Feeds
Sony Xperia Z

Review: Sony Xperia Z

The new flagship with tattered sails?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

How it must gall Sony to find that along with the likes of HTC, ZTE and LG it is now firmly in the second division of Android phone makers, floundering in the spume and wake of the global sales monster that is Samsung.

Sony Xperia Z

Xperia Z: a bit of a slab

Personally I blame a ludicrously complex model portfolio as much as lacklustre hardware. Can anyone list the current crop of Xperia handsets off the top of their head? No? Thought not. The opportunity to make things simple after the ditching of the Ericsson brand was squandered so it’s back to the drawing board we go.

Indeed, the first thing you notice about Sony’s new flagship, the Xperia Z, is that the firm’s designers have ditched all the familiar Xperia design language in favour of something startlingly generic. The Xperia Z is frankly a bit of a slab.

Now let me qualify that by saying it’s a very elegant and well proportioned slab. Any device that can house a 5-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen in a body that weighs 146g and measures only 139 x 71 x 7.9mm gets a thumbs up from me. Keep in mind that’s only 0.3mm thicker and 12mm wider than the diminutive 4-inch iPhone 5.

Sony Xperia Z

Yep, it's waterproof

As an exercise in packaging it’s a top effort and Sony deserves kudos for the excellent placement of the large on/off button and volume rocker, which fall to hand very easily even when holding something this size.

But it is a tad plain and featureless when you look at it alongside the iPhone 5, the HTC One, the or the Nokia Lumia 920, let alone the Galaxy S4. Sony seems to have reacted to criticism that previous Xperias were overdesigned by underdesigning the Z.

And I’m a little worried about the narrow gap between the screen and chassis that includes the earpiece and mic cut-outs. It collects dandruff, dust and other nonspecific detritus.

Sony Xperia Z

The back, like the front, is all glass

On the plus side, it’s as solid as you could possibly desire a handset to be and it has IP57 certification for water and dust resistance. That means flaps covering all the ports and sockets but at least once you’ve prised them open you get an MHL-enabled micro USB port with USB host support and a micro SD slot to back up the 16GB of internal storage.

Like any handset covered with glass front and back - it’s not Gorilla Glass but some other type of toughened, shatter-proof glass - the Z is a fingerprint magnet and can sometimes get to feel a bit sticky. Buy the black one and you’ll be forever polishing it. I’d suggest going for the white unless you are happy looking like you have OCD.

The 441dpi screen looks very impressive. Put it alongside any 1280 x 720 Android or Retina iPhone display and I guarantee you will be impressed by the crystal clarity and ultra-sharp definition. The latest version of Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine further enhances proceedings by sharpening images and reducing noise when you are looking at still pictures or video.

Sony Xperia Z

Covers keep the ports free of fluff

Reflections are kept impressively at bay too thanks to some jiggery-pokery concerning the way the various layers of the screen are bonded together.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Portable powerhouse

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.