.




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Quick view

Screen Size
5"

The Sony Xperia Z's screen size is 5 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.5 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 Quad-core 1.5 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (Update Available: 5.1.1 Lollipop) operating system (OS).

Camera
13+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 13+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
16 GB

Internal memory is 16 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
2330mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2330 mAh battery. Sony's performance ratings are 840 minutes, 397 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Xperia Z Specs

Overview
Release date February 9, 2013
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Networks
GPRS, EDGE, HSPA+, LTE
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
SIM card size
Micro-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (Update Available: 5.1.1 Lollipop)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 Quad-core 1.5 GHz
Internal Storage 16 GB
RAM 2 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.1 W/kg
Body: 0.56 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2330 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 330 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 397 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 840 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 23 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black, White, Purple
Dimensions [H x W x D] 13.9 x 7.1 x 0.8 cm (5.5 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
Weight 146 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design Yes
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 441 pixels
Size 5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out HDMI
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
13+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
16x digital
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, Panorama, Red-eye reduction, Burst mode, HDR, Scene recognition
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, AVI
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Front Camera
Resolution
2+ megapixels
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, M4A, OGG, WAV
Radio Yes (FM/RDS)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, AVI, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed (Google Play, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube)
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Sony Yuga, C6602

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Sony Xperia Z Reviews
Where to buy Sony Xperia Z
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