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Hardcase for Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - leather optics turquoise - Cover PhoneNatic + protective foils
Hardcase for Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - leather optics turquoise - Cover PhoneNatic + protective foils
Offered by PhoneNatic
Price: £6.90

2.0 out of 5 stars The back has a nice feel to it and I love the colour, 1 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The back has a nice feel to it and I love the colour. But the phone does not sit tight enough inside the case, there is a lot of movement. Not for me I'm afraid.

Offered by F5CS LTD
Price: £69.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good value entertainment for little ones., 1 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this tablet for my 2 year old son who showed a lot of interest in my own touch screen phone and tablet. It is good for what it is, and especially given the below-£40-pricetag. "You get what you pay for" as they say, and this is certainly true with this purchase.

The Good: it is very sturdy and ergonomically shaped, perfect for little hands. And it looks like it can take quite a beating (or dropping for that matter). It comes with a lot of games and educational apps pre-installed, even though you can do this yourself by downloading those apps from the Google Play Store. It does not come with the very latest version of Android (v5.1), but version 4.4 is close enough. The Rapid5 Skittle comes with a micro-sd card slot so you can easily expand the internal storage of only 4GB - part of which is used by the system. The sound can be cranked up to quite a loud level and quality and distortion is acceptable at this price point.

A feature which the Rapid5 Skittle has got but which is missing on even some high-end Android devices is the ability to plug external USB-drives into the micro-USB port also known as "USB-OTG" or "USB-On-The-Go" (a micro-USB to full-size USB adaptor come with the package). This comes in handy when transferring files or keeping "grown-up" stuff separately.

The Bad: First thing I noticed when switching on the Rapid5 Skittle was the awful screen - it reminded me of those first-generation resistive touch-screens with low resolution and awful viewing angles - one needs to tilt the screen just a few degrees and the whole image becomes inverted. Colours are way too over-saturated and the screen lacks responsiveness at times. And given the low screen resolution of 800x480 pixels the apparently ’huge’ battery (2500mAh) does a very bad job in keeping the device powered for more than 2 hours, but this could also be a good thing as it restricts usage time for the little one. Even in standby mode with WiFi switched off it looses far too much juice.

The Rapid5 Skittle comes with its own charger and charging port, which is quite strange as one can also use a standard micro-USB charger and plug it into the micro-USB port to juice up the device.

The Ugly: I really cannot remember when I have seen such a bad camera on a mobile device. I probably have to go way back when manufacturers just started to introduce this feature, and those first cameras had a VGA-resolution. The tablet’s back camera is apparently 2 megapixel, but even in the perfect lighting condition there is far too much noise. And just ignore the camera indoors completely, because the image quality is an absolute joke, it really is THAT bad.

Conclusion: The Rapid5 Skittle Kiddie Tablet is an inexpensive entertainment and learning device for young children. It is not horrible or even unusable, but of course at this price-point compromises have to be made. Underneath the kiddies desktop the Rapid5 Skittle is a fully-fledged Android tablet with USB-OTG capabilities, and this makes it a low-cost choice for adults as well.

Yousave Accessories Compact Case Hard Hybrid Cover for Sony Xperia Z3 - Purple
Yousave Accessories Compact Case Hard Hybrid Cover for Sony Xperia Z3 - Purple
Offered by Yousave Accessories
Price: £2.99

2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not-so-perfect fit, 5 Nov. 2014
As one-piece hard cases go, they only cover the back and the sides of the phone and not the top and the bottom, otherwise it would be pretty difficult to fit them.
At first this specific hard case fits the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact perfectly, with all the cutouts for ports and camera in the right places. But I have noticed that there is some room between the back of the phone and the case - it does not seem to fit perfectly. It is a small space, but noticeable when I squeeze the phone and the case together. Because of this I am slightly worried that some dust particles might be able to enter this space and cause some scratches on the back.
The material itself feels nice in the hand, but for my personal taste it is too slippery. This and the not-so-perfect fitting issue leads me to the conclusion that I am not able to recommend this case.

InventCase Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 2014 TPU Gel Case Cover with Screen Protector - Smokey Black
InventCase Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 2014 TPU Gel Case Cover with Screen Protector - Smokey Black
Offered by Sunny Savers Ltd
Price: £3.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a "No" from me, 5 Nov. 2014
There seems to be a general problem with ALL soft-gel rubber cases for the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, simply because the design of the phone requires for the case to have huge cutouts for accessing the USB-charging port, the micro-sd card slot and the magnetic charging port just underneath. And these big cutouts make any soft rubber case very unstable, meaning you will not get any tight fit on the left side of the phone. But some soft rubber cases seem to be better than others. And this one, unfortunately, is not one of the better ones. Not only is the left side of the case very loose, it does not fit very tightly on top and bottom either. The only side which is tight is the right hand side where the power- and volume buttons are located. And to top things off, the rubber material is very shiny, which attracts fingerprints like crazy.

It is not an awful case as such, but I cannot recommend it.

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Good looks, not much more, 30 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Ringke Slim Case for the LG Nexus 5 fits like a second skin, following the contours of the phone exactly. It is a case which does not seem to protect the phone from drops, rather from scratches and/or marks. So if you are prone to "accidents" this case might not be for you, as the hard case plastic makes it more slippery to hold and operate than a soft gel bumper case.

The other thing with hard plastic is that it does not flex very much, and so the case does not cover the phone all way round, just the back and the sides. Otherwise you would have problems to fit the phone inside.

The cutout for the camera on the back is very precise, but the cutouts for the volume and power keys are (in my opinion) too big. The sim tray on the Nexus 5 is situated just underneath the power button, and because of the size of the cutout you can actually see part of that sim tray, which just looks "cheap". Also, the cutouts for the buttons are disproportioned - there is hardly any space between the plastic and the button on top, but more than enough space underneath. This makes the buttons difficult to press when the phone lies on a flat surface and your thumb is coming from the top.

Another thing which prevents the Ringke Slim Case being a premium product is a manufacturing fault. It almost seems that the machine that cuts out the holes was not able to produce a clean cut, so thin bits of plastic just hang on to some of the edges.

There are two additional lanyard holes on the bottom right side of the case.

The Case is delivered in a so-called "eco-pack" which is really just a small card board box. And you get a free screen protector as a bonus.

The mint green version looks really good on my bright red Nexus 5. But other than good looks there is not much to shout about.

FoneM8® - New LG Google Nexus 5 100% Clear Gel Case Skin TPU Cover - Includes Screen Protector and Microfibre Cloth
FoneM8® - New LG Google Nexus 5 100% Clear Gel Case Skin TPU Cover - Includes Screen Protector and Microfibre Cloth
Offered by FoneM8store
Price: £1.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Fits perfectly, 20 Mar. 2014
The LG manufactured Nexus 5 is one of the best looking phones I have ever owned, so in an ideal world I would like to use it as it is with no protective casings whatsoever. But being me, I just want to keep the phone as pristine as possible for as long as possible. So I decided to buy a bumper case by Spigen which fitted the Nexus 5 perfectly. The only drawback was that being a "bumper" case the edges of the phone were hidden by a black rubbery plastic - good for protection if you drop the phone, but it takes away the its "beauty" and it adds quite a bit of bulk.

So I ended up looking for (and finding) a clear case which just fits the Nexus like a glove without hiding parts and without adding more bulk. And this case does exactly that. It fits perfectly like a second skin. The clear gel plastic is slightly raised in place of the volume keys and off/on button, so accessing those keys is without problems. The cutouts for camera, headphone socket, USB charger and speakers are exactly in the right place, it just looks proper and classy.

And last but not least, being a gel case it gives the Nexus 5 more grip so it doesn't slide out of your hand. If it does, though, the case does not seem thick enough to avoid damage. Not that I have tried it, but the Spigen case would be a better choice for people whose phone ends up on the floor a lot of times. For me, who just wants protection from dust and scratches, this clear gel case is the better option.

Oh, and did I mention the free screen protector? Makes this deal even better value for money.

Spigen Ultra Hybrid Bumper Case for Google Nexus 5 - Black
Spigen Ultra Hybrid Bumper Case for Google Nexus 5 - Black
Offered by Spigen UK Store
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for Nexus 5 owners, 4 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This case for the Google Nexus 5 arrived early, and it did not disappoint whatsoever. Fits the phone like a second skin. The edges around the phone are made out of rubbery plastic which stretches just far enough to place the Nexus 5 inside. The volume and the power buttons are covered by this rubbery plastic, but their positions are clearly marked. Usually it takes a bit of effort to activate keys which are hidden behind plastic, but not so with this case. It takes the same little amount of pressure as if there was no case. The only holes are for the headphone socket and the noise cancelling microphone on top of the phone, and the micro USB port and speaker grills on the bottom. And those holes are exactly at the right places.

The back of the case is made out of harder plastic, which is clear, so the big nexus logo can be seen (and admired). Again, the hole for the Nexus' main camera is exactly in the right place - you can really see and feel this case has been custom-made for the Nexus 5. The only slight imperfection I can find is that this hard and clear plastic on the back is straight, whilst the phone itself is ever so slightly curved on the edges, so there are some air pockets where dust can enter and settle. Nothing too much to distract from the overall quality casing. And as a little bonus there is also a screen protector in the package. And guess what, that screen protector fits the screen of the Nexus 5 exactly - no gap between the edge of the protector and the edge of the glas front.

Overall definitely a 5 star product, which for the money I paid I can very easily recommend.

LG Google Nexus 5 D821 32 GB Smartphone (Black)
LG Google Nexus 5 D821 32 GB Smartphone (Black)
Offered by redhatelectronics
Price: £292.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Googles i Phone, 4 Mar. 2014
This is a short review of the LG Nexus 5 (32GB version) as I have owned the phone for just 2 weeks. I will update and extend this review once the Nexus 5 has been my daily companion for at least another month.

Straight to the point, the LG manufactured Google Nexus 5 is a fantastic phone. It is gorgeous to look at, it is a pleasure to hold (due to its matt, hardened plastic), in my opinion it is the right size - not too big, not too small, and most of all it is a joy to use, thanks to 100% uncluttered and pure Android KitKat (4.4.2).

The screen is insanely bright, you only need it to be around the 20% mark which in turn saves a lot of battery. And speaking of the battery, after all the horror stories I read I can gladly confirm that it will get you through a working day most of the time. In fact, the battery holds extremely well on standby, so on weekends, when I do not use it as much as on working days, it can easily last the whole of Saturday and Sunday. Charging times are around the 2 hour mark, which means you can easily top up the battery whenever you are near a power socket.

The other "weak point" (according to many reviews) is also not too much of a problem for me: the 8-megapixel main camera. It is not in the same league as the Sony Xperia Z1, the Apple iPhone 5S, the Nokia 1020 or even the Samsung Galaxy S4. But it is perfectly acceptable.

Call quality and signal strength are up there with the best of the best. Voice calls are loud and clear. This phone is an excellent choice for people who make a lot of calls.

Music quality is another outstanding feature of the Nexus 5. The stock Google Play Music app combined with the LG hardware delivers a rich and clear sound experience. And with the in-built equaliser you can tweak the sound even further to your liking. Personally I like to increase the bass and the treble slightly, and compared to other phones I have used in the past the Nexus 5 comes out on top.

Unfortunately, listening to music without headphones is not so much of a pleasure. There is only a mono speaker (the other speaker is actually the microphone) and the music sounds tinny and worlds apart from the headphone experience.

Of course, the Nexus 5, with its stock Android and quad core processor, is fast as lightening. I have experienced no lack whatsoever. No, I am not a gamer, but I cannot imagine anything slowing down this beast.

Personally I would have liked an sd-card slot to expand the memory. But as with all previous Nexus devices, it only comes with internal memory. This is why I opted for the 32GB version so I can at least store some of my music library on to the device, as I am not a fan of streaming songs.

The only other "fault" I can find so far on the Nexus 5 is the non-replaceable battery. I know this seems to be standard now in high-end devices. But to me it is an obvious plot against the consumer, because most people would rather buy a new phone than sending it to the manufacturer to get the battery replaced. It is all about convenience, and phone manufacturers know this.

Last but not least, a friendly advice about colour choices. If you do not want to be seen using your brand new Nexus 5 from miles away, stay clear of the "Bright Red" version. I made the mistake to go for it (as I believed that black or white would be too boring). Google advertises the red version as "Bright Red", but it is more like "Day glow orange".

The two main selling points of Google Nexus Devices are that they come with stock Android and they get updates as soon as Google releases them. And secondly, Google Nexus Devices have always featured high end specs at extremely competitive prices, but this second point has just been invalidated (as I write this) by other manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and even LG themselves as they have dropped their soon to be superseded flagships (Galaxy S4, Xperia Z1, LG G2 etc) to the same level as the 32GB Nexus 5. Now, all of a sudden the Nexus 5 does not seem to be such a good deal anymore. It is still an awesome phone, and if you really need stock Android (and timely updates) then this is still the best phone you can get. But for everyone else (myself included) those recent price drops mean that you get more bang for your buck elsewhere. Most probably Google themselves will have to drop their prices to retain a competitive edge.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2014 9:11 AM BST

Sony Xperia Z1 UK SIM-Free Smartphone - White
Sony Xperia Z1 UK SIM-Free Smartphone - White
Offered by Hale Communications
Price: £244.99

28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could have been perfect, 27 Nov. 2013
When it comes to smartphones I cannot see myself buying and using anything else than an Android-powered device (at least for the moment). The sheer variety of phones I can choose from is unmatched, and the openness of Android gives me what I want (and need?).

The only time I look enviously into the "other camp" is when it comes to build quality - the iPhone just looks and feels like a premium device. And for years there was simply no Android equivalent. Last year's flagship from HTC (The HTC One X) was probably the first device to come close to that "iPhone-experience" whilst being completely different to avoid law-suits. This year's HTC One feels and looks even better, as it is made mainly out of brushed metal. But it is still "not there", if you know what I mean.

Enter the Sony Xperia Z1. If there wasn't that big Sony logo on the upper front you could seriously mistaken it for an iPhone - well, for an iPhone 4(s) at least with its all glass front and back and a brushed aluminium outside ring. Of course, the Z1, with its huge 5inch screen, is bigger - much bigger than the 3.5" device from the fruit company. Seeing those two devices next to each other you could be forgiven to assume that the iPhone is a toy for children to play with.

Given the fact that Samsung got sued by Apple for (allegedly) copying the design of the iPhone 3(GS) with their Galaxy S, I find it difficult to believe that Sony is getting away with the design of the Z1. A while ago I read somewhere that Steve Jobs was a big admirer of Sony, and there could be some sort of (secret) agreement between those two companies, which would explain the silence.

The Xperia Z1 is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) phones out there at the moment. Anything bigger would be classed a "Phablet" (a phone-tablet hybrid). Still, it does not feel uncomfortable to hold and operate. The edges are rounded to give it a pleasant feel. And its relatively hefty weight (170g) gives you that premium feeling. Just don't carry it in your shirt pocket to often.

I believe that Sony had to make the Z1 so big to cram its two "killer-features" inside its shell. The first being its 20 Megapixel camera with Sony's own G-lens technology, and the second being the fact that the Z1 is waterproof (not only "splash-proof") for up to 30 minutes. This means that the usb-port, the sd-card and micro-sim card slot are all covered by a waterproof flap. This can be quite annoying as you really need to charge the Z1 every day (more on that later), and by doing so you always need to open the flap to access the usb charging port. On the plus side, though, those flaps add to the Z1's unibody design.

On top of the device is the 3.5mm headphone jack, and on the bottom there is huge speaker grill. The right side of the phone is where it is all "happening", with the power button, the volume rocker and the dedicated camera shutter key all being on this side. I can understand why Sony did not put the volume rocker on the left hand side, as this would most probably get in the way when gripping the phone to activate the power button. But said power button is placed very closely to the volume rocker, and on more than one occasion I altered the volume of the phone rather than switching it on or off.

A neat feature is that the message/missed call notification LED is placed right underneath the earpiece on the very top edge of the phone. But because of this I sometimes cannot see it flashing as it is not completely surrounded by the pitch black glass front, which would give it some contrast.

The screen itself is surrounded by a wide bezel, especially at the top and the bottom. Compare this to the almost-not-there bezel of the LG G2, which by the way has an even bigger screen (5.2"), but is somewhat smaller than the Z1, and you can understand where the extra size of the Z1 comes from. But as mentioned above, Sony's flagship is currently the only top of the range waterproof phone, so something has to give I suppose.

Like all the latest flagships, the Xperia Z1 comes with a 1080x1920 pixels Full HD display, and given the size (5 inch across) this works out to an impressive pixel density of 441 (pixels) per inch. Now, I have to admit, I do struggle with these figures, as the human eye cannot really differentiate between anything higher than 300ppi, and last year's flagships with their HD resolution of 720x1280 pixels (for a 4.7inch display) met this requirement. So why would any manufacturer waste precious battery life with these over-the-top pixel monsters? I believe it is more of a publicity stunt rather than a helpful improvement.

Still, the screen of the Xperia Z1 is impressive. Even small text on web-pages can be read without having to zoom in. Sony used a technology called "Triluminos" to give the TFT screen deeper blacks, as the blacks on previous Sony devices were more like a dark grey. Colour production on a whole is very accurate, not as overblown as on AMOLED displays mainly used in Samsung devices. But there is one area where Sony still lacks behind the competition, and this area is "viewing angles". Yes, as so many people have said that viewing angles do not matter to them as much. But for me it just takes away of that premium quality feeling when colours loose their punch and even become inverted when you look at the screen from an angle.

On a personal note, I simply cannot understand how a massive company like Sony, with a huge research team and many, many years of experience in technology products - especially screens - is not able to produce a mobile phone display which can at least match the quality of far smaller companies like LG and HTC. Like I said, the screen on the Z1 is currently the best Sony can offer, but in my opinion it still lacks the quality of even last year's HTC flagship device (the HTC One X).


The Xperia Z1 runs on Android 4.2.2, but Sony have more or less confirmed that it will get the latest version (4.4) in the next coming weeks. As with all non-nexus devices, I will not hold my breath.

Sony's Android implementation called "Timescape" can be found in its latest version here. Timescape is not far off vanilla Android, but Sony could not hold themselves back with installing more bloatware on to the Z1 than usual.

The lock screen in Timescape has undergone a major overhaul. Probably to avoid similarities with Apple's swipe left to unlock, Sony has opted for swipe up or down to unlock. By default the lock screen on the Z1 shows the digital clock, and next to the clock on top of the screen is a camera shortcut which can be activated by swiping left. This is handy, but in my opinion unnecessary, as a long press on the dedicated camera button gets you straight into shooting mode as well. Swiping right on the top of the screen opens more display option. For example, you can add the calendar app to your lock screen and then check appointments without having to unlock the phone. E-mails or messages can also be displayed, and so can various news apps or even Facebook or Twitter feeds.

Whilst in the App Drawer a swipe to the right reveals a menu where Apps can be searched, uninstalled and the order of display altered (alphabetically, most used and installed). There is also a shortcut to the Google's Play Store, which I use very regularly. Uninstalling an app is done in a very Apple-esque manner: a little cross appears next to the app icon and tapping it uninstalls the app - simplez!

A neat and useful addition to Timescape are the "Small Apps" applications. I short press of the recent apps button reveals all the apps which have been used recently (as usual), but underneath there is now a small task bar with 4 icons of Small Apps. Small Apps are basically apps which "float" above the main window. For example, you are browsing the web and want to use the calculator. This would have meant that you leave the Browser App and switch to the Calculator App, and once you have the result you switch back to the Browser. Now you just call up the small app calculator which floats above the browser app. Once you have the result you press the Browser window and the calculator app disappears. Currently there are only a few Small Apps available, like the calculator, quick note, stopwatch and timer. But there are already a few third party Small Apps out there, for example an app which displays processor usage in real time - good if you want to find out what drains your battery.

Another Sony exclusive is Stamina Mode, which switches off data connection whenever the screen is off to preserve precious battery life. It does work, but only if you don't use your phone for anything which requires a switched on screen. And this, in my opinion, brings it very close to "gimmick-territory", as this only really affects standby time.

Smart Connect is an app which can automate certain events, like when you connect the Z1 to a TV using an MHL to HDMI cable, or connecting a bluetooth keyboard. It is an "If-Then" app, meaning that IF you connect this cable to this source THEN this is going to happen. For example, when you connect a headset the phone automatically starts the Walkman app. Or when the charger is connected the phone automatically switches to landscape clock/alarm mode. Events can be customised and you can also determine what happens when the phone disconnects.

Being bi-lingual (German and English) I always set up my phones so I can easily switch from one language to the other. But on the Xperia Z1 I failed to find this toggle which would allow me to do just that. I had to go back into the language settings and switch off either English or German to get the desired result. Until I realised that the Z1 automatically switches languages depending on your input, and it is able to do that with up to three languages at a time - cool!


Finally, we are getting somewhere. I got really annoyed when my brand new HTC One X+ (with its 2.0 aperture lens and dedicated image chip) was completely outclassed by my wife's 3 year old Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. Doesn't new technology mean better quality hardware? Apparently not so. It seemed to me like quality of mobile phone cameras got worse over the years. Fortunately, the Xperia Z1's 20.7 megapixel shooter is putting this argument to rest. Of course, it is not all about megapixels, it is the quality of the lens combined with the software logarithm being applied. I do not know why Sony, a company well known for its quality digital cameras, took so long to implement that technology into their mobile phones. Maybe they were afraid of cannibalising their own market?

As you would expect from a 20.7 Megapixel camera, the Z1 is able to capture a lot of detail. And this is why I was not so convinced about the 4 Megapixel HTC One camera. Yes, it performs better in low-light shots thanks to its "UltraPixel" sensor (which basically means a bigger sensor that allows more light to be captured). But you cannot tell me that 4MP can capture more detail than a 8MP, 13MP or as with the Z1, a 20.7MP camera.

I do not have the HTC One for comparison, but I can tell you that I am very satisfied with the Xperia Z1's low-light performance. Any camera struggles with less light, but the Z1 is able to capture a true-to-life image which I have not seen since my wife's Xperia Arc. And I would say that it is even better than that. Of course, the darker it gets, the more noise is added. But for these occasions there is always the flash, which does a good job for giving the shot just enough light without it being overexposed.

Sony is one of the few Android OEMs which include a physical camera button on their devices. And I believe this is a good thing. Imagine a scenario where the object keeps on moving (like a young baby for example). A phone where you have to touch the screen to capture the image will struggle, because it will have a very hard time locking the focus. With a Sony device you can lock the focus by pressing the physical button half-way (like on a proper point-and-shoot camera) and then it further to take the shot.

The camera on the Xperia Z1 itself is fantastic. But Sony did not leave it just there. They have also included a lot of software "trickery" this time around. You can let the phone do all the work by choosing "Superior Auto" mode, or you can fiddle with the settings (like exposure and/or contrast) yourself with the Manual mode. Of course there is Panorama Mode where the software stitches several shots together to create a long (panoramic) photograph. "Timeshift Burst" is another interesting and useful mode, where the camera takes 30 (yes, 30!) frames BEFORE and AFTER you have pressed the button. This way you can choose the best frame from an overall of 60 being taken. How often have we taken a shot only to discover that the subject has closed his/her eyes? With Timeshift Burst this is a thing of the past!

"Info-Eye" is a Google Goggle imitation, where information on a landmark pops up in the viewfinder. Not as useful, but surely great fun, is the "AR Effect" (AR stands for "Augmented Reality"). In this mode the software creates virtual dinosaurs or fish to be imposed on top of whatever you want to photograph. The "Masquerade" mode can recognise faces and puts a (virtual) mask on them - hilarious!

The great thing with the camera app on the Z1 is that more modes can be added as they become available. For example, I just downloaded "Motiongraph for Xperia" where the camera takes a very short movie and the user can animate parts of the image afterwards (like an animated GIF). One mode from my HTC One X+ I am missing is Slow Motion, and I hope that Sony will create an extension app to incorporate this mode.

Of course, the Xperia Z1 can shoot Full-HD (1920x1080pixels) videos with a frame-rate of 30 per second. Images can be stabilised via software, and HDR-mode is also available. As with the stills mode, results are impressive. It is like having a mini-camcorder with you all of the time.


Yes, you can actually use the Xperia Z1 to make voice calls (this is when you can talk to someone else on another phone who is many miles away). The place where I live is a newly built development, and I have been told that the steel frames being used are interfering with mobile signals. And for sure, I do struggle to get a signal inside my flat. But some of the phones I have used in the past are better than others. Samsung phones, for example, have a weak antenna. I have used the S3 and the S4 inside my flat, and it struggles to hold on to even one bar. HTC phones are usually quite good, and so was the Motorola Razr i. The Sony Xperia Z1 is "good enough" I would say in holding on to a signal. Not the best, but certainly better than the Samsung devices. Mind you, you should not have any problems if you do not live deep inside a building made out of steel frames like I do.

As with all modern high-end devices the Z1 has a second microphone on the back to cancel out background noises when making a call. And there are additional settings like "Speaker Voice Enhancement" and Equalizer settings to further improve the calling experience. As a result conversations on the Z1 are very pleasant, with the volume being loud and clear enough to use the device on busy shopping streets.

Connectivity and Media

Images and Videos can now be "thrown" to other peripherals which are either on the same WiFi-network or are recognised Bluetooth devices. Or you can use an MHL-to-HDMI adaptor (not in retail box) to connect to your TV directly. And if this wasn't enough there is also the option to connect via NFC (Near Field Communication).

The USB-port on the Xperia Z1 can not only be used for charging and connecting the phone to a computer, it also acts as USB-On-The-Go interface. This means that you can connect external memory sticks, keyboards, mice and even gamepads to the Z1, given that you have a mini-USB to full size female USB adaptor (not in the retail box).

Connecting the Xperia Z1 to a computer automatically launches a process to install Sony's software on your PC or Mac. This software allows you to sync your iTunes Music library and it also transfers photos taken with the Z1's camera to iPhoto (on a Mac). It also serves as a file manager, and can even be used to update the Z1 to the latest software.

There is a basic image editor where photographs can be rotated, cropped and filters applied to. But Sony did not include a video editor, not even a basic one. So it is up to the individual to download one from the Play Store. And this is the beauty of Android: different manufacturers give you a slightly different Android experience. But if there are some features missing they can easily be added as apps from Google's Store in the cloud.

Sony's own Walkman Music Player is back and it is better than ever. Being Sony, you are automatically signed in to Sony Unlimited, which is a paid for streaming service. But you can opt out. Music sounds better than ever, and Sony have bothered to include a decent pair of in-ear headphones, even though I still prefer my own £30 Sennheisers.

Options to enhance the sound experience even further are aplenty. There is Clear Audio+ to automatically optimise sound settings, there is Surround Sound, and there is Clear Stereo to reduce cross talk between the right and the left channel. Of course you can also manually adjust the settings by using the 5-band equaliser. The Dynamic Normalizer automatically adjusts the volume of different songs to achieve a more equal listening experience.

The the volume of the internal speaker on the bottom of the phone can be enhanced by Sony's very own X-loud technology. And it sounds good for a mobile phone, even when the volume is turned up. Sony have decided to keep the FM Radio on the Z1, whilst other manufacturers have chosen not to include this option with their latest offerings.

I have to admit, I am not a big gamer as I find even the Z1's generous 5" screen too small for playing more involving games like Grand Theft Auto 3. But given the top-of-the-range 2.2 Gigahertz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, coupled with the 330 Adreno Graphics chip and 2GB RAM the Xperia Z1 should make mincemeat out of even the most processor intensive games. And judging from other, more technical reviews, this is exactly the case. The Z1 does get a bit hot, though, when put under strain. But not to the stage where you could fry an egg on its surface, mind you.

Watching videos on the Xperia Z1 is an absolute pleasure, not only because of the 5" screen, but because of Sony's X-Reality technology which enhances the viewing experience even more, providing (even) richer colours and more contrast.

This time around Sony has not bothered to supply their own Web Browser, and opted instead for Google Chrome as the default. There is a very limited Small Apps browser which can float on top of any other app that you have open at the moment (as mentioned above). Again, because of the monster specs of the Z1, web pages load instantly, and scrolling has virtually no delay. One thing I am missing from my HTC One X+ (other than the gorgeous screen) is the ability to automatically reflow text on web pages when you zoom in. Chrome has only the option to zoom in up to the width of the paragraphs, which I find sometimes too small. There is a setting where you can increase the size of text for better readability, but HTC's way of doing things is more useful in my opinion. In addition, In HTC's stock browser there is an option to save web-pages as text-only, which can be read later on even without internet connection.


How long a mobile phone can go on a full charge is one of my main criteria when choosing the right device. On paper the mammoth 3000mhA battery inside the Z1 should give plenty of time between charges. In reality, though, it is just about enough for a busy working day, even with Stamina Mode enabled (which only saves battery when the screen is off).

Looking at the battery usage stats it becomes clear that the screen is the main culprit. And this I find particularly annoying as there are better screens out there (as found on the LG G2 or the HTC One) and those phones have a better battery running time.

To be clear, the running time is not awful as such, and with my own moderate usage pattern I usually get 36 hours out of it (with around 4 hours screen-on time). Yes, the ultrafast processor and the 5"/441ppi screen take their toll on the battery, but 3000mhA should easily get me beyond the 48 hours mark, especially because I am very frugal, only switching on services I really need. And as with all current flagships (except the Samsung Galaxy S4) Sony has opted to embed the battery into the Z1's waterproof body, so there is no option to carry a spare one.

Last but not least, a 3000mhA battery takes awfully long to charge, around 3 hours from empty to full, so I often find myself only being able to get a 80-90% charge as I only have around 2 hours in the morning before I go to work. And I have read somewhere (correct me if I am wrong) that overnight charges are not recommended.


The Xperia Z1 is Sony's current flagship, and it can certainly mingle with the best phones out there. Unlike any other flagship, though, it is waterproof. It is ridiculously fast, it looks and feels gorgeous with its shatterproof glass back and front and the aluminium frame, connectivity options are abundant, the screen is pin-sharp and very colour accurate, the camera produces some of the best photographs in the business, music sounds superb, it is a gamer's dream come true, and I could easily watch a whole movie on it without my eyes becoming tired. As advertised, the Z1 is Sony's best ever smartphone, no doubt. Still, I feel somehow "short-changed" as I cannot get over my disappointments concerning the viewing angles and the under performing battery. This is something you would expect from a mid-range device, but not from a £500+ "super phone". And especially not from someone like Sony with heaps of experience and know-how.

Nevertheless, I like the Xperia Z1 regardless as the good points outshine the bad ones. But I have the feeling that I would be happier with the Galaxy S4 from Samsung - if only that device had a stronger antenna...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2014 10:57 AM GMT

Kolay Sony Xperia Z1 Case - Clear Silicone S-line Wave Gel Case Cover & Mini Stylus
Kolay Sony Xperia Z1 Case - Clear Silicone S-line Wave Gel Case Cover & Mini Stylus

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with my purchase, 23 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Unlike another case bought before this one, this case fits the Xperia Z1 very tightly. There are openings for the charging port, the sd-card slot and the sim card slot. And of course the headphone jack and the large speaker on the bottom are not covered either. The sides of the gel case are rough so the phone won't slip out of your hands. The on/off button and the volume rocker are covered, too. But here the gel is slightly thinner, so those button are easy to press. The S-curve on the back looks stylish.

The Xperia Z1 is a gorgeous device, and I do not want to cover it too much. But I also want to keep it from bumps and scratches, so this case presents a good solution. Just be careful if you use a dock for charging - the magnetic dock charging port is covered as well.

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