Product Listing

Sony Xperia Z1 - Taking Pride on Its Mobile Imaging Prowess (Updated with Price)

By Katrina Canlas & Sidney Wong - 22 Oct 2013
Launch SRP: PhP36990

The Megapixel War Begins

 

Overview

Formerly codenamed "Honami", Sony unveiled the Xperia Z1 at IFA 2013 last week. Replacing the current Xperia Z as its premium Smartphone offering (the larger Xperia Z Ultra is squarely a phablet), the Z1 touts serious updates in the areas of display quality and more importantly, imaging prowess. As such, the Xperia Z1 is seen as a strong contender for the title of the best camera-centric phone along with its earlier announced competitors such as Nokia's 41-megapixel Lumia 1020 and Samsung's 16-megapixel Galaxy S4 Zoom. All three devices sport camera modules which are leaps and bounds ahead of those found in ordinary camera phones. While such comparisons are hard to avoid and we will be touching on the imaging quality aspects, it's important to remember that the Xpera Z1 is primarily a smartphone competing with other 5-inch 'super phones'. Let's take a quick look at its specs before we dive into the review:-

Sony Xperia Z1 

  Key highlights of the Sony Xperia Z1

  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • 5-inch Triluminos display / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 20.7-megapixel rear camera with F2.0 aperture, 27mm wide angle lens, 1/2.3-type CMOS image sensor Exmor RS for mobile
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • NFC support
  • 4G LTE
  • micro-SIM
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 144 x 74 x 8.5mm
  • Weight: 170g
  • Price and Availability: TBA

 

Sony Xperia Z1 vs. Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
  Sony Xperia Z1 Nokia Lumia 1020 Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
  Sony Xperia Z1 Nokia Lumia 1020 Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Operating system
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Windows Phone 8
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5GHz
  • 1.5GHz dual-core
Built-in Memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1.5GB RAM
Display
  • 5-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (441 ppi) / TRILUMINOS Display for Mobile
  • 4.5-inch / 1,280 x 768 resolution / AMOLED
  • 4.3-inch / 960 x 540 pixels / Super AMOLED
Camera
  • 20.7-megapixel / autofocus / F2.0 / 27mm wide angle / 1/2.3 -type Exmor RS for mobile CMOS image sensor
  • Secondary: 2-megapixel
  • Rear: 41-megapixels with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, xenon flash and optical image stabilization
  • Front: 1.2-megapixel
  • 16 Megapixels / 10x Optical Zoom and enhanced SMART Modes, OIS, 24-240mm, F3.1 - F6.3
  • Secondary: 1.9 Megapixels
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, DLNA, Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, micro-USB 2.0 (MHL), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v3.0, NFC, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio connector
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, Bluetooth v4.0 LE, NFC
Storage Type
  • 16GB internal storage
  • micro-SD support up to 64GB
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD Slot (supports cards up to 64GB capacity)
Battery
  • 3,000mAh
  • 2,000mAh
  • 2,330mAh
Dimensions
  • 144 x 74 x 8.5mm
  • 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4mm
  • 125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4mm
Weight
  • 170g
  • 158g
  • 208g

 

Design & Features

(Note: We've done a hands-on article with the Xperia Z1, so we'll summarize the key points here instead of going into great length again.)

In a nutshell, the Xperia Z1 sits in the middle between the monstrous 6.44-inch Xperia Z Ultra and the more handy 5-inch Xperia Z. Due to its larger battery capacity (relative to the Xperia Z) and a more advanced camera module, the Xperia Z1 is a tad longer than the Xperia Z and is the thickest among the lot at 8.5mm. However, the Xperia Z1 is by no means chunky; it is still very portable thanks to Sony maintaining the OmniBalance design aspects.

Seen here are the Sony Xperia Z(left), Xperia Z1 (center) and Xperia Z Ultra (right).

Unlike the Xperia Z and Z Ultra which have a small LED notification light on the left side of the SONY logo, the Xperia Z1 sports a short strip of LED lights above the logo. We feel this implementation is more visible. 

We also spotted a new button on the bottom right side of the Xperia Z1 - a dedicated camera shutter button. Besides using it to take photos, you can activate the camera from the lock screen or any home screen by pressing and holding the button for about two seconds.

Software

Aside from its Xperia camera apps, the Xperia Z1 has the same software features as the Xperia Z Ultra such as Quick Settings, lock screen widgets and Small Apps. You can get acquainted with these software features here.

5-inch Triluminos TFT Display

Similar to the Xperia Z Ultra's 6.44-inch display, the Xperia Z1 uses the display technologies from its TV line-up - Triluminos screen technology and the X-Reality display processing engine. For a more detailed explanation of the screen technologies, do check out the article here. Generally, we liked the 5-inch Full-HD display of the Xperia Z1 and the washed out viewing angles of the Xperia Z or non existent on the Xperia Z1, which is a definite plus point to legibility and usability.