Buying Guide
Best Android phone - which should you buy?
Best Android phone

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.