Sony Xperia Z review

Has Sony finally got a smartphone right?

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Sony's come out here with a very strong message: we are back and we mean business. There's no hint of this being a niche Android phone, or by any means a cheap one. Sony wants the Xperia Z to be viewed as the handset of choice, the one that will knock Apple off its pedestal and be classed as the Android device.

It's done this through a design which is, frankly, beautiful. And specs which are, in some ways, unmatched.

But it's also making a powerful statement by charging so much. And while we can see why, we don't know if it's a strategy that will necessarily work.

We liked

The Sony Xperia Z has incredible specs - from that beautiful screen, to its breathtaking design and powerful innards, there is so much that Sony has got right here.

It has built on the strong heritage of the Walkman and given power users one of the things they often desperately crave - a good battery performance and top speeds.

The design is robust and fits very well in the hand - and despite the fact the 5-inch screen is whopping, the way its integrated into the chassis mitigates that issue well. And when you turn on the Full HD screen, well, the clarity is almost mind-melting.

We disliked

But there's always got to be a minus, and there are a few with the Sony Xperia Z. For example, the dust resistance is pretty much nothing more than words in our experience, and it does feel like a large slab in the hand.

And while the camera is OK, it's hardly mind-blowing. The price will still be a little high for some - although we think it's probably about par for a phone of this power - and we're annoyed about the trickiness of Mac support. Will it affect a large group of users? No - but that doesn't mean it should be neglected at all, given the increasing number of people using MacBooks for media purposes.

Final verdict

There is so much to love about the Sony Xperia Z - and while there are some annoyances, they pale in comparison. Yes, we think it's a bit shoddy that we encountered software bugs, but we suppose they can be fixed easily enough, and they weren't bad enough that we had crashes or lost data.

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 have a strong contender for smartphone of the year.

The only problem is, by the time that's happened, the competition from fellow Android manufacturers will have grown even fiercer. For now, for those who can afford it, we recommend it heartily.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
SAR Value0.48 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia Z
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 850, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution13 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time11 Hour
Product ModelC6603
Screen Size12.7 cm (5")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)146 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density441 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2 Megapixel
Height139 mm
Width71 mm
Depth7.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time550 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXperia Z C6603 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Product LineXperia Z
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Gyro Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number1270-5659
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

HDR video camera

Xperia Z features Exmor RS™ for mobile, the world's first image sensor with HDR video for smartphones, so you can take beautiful stills and movies even against strong light.

13-megapixel camera

The 13 megapixel fast-capture camera and the next-generation Sony Exmor RS™ for mobile sensor makes Xperia Z the Android mobile that delivers crystal clear photos wherever, whenever.

Great in all light conditions

With Exmor RS™ for mobile and HDR, Xperia Z takes sharp photos and videos both in lowlight and strongly backlit conditions. The lowlight sensors on front and back make it the first dual Exmor R™ for mobile camera.