Sony Xperia Z1S review

A powerhouse Android smartphone that isn't afraid of a little water

Sony Xperia Z1S review

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The Sony Xperia Z1S has a quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 and 2GB RAM. Coupled with an Adreno 330 GPU and powered by a 3,000 mAh battery, you can expect solid performance without suffering battery life on this thing.

Sony Xperia Z1S review

It's been some time since we've seriously considered benchmarks to measure smartphone performance, but since the controversy of manufacturers gaming the benchmarks to show favorable results, we've decided to abandon them for now.

Instead, we'll take a look at real-world performance as measured by two weeks of solid use.

First, graphically and system intensive games like Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 were played with reckless abandon, which is more than we'd like to admit. In the numerous hours spent playing these games, we never experienced a crash or hiccup in game play and performance.

Sony Xperia Z1S review

Perhaps that says a lot about the games themselves, but it also says a lot about the device. These games were punishing on other handsets, like the Motorola Droids from Verizon.

Outside of games, there's the camera performance and photo editing apps. These can often kill the battery, or cause the device to warm up. That wasn't the case with the Xperia Z1S.

In fact, it was rare to experience the "Unfortunately (application) has stopped working" message that drives some Android lovers crazy. In the last two weeks, it happened maybe once, and it probably had to do more with the app misbehaving than the device's hardware.

Swiping between screens, multitasking and general touch performance have always been smooth and glitch free. There is no lag and no hiccups, and while that is typical of most devices in the beginning, before memory is bogged down with apps and services, I really tried to push and punish this device the past two weeks.

Sony Xperia Z1S review

The Xperia Z1S took it like a champ, and it almost made me consider getting one of these on my own as a primary device.

Before I get too bullish on the Z1S, I'd like to reiterate that this experience could change in a few more weeks, or months, which is what ultimately matters. While I don't see that happening, I'll be sure to update this review after one or two months in. This way you'll know whether it's right for you (especially if you're not in a position to upgrade phones right now), or if you can compare your experiences with mine if you already own or are preparing to buy the device.

Battery life

Put simply, you'll rarely ever worry about having to charge your battery, or if it will last the day before you can get home to a charger.

A good practice is to charge opportunistically, or whenever you have access to a charger. It's a good idea to have a charger at home and at the office, but with the Xperia Z1S you'll be fine if you only have your charger at home.

Every morning, the Z1S would come off the charger around 8 a.m. With regular usage throughout the day, which includes a lot of social networking, gaming and shooting photos, we're down to about 30-40% by 8 p.m.

Depending on your expectations, and your previous experience with other smartphones, that may be impressive or just damn amazing. In fact, in the middle of our testing we went two days without a charge and it held up just fine.

Quoted numbers rarely ever matter as much as real-world performance, as everyone's usage varies, but take it from a power user who was with this phone for two weeks - when it comes to battery life on the Z1S, you have little to nothing to worry about.