Sony has just unveiled its second half Android flagship, the Xperia Z1. The device has leaked numerous times over the last few weeks, and pretty much every thing was known about the handset even before its release.
- 170gms, 144 x 74 x 8.5mm
- 5-inch TRILUMINOS HD display with Full HD (1920*1080) resolution
- Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz
- IP55 and IP58 dust-resistant and waterproof
- Adreno 330 GPU
- 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage
- microSD card slot
- ClearAudio+ and Walkman
- 20.7MP camera with G Lens, 1/2.3-inch Exmor R sensor, with ClearImage zoom for up to 3x lose-less zoom
- Dedicated camera shutter key
- 3000mAh battery
- Stamina Mode
- Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, 4G LTE
- Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
- Black, White and Purple variants
The design of the Xperia Z1 is clearly inspired from its predecessor, the Xperia Z. It makes use of the same OmniBalance design, with a few improvements. Think of the Z1’a design as a refined Xperia Z, with metal edges running around the handset in a slightly lighter, smaller and slimmer body. The tempered glass, and the one-aluminium chassis also help Sony to improve durability of the handset. Like most recent Sony devices, the Xperia Z1 is water-proof and dust-resistant. In fact, Sony says the Z1 is actually water-proof and not just water-resistant, like the Xperia Z and other Xperia devices.
On the hardware front, the Xperia Z1 is like any other flagship phone to be released in the second half of 2013. The handset is powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon S800 SoC, an Adreno 330 GPU – which is up to 50% faster than Adreno 320, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot and the usual bunch of connectivity features. The inclusion of a 3000mAh battery, along with Sony’s stamina mode, should make sure that the Xperia Z1 easily lasts a day of heavy usage.
Right out of the box, the Xperia Z1 runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. While this is not the latest and greatest version of Android out there, Sony has added a lot of new software enhancements to make up for it. Sony’s UI never deviated too much from stock Android, and while its UI is not as stock as seen on the Moto X, it is still much better than Samsung’s TouchWIZ.
Apart from all the camera features mentioned above, the Z1 packs a few other usual Sony enhancements as well. This includes the beautiful Walkman, Album and Movies app, which are accompanied by their respective online services – Music Unlimited, PlayMemories and Play Unlimited.
PlayMemories is a new service from Sony that will automatically upload all the pictures that the user clicks from their Z1 and other compatible devices. Think of PlayMemories as Dropbox, but with unlimited storage and limited device access. The service will be available in Germany, France, the U.K, Canada, US and Japan, initially, with more European markets on the card.
The camera is the highlight of the Xperia Z1. Sony has laid special emphasis on quality, and the company states that the 20.7MP sensor coupled with its G-lens sensor can provide some stunning results. The large 1/2.3-inch Exmor R sensor is bigger than most competing mobile devices including the HTC One, iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S4, which should translate into some stunning results. The use of BIONZ for mobile processing engine, an F/2.0 aperture and the G Lens also help in making the Z1’s camera an impressive beast.
Sony is also debuting a new Clear image zoom technology on the Z1 that allows for up to 3x zoom levels without affecting the quality. The company has also included a dedicated shutter key so as to please all the shutter-bugs out there. It will be interesting to see how the Xperia Z1 fares against the likes of the LG G2 and the HTC One, which feature OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) that greatly enhances low-light image quality.
However, the hardware is not the only highlight of the Z1’s camera suite. On the software front, Sony has added Social live , Info-eye, Timeshift burst, AR effect and more. Social live allows Z1 owners to broadcast live all their precious moments to their Facebook friends, while Info-eye is a visual search function that provides related information on landmarks and on items such as books or wine simply by capturing them with the camera.
Timeshift burst is similar to HTC’s Zoe, minus the video part, and allows the Z1 to take 61 images in 2 seconds – a second before and after pressing the shutter – so the user can scroll back and forth to find the perfect image.
The whole camera and app ecosystem is also very open, and many developers are working on bringing some useful and innovative apps to the Xperia devices.
The Z1 will be available in key markets of the world from this month itself, probably from the online Sony store.. In Germany and other limited countries, Z1 owners will get 100EUR worth of content pre-loaded on the device. This includes 60 days of free Music Unlimited access, 10 free PlayStation Mobile games, and 6 blockbuster movies.
Sadly, Sony did not provide any other details about the release of the device, including its pricing.