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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Price:£180.61 - £599.00
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on 17 March 2013
I am a self proclaimed gadget geek and the Xperia Z is my latest toy! So here is an honest review of the phone:

Screen:

Yes it is stunning when viewed straight on - detailing is crystal sharp, colours are natural and reading text (Internet, SMS etc) is a delight. What you will notice is that when viewed from an angle the colours become washed out and the blacks appear grey. May be good for privacy (as the screen does blur) but in my opinion, it is a downside. You will definitely notice the HD crispness when watching movies - it is stunning.

Camera:

Probably one of the most impressive functions of the phone. I've taking pictures in various situations (sunlight, night time, macro etc) and it has produced stunning photos. It has an auto adjust function that will try and detect the best setting for a scene and it works 95% of the time. The smile and blink settings are genius - it will only snap the shot when a smile and open eyes are detected - very clever. The flash is adequate and again, this can be auto adjusted when taking a photo (red-eye reduction, normal, fill flash etc). The HDR mode produces beautiful pictures and the editing software is adequate (wish it was more like Apple's iPhoto). Video recording is HD and HDR and produces lovely home movies.

Speed:

It's basically faster than you'll ever need. Quad core processors clocked at 1.5GHZ. The phone smoothly glides through apps, downloads, internet browsing etc - the processing power is truly great.

Hardware/Build:

For around £500 to purchase outright, you want quality right? The materials used for the Xperia Z really give it the WOW appeal - Toughened glass front and back with minimal plastic panels around the sides - it feels expensive. I'm not impressed with the fingerprints that are left behind (but that happens with all touch screen devices right?), maybe so, but this phone seems to attract more than other devices i've used in the past. I've heard people who use the black model of this phone complain about dust getting trapped between the screen and plastic panels. I can see how this would happen but the white model doesn't suffer this problem. Waterproof and dust proof? A gimmick? Probably, but I know if I ever dropped this in water and it didn't have that protection, I would be gutted. Better safe than sorry seems to be the motto here? Yes, the phone is big but it has a 5" screen so have to expect that. It is beautifully slim and holds nicely in one hand - a big plus is that the on/off/standby button is located centrally on the right hand side, easily operated with your thumb.

Misc:

The small apps feature is a wonderful addition - you can launch mini apps (camera, calculator, notes etc) while in another app - you don't need to stop what your doing to open them. They launch at the blink of an eye and once done, you can 'cancel' them and you are free to carry on with what you were doing previously (for example, I was in the process of typing an email and wanted to take a picture at the same time - launched the mini camera app, took the photo, cancelled it and carried on with my email)

The music player is stunning. It is Walkman branded and the options you have within it are amazing. Various sound settings, equalizers (manual and pre-set), clear audio+, surround sound, clear stereo, xloud etc. They really do make a difference to what you are listening to and you have the choice to change it to your liking. I use the music player a lot (while travelling) and my music has never sounded better.

Sony Music and Video unlimited: Two services that Sony offer - basically the music function is Sony's paid version of 'Spotify' and the movie function is movie purchases and rentals - both work well and have a decent catalogue of titles. You can of course purchase music and movies from Google Play, Amazon MP3, 7digital etc but it is nice to have a choice as prices do vary between these various stores.
66 comments| 148 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I have never owned a Sony phone, preferring in recent years to use a series of HTC's and more recently Samsung's (S2, Note and Note 2) so for me it was a big decision to give this a try as my main phone.

I received the phone this week with high expectations following several positive previews. Having been used to the Samsung Note, the size of the Sony was not a surprise or an issue. I have actually found it to be far more manageable using it with one hand compared to the Note. Still be warned this is a big and quite heavy device so won't be for everyone.

The main 'WOW' factor however is the stunning screen. I'm not going to get technical but visually this is the best quality screen both in terms of touch experience and clarity. Text is sharp and clear and easy to read and the colours are vibrant and brilliant. Watching movies on this is a joy and its very impressive.

The flaps over all the ports can get a little irritating especially the one on the charging port which you have to remove every time you plug in, but this is my only design gripe on what is a beautiful device.

Sony have kept the Android experience reasonably pure adding a few of their own widgets and apps but have not messed around too much. Its quick and never lags, so you can be confident it will handle anything.

I have added a 64GB MicroSD card to top up the 16GB it comes with and it works perfectly even though Sony states it will only handle 32GB cards....lovely!

Its supposed to be water resistant but I will let other reviewers comment on this as I'm not about to dunk this in my fish tank! I will just have to trust Sony on this one :-)

Now to the possible deal breaker, battery life. Its average at best. I am charging with about 10-15% remaining at the end of each day and I consider myself a heavy user. My Note II had a much better battery and I could easily get day and a half out of it so this may be a problem for some. I'm used to charging daily so not an issue for me but keep that charger handy!

One final slight criticism, why oh why did Sony ship their flagship phone with the out of date Android OS (4.1.2)??? Hopefully an update coming soon but its a silly decision from Sony in my opinion.

In summary this is a great looking, well-made and premium device and its great to have another major manufacturer in the game and making decent Android phones. I loved my Samsung's but to be honest got a little bored with the plastic materials they used and much prefer overall feel and quality build of the Sony.

I strongly recommend this phone and despite some minor niggles am very pleased with my purchase.
1313 comments| 121 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 April 2013
With the phone you get a usb cable with a mains adapter, a couple of user guides and a screen protector (which is actually rigid enough to apply properly).

The rear camera has a 13MP sensor (although you can only take up to 12MP photos with the auto adjust feature) which takes pretty good photos, although using manual adjustments produces the best pictures. The front camera is only 2MP and isn't the best...

First impressions are that the phone feels well made, and a decent set of hardware makes if very fast too. Wireless adapter can cope with 50Mb/s plus speeds too.

But....

The battery life is poor (enable STAMINA mode which helps), and it gets seriously hot (read the edit....)
The speaker is really, really quiet and sounds flat
Glass panel at the back scratches easily
Flaps covering headphone and usb ports are annoying

BUT overall it is a very good phone.

EDIT

The battery got so hot whilst watching a film, that the screen cracked. Couldn't turn it off as the screen wouldn't respond to touch, and over time there were cracks forming from other cracks until the whole screen was buggered. Sony put it down to 'accidental damage' and charged me £250 for repairs. Few months later, water managed to get in through a small gap between the screen and the casing, and the phone was damaged (took a week to dry out and was working afterwards), must have been a dodgy repair!
22 comments| 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 March 2013
This is something really, really special.

The screen on the Xperia Z is the best I have ever seen on a phone (better than the iPhones retina display, and the impressive Nokia Lumia 920), it feel high definition, because it is high definition and gives the phone the 'Wow' factor straight out of the box. The screen is also one the larger side of what we have come to see from smart phones. At 5 inches, and being a square shape, it has both pros and cons. Firstly, as stated, the detail in the screen is astonishing and so video playback, either through Sky player, Netflix, or from your own recordings is genuinely impressive. The downside to this amazing screen is that the size and shape (more of a rectangle with straight edges) is that if your hands are on the smaller side it doesn't feel as though it fits in the palm comfortably, and the fear of dropping it does play on my mind on a regular basis.

The Xperia also has 16gb of storage included and as an added plus (compared to the Lumia 920 and iPhone) you are able to expand this storage via memory card slot. This is important for me and, compared to solid state phones, is a definite advantage.

The phone is fast, as in uber fast, when browsing and playing video. It's easily the quickest I've used. Strangely though some of the apps seemed to be slower opening (camera and Walkman apps spring to mind) but all in all this is another plus and adds to the experience of using the Xperia Z.

The camera (13 mp by the way) is phenomenal. I thought the lumia 920 camera was as good as it could get at the moment, I way very wrong. Images are sharp and crisp and, once the app has opened (see above) the capture speed is very good. Who needs a dedicated camera when you have this beast waiting in your pocket?

I've been fairly impressed by the battery life. I'm still waiting for a smart phone to come out that will last. Medium to heavy user through an entire weekend away; This isn't it, but it has got through the days comfortably. I still feel I have to charge it each evening but that's no worse than other top end smart phones. It does have some effective battery saving applications built in allowing, for example, the wifi to be turned off when the screen times out. Things like this help get the phone happily through the day.

Sony claim the phone s waterproof, I'm certainly not going to be testing that but it is nice to have some degree of confidence in the event that it takes a plunge one day.

It has 4g connectivity (something missing from the Nexus) but living in Somerset, this hasn't rolled out here yet so I cannot comment on performance.

All in all, this is my first Sony phone since 2005 and I am certainly impressed. An easy 5 stars for the best smartphone I've ever used.
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on 11 September 2013
I'm really happy with this phone - it's beautifully made and works perfectly. I've had it a year now and can't fault it. It is pretty much perfect: it never crashes, freezes or hangs, and it's the first phone I've had that actually works like it's meant to work! There's no point saying any more - there are plenty of techy reviews out there and I'm not going to add to them! (Incidentally, my wife and I bought one of these each at the same time - she loves hers too.)
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on 3 March 2013
I purchased this phone because I was looking to upgrade from my HTC One X.

I did a few side-by-side tests and I will now talk about my experience with the Z.

Display:
I was personally very impressed by the display featured on the phone.

Text is clear, crisp and easy to read - the display is sharper than the 720p Super LCD2 and the difference is easily noticeable when browsing the web.

Photos and videos look very nice on the display - I would argue that the screen isn't quite as punchy as the One X but the extra size makes up for it and makes you just want to look more at the Z. (side by side comparison)

I'd also like to point out that I have had no app compatibility issues because of the display / 1080p resolution.

Performance:
Web browsing is a lot smoother on the Z - content heavy sites load very quickly and it is no challenge for the phone to be able to scroll up and down smoothly.

My One X has always suffered from a poor web browsing experience - I always felt my previous SII was smoother when browsing the web but both phones seem to load up sites at the same time.

The games that I have had installed run great / very smoothly on both devices and I don't feel that you'd be wanting more performance from either of them in regards to mobile gaming.

Camera:
I have noticed that some reviews for the Z state that it has a very solid camera, whereas some others have said the camera isn't quite up to scratch but in my experience, the camera is excellent and certainly on par if not better than the One X.

However - the video camera is far superior to that of the One X because I have always found my One X to suffer from framerate / stuttering issues - this isn't an issue for the Z.

The only thing I would point out is that the pre-installed camera application takes a few seconds to fire up - I believe this is something that will be fixed through a software update. (a camera app on Google Play loads up immediately)

Call quality / loudspeaker:
The call quality from the Z is more than acceptable and can be tailored to your needs through the settings e.g. noise cancelling, slow talk etc.

The loudspeaker on the Z is noticeably louder than the One X with X-Loud and ClearPhase enabled (similar volume upon being disabled) - it can sound slightly distorted on certain songs with both of those features enabled & at max, but it does mean that you won't be missing a phone call. (GSMArena said the loudspeaker was below average but I disagree with this and think that they may have had a bad unit / or not set up X-Loud on the device)

Battery life:
The battery life on the Xperia Z is great and I have found that the device will last for 4-5 hours when running a 3D intensive game constantly (auto-brightness, Wi-Fi) - I ran the same game on my One X and found that it went from 100% to 0% in just 2 hours.

As with any recent smartphone - if you are worried about your battery life then consider investing in an external battery pack. (plug it in and your device will begin to charge)

Conclusion:
I am extremely happy with my purchase of the Sony Xperia Z - during my few days of owning the device, I would say that it is a very solid and highly capable device that will not disappoint.

Buy it now and you won't regret your decision! (as always though - try to get a hands-on with it in a phone-shop if possible so you can decide for yourself)
11 comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 April 2013
I've had this phone for a couple of weeks now.

First up, it takes a micro-sim so if you're coming from an older phone that uses a mini-sim like the Galaxy S 2 then you'll need to get a micro-sim to use this phone. Beware of micro-sim cutters as not all sims are suitable for cutting, and in any case you can get a replacement sim for around a tenner anyway.

Out of the box, the phone came charged to about 60% and without the screen protectors applied (there are protectors for both front and back). Application of the protectors was easy with the cleaning cloth and bit of plastic provided, although it may be prudent to take off the NFC sticker from the back cover first, apply the protector and then re-apply the NFC sticker - otherwise you'll find the back protector has a big bubble around the NFC sticker.

The Sony launcher seems capable and fairly minimalist so close to stock Android experience but with some neat touches and Sony apps - I especially like the use of geo-tagging in the 'Album' app to allow you to sort your pictures on a map or globe. My time with the Sony launcher was short, as I switched to Go Launcher EX very soon. Using Go Launcher EX, the screen transitions are extremely smooth on the Xperia Z and very pretty, esp. with some of the themes available. At present, the camera app takes several seconds to launch which makes you question whether you actually launched it.

The loud speaker is on the right bottom, so easily covered by your hand if using speakerphone, but apart from that is loud enough and clear.

The display when viewed normally is very good, but the viewing angles are not so great, meaning colours look washed out when not viewed straight-on or near straight-on.

The use of flaps to cover all the holes for charging, headphones, microsd and sim is what makes the phone waterproof but quite annoying as you have to open the flap every time you put the phone on charge, unless you buy a dock to use the pins on the side - which costs £25 for a bit of plastic with some internal wiring, so seems quite expensive for what it is.

The size of the phone seems just right, when held in one hand you can just reach top and bottom if held in the middle, and the positioning of the buttons for power-on and volume is brilliantly right.

If I could change only one thing about this phone, it would be to add the ability to change the battery. Sony have done really excellent work on making sure that their apps and launcher do not hold and locks that prevent the phone from going into 'deep sleep' mode, so using a battery saving program like JuiceDefender or the in-built Stamina mode you'll see less than 1% battery lost per hour. The use of location-based WiFi allows you to set the phone to turn on WiFi when it's connected to a mobile mast where it remembers being connected to a WiFi network previously so no need to use third-party apps to manage that manually.
33 comments| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I have had my Xperia Z for 5 weeks now. I was at first concerned about the battery life, but to be fair I did spend the first few hours of ownership downloading my favorite apps and a large number of albums from amazon and 7 digital. I took the charger to work with me the first time and did have to plug it in. Yesterday I left home with the 'Z' fully charged and left the charger at home ,and used it quite a few times over of an 8 hour period checking my mail looking at videos and also took quite a few photos too (good camera when set up properly!!)

The headphones supplied aren't bad but you could probably do better, I understand some networks are giving away a free pair of sony headphones worth £299 in the uK!! What a bargain! The camera needs to be set up properly as if its a normal digi camera - there are quite a few setting and it has HDR as well as the Exmor sensor. It does pretty well in low light situations - see pictures I uploaded here - Some warm sunny weather, blue skies and golden sunlight could make all the difference too!!

Just one little warning..... The Xperia Z is pretty tough - but its NOT scratch proof!! Get those screen protectors on there or get a good case if you want its look to last!

**** update ****

Despite what others say here, I think the screen is brilliant - probably too good as it makes its own photographs taken with the camera look better then they really are! Films downloaded form 'Video Unlimited' look fantastic, incredibly sharp, but look even better when connected to any flatscreen. If you dont have a Sony bravia you need to buy a special MHL cable off here Sony Xperia Z Micro-USB To HDMI Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) Adapter and it also needs to be connected to a USB power output... So typically you would have the MHL connected to the HDMI cable from your flatscreen and then a USb cable connected to the SIDE of the MHL adapter and thence to something like a small laptop to provide the power (also keeps your phone trickle charging) then connect the MHL connecter into the Z's usual charging port..... I think one of the reasons the battery dont last too long is because we tend to play with the device all the time - I know I do! So turn off things like bluetooth, GPS, and anything that is transferring data back an forth. Turn the screen down to a sensible level too and set the time-out for the screen to 2 to 5 minutes.

One of the wonders of android is that you can infinitely customize it. I recommend the 'Apex launcher' from the Play store, there are others - with this you can totally change the look of the UI, I have to admit to being a bit underwhelmed with the original view when I first switched on the phone. Now, it looks nothing like it did when I first used it - looks much better and some great widgets too!

You buy smartphones??!!!!??? For most working folk £500 GBP is a lot of money, so we don't do that here, in the UK you can get any phone you want free with the contract - sometimes even a free tablet too......

Going back to the film downloads I made an interesting discovery - films purchased or rented from Video Unlimited only seem to play from the main memory.. and not from my series 10 SD card.. worth baring in mind as the films are about 1.24GB each and the phones 16Gb soon fills up. First thing I discovered was that having moved my films to the SD card they wouldnt play.. And there is no in-device menu for copying films back to the internal memory quickly - so you have to use your PC to do this - a bit of a pain. Funny thing is that all other types of film seem to play ok from the SD card just not the purchased or rented ones.. I also advise that you turn OFF the data flow or your film will be constantly interrupted with alerts and update sounds and from news and Facebook apps - worse of all PHONECALLS! in the middle of the film - I turn my mine off anyway and just leave WiFi running, you need that to download your film anyway - they can take quite a while though you can play whilst it is downloading.PE

Update: Wish I had got a Samsung S3/4 now
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66 comments| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 September 2013
When it comes to smartphones we are somewhat spoilt for choice, they all offer something different to each other. When it came to choosing which phone to upgrade to, my choice was easier to make, I hate Apple products completely and would never use any of their cr*p if they paid me. My previous phone was a Nokia Lumia which was great apart from the lack of apps and the poor battery life. I chose the Xperia primarily for the Walkman and the super HD quality screen. The battery life is long even with many of the apps running in the background. With it being Android, the wealth of apps available is extensive. I have a Sony Bravia TV so was able to make use of the Xperia's unique function such as mirroring and NFC. Despite being a little larger than my Nokia Lumia, it is much lighter. It is worth purchasing a larger memory card, I used the SanDisk microSDXC64gb (sony claim that you cannot use more than a 32gb card, you can, you just need to format the card when inserted in the phone). I love this phone, goodbye Nokia.
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on 22 March 2013
I have to say this is the best phone available, even after the release of the HTC One and the S4.
I brought this phone because my Samsung S3 was over rated, the battery life was poor and I found that some of the software was annoying. The device had lots of gadgets that I just didn't need to use.
The first thing to grab me about the Xperia Z is the build quality and the excellent display. Many reviews have said that the viewing angles are poor. I have found this to be nonsense unless you are trying to view the screen an unnatural or impractical angle. The screen has more natural tones compared to other handsets, I prefer this screen compared to the exaggerated colours on other screens. when laid side by side with the S3 the screen doesn't look as bright due to the more natural tones but when you use it the screen is beautiful.
The images on the screen are razor sharp, video playback is the best I have seen with the Bravia enhancement. The camera performs reasonably well in low light conditions, images look heavily enhanced though. In normal conditions the image is as you would expect from a 13mp camera, very sharp with natural colours.
The software is brilliant, very quick, very smooth, the one downside is that the sky Go app doesn't work with the handset yet. The MP3 player is fantastic, Sony have made subtle enhancements to the andriod system and it works really well.
The battery is fantastic, my S3 barely lasted a day with all over the back ground data off and the battery saving measures on, my Xperia Z lasts me two days before it needs a charge, stamina mode is genius. Here is a tip, find the in built news and weather app and disable the background data as this app constantly updates and prevents stamina mode working properly.
Battery drain when in use is simillar to other phones, the key to this device is the amount of power saved when it is not in used. on a daily basis I listen to the MP3 player for 3-4 hours, about 1 hour browsing online or playing about with apps, sent about 10 texts per day and have about 3-4 phone calls lasting 5 mins on average. I have watched video streamed on line for an hour and the battery still lasted 2 days based on my useage.
The two downsides are that the screen becomes smeared quite easily and the external speaker is poor, it's loud enough for ringtones but it's poor for music playback, the handset has one speaker is not enough and the speaker that is used just isn't powerful enough.
My heart was set on getting the HTC One, but the delayed launch meant that after having a play with this handset I took a chance weighed up the pros and cons, I am very pleased I did. It has to be said there is little that separates the top handsets nowadays, the things that makes this stand out is the great software and the battery life!
I've it a chance instead of following the mainstream and biased reviews and you will be very, very happy. just think a top of the range smartphone with all of the new modern features, that doesn't need a daily charge (based on normal usage)
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