- Reception and call quality No comments
- Display BraviaEngine2 with this high PPI display is really quite nice but there's a lot of competition here with other display-centric domestic makers
- Battery life A great improvement over the Xperia GX and a number of other Xperia devices sold domestically in Japan
- Camera Better processing means better performance running the software in addition to the improved Exmor RS but you lose out on a dedicated camera button
- Ease of use No comments
- Design and form factor Looks great, feels great, and the purple works very nicely; May be a little too big for some hands though
- Portability (size / weight) Only slightly bigger than the GX despite the screen being a lot bigger. The weight is not too heavy and not too light.
- Media support No comments
- Durability Water/Dust resistant and Premium built with strong non-branded shatter proof glass but a finger-print magnet
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) The Smartphone App eco-system is mature now but more importantly there are a lot of great accessories for this!
With Docomo's new spring line-up, the Xperia Z is clearly the best and most popular (although some of the other domestic products are also quite decent for the Japanese market) I have only a few "complaints" about mt Xperia GX but Xperia Z covers all of them and more.
The Xperia GX battery is too small. They have great industrial design but the thinness of the great-looking ARC design means a little less space for the battery thus a slightly smaller battery. The Xperia Z doesn't have an ARC design and can have a much nicer sized battery.
2.) Power Button
When not looking at the phone, it is difficult to distinguish the camera button from the power button (because they are in the same position when the orientation of the phone is unknown). Sony Mobile has said in an interview at CES that the new power button is their new signature accent. To be honest, it makes it really easy to find the power button in the dark or when your eyes are focused elsewhere. Plus, it's far easier to push the button due to the button design and position over the Xperia GX.
3.) Waterproof* (*I mean IPX5/7... not scuba diving "proof")
In the Japanese market, this is a deal breaker. At first it was just the different manufacturers always scrambling to find unique features to market their products over rivals like when we used to have solar panels built into phones, etc. However, waterproofing became more than just some unique value proposition, but rather became a required features of any feature phone or smartphone (or tablets to a lesser degree although there are several waterproof tablets)
The Xperia GX is not waterproof. For me in the end, going with a beautifully designed Xperia GX was more important than the waterproofing but with the Xperia Z you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a beautifully designed device AND have it waterproof. You can essentially have your cake and eat it too.
4.) The Dock, docking.
The Xperia GX has a beautiful dock for both charging and for connecting via MHL+HDMI to a TV or monitor. I use it on a daily basis. The dock is beautifully designed, premium build quality, and works really well (works FAR better than my Samsung MHL connector). There's only one drawback and that is that you have to plug your phone into the device.
The dock cradle has a plug sticking out that you plug into the always-exposed usb/mhl connector on your Xperia GX. For at least 7 years, nearly all feature phones in Japan have had charging cradles and none of them ever required a "plug" type connection. Instead, they have special metal contact points that touch contacts on the dock cradle. With the advent of and ubiquity of waterproof phones, this further cemented with type of standard into the de facto standard in Japan. Lucky, the Xperia Z follows that great trend. It's very easy to dock and undock the Xperia Z using those metal contact points. Waterproof devices are a lot of trouble to open up flaps but with the Xperia Z, you don't have to. It docks beautifully with the dock, with speakers, etc...
There were not so many accessories available for my Xperia GX. I got the beautiful dock, but there were almost no other accessories available. The Xperia Z is quite the opposite! There are so many different accessories available for it (See my photos on Google+ for the VR helmet display, new skins for your device, a myriad of cases - although why hide the device in a case that would hide it's great industrial design especially when high-end Sony smartphone these days use high-quality glass technology even if they won't tell us the specific brand but it's sitll that same quality level), bluetooth keyboards, and a variety of NFC-enabled bluetooth speakers.
Other.) Other impressions of the Xperia Z
This is a great device. In terms of industrial design, it's the best looking and well-designed device since the hayabusa Xperia GX. Glass on both side gives it a premium feel and the purple looks great; It also, however, is a fingerprint magnet. The device has a 5 inch, 1280x1080 full HD 443 ppi display that looks really good. BraviaEngine 2 bring dynamic contrast control (even for 1080p video up to 30 frame per second). Some nice improvements over the GX in the display and a larger display at that yet the device itself is not that much bigger than the GX. It's fairly large in one's hand but not uncomfortable. (Some of those NEC phones are really uncomfortable). The weight is about the same as the GX but unlike the GX while firmly holding the phone with your hand, your thumb may not be able to reach all corners of the device without loosening your grip (ie: one handed use while standing on the train, for example, may be a little bit difficult if you often need to touch the corners of the device)
Performance-wise with a Qualcom S4 Pro SoC under the hood with 2GB of RAM, I would not expect performance to be anything but good. There are also some major improvements to the digitizer/touchscreen technology. These points together bring your smoother operations, smoother touch input, and smoother scrolling. In actual practice, it is noticeably smoother but not dramatic.
The device was not running final software at the time of review but the performance was quite good. The Xperia GX's non-final software builds were all far poorer performance than the final build. Perhaps, the Xperia Z will have more performance tweaking but the performance as it is now is ready for launch.
All around this is a great device. It looks great and performs great.
It's not enough to make me move from an Xperia GX to the Xperia Z but anything older than that, and it would extremely enticing to buy. Instead, I should encourage a family member to buy one instead =P
The overall design is solid and premium but doesn't scream uniqueness. The uniqueness comes, however, through the smaller accents such as the power button. There is NO CAMERA BUTTON, but SMC PR says the main reason for this is because of waterproofing. The more buttons you have, the more difficult and/or expensive waterproofing essentially becomes.
Is that camera button a deal breaker for you? or can you live with the intelligent on screen camera button?
2 people find this review helpful
Edited comment on Durability
Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) rating changed from 4 to 5
Edited comment on Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
Durability rating changed from 4 to 5
Edited comment on Portability (size / weight)
Edited comment on Design and form factor
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