Sony has unveiled the Xperia Z1, a flagship device that builds on what has recently been seen from the Xperia range and adds some excellent extra features, such as an incredibly powerful camera. So how does the device look on first impression?
The Xperia Z1 looks very similar to the Japanese firm’s previous flagship, the Xperia Z, with a wide, flat form factor and sharp edges. While stylish, we have found this design to be a little uncomfortable in everyday use, although the corners are slightly more rounded than on the previous flagship and sit a little more comfortably in the hand.
The big difference in appearance comes with the grey metal edging, a feature which gives the Xperia Z1 an industrial feel that looks a little more rugged than its predecessor. On the top of the handset is a water resistant headphone socket, with the device’s other ports being covered with plastic flaps. Sony is sticking with its waterproofing idea and while the chances of a handset actually being used underwater may be slim it is great protection against accidents and splashes.
On to the Xperia’s headline feature, that high-spec camera. At 20.7 megapixels its one of the most powerful around, only being outclassed by some of Nokia’s photographic innovations, and it promises great things.
Having done a short test in a variety of conditions the camera delivers impressive results, with images being clear, crisp and having real depth to them. Video comes out particularly well, with Sony’s visual prowess being used to its fullest here.
Those videos look particularly impressive on the Xperia Z1’s X-Reality display, where the Japanese firm’s expertise comes to the fore. The screen uses what is called Triluminos technology, which brings out colours and makes them stronger without being overly contrasting. The effect is excellent, making for vivid visuals that aren’t brash or tiring on the eyes.
High-res video footage takes on an almost 3D effect, and still images almost leap out of the screen. Sony’s display is one of the best we’ve ever seen on a smartphone and is a truly impressive feature.
Sony hasn’t made any great leaps with its UI since the version that we saw on the Xperia Z and what this handset offers is a very easy to use Android experience that doesn’t complicate the platform at all. While maybe not as stylish and feature-filled as that seen on Samsung’s recent device, the Sony UI gives you plenty of room to play with.
Overall, Sony looks to have evolved what it has done with its leading Xperia range recently, taking its handsets to another level. The photographic capabilities of the Xperia Z1 promise great things and it will be interesting to see how the device performs when put through a full test. For now, it looks like Sony has delivered another high-quality, versatile handset that stands as an excellent option for anyone wanting a high-end Android smartphone.