Could the Japanese manufacturer’s new flagship handset be headed for the top of the high-end smartphone market?
Mobile Entertainment is delighted to introduce the first of a new series of articles from Dialaphone, with today’s feature focussing on the new Sony Xperia Z smartphone…
The Xperia Z launched at CES 2013 as Sony’s new flagship Android smartphone, and it seems the Japanese manufacturer hopes to propel its new addition into the same territory as other high-end mobile phones from the likes of Samsung and HTC.
It’s the best proposition we’ve ever seen from the manufacturer’s Xperia range, featuring a waterproof casing, 13-megapixel camera, and striking five-inch 1080p display, resulting in it being labelled the first full HD smartphone.
Although first on the full HD scene, it was quickly followed by the full HD Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra, with the 1080p display-toting HTC M7 rumoured to follow soon after, but for now, at least, it holds this particular crown. So, what it is about the Xperia Z that makes it so impressive, and will it be enough to make it stand out from the ever-growing crowd?
The Xperia Z’s form factor steps away from Sony’s previous flagship device, the Xperia T, with its curved back panel and arched bodywork, and instead takes style cues from the Xperia S, showcasing a more minimalist design with squared corners.
Dragontrail’s super-tough glass protects the front and back of the handset, and there’s an additional anti-scratch film skinned on top of this so the device appears shiny but remains tough and durable. Sony has even gone a step further, making the device waterproof to a depth of one metre, something that’s really quite remarkable.
Plastic flaps cover the headphone and mini USB ports so the handset remains protected when submerged. But, while the display continues to operate, the capacitive touchscreen does not function under water.
The device comes with Android Jelly Bean out of the box and Sony has been working to adapt its native smartphone software to bring it more in line with its other products. There has been talk of a shared user interface (UI) across all its devices, whether it’s phones, tablets or televisions, as the firm looks towards creating a wider ecosystem. While the Android skin on the Xperia Z bears a resemblance to Sony’s earlier Timescape UI, minor modifications have been made, such as design tweaks to the lock screen, that help set it apart.
Featuring Sony’s BRAVIA Engine 2, the five-inch full HD 1080p display offers outstanding visual performance. The screen also has an incredible ppi of 442, a pixel density which far outdoes any smartphones we’ve seen so far.
Images have a great depth of detail and clarity and if you’re a fan of watching films on your handset the quality is equally as impressive as watching a big HDTV screen at home.
A 13-megapixel camera, previously seen on the Xperia T, makes an appearance on this flagship device and is another headlining feature, thanks to a raft of built in functionality.
The Superior Auto mode is very clever and perhaps the most useful of these - it decides on the best camera mode for your surroundings and automatically engages the correct settings. This saves users a lot of time when capturing all types of images in a variety of conditions, from moody winter landscapes to family holiday snaps.
There’s also the super-fast Burst mode, which allows an unlimited number of images to be captured at a remarkable ten frames per second, making it perfect for all those action shots, so you never miss a thing.
If shooting movies is more your thing the Xperia Z also brings 1080p HD video recording to the fore, featuring the world’s first video HDR function, which without going into all the techy details, means those dark foregrounds will be banished forever and frames captured in low light conditions will be optimised.
With so many power-zapping features on-board, Sony has introduced the Stamina Mode widget on the Xperia Z. It helps improve battery life by turning off data connections and closing down apps when the handset goes into standby mode, so you’ve still got enough power to make calls as well as send and receive text messages.
Sony’s quad-core contender really is a powerhouse of a phone, and one that features striking visual performance at that. However, with the pace of the smartphone market constantly picking up, the Xperia Z already has some stiff competition for the title of the best full HD smartphone.
Its success could well come down to how the Xperia Z’s features are received by users and whether the waterproof aspect is something that will appeal to potential buyers. Either way, Sony is now in a strong position to go up against the likes of Samsung in terms of specs, at least, at the high-end of the Android market.