Sony Xperia Z1 Prices & Tariffs

Sony Xperia Z1

Features

  • 5 inch display
  • Android
  • 20.7MP camera
  • 16GB int. memory (useable capacity will be less)
  • Talk Time (3G): Up to 13 hours 50 minutes
  • Standby: Up to 31 days 16 hours
  • 73.9mm wide
  • 144.4mm high
  • View full specs

Average Score

83/100

Powerful, stylish and waterproof; the Xperia Z1 is definitely Sony's best phone to date, and makes it a serious contende...

WhistleOut
Read our full review

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Sony Xperia Z1 Specs

Display

Type TFT LCD
Screen Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
Screen Size 5 inch (12.7 cm)
Touch Screen Yes

Camera

Resolution 20.7 megapixels
Front Facing -
3D Resolution -
Flash Type LED
Video Camera 1080p

Music and Video

Music Player Yes
Video Player Yes
Video Calls Yes
FM Radio No
Audio Formats MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg vorbis
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264

Physical

Form Factor Slate
Width 73.9 mm
Height 144.4 mm
Thickness 8.5 mm
Weight 170 grams
Accelerometer Yes
Gyro Yes

General

GPS Yes
Battery (3G Talk) Up to 13 hours 50 minutes
Battery (Standby) Up to 31 days 16 hours
App Store Google Play
Processor Type Quad Core 2.2Ghz
Operating System Android 4.2
Release Date September 2013

Connectivity

Main Connectivity 4G LTE
Maximum Data Speed 100Mbps
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
USB 2.0
Bluetooth Yes
Networks GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900
Data Networks LTE 700, 1800, 2100, HSDPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100

Memory

RAM 2.05GB
Internal 16GB
Expandable Up to 64GB

Messaging

Push Email Yes
Text Messages (SMS) Yes
Picture Messages (MMS) Yes

Sony Xperia Z1 Reviews

V.Positive

WhistleOut Review

"Powerful, stylish and waterproof; the Xperia Z1 is definitely Sony's best phone to date, and makes it a serious contender to steal some of the limelight away from Samsung and Apple."

Joseph Hanlon (WhistleOut)
Read full review

90/100

"Battery life is improved from the Z – you should get two days on average use, or a day if you’re playing around with a lot of apps and so on. Video playback drains the battery in five and a half hours – an hour improvement on the Xperia Z."

3g.co.uk
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90/100

"Perhaps the biggest improvement on the convenience front is an exposed 3.5mm headphone jack. With no flaps in sight atop its cavity, plugging in and out will prove as easy as on any non-waterproof smartphone."

recombu.com
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Positive

"In terms of performance, the phone feels very snappy, if not lightning fast. Truth be told, today the software makes all the difference, and the Z1 works as fast as any Android 4.2.2 device we've seen before."

mashable.com
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80/100

"It has a top-of-the-line processor, a good camera, interacts neatly with Sony's range of accessories and has a stark, attractive design that (personally) we find pretty baddass. It's a big upgrade over the Xperia Z, and points to a strong future for the Xperia line. "

huffingtonpost.co.uk
Read full review

80/100

"You might think that the huge display and the power on offer would result in a dwindling battery life, but in reality, the battery life is pretty good. There's a 3000mAh battery inside, but it's the software management on this front that's the most impressive. Sony's Stamina mode will let you select..."

pocket-lint.com
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80/100

"The Xperia Z1 has an even more powerful processor than the more-than-decent chip in the Xperia Z. This one is quad-core and is Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 800 processor. It’s a 2.2GHz model and as a result it’s very speedy whether you’re playing games, browsing the web or just, you know, opening em..."

80/100

"Like the Xperia Z, the Z1 is completely waterproof, surviving at a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes. Even if you're not a diver who likes to Tweet among the corals, waterproofing for a phone is undeniably handy. Ever dropped your phone in the bath, splashed something on it in the kitchen or ..."

CNET UK (reviews.cnet.co.uk)
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80/100

"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."

theinquirer.net
Read full review

Average Score

(9 Reviews)

83/100
 

Sony Xperia Z1 Review

Boy, is it hard to be a phone maker that is neither Apple or Samsung these days. What you need is a killer phone with best in class features. Luckily for Sony, it has made exactly this.

Design

Small, black and square might be the way we describe most new smartphones, but Sony manages to find its own unique design within these parameters. The Z1 is squarer than many phones on the market in 2013, and is covered front and back with glossy black glass, which gives the phone a fantastic look and feel -- despite its attraction to greasy fingerprints.

The Z1 is one of the rare phones that looks just as good with the screen turned off as it does with the screen turned on. Without power, the screen is jet-black, without even the slightest hit that an LCD screen is below the glass.

It gets better when you hit the power button and see the 1080p resolution LCD screen in action too. Sony call this a 'Triluminos Display' and with 441-pixels per inch, text and images look razor sharp on the 5-inch screen. Like we saw on the Xperia Z Ultra, the screen on the Z1 isn't particularly bright, though. This means you might have to set the screen to 60% brightness to get the same picture you might get on a competitor's phone at 30%, and this can put extra strain on the battery.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 on the left and the Sony Xperia Z1 on the right.

Side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy S4 -- one of this year's top sellers -- the screen in the Z1 is whiter, with somewhat truer colours. It lacks some of the contrast in the S4 screen though, so you can lose some of the depth when viewing images.

Sony's button placement the phone is a little unorthodox, with no mechanical navigation keys (it relies on software buttons for Home and Back, etc) while it puts the Power and Volume buttons under your fingers on the right side of the phone. It also has an indentation on the opposite side of the phone for a docking port, but annoyingly, this means that you always have something digging into your fingers, no matter how you hold the phone.

Like Z Ultra, the Z1 is waterproof, with ads for the phone showing people taking photos and videos underwater. To keep the phone safe from liquids, Sony puts tiny flaps over the phone's USB port, SIM card and memory card slots. This makes sense, but it is a pain to have to pick out these flaps every time you want to charge the handset -- something you will likely be doing everyday. Still, for those who have lost a phone to the darkest depths of a public toilet, this might be a small price to pay.

Sony's User Experience

As much as you might pick a phone based on how good the handset looks and feels, the user experience is arguably more important. The way you interact with a phone is more likely to sway your opinion of a device over the long run, than how it looks on your bedside table.

With this in mind, Sony deserve a big tick and a pat on the back. The user experience in the Z1 (and others in Sony's range) stands out among the other Android handsets available. Sony keeps things pretty simple with its home screen software and app drawer, but there are a few interesting usability tweaks on show.

For example, when you go into the app drawer, is laid out like you will find on almost all other Android phones. But if you swipe to the left, rather than the right, you'll discover a list of customisation options that re-order the apps drawer and apply filters to help you find your apps faster.

There is also loads of links to Facebook scattered through out Sony-designed apps, like Album, where there is a one-touch Facebook picture upload, and Walkman, where you can automatically post the music you are listing to to your wall.

Sony's virtual keyboard receives our 'most improved' award, after a big leap forward in usability. Previous keyboard software on Sony smartphones sat somewhere between tedious and appalling, but not so in the Z1.

The keyboard here enjoys a number of enhancements, including 'Gesture Typing' for creating words by swiping across the keys rather than tapping, and 'My Words' which scans your email, Twitter and Facebook to try and lean about the words you are most likely to use.

Bigger, badder 4G (Connectivity)

The smartphone buying world has an insatiable desire for things that go fast -- and then faster. 4G LTE technology has only been widely available for a couple of years, but already we're facing newer, speedier variants of the network advancements.

The Xperia Z1 is one of the first devices we've seen using Category 4 LTE -- the vast majority of current 4G devices are Cat 3. The step up from Cat 3 to Cat 4 is actually a 50% improvement in the potential speed to the device, with the Z1 being capable of download speeds of up to 150Mbps.

In everyday use, it is unlikely you will ever see speeds that match this, though you will feel the speed bump, we think. We saw speed test results of around 90Mbps in Sydney, which is crazy fast when you compare it to fixed line ADSL connections. Matched with the phone's powerful processor, and this makes for some very quick web browsing and media streaming.

Speaking of media, if you have a network attached storage (NAS) drive set up at home, you'll be excited to learn that the Z1 will connect to it without any tinkering with settings. Once the phone is connected to the same network over Wi-Fi, all of your videos, music and pictures stored on the drive will show up in the corresponding apps on the phone (Walkman, Album, Movies).

Camera

For the most part, the Z1 is a phone devoid of gimmicks and hyperbole-riddled marketing hype. But, there is a 20-megapixel camera, and as much as we want to embrace new technology, there is something about Sony's 'biggest is best' approach to photography that makes us a little skeptical.

The high-resolution image sensor isn't the only drawer card for this camera, with Sony working in a number of the same features that we've seen in other phones this year. There's a new Burst mode which takes a bunch of pics and lets you pic the best. You can use the same mode to remove elements from the background (like a photobombing stranger) or to find the best smile for each of the people in your photo.

But, the best new feature is a party trick that uses augmented reality to add animated elements into your photos, like dinosaurs, elves and underwater creatures. It is a goofy idea, but it is guaranteed to get a laugh.

For everyday photos, the Z1 does a decent job of taking pics for your social media accounts, but the image processing is just not up to scratch for anything more serious. This isn't too surprising, and not something we expect from a camera phone. 20-megapixels sounds like enough coloured dots to print out some impressive photos -- but we don't think it is quite capable of this.

Oh, but it can take photos underwater, so there's that.

Impressive colour in the sky, but some graininess throughout this shot.

Cute, but a little soft in colour saturation.

Graffiti at night using only the LED flash for light.

Performance and battery

Despite Sony's solid reputation within tech circles, the company's smartphones have never been the fastest or most powerful, until now. Sony opts for a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, with quad-cores clocked at 2.2GHz, 2GB RAM and an Adreno 330 graphics core. The result is a silky-smooth smartphone experience to rival any of the big names in this game.

All elements of this phone snap immediately to life when you press on the icons. The Album, full of pictures, springs to life; an Address Book with 1,000 contacts appears immediately; and it jumps back to the Home Screens when commanded to. There is no waiting around when using this phone.

Call quality is good when using the Z1, although we do find you have to position the phone accurately on your ear to make sure you are accessing the speaker well to hear others on a call clearly. For hands-free calling, the speaker is along the bottom edge of the phone, and is quite loud. We've found it useful for calls, but also for listening to music when no speakers are available.

With a 3000mAh battery capacity, battery life should be one of the strong points of the Z1. Most phones this size have batteries ranging in capacity between 2000-2500mAh, so the unit here is significantly larger.

Strangely, this doesn't equate to 25% extra battery life, though the Z1 does do a pretty good job of staying awake. With moderate usage, we can easily get a day and a half out of the Z1, and even a full day with heavy use. It's a shame it doesn't last for longer, given the size of the battery, but we're guessing Sony's 'Triluminos Display' is a little more power hungry than the screens on phones by Samsung and HTC.

Our Verdict

For the first time we can remember, Sony has a phone that stands toe-to-toe with the big names in this industry. We've wanted to like Sony phones before, but there was always something holding them back -- often performance. Not so with the Z1; it is as fast and powerful as any Samsung, has the good looks of the iPhone and HTCs, and is unique in a few keys ways too, like being water and shock-proof.

We wish the camera was a little better, though. Avid photographers will be annoyed with how close it comes to matching the industry's best camera phones, but ultimately how it falls short. We've found that you can sometimes overcome a few of the camera's quirks by tinkering with the manual controls, but thi

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