Feeds
Sony Xperia Z

Review: Sony Xperia Z

The new flagship with tattered sails?

Security for virtualized datacentres

Trouble at mill

The fixed 2330mAh battery givers the Z a solid 36 hour hour usage cycle - or 75 per cent that of my trusty Motorola Razr i, which is my benchmark in such matters. Looping a 1080p video, I got four hours 25 minutes from a charge: pretty decent, I reckon. Battery life then is better than the Nexus 4 but don’t expect miracles.

So far I may have given the impression that all is rosy in the Xperia garden, but there are some technical greenfly about.

Sony Xperia Z

The power and volume controls are very well placed

Firstly, the screen lacks contrast and colours look weak when the Bravia engine isn’t doing its thing. Viewing angles aren’t that robust either, a problem the Z shares with the Xperia T. In short, despite the super-sharp 1080p resolution, it’s a good display rather than a great one. This is probably down to it being a plain old TFT panel rather than IPS LCD or AMOLED.

Next, the loudspeaker sounds painfully raucous at higher volumes. With its large HD screen watching video is surely one of the reasons you’d buy an Xperia Z in the first place so a low rent single speaker really lets the side down. The speaker is also set into the bottom right hand edge of the device in a near perfect place to be covered by your hand.

Turning to the the camera, though boasting an impressive resolution to my eyes it really performs no better than the 8Mp cameras fitted to the iPhone 5 or Nokia Lumia 920 and in low light it’s significantly worse than the Nokia.

Sony Xperia Z

The screen's viewing angles aren't magnificent

And some of the camera software doesn’t seem to work. Try as I did I couldn’t get the automatic launch and snap function, a handy feature on a phone with no physical camera button, to do its thing.

It's not the fastest launching phone camera I've ever come across, either. It takes more two seconds to get its act together from cold. And it can only capture 1Mp stills when recording video. That’s poor.

Finally, like the Nexus 4, the Xperia Z gets rather warm when worked hard, playing games like NOVA 3, for example. Say what you like about Qualcomm’s high-end chipsets, they can’t half pump out the thermals when they get busy. I demand many things from a mobile phone but keeping my nuts warm in the winter isn’t one of them.

Sony Xperia Z and Motorola Razr i

Side by side with the Motorola Razr i

Of course a warm back when gaming, a slightly wishy-washy screen and a good but not stellar camera are not the end of the world. But the last two are parts of the puzzle that Sony should excel at. On balance, the Z is a very good, but I was rather hoping for greatness.

The Reg Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Xperia Z not least the build quality, waterproofing and very efficient packaging. But I’m not wholly sure that’s going to be enough to see off the competition from HTC’s One - smaller, 4.7-inch screen notwithstanding - or the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Xperia Z is just a bit plain when compared to the HTC, which offers some unique features like the excellent front-facing speakers and the equally excellent 4Mp big pixel camera.

The S4 meanwhile is loaded with so many trick - if perhaps unnecessary - features I don’t know where to begin. I expected the Xperia Z to trump both with a class-leading screen and a class-leading camera but frankly it doesn’t, and you have to tolerate an Android overlay that’s starting to look just a wee bit dated. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

Sony Xperia Z

Review: Sony Xperia Z

Android 4.1 smartphone with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor, 13Mp camera and 5-inch, 1920 x 1080 display.
Price: £500 Sim-free RRP

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Slap my Imp up: Bullfrog's Dungeon Keeper
Monsters need to earn a living too
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
The Apple Watch and CROTCH RUBBING. How are they related?
Plus: 'NostrilTime' wristjob vid action
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.