Sony’s new flagship is bigger, brighter and better than anything previously seen from the manufacturer’s Xperia range. Featuring a high-spec, 5-inch display and durable design, the Xperia Z is a striking handset which places the device in the same ‘phablet’ territory as the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Note II.
Featuring Sony’s BRAVIA Engine 2 for outstanding graphical performance, the screen has a 1920 x 1080 resolution with an incredible ppi of 442. A pixel density of that calibre far outdoes any other smartphone display currently on the market and the screen performs brilliantly as a result.
Images have an incredible depth and clarity to them and videos are smooth and clear, with even the tiniest details standing out. The Xperia Z’s display is s step up from anything we’ve seen before and sets the bar considerably higher for other manufacturers.
Aside from the screen, the Xperia Z is still a good-looking handset, with a form factor that moves away from previous Xperia devices. Whereas the last few Sony handsets have featured elements such as curved backplates and arched bodywork, the Xperia Z takes a minimalist shape with squared corners.
With Dragontrail glass protecting both the front and back of the handset and an additional anti-scratch film on top of this, the Xperia Z appears smooth and shiny yet very tough and durable. Sony has taken this degree of protection even further by making the device waterproof to a depth of one metre.
With plastic flaps covering the various ports for headphones, miniUSB and so on the Xperia Z will survive should it accidentally take a plunge. More than this, the display will continue to operate, although the functions of the capacitive touchscreen do not work underwater.
Beyond the hardware, Sony is adapting its smartphone software to bring it more in line with its other products . There is talk of a shared user interface between all Sony products, be they phones, tablets or televisions.
This alteration of software, although small, is a significant step towards creating a wider Sony ecosystem of which the Xperia Z will be just one part. While the Android skin on the Xperia Z still bears quite a resemblance to Sony’s earlier Timescape UI, a few minor modifications, such as the appearance of the lockscreen, set it apart.
The new flagship comes equipped with NFC, a technology which Sony utilises with its One Touch sharing system that allows data and media to be sent between devices.
MHL and DLNA connectivity are also built into the Xperia Z, making it an excellent platform for sending visual media to other devices, although with a display as good as this you may have little reason to do so.
Sony’s recent flagships have featured powerful cameras, with the Xperia T’s 13 megapixel offering being the pick of the bunch. The Xperia Z has the same megapixel count but makes use of the firm’s new Exmor RS sensor, which enables increased HDR functions and should see a decrease in noise on photographs.
Further features include what looks like a very useful battery saving feature called Stamina Mode, and Sony’s take on Beats Audio sound enhancement tech Clear Audio + also makes an appearance and performs well enough to give HTC and its Dre-endorsed collaboration a run for its money
Sony’s new device is striking enough with the display turned off and even more so when that 5-inch HD powerhouse is brought into play. With visuals that better anything else out there Sony is in a strong position to take on Samsung in the high-end Android market.
The Xperia Z has some unique and unusual features such as the high-spec display and waterproofing that should make it stand out and on first impressions it is an excellent upgrade to existing Xperia flagships.