A Compact Device Or A Waterproof Device? Comparing Sonys Xperia Z And Xperia ZL

Sonys Xperia Z vs Xperia ZL

Sonys Xperia Z

It looks like 2013 is going to be a major turning point in Sony’s manufacturing business as far as Android devices are concerned.  Though the 2012 flagships of Sony featured excellent design language and some interesting new software, the company has been lagging behind other company such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, and HTC.

That’s changed this January 2013, however.  In just this time period, Sony has announced a trio of high-end devices.  These are the Xperia Z, the Xperia ZL, and the Xperia Z tablet.

In this review, we take a look at the Xperia Z and the Xperia XL, both Android smartphones to try and make a distinction between these two new offerings from Sony.

At first glance, the difference would seem to be as to which market the sonys Xperia Z and the Xperia XL were aimed at.  However, it now seems that the two devices will be made available in the same markets.

If you are not sure which of these two devices you should get, this review can help you pick.  Let’s look at how the Sonys Xperia Z and the Sony Xperia ZL stack up against each other.



  • The Sonys Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL have the same display.
  • Both of these devices have a 5-inch panel with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 for a pixel density of 443 ppi.
  • The resolution and pixel density offered by the screen of Xperia Z and Xperia ZL are some of the best in the industry and offer really crisp images.
  • Sony has also added display calibration software and Bravia Engine 2 technology which helps improve the contrast and brightness of what is shown on the screen.
  • Overall, both of these smartphones have some of the best displays that are currently available in the market.

Conclusion: This is a tie as both the Sony Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL offer their users the same display technology for a good viewing experience.


  • If you look at both the Sonys Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL, the most obvious differences can be found in their design.
  • The Sonys Xperia ZL is both the more compact and the thicker device. The Xperia XL measures around 131.6 x 69. 3 x 9.8 mm.
  • Meanwhile, the Xperia Z measures 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm.
  • The Xperia Z is the lighter of the two devices at 146 grams compared to the 151 grams of the Xperia ZL.
  • The Xperia ZL has a rubbery back compared to the tempered glass back of the Xperia Z. The rubbery back of the Xperia ZL is supposed to help improve the grip.

Xperia ZL

  • The display of the Sony’s Xperia Z is protected by the hard tempered glass that is supposed to offer scratch resistance.
  • The Xperia XL is said to feature a screen to the front ratio of 75 percent which is the highest of any smartphone.
  • The main distinction of the design of the Sony’s Xperia Z from the Xperia ZL, however, is the fact that the Xperia Z is resistant to dust and water.
  • The Xperia Z has an IP57 certification against dust and water. The Xperia Z can withstand submersion for 30 minutes under one meter of water.

Conclusion: As we are talking about 5-inch smartphones, the most compact version if more favorable than the waterproof version.  The Xperia ZL wins here.

Internal Hardware

The CPU, the GPU, and RAM

  • Both the Sony Xperia ZL and the Sony Xperia Z use the same processing package – the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. This has a 1.5GHz quad-core Krait processor and an Adreno 320 GPU with 2 GB of RAM
  • Both these devices use what is one of the best currently available SoCs.

The Internal Storage and SD card slots

  • Both the Sony Xperia ZL and the Sony Xperia Z come with 16 GB of storage.
  • Both the Xperia ZL and the Xperia Z have a microSD slot so you can expand your storage up to 32 GB.


  • Both the Sony Xperia ZL and the Sony Xperia Z have 13 MP primary cameras that use the Exmor RS sensor.
  • The Exmore RS sensor improves the quality of the images taken and also allows HDR Video and HDR Photo.
  • The front facing camera of the Xperia Z is a 2.2 MP shooter which is great for video chatting.
  • The front camera of the Xperia ZL is a 2 MP shooter.


  • Despite what you might expect from the “thicker” device, the Xperia ZL is not the one with the bigger battery. The battery of the Xperia ZL is a 2,370 mAh unit.
  • In contrast, the battery on the Xperia ZL is a 2,330 mAh unit.
  • Despite the difference in size, the battery lives of both these phones are around the same.

Conclusion:  The Xperia XL and the Xperia Z are almost the same when it comes to their hardware.


Android Version

  • Currently, the Xperia Z and the Xperia XL are sold with Android 4.1. As Android 4.2 has been available for around two months already, it is believed that Sony will update both these flagships to Android 4.2 sometime in March.
  • The Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL use Sony’s proprietary UI. This means that Sony’s media services are prominently featured in these two devices.

A tie.  Both the Xperia XL and the Xperia Z use the same version of Android and the same UI.A5

The Sony Xperia ZL and the Sony Xperia Z are equally powerful devices.  The advantage of the Sony XL is that it is the most compact smartphone.  Many people are not in favor of the increasing footprints of smartphones.

The Xperia Z and its water-resistance will appeal to some people but this will be a niche audience.

What do you think? Is it the compact Sony Xperia ZL or the waterproof Xperia Z that most appeals to you?


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