The Xperia Z1, Sony’s latest flagship, is an amazing bit of kit. The specs are formidable and the build quality is fantastic. So what does this all add up to in real world use?
Look and Feel
As I mentioned above the Xperia Z1 is a wonderfully built piece of kit. It feels premium to hold. It’s a combination of glass and metal which really helps the Z1 to stand out against the competition.
The screen quality is superb, full HD 1080 with Bravia technology which really makes the screen stand out. The colors look natural and the picture quality is extremely sharp. I really can’t fault the display on the Xperia.
Where the Xperia falls short is the size of the thing. It’s a big phone, and that’s coming from someone who used the Galaxy Note 2 for almost a year. Due to the device being water and dust proof Sony have compromised on size. The Xperia Z1 is far larger than its rivals and at times can be pretty uncomfortable to hold, its sharp corners digging into your palms and making one handed usage almost impossible.
The Xperia Z1 runs on Android and is extremely snappy, responding to almost everything I could throw at it without any lag. I found that Sony hadn’t loaded the device with too much bloat ware and their custom launcher was nice to use which is a pleasant surprise.
The Z1 packs a whopping 20.7 mega pixel camera which works fantastically well in low light conditions due to the size if its lens. Adding to this is the return of the hardware camera key on the side of the Z1 which helps to snap those perfect shots.
I absolutely loved and hated the camera on the Z1. It’s an odd beast, either taking some of the best shots I’ve ever managed or alternatively snapping nothing but a blurry mess.
I found that a lot of the issues cropped up when I used Sony’s ‘Superior Auto’ shooting mode which automatically switches settings in order to capture the best shot. I’ll warn you now, more often than not it gets things wrong.
Switching the phone into manual shooting mode gives a much higher chance of snapping a fantastic shot, but still my experience was plagued with awful blurry pics. I don’t know why the Z1 is inconsistent but unfortunately it is. In comparison to other smartphones it may be capable of taking the better pictures but more often than not it will let you down.
For a phone like this the battery life is pretty good, which is handy considering it is built in. Consistently I’ll get a full days worth of battery which includes just over 4 hours of screen on time. For the power users amongst you I would suggest carrying a portable battery if you are going to be away from a charger for a lengthy period of time.
What I liked
I absolutely love the build quality and waterproof feature on this phone. The Z1, despite its size, is a joy to handle. Throw in the added bonus that I don’t have to worry about using it in the rain and I can capture novelty underwater photos and you’re onto a winner.
What I disliked
Potentially the best and the worst feature on the Z1, its camera. I loved how amazing some of the photos captured on the device look but I hate how inconsistent it is. Even in the exact same scene, with the exact same settings photo quality will differ drastically.
Ultimately it ruins the camera for me as it just can’t be trusted to capture those fantastic shots it is capable of. Fingers crossed it is just a software fault and not hardware.
The Xperia Z1 is a beautiful phone with the specs to match. For those camera enthusiasts amongst you it is worth giving a shot, that is if you can tolerate the inconsistent quality issues.
Be warned, for those who have smaller hands this may not be the device for you. It’s closer in size to the Galaxy Note 2 than it is to its 5 inch screen competitors.
For a full run down of specs check out the Sony Xperia Z1.