Sony Xperia Z1 experience
One of the best smartphones released in 2013 is the Sony Xperia Z1. In this review, we take a look at how it continues to perform after three months of use.
We would like to remind you that this not a “proper” review. This post is more an attempt to help people understand what it is like to own and use a Sony Xperia Z1 over an extended time period.
After the thrill of purchasing a new smartphone had died down, is the Xperia Z1 as attractive as it was during its launch?
- The Sony Xperia Z1 remains a beautifully designed phone that you can get in either black, white or purple.
- The Xperia Z1 has an aluminum frame and a glass front and back.
- The notification light is placed inside the earpiece where it flows out nicely.
- When you pick up the Xperia Z1, you will notice that it has a nice heft to it. As the device weights 170 grams, this is not surprising. This heft doesn’t feel like added weight though but instead adds to the premium feel of the Xperia Z1.
- The Xperia Z1 comes with screen protectors applied to the back and front. Sony claims these make it shatter resistant and we found that that claim was no unfounded when we performed a few drop tests.
- While the screen protectors do make the Xperia Z1 shatter resistant, the screen protectors themselves are not scratch resistant.
- The back and front of the Xperia Z1 remain vulnerable to scratches and if this bothers you greatly, you should be prepared to get a case and separate screen protector.
- Fortunately, the screen protectors on the Xperia Z1 are removable. However, removing them will also remove the Sony logo from the device.
- The Xperia Z1 is kind of big. It’s actually a little taller and wider than the Galaxy Note 2. This is because of the Z1’s waterproofing feature. Related to this, we found that the waterproofing flaps over the Xperia Z1’s major ports are very durable.
- Despite the size, it is still possible to use the Z1 with one hand, though some might find it a stretch.
- The Xperia Z1 has a microSIM but the slot mechanism for this is one of the worst and those who usually like using this feature will quickly get frustrated.
- There is a very thin SIM tray on the right-hand side of the phone and you need to use your nails if you want to pull it out. You then put the SIM on the tray and push it back in, which is easier said them done and needs very stable hands.
- The Sony Xperia Z1 has a top of the line processor which it provides with a lot of Rams.
- The Snapdragon 800 processor package combined with the Adreno 330 GPU performs almost any task you ask of the Z1 – including heavy gaming – We experienced virtually no lag.
- Gamers will also love that Sony has provided built-in support for DualShock 3 controllers in the Xperia Z1. All you need is a USB OTC cable and a USB cable to connect the controller to the PS3.
- The Xperia Z1 provides its users with a high PPI screen
- The Xperia Z1 battery is big and has a good lifespan.
- The Xperia Z1 does tend to get very warm; especially if working hard, like with extensive gameplay but – as the device is water resistant – there is an easy solution: Stick it under running water for a few seconds till it cools down again.
- Compared to the screens of its peers, the Xperia Z1 doesn’t perform that well.
- While the screen of the Xperia Z1 is bright and can be seen in direct sunlight, it offers very poor viewing angles. This is probably the weakest point in what is a very good device.
- Color reproduction is good if a little muted.
- The Sony Xperia Z1 has a 3,000 mAh battery.
- This is enough to get through a day of heavy use. Some might even find that the Z1 can last them two or three days.
- It helps that the Sony TimeScape UI used in the Xperia Z1 is simple and minimalist and the device has a great built-in power saving mode.
- The Stamina mode of the Xperia Z1 is one of the best power saving modes found in current smartphones. This is because, even on Stamina mode, the Xperia Z1 is still capable of a high level of function. Processing speed is unaffected and the device can run quite normally with the screen on. With the screen off, some functionality is disabled but the Xperia Z1 allows you to have a whitelist of apps from which you will still get notifications as long as they remain active.
- After making your app whitelist, you can probably keep the Xperia Z1 running on Stamina mode all the time and won’t see a difference in performance.
- The Sony Xperia Z1 has a great camera function with a 20.7-megapixel sensor and a G lens.
- Despite the high megapixel count, the image quality, especially in low-light is not that great.
- There are two major modes for photo taking in the Xperia Z1: Superior Auto Mode and Manual Mode. The better photos are taken in Manual Mode which has better picture quality and color reproduction for sharper photos.
- The Xperia Z1 performs badly in low-light photo conditions. There is a lot of noise and you end up with poor image quality.
- The Xperia Z1 does allow you to take photos and even videos underwater.
- Videos taken with the Xperia Z1 are crisp.
- The physical camera button is easy to reach and it’s easy to take a quick snap with the Z1.
All in all, Sony did a great job and the Xperia Z1 deserves to be called one of the best in 2013. With the three months in which we used a Xperia Z1, it gave us a great experience and if Sony keeps this up we believe it’s ready to become a top Android OEM provider.
Have you tried the Xperia Z1? How was your experience?