Sony Xperia Z1
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The Z1 ticks all the main boxes for a cutting-edge Android flagship, with superb 20-megapixel stills being an added bonus. However, if you're looking for the very best cameraphone on the market, this isn't it.
- An excellent all-rounder
- Waterproof and dustproof
- Attractive design, well-built
- Powerful camera in a skinny frame
- Lack of image stabilization hurts video and low-light stills
- 1080p display has bad viewing angles
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Sony Xperia Z1
- Critic Reviews (11)
- User Reviews (34)
- 84AVERAGE CRITIC SCORE11 ReviewsEngadget100Sony Xperia Z1 review: a high-spec cameraphone witThe camera, the screen, the processor, the battery life, the build quality -- none of them are market-beaters on their own, but together, in one package, they make a sensible buy for anyone looking for a big-screened, high-spec Android smartphone.Laptop MagazineNot RatedSony Xperia Z1 Hands-on: 20.7-MP Camera, WaterprooSo far, we’re excited with what the Xperia Z1 has to offer, but remain cautious due to its large footprint and heft.CNETNot RatedSony Xperia Z1 is a waterproof, 20.7-megapixel beaIt has roughly similar dimensions to the Z, but it's marginally thicker. Although both the Z1 and Samsung Galaxy S4 have 5-inch displays, the Z1 is slightly longer and wider than Samsung's phone. You still won't struggle to cram it into your Levis.EngadgetNot RatedSony Xperia Z1: the new flagship with imaging at iThe Xperia Z1 is well built, zippy and responsive, and seems to keep the best bits of the original. Add to that key updates we saw first in the Z Ultra -- all stirred up with that megapixel mania -- and it becomes a tantalizing combination, that's for sure.Pocket-Lint80Sony Xperia Z1 reviewThe physical size is chunky ... and the presence of lots of capable competitors out there means the Z1, despite all its positives, doesn't shine as brightly as its spec sheet would suggest.PC World AustraliaNot RatedSony Xperia Z1 Android phone (preview)Sony has lifted the lid on its newest flagship smartphone for 2013, the Xperia Z1. It has a huge focus on photography with a 20-megapixel camera boasting a 1/2.3in sensor, a G lens with 27mm wide angle and a range of new software features.Pocket-LintNot RatedHands-on: Sony Xperia Z1 reviewIt's got the latest generation of processor, it's got the highest resolution camera, an improved display, a big battery and it's waterproof. Add to that Sony's clean Android interface and this could be a very strong contender for phone of the year.SlashGearNot RatedSony Xperia Z1 hands-onIt’s a handsome phone, certainly. Sony used polycarbonate to good effect with the last few models, with the plastic making for a sturdy frame that then had sheets of glass inserted, but the Xperia Z1 steps it up a notch.What Hi-Fi100Sony Xperia Z1Much like the Xperia Z, this is a brilliant smartphone not just for sophisticated picture and sound quality that's a cut above most rivals but also as an all-round package.Digital Versus80Sony Xperia Z1...the Xperia Z1 is a great addition to the high-end Android stock, all without outperforming the competition. The camera isn't the leap forward Sony says it is, but the overall smartphone experience is nonetheless fun and effective in a stylish, responsive and powerful smartphone.TechRadar80Sony Xperia Z1 reviewThe Xperia Z1 is a powerful, luxury executive toy for those who have to have the biggest and best, regardless of whether they actually need it or not.GSM Arena80Sony Xperia Z1 review: Walking on waterThe Sony Xperia Z1 is a charming smartphone with best-in-class feature set. It certainly makes all Sony admirers happy and clearly shows that the company is taken on the right path in its fight as king of the hill.T380Sony Xperia Z1 reviewThere’s a lot to this phone, and its high-end credentials are not in doubt. It looks good, feels great in your hand and the Sony speciality of waterproofness remains a key, if gimmicky, feature.GSM ArenaNot RatedSony Xperia Z1 preview: A closer lookThe Xperia Z1 is nonetheless the best smartphone to come from Sony yet and one that will easily build on the success of the Xperia Z. We are yet to see how it holds against the likes of the LG G2, but it certainly has a shot at the top spot.T3Not RatedSony Xperia Z1 review: Hands-onAt first glance, the Sony Xperia Z1 is an impressive phone. The camera spec alone is enough to tempt a photography enthusiast...and it seems Sony has again served up a smartphone to look- out for and one that can take on the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 1020.phoneArenaNot RatedSony Xperia Z1 (Honami) hands-on... the Z1 has an appealing, albeit bulky design, all the hardware power to make it future-proof, as well as as camera with great potential.Phone ScoopNot RatedHands-On: Sony Xperia Z1Sony's new Xperia Z1 takes the high bar set by the Z a step further thanks to an improved camera and better feel in the hand.TechRadarNot RatedHands on: Sony Xperia Z1 reviewIt's an impressive phone that packs so much technology inside you can't help but enjoy all the treats on offer - and it's well packaged in a way that makes us love to try all the different features.GSM ArenaNot RatedSony Xperia Z1 hands on: First lookThis year, Sony made sure to use the latest Snapdragon, fixed the screen, bolstered the waterproofing while keeping the sexy design and went all out with the camera.Expert Reviews80Sony Xperia Z1 reviewGreat build quality, huge performance and an impressive screen, but its camera lets the Z1 down.TrustedReviews80Sony Xperia Z1 reviewThe Sony Xperia Z1 is powerful smartphone with an improved camera and elegant design to make it one of the best 5-inch smartphones to currently buy.TrustedReviewsNot RatedSony Xperia Z1Small and cute it certainly isn’t, the Sony Xperia Z1 is the Tonka Truck of flagship smartphones. But it's tough, chunky and exceptionally well made, and its camera is seriously promising.Photography Blog70Sony Xperia Z1 ReviewThe Sony Xperia Z1 is still one of the best smartphones that we've reviewed, though, and it does run on the more popular Android OS, rather than Windows, which may ultimately sway your decision.PocketNow90Sony Xperia Z1 review: the king of waterproof phonWe definitely recommend the Sony Xperia Z1. It is a very powerful device, and, Sony’s best phone yet. Needless to say the Z1 is part of the elite group of top Android phones ...
- 87AVERAGE USER SCORE34 ReviewsEngadget Reader60June 10, 2015Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Disclaimer: this is second Z1 after the first one had problems before end of warranty. TMobile replaced with refurbished Z1 and this second one is less than 2 months old.The phone size and form factor is excellent. It is not too small or too large. I use it all the time for sports activity with arm band. I like it that it has microSD slot (movies for flight and travel, ones not available on Netflix or Amazon).Call quality is good, like other phones I had in past. However, don't try using speaker phone when driving or multi-tasking...the other end cannot understand or hear you. Also ear buds with microphones don't work that great either. I had to give up talking while exercising, driving or multi-tasking. Life style changer!Camera and video works great if it is working. On first Z1, it developed a gold halo on the edge that was 35-40% of the image. Battery life is great, I go 2-3 days before I need to recharge. Also I can listen with wired headphone on 5+ hour flight and it barely drains 15% of the battery. Or watch 2 hour movie (in airplane mode) and it only drains about 20% of the phone.The USB port covers fall out very often, I have replaced 2 in the past 2 months. Finally, gave up and left the port uncovered, defeating the waterproof premise of the phone. The audio port is finicky...both Z1 have had audio port problems...so bad that now I have to use Bluetooth headset. This second Z1 is so finicky that if I touch the jack or wire it will stop the music. If I go in and restart the music it will come through the speaker so I have to unplug and replug the headset or earbud. That was last week, now when the headset wire moves too much it will also stop the music. Very frustrating that I have to use Bluetooth headphone instead of earbud during commute and exercise. Last week, I downloaded the new firmware. I like it that the record cover is the screen saver when I am listening to music. Cool idea. However, they added app info on top menu that does not allow you to not display (Sony Throw technology is always trying to connect and I want to disable it but cannot!) Now I have screens after screens of info that has to be individually opened to disabled. Bad solution. Also on waking up, the home screen has to redraw, much slower than when on older firmware. Would I buy another Xperia phone? "NO". Too much bloatware with no user control. And the audio jack is a deal killer. Lots of great ideas that are not fully executed (USB port covers); audio jack on top that does not need cover to be waterproof but it fails too easily, not built for daily use.Engadget Reader90May 24, 2015Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!This is probably one of the best phones I've ever used, it looks good, works great, and is pretty durable by itself, but sadly it wasn't as waterproof as Sony claimed it to be, as proven by the fact, that mine was full of water after just a couple of splashes got on it, even with all flaps properly sealed. To make matters worse, the water, which got inside so quickly, wouldn't get out before the internal components took heavy damage, so now I am left with a pretty glass brick. Just for comparisons sake, I would like to add, that my previous, not claimed waterproof, Samsung Galaxy S3 was completely emerged in water for minutes, and due to this was filled with water, which caused a short circuit, but it still worked fine after switching the battery. I guess the moral of this, is to never get electronic devices near water, no mater what IP rating they got, just to be safe.Engadget Reader90January 6, 2015Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I love the case it came with I bought it, super durable, I've dropped it so many times since I bought it and it's only got one tiny crack in the case on the cornerEngadget Reader100October 10, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A gadget unicorn - EngadgetEngadget Reader90July 18, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetEngadget Reader100July 1, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A gadget unicorn - EngadgetEngadget Reader50June 17, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!VERY Disappointed. Have had this phone for about 6 months, and I was a complete convert at first. Then it started falling apart... It texts by itself, the audio system does not work (Not able to listen through head set nor make calls), the side button works about every other time, the phone turns off here and there. Contacting customer service is also an issue in itself - I have to send it in (pay myself for that too) and they will have it/update it/switch it during 2-3 weeks! Thats crazy in todays world. Apple has its sht together in that anyways, but now I'm starting to ask if I need to crawl back to the iPhone and good customer service...Engadget Reader10June 2, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!It is the most awful product by Sony ever. They call it water resistant, but its not. The safety covers were in place to make sure the water doesn't go in, and I rinse with water to clean finger prints from the glass and suddenly it stopped working. I bought it from Vodafone on 24 months contract, they will not fix or replace the phone, I hate Sony and I will never buy a Sony mobile phone or will recommend anyone. Before it stopped working the speaker use to work sometimes and sometimes don't, due to that I had to use speaker phone. STUPID PHONE EVER. Guys never by a Sony phone. IF YOU CALL IT A WATER RESISTANT THEN HOW COME THE WATER WENT INSIDE THE PHONE?Engadget Reader80May 28, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The whole phone was great but just the earpiece speaker that puts me off and made me sell it off within a month of purchase. Nicest android phone I ever own, I kinda regret selling it offEngadget Reader100May 22, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A gadget unicorn - EngadgetEngadget Reader100May 4, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A gadget unicorn - EngadgetEngadget Reader90April 22, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetEngadget Reader100April 13, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Have been using the C6902 (Available in India) for 3 months now. The initial 4.3 firmware was a battery bleeder and an update fixed it. Recently updated to 4.4 and the battery life sucks again. Waiting for another update. Apart from this, a very happy owner here... ;)Engadget Reader90April 6, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetEngadget Reader60March 8, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Two-Three months ago got the Xperia Z1, however after much frustrations with call quality with the Nokia 1020. The positives, the OS is snappy, display is great and its waterproof. Battery lasts all day which was better than the Iphone 5 I had before. However still the basics has been covered on the phone. I found it very hard to hear people when talking in a busy area eg shopping centre or even driving in the car. When I had people on speaker they found it very hard to hear me and of-course on speaker it was very hard to hear them. I understand it has got to do the with waterproof case but to be honest I'd rather a phone performing its main function that is making calls rather than being waterproof. Also considering the camera is 20.1MP the photos taken are really poor, they are very grainy and colours are sub-standard. I ended up switching to Nokia 1020 although I was concerned with Windows 8, I am more impressed with call quality, battery life (lasts longer than Z1 despite sporting a smaller battery), camera is outstanding, general build is better, OS functionality (yes Windows 8.1 is good) and charges quicker. I'm very content. Summing up, although the Z1 has many positives the basics have not been properly engineered where you will end up in frustration as I have especially when speaking of the main functionality of a phone -call quality. Unless you need the waterproof function, I would not recommend the phone where there are better phones on the market available.Engadget Reader100March 6, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I absolutely love this phone!!! I was a blackberry user until iphone came out, then an iphone user ever since. I have had every iphone to ever hit the market, and I can tell you with certainty, I was really upset when I found out I wouldn't be able to get the iphone this time around. After having the 5s, the salesgirl recommended this phone to me as an android that wouldn't feel like a downgrade from my iphone. After trying out this phone I can say I LOVE IT!!! I will NEVER go back to iphone again. This phone has everything I have ever wanted in a phone and more! I don't have enough good things to say about it. The fact that it's waterproof is a huge bonus (good job Sony! who hasn't liquid damaged a phone before?) and the rear camera is AMAZING. You have to try this phone just once, and I promise you'll love it!Engadget Reader80March 3, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - EngadgetEngadget Reader100February 12, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Overall excellent device with a powerful proccy,descent camera,huge battery,waterproof and expandable storage,IR Blaster would have been a awesome addon.Overall love this device.Engadget Reader90February 9, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Single best phone I've ever owned. My first Android device, and I'm never returning to Apples products. Cheaper, bigger, better, faster, and with a kick ass camera for a smashing cheaper price than an apple product? This phone is amazing.Engadget Reader90February 6, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetEngadget Reader60January 26, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The worse phone in the market. BEST DESCRITION: A Ferrari engine in Toyota Corolla. Very Fragile, from different tens of phones over the last 10 years from different companies, it is the worse one.Engadget Reader90January 17, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Comparing to iPhone I like xperia much more overall. What I feel needs improvement. Speaker could be better, but I find xperia simply having loud volume issue which is quite disappointing. I like to listen to loud music but xperia limits this experience whether I choose headphones or plugging to stereo where iphone was better. I don't care for button layout on the side and the location of the camera lens is not ideal as you have to watch how you hold the phone so you don't get your fingers in the picture. The power button is not as responsive as it could be and it's too close to volume. The corners could be rounder as well because the squareness makes it feel bigger than it could be. While these are annoying I love the phone thus far and I would choose it over iPhone again.Engadget Reader90January 11, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Sony has finally hit the bulls eye with the Xperia Z1, with improved camera and display from its predecessor, as well as the performance and the overall design and form factor. The only pain I got when I had this phone was the screen-on time, which should have 7-8 hours for a 3000-mAh packed phone, but it only lasts for around 4-5 hours of continuous use of watching movies or playing heavy duty games.4G LTE is also a bummer in battery. I've experienced browsing over LTE network while traveling, and it shatters a percent of the battery for every 3-4 minutes. Maintaining at HSPA+ network is better.Sony Xperia Camera Apps is also the reason why I bought this phone. Aside from its 20.7 megapixel, 1/2.3" custom Exmor RS sensor with Sony G Lens and BIONZ image processing engine, those camera apps may give us end-users the flexibility to use the camera in different ways, not only Superior Auto. The only one lacking is the support from devs, which develop camera apps for Sony. Now, we only have almost 9-10 camera apps available on the Sony Select, which shows no addition to its line-up.Sony also doesn't fail to deliver Android updates. The newest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for the device added Xperia Themes to the bandwagon, giving users a choice to wrap its own system with themed preferences. Since it was unveiled initially, lack of themes available were also seen for now, but the overall update was still smooth, just like on its original build. And now, we are awaiting for Sony's Kitkat upgrade, which rumored to be an overhauled Flow UI. In 4.4, they will surely using the Immersive mode since Z1 has an on-screen buttons.The build is premium but painful. Premium in the sense that the overall look of the one-block aluminium sides and the tempered glass on the front and at the back is stunning. Just the fingerprint magnet thingy is a bummer. Waterproofing is amazing, which I usually now take my phone on the shower without fear of being washed.Engadget Reader100January 11, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I'm sorry critics but, this phone is the best of the best at this point in January 2014.The first word that comes in my mind when I have this phone is, it is simply "perfect".Don't trust what critics say, it is not just a good phone, but it's a perfect phone in a sense that features integrated in the Xperia Z1 are balanced in every possible ways.What I mean by balanced is that any of features in this phone are better, or at least no inferior to any other phones in the market. Xperia Z1 is currently the best smartphone in the market. Many people seem to purchase Android because they can't afford iPhone. However, Xperia Z1 definitely is not a substitute of iPhone. Sophisticated design and outstanding specs outmatch any of smartphones including iPhone. Xperia Z1 is truly a masterpiece of smartphone that Sony ever created. I owned a Galaxy before but what Samsung is lacking is that the feeling of premium because of plastic back cover and design. It is like comparing Porsche to Hyundai (I'm sorry Hyundai fans).As I mentioned above, the only problem associated with Z1 is that it is easily scratched and screen protector is almost necessity. I suggest you to buy both front and back screen protector.This phone is not recommended for those who drop their phones easily, or do not care too much about their phones. So please, take care your Xperia Z1 like it is your family.Regarding the criticism about its size, there is a smaller version of Xperia Z1 coming out, which is called Xperia Z1S. It has no less specs than Z1, and it has same features with Z1 and certainly not an inferior version of Z1. Again, this is more of a personal preference.I mean, if this one is not a perfect phone, then I mean how much do you want from a smartphone?Engadget Reader90January 9, 2014Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Overall the phone is great, the only beef I have with it is that it doesn't feel great in your pocket, you know its there and it can be annoying, especially if you've been used to a smaller phone before you get this, but I suppose that all the features and good things out weigh the bad things and at the moment it is one of the best phones out there, but a smaller Z1 has just been announced, so look at that too.Engadget Reader90December 28, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetEngadget Reader100December 22, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A gadget unicorn - EngadgetEngadget Reader100December 20, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A gadget unicorn - EngadgetEngadget Reader100November 25, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!no all video codecs available out-of-the-box, rest assured, this phone is perfect...Engadget Reader100November 25, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Bar none the greatest smartphone I have used. Amazing camera, cool design, and waterproof. I am coming from a G Pro so the smaller screen is taking some getting use to.Engadget Reader90November 4, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetEngadget Reader100October 22, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I think Sony has finally done it. It's a shame that they didn't wait and released the inferior Z. I owned the Z so I would know. With the Z1, they perfected the camera, the camera options with timeshift burst, the 5 photo burst on long press, the amazing 20.9MP resolution and night shots are the best I've ever had. In comparison to the Z, the Z1 has a better loudspeaker, a dedicated camera button, the flap for the audio input is no longer. It is a little heavy and long for my hands since I have smaller hands than the average Joe. But with all the perks of the Z1, I don't mind all that much. If you're not too interested in the camera, the Z is a better choice for form factor, the audio and charger flap is livable; the price is lower and all accessories run just fine with it.Another perk that I love about Sony in general is their abundance in accessories like the speaker ball, the wireless headset and the smart tags, all of which I own. Apparently their smart watch is also waterproof and sounds mighty tempting.Engadget Reader90October 12, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetEngadget Reader90October 9, 2013Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
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- 12The developer added things that "will heighten and enhance the experience but not fundamentally change the experience."