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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sony Xperia Z1 hands-on review: new flagship smartphone with 20.7MP camera


 Sony has upgraded its flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z, to the Xperia Z1. We got to spend some time with the device at IFA 2013, here’s our Sony Xperia Z1 hands-on review.

On the face of it the Sony Xperia Z1 looks and feels just like the Xperia Z; the Xperia Z1 is still dust and waterproof like it’s junior, the real difference can be found in the impressive 20.7 Mp camera, as well as some minor internal hardware upgrades.

Usually when companies upgrade their flagship smartphones they boast about how the new smartphone is thinner and lighter than its predecessor. Well that’s not the case here, Sony has made the Xperia Z1 24g heavier and ever so slightly chunkier (144 x 74 x 8.5 mm ) than the Xperia Z.

The obvious reason for the rise in weight and rotundness can be attributed to the awesome new 20 Mp camera, and upgraded processor that the Xperia Z1 has. This can all be forgiven though as you really can’t notice the difference when the device is in your hand.

As mentioned above, the real difference here is the whopping 20 Mp camera that Sony has slipped into the Xperia  Z1. We took a couple of pictures with it here at IFA and the results looked great on the  Xperia Z1’s 5 in 441 ppi Full HD display. It seems like Sony really has nailed the camera and screen combo in this smartphone as the image we took still looked sharp even when we zoomed right in on the picture we took.

In addition to the 20.7 Mp camera there are also a few interesting, if a little gimmicky, feature added to the Z1 too. The features are all around the camera recognizing certain things and then offering on screen information about what it sees. Put the camera into Info-eye mode and point it at a bottle of wine and the Z1 will tell you the region its from, its year and also some suggested recepies that go well with the plonk.  Info-eye does similar tricks with famous landmarks and books too.


The specs of the Xperia Z1 are very close to the Xperia Z, with the processor being the only area that has been updated. Wheres the Xperia Z has a Qualcomm Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait, the Xperia Z1 now has a Qualcomm Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 processor. The overall feel and snappiness of the Xperia Z1 hasn’t changed much, and that’s actually a good thing as the Xperia Z was an impressively responsive and powerful smartphone.

The Xperia Z1 comes preinstalled with Android 4.3 Jelly bean and you can find all of the usual Sony software apps such as Walkman, the PlayStation app and trackID. There is also one more new feature of note that the Xperia Z1 has and that’s the Social Live app and this really is pretty cool. What Social Live lets you do is take a video and stream that video live on Facebook for all your friends to see.

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