back to article Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

The Xperia Z has had a surprisingly short stint as the top dog of Sony’s smartphone range and has now been unceremoniously ousted by the Xperia Z1. Sony Xperia Z1 Sony’s Xperia Z1: getting it right, second time around? But the new Z1 isn’t just a cosmetic warm-over. It has a more powerful processor, a much improved screen …

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  1. Sebastian Brosig
    Paris Hilton

    Zoom?

    the full-zoom shot of the Hilton tower (hence the Paris angle -> ) shows that 20MP is a simple waste of storage, it's useless at that size. A _good_ 8MP camera is enough for a phone, all the Lumia 41MP trickery nonwithstanding (there it's mostly a basis for noise-reducing oversampling)

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Zoom?

      I generally agree. The biggest advantage of a high resolution snapper is the ability to incorporate better digital zoom. Set it to 8MP and you end up with about 2.5x zoom without loss of quality (as it effectively crops the 20MP image down to 8MP rather than down-sampling it. At 20MP though, all it does is fill your storage up quicker.

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Zoom?

      Digital zoom and oversampling are brilliant reasons for a high-megapixel camera.

    3. HMB

      Re: Zoom?

      Did you just criticise it for having a high megapixel count and then say that you understood why the Lumia has a high megapixel count?

      1. SuccessCase

        Re: Zoom?

        @HMB, the Lumia uses the high megapixel count expressly in conjunction with oversampling to reduce noise. It doesn't keep the hi res image and the oversampling noise reduction process is built into hardware and the 41 MP CCD and image capture process is optimised for a ISO capture rating you wouldn't attempt without the built in oversampling strategy. So they are "happy" for there to be a level of noise at 41 mega pixels in order to enable faster shutter speed in low light, and the lower res image is cleaned up so has, compared with similar resolution camera phones (e.g. the cleaned up lower res image), there is less noise. It's a clever strategy.

        1. Paul 135

          Re: Zoom?

          Exactly. This is why I don't agree with the "I don’t know about you, but if I’d bought a phone with a 20.7MP camera I’d like to set that as the permanent default." comment in the article. Surely when you take a picture at 8MP it is still using all 21MP for noise reduction.

    4. LarsG

      Bigger not always better

      Great screen, at a cost of weight and size, so when does a phone get so big it becomes less pocketable and more unwieldy.

      Sony tend to produce products designed by a committee, in this case they haven't deviated from their rule.

      Hands up more mega pixels, hands up bigger screen, hands up...... They just are not products that are pretty anymore.

      Why on earth are they going down the mine has got more mega pixels than yours, which reminds me of the old processor wars of yesteryear. As to benchmarks, I'm not convinced that there isn't a hidden bit of code in there that benefits it in someway.

      Also with all Sony products, they fail to update software when a new product replaces an old one, they forget they have a responsibility to the customer. Maybe that's why they are struggling against the competition.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Bigger not always better

        @LarsG

        Behave.

        Sony do update phones. My 2012 Xperia has been updated to ICS, and then again to Jelly Bean, with a smaller update after that. Not only that, but XDA consider them the friendliest vendor for custom ROMs.

      2. Brass knob

        Re: Bigger not always better

        I purchased my Z1 at the start of October, and since then, Sony have released 2 software updates (not Android OS kernel updates, just their own software layer). In comparison, in the 2 years I owned my Galaxy S2, Samsung only released one software update, and no Android updates. So I don't agree with your comment about Sony's software releases.

        1. blapping

          Re: Bigger not always better

          the s2 started on gingerbread, then got ICS and is now on jelly bean.

  2. pdf

    I nearly pulled the trigger on this phone, but for two things:

    1) The added bezel surface area, and squared-off corners make this significantly less comfortable than other 5" phones, and I don't have small hands - it'd be a serious problem for someone that does.

    2) The screen. Whilst it may be an improvement over the previous generation, it's still really quite terrible. Because the device is large, even a relatively minor tilt of the device adds enough angle to the top of the screen to start losing contrast and colour, thanks to the still absolutely appalling viewing angles. This was really the clincher for me.

    I am hanging out for Sony to finally get the Z1s announced and shipping - it's expected to have essentially the same specs in a 4.3" screen device, with the only sacrifice being battery capacity (obviously, with the smaller chassis), but this will hopefully be offset by lower power requirements for the smaller screen. Not only that, but if video of the Japanese variant (the Z1f) is anything to go by, the 720p screen is phenomenally better than display in the Z1. Fingers crossed.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      I nearly pulled the trigger on this phone

      Do what?

      I thought you meant "I nearly bought myself this phone" but then point 1 is about it being awkward to use for people with smaller hands than you. So what do you mean?

    2. Brass knob

      Have you actually tried the Z1 ?

      I keep reading negative reviews about the screen contrast and poor viewing angles, but I don't find this an issue at all - I think people are talking themselves out of buying this device without really do anything research, and I can't work out why ? I guess it's their loss at the end of the day.

  3. Steve Kerr

    I got one of these last week to replace a Sony Ericisson Xperia.

    So far I'm astounded at how good a phone it is, downloads are fast, it's not crashed on me (yet) and everything seems to work fine.

    Battery life is pretty good to, much better than I was expecting.

    On the downside, it is a bit large, it's easy to accidentally lock the screen as the unlock/lock button is where you put your fingers on the right hand side. The other thing is get a case, it's a bit slippery so I can see there being lots of these being dropped and broken.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      This is one of my disagreements with the "plastic cases are cheap and nasty" comments. Plastics are often exactly the right thing for a device's casing, both to improve grip and protect if the thing is dropped. I've tried metal and glass phones, and they feel too slippery and insecure in my paw, and it strikes me that when they fall, the screen will be broken because the its nothing to absorb the shock.

      Whilst I usually put my phones in some sort of case, I don't want to be effectively forced into it by the basic design of the phone.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Z1 experiences...

    I've owned this phone for around a month, since the date of its release anyway - coming from a Galaxy S3 this was a leap of faith... i've never owned a Sony product in my life save for a largely unused PS3 hack toy..

    The waterproof works exactly as advertised, i've used this phone in the bath and shower, dunked it in many bowls of water at work (a colleague with the Z was too scared to ever try this!) and scared the bejesus out of my poor mother doing the washing up by "accidentally" dropping my fancy new phone in the bowl - this feature alone is worth the price of admission.

    Performance is stunning, this is the fastest Android device i've ever personally had the experience of.. sure the G2 and a couple of others may beat it on paper - but i'd be shocked if you noticed, this thing is a powerhouse.

    Battery is similarly good...i've never had it crap out on my like my S3 could occasionally do with heavy use.. in fact i've very rarely seen this phone anywhere near 10%!

    Ok, enough Sony felating...the screen.. now the reviewer seems to think the screen is something special. And it pains me to say this but if screens are your thing buy any other flagship over this. For my usage model the screen is terrible sometimes... and it is all down to viewing angles.. sharp viewing angles make this display unusuable - not a problem you say? Ever have your phone on your desk, hear the notification and just glace to see what it's about? I did! Not with my Z1 though, physically picking it up and looking at it is the only way to do this.

    I do love this amazing phone - but Sony need to really work on their screen tech as to me this is only just better than the original Z and nothing like the screen on the S4, G2, HTC One or Nexus 5..

  5. Deaths Pirate
    Thumb Down

    Never buying SONY again

    I will never buy another SONY product for one reason. The customer service is appauling. I have an Xperia Z, and I use the term 'have' loosely, as it is STILL being repaired by a company called SBE LTD who SONY use as their repair provider. It has been with SBE for 5 MONTHS! I first had a two month battle with SONY to admit the screen/battery on the Xperia Z was faulty as it cracked on its own (the phone was sat on my desk as the screen cracked) This has been well documented online (just google it!). So after a two month battle trying to get them to admit they were at fault it's now been another 3 months that apparently they have been waiting for parts that aren't available in the UK. For this reason I will never purchase another phone from SONY. It's just not been worth the hassle.

    1. h3

      Re: Never buying SONY again

      Me neither due to what they did with never fixing the Xperia Play manufacturing defects or upgrading the OS to ICS.

      They are going back to their old everything proprietary rip off the customer stuff in other areas as well.

      The company ethos is never fix anything if at all possible. (Early PS3's were just as bad as the early xbox 360's but they just lied about it and refused to fix anything. Board reflow is always a manufacturing defect regardless of when it needs to be done if it is done right in the fist place it is never necessary)

    2. h3

      Re: Never buying SONY again

      They are also implying these things are robust.

    3. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Never buying SONY again

      I have an Xperia tablet from work. Connecting a Bluetooth keyboard kills thw WiFi dead.

      Sony have /never/ replied to reports, emails, posts on their own forums or on farcebuk. I have tried to telephone both them and O2 and had no responses.

      Buggerem. Sideways. With a rotating pineapple.

    4. Clive Summerfield
      Thumb Down

      Re: Never buying SONY again

      Likewise. I've an Xperia T. That's the phone with the 13mp camera which compresses images down to 2.5mb jpegs full of compression artifacts and noise. And no option to control the compression factor. And the phone which chews through sd cards. And the phone which can no longer tether since the upgrade to Jellybean. All of these issues could be fixed by Sony, but they're too busy pumping out the next flagship phone to bother fixing issues in previous phones. I used to be a Sony fan, but ditched them quite a few years ago. The Xperia T is without a shadow of a doubt the last Sony phone I will ever buy.

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Never buying SONY again

      @Deaths Pirate, sorry to hear about the hassles but to be honest that could happen with virtually any of the "brands" at the moment. It shouldn't but it does and because it does companies like Apple are able to charge a premium for services like "AppleCare" which provide the peace of mind that your statutory rights should give you. My advice is to threaten whoever you're talking to with the Small Claims court and that should improve the service noticeably.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      Re: Never buying SONY again

      @Deaths Pirate - Your experience with Sony was truly appauling. And also a bit appalling.

      1. ben kendim

        Re: Never buying SONY again

        Have not bought a single thing from them since rootkit...

      2. Deaths Pirate

        Re: Never buying SONY again

        Yes, fair point. In my defense it WAS a Monday! ;)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to challenge a Note 3 I'm pleased to report. I'm still loving my 4K video mode thanks.

  7. PaulR79

    Viewing angles and PhotoSphere

    I've read elsewhere about viewing angles being poor but it sounds like a pretty nasty issue given how good everything else is and that's a shame. I was considering this as a potential upgrade option but as I have about 4 months left I think given the downsides I can wait.

    PhotoSphere is limited to Nexus devices and unless / until Google announce it being available to all I don't see the point of mentioning it in phone reviews. I've owned a Nexus 4 nearly a year and I haven't used it once.

  8. Professor Clifton Shallot

    Physical buttons

    I think the previous model had 'proper' home, back etc buttons but it looks like with this upgrade those have gone, to be replaced by on-screen buttons - is that correct?

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: Physical buttons

      Nope, the control layout, three capacitive buttons on the front, is the same as the Xperia Z and Xperia Z Ultra.

      As for viewing angles, OK, they are not as robust as the very best - the HTC One in my opinion - but they are far from "terrible" and certainly not a reason to avoid buying a Z1.

  9. David Nash

    My Z is great

    So there !

    Screen is good and there are no problems with the viewing angle. I wouldn't mind a headphone socket with no flappy cover though.

  10. Wam

    "There’s also an FM radio"

    Call me old-fashioned, but the lack of radio is what's putting me off a Galaxy S4 as my next phone

    1. Ramazan

      Re: There’s also an FM radio

      And it can also make and receive voice calls, unbelievable!

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Show of hands, who here has actually _used_ the fm radio on their phone?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        I use the FM radio on my phone from time to time. I wish it had a sleep timer though, so that falling asleep with it on doesn't deplete the battery fully.

      2. RealBigAl

        Show of hands

        Hands, it's relaxing on the train listening to the radio on my S2. I'm currently trying to decide what phone to get next but nothing is really screaming out. Z1 and Nexus 5 are on my possibles list.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I use the FM radio in my Note 2.

        Oh and it does have a timer, and it records, nice app.

      4. silent_count

        @Alan Brown: I've never listened to a phone's FM radio. I do occasionally listen to radio from other countries via the magic of the internet... on my phone.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lossless zoom?

    Do the Z1 got a lossless 8x digital zoom? Can anyone confirm it?

  12. Babyboos

    Got one of these a month ago.

    In my opinion it is the best smart phone in the world right now. Pair it with the new Smart Watch and it's incredible.

    My only gripe is that if you buy the Sony approved hard shell cover and the genuine Sony magnetic dock DK31, the phone won't fit into the dock with the cover on using the supplied adapter as stated on Sony's website.

    That for me is an EPIC FAIL !

  13. Goit

    I was looking at this and thinking hmmm looks nice, nice specs, good review, then it hit me, I remembered the grief I had with a Sony laptop, trying to get a replacement keyboard (user wanted white keys on a black laptop - god knows why)

    They did the exact same model in silver with white keys, so you'd think that phoning up with the part number and asking for it in white would be a simple process - ahahahahahh no.

    After much bandying around from department to department, manager to manager and absolutely hours on hold, days waiting on call backs, USELESS customer support I got no where and told them to shove it and told them that no Sony hardware would ever cross my palms again. That also reminds me I need to cancel my pre-ordered PS4!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      we have similar problems at $orkplace. Sony has been on the "do not buy" list for years, but the buying clerks refuse to arfgue with senior staff who want shiny vaios.

  14. All names Taken

    Hmm - but!

    There again:

    http://www.idealworld.tv/_295465.aspx

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making waterproof their own

    They realise that people carry and use phones when it is raining, let alone anything more extreme, starting with puddles and toilet bowls. Good for them. When will the others catch up?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making waterproof their own

      Sonim called, they want their USP back.

      My wife had one for years. Several of her clients regularly dropped phones in toilets (plumbers), slurry (farmers) or puddles (garage owners), but it never occurred to them to get a shockproof, waterproof phone because, when the inevitable happened, they would just blag a new one off the carrier.

      Hers survived several dog-induced mud intersections until the internal charging circuit died after 7 years and I was finally able to persuade her to have something that could send emails.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Making waterproof their own

      As others have commented, most Japanese domestic phones are waterproof. It's not a USP there, it's a standard feature.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Making waterproof their own

        The Samsung S4 Active is also waterproof, but apparently hard to find as part of a UK tariff.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Waterproof: Yes, I know it is not unique.

          In fact my Motorola Defy+ is supposes to be waterproof, though I have never quite believed in the badly-fitting USB cover. Still, it should survive being taken out in a shower at least.

          I did not know that about Japan. What good sense they have!

          all phones should be at least water-resistant. And tough enough to take a tumble.

          One reason why not might be the popularity of the reason to refuse warranty cover: "You got it wet."

  16. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Between the lines

    Apart from the pictures of "home" I like Alun's down-to-earth reviews. Yes, it mixes and matches tech trivia with extremely subjective values judgments: it's more substantial (heavy) which makes it of better quality. But it also concentrates on actually using the damn thing to do stuff.

    However, what interested me most about this review was one of the bits of tech trivia:

    Once again like the Xperia Z, the Z1 has a quad-core processor, but it has been bumped up from 1.5GHz to 2.2GHz making it one of the highest spec smartphones money can buy.

    That is an amazing leap (~ 50 %) in 6 months and you can really start to see why Intel is worried. If the ARM <insert-pun-here> is able to bump speed and/or cores at that rate on a regular basis then Intel will have no business at all in 5 years.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Between the lines

      The Anandtech review of the LG G2, which share the same chipset according to this review, suggests the chipset is responsible for a good bit of the extended battery life.

  17. J. R. Hartley

    IR Blaster...

    Really???

    Does it REALLY REALLY???

    Mine doesn't have one for sure :/

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

    I stopped reading there. Would you like a photograph of mine with the cover and battery removed? Get your facts straight. With one falsehood and how can one trust the rest of the article?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

      @AC 23:40 - "I stopped reading there. Would you like a photograph of mine with the cover and battery removed?"

      So - is the battery removable or not? Cause it's a deal breaker for me on any device if you can't replace your own battery.

      1. Al Taylor

        Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

        Like all (the latest) Xperias - Z, Z Ultra, SP etc - the Z1's battery is most definitely fixed in place.

        1. Paul 135

          Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

          I disagree that there is any positive aspect to a sealed battery though as stated with the "but on the other hand the handset doesn’t disassemble itself when you drop it" comment in the article. There was a Z1 drop test video published by someone showing internal damage to the phone -- at least when you drop a phone and the battery flies out, internal damage is not being done due to the energy being dissipated by the flying battery.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

          The battery in the Xperia Go is replaceable, but the one in the Xperia P is not- that I know from first hand experience. Other models in the range I have to take someone else's word for.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fixed Battery?

      Oh dear: waterproof, decent camera or not, I do dislike this most basic built-in-redundancy technique.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I sell both the Experia Z and Z1 in my store...

    Good:

    screens have good color reproduction

    sony ui skin is non-obtrusive

    camera is decent (actually, Z1 is in Nokia territory)

    both are fairly snappy at tasks if you don't load too many apps or widgets (same can be said about all top-end phones)

    water resistant (recording video in a pool is fun)

    Bad:

    phones are buggy as hell...sometimes won't hang up call, sometimes won't power on and restart unless you clear cache with long-press button sequences (volume up and power for 3-5sec for those that can't restart their experia), sometimes camera takes 10sec to initialize, etc. etc. We're on our 3rd warrantied Z demo after 4 months (only two non-hangups so far on Z1, fingers crossed), and all have the same persistent issues.

    Your freaking screen is WAAAAAAY too easy to scratch, and/or break...I am SUPREMELY disappointed about this part. So a test we do with our hi-end phones in store is to take a key to the screen of the phone (same key every time) and run it back and forth...first lightly, then with heavy pressure. The S3, S4, 925, 1020, One, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, G2, Note 2, and Note 3 all did not retain marks after both tests. The Experias scratched easily with the light pressure, then heavy pressure LITERALLY CARVED UP the screens leaving deep, frosty white marks like hitting an ice block with a machete. Our current Z was dropped on carpet from 4-5ft by customer on accident, top glass is now cracked starting from earpiece in two sections, waiting for new demo replacement. IF YOU'RE GONNA MAKE A WATER-TIGHT PHONE, MAKE THE F&*K$NG SCREEN BULLETPROOF YOU SILLY, SILLY GENIUSES.

    Ergonomics...there are none. They are right-angled rectangles. Heavy (more mass=more kinetic energy to break things when you drop it), right-angled rectangles.

    While I agree the battery on the Z1 is above average, the Z's is laughable...stamina mode be dammed.

    While I can look the other way on poor functional or aesthetic design, I can't forgive the sin of not critically thinking about the intent of the potential user: a smartphone for people who use most features of a feature-rich smartphone, and are not careful with their things. It makes me wonder who they choose for focus groups in the US...

    1. Paul 135

      All Sony phone comes with a shatter-proof screen protector out of the box. The screen that you are complaining about being scratched isn't actually the screen at all, but instead this replaceable layer of film.

      If it's a choice between a shattered and permanently damaged screen or a slightly scratched but cheaply repairable screen, I know which one I would choose!

    2. Bodhi

      Think you've kind of proved there why I don't tend to listen to mobile phone salesmen, and pick my own device based on reviews from people who actually know what they're talking about. Can't speak for the Z1 as I don't have one yet, but after 6 months with the Z I can tell you :

      1) Battery - absolutely fine, makes it through a day quite easily, even with 4G/WiFi, Google Now, GPS, BT etc all on. Stamina mode works a treat when the phone is idle. Last night it was showing 19 hours since charging with 45% left. The Sony phones tend to calibrate the battery over the first few charges, which it won't be able to do if it's constantly on charge in a store.

      2) Software bugs. Only one I've found is Car Mode sometimes freaks out a but and won't let you unlock the phone, leave it 5 seconds it sorts itself out. Other than that it's been the most stable mobile phone I've had, including my old iPhone 4. Never had a problem hanging up calls, or using it as a phone, performance is fine no matter how much I throw at it.

      3) Scratching screen - that's a screen protector you are scratching you utter div. Mind, the less said about mouth breathers in a mobile phone store deliberately scratching screens the better, I put one of the extra screen protectors that come in the box, 6 months later the screen is fine. But then I treat it with the respect a £500 device deserves, don;t attack it with a key.

      4) Viewing angles - not really an issue for me as I use my screen straight on, don't really notice a huge amount of washout, especially with the screen on full brightness. Crank the brightness up the screen look sstunning in fact,

      My Z has been absolutely superb - so good in fact half the family have traded in their Galaxys as they were fed up of random bugs and cracking screens, and the awful cartoony gloop that is TouchWiz. They're all on Z's now and more than happy. In fact I may have to get a Z1 to stay one step ahead :)

  20. Cuddles Silver badge
    FAIL

    Are you sure you reviewed the right phone?

    "The IP58 certification"

    As I also pointed out on the Xperia Ultra review, it does not have an IP58 certification. It has an IP55/8 certification. That means that IPx6 is not covered, so it cannot stand up to water jets.

    "As with all modern Android flagships the Z1 packs an IR blaster"

    No it doesn't.

    As for the screen, I really have no idea what anyone is complaining about. I can clearly read everything on the screen no matter how far I tilt it, right up until it's side on. It's obviously not as bright as looking at it head on, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. And that's with the brightness turned down as low as it will go. I haven't compared it with other phones so others may well be even better, but unless there's something seriously wrong with your eyes I can't imagine how anyone could have a problem with this one.

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: Are you sure you reviewed the right phone?

      This is Sony's exact wording in regards to the Z1's dust and waterproofing

      "Water and dust resistant (IP55 & IP58), durable tempered glass with a solid one-piece aluminium frame"

      As for the infra red transmitter I have to put my hands up and say I was wrong, the Z1 does not have one. I can only assume I was reading from my LG G2 notes when I wrote that. Apologies to one and all for the error which was wholly mine.

  21. Spud

    Works well for me

    Upgraded from an S2 to a Z1. After about 6 weeks with my Z1 I'm still pleased with the upgrade.

    Good points

    Battery Life is really good for a smartphone. I have about 2 days normal usage with wifi enabled while in office and home. Have soundcloud, facebook, twitter, email and weather updates auto synching in background.

    Screen is brightly coloured and I have no problems with watching anything on it at any angle.

    Performance is fast and I've never had it lag out at all apart from one app crash on a moview which was more related to the app than the phone.

    Call quality is way clearer than my old S2 even in low signal areas.

    Waterproof enough to go out Geochaching in the rain without worrying about the weather.

    Imported all my contacts, music and pictures from my S2 with the supplied software (very smoothly)

    Runs FIFA14 like it's on steroids !!!

    Bad points

    Camera button gets triggered when putting it in the car holder so i have to occasionally turn off the camera before starting some music for driving.

    Original firmware caused "camera not available" error but this is fixed with the latest firmware upgrade.

    Entries on the calendar are indicated by a tiny dot that's not so easy to see (minor gripe)

    Overall as an outdoor type it suits me well. It's survived a fall on the conrete without much more than a minor scratch on the side. The screen has a screen protector on it which doesn't affect the touch feel or responsiveness at all and It's going in a case as soon as I can find one I like. If an S4 was waterproof I'd of gone for that but that's the whole point of having some market differentiation. Sony waterproof, Nokia camera, S4 big screen, HTC speakers .... etc .....

    All in all I've put the Z1 through it's paces and can find little of fault.

  22. wondermouse
    FAIL

    A Sony handset? Never Again!

    Sorry Sony. For me you blew it by dropping support for Xperia Arc and Arc S users and others and leaving us with slow, bloated OSes and promising, and then not delivering, upgrades.

    That was the point I said "never again" to buying a Sony phone. You went from being the best (K800 and other great camera phones) to the worst and whether this phone is good or not it's too bloody late.

    It's like a girlfriend who slept with all your mates, the postman, the milkman and the cat asking you to take her back.

    There's a reason you're way out behind with your phones. Treating existing customers like dirt while bending backwards to attract new ones.

    Same applies to your laptops. You stiffed me and you stiffed a friend once too often with your poor service and stupid overpriced spares. £46 for a plastic foot anyone?

    Now I'm doing what I should have done years ago. Just say no.

    Rant over.

    1. Bodhi

      Re: A Sony handset? Never Again!

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Arc and Arc S were made by a different company - SonyEricsson. Sony's updates now are excellent, generally updated as long as Qualcomm can supply the drivers tor the chipsets.

  23. Andy Howarth

    I've been a bit of a phone tart in the last year, Xperia Arc, Lumia 800, Asus Fonepad, iPhone 3GS - after I dropped the Fonepad and then back to the Arc before getting a Z1 in early October.

    I almost went for a Z Ultra but after doing the whole Dom Joly thing with the Fonepad decided that the Z1 is about as big as a pure phone needs to be. Battery life is impressive, the screen is OK and it's certainly rugged. It even survived being dropped down the toilet by No.1 son.

    The biggest downside was making sure my two kids realised that mine is the only waterproof phone in the house before they dunk test my wife's iPhone 5.

  24. Dazbert

    I've recently got one...

    ...and the following things occur to me.

    Firstly, I ordered this through work, in a rush, partly on the strength of this review. Then when I saw the size of it in the shop, I tried to change my order. But I was too late, so I figured I'd run with it. And sure enough it is big. But not unusably so. It's slim enough to feel fairly unintrusive in a pocket, but the smoothness and weight do mean you need to keep a firm grip on it. I can cycle with it in a front pocket, though a smaller man wearing tighter trousers might prefer not too.

    The camera is pretty damn good, but like all phone cameras, the sensor gives you that weird 'painterly' quality at full magnification. Still, it's the best I've used, and the extra pixels give you much more room for fixing those edges. The stock camera app is mixed - Superior Auto mode is fairly smart, but Manual mode offers a limited array of options. I'm sure this could be fixed with a 3rd party app. Disagreeing with this review, both modes defaulted to 20Mpx shots straight out of the box. The manual button needs quite a firm click, too firm when you need to keep it steady, and you'll find you're often accidentally holding it half down which hides the on-screen controls.

    Waterproof is good, especially as a cyclist, since I've found to my cost that most backpacks are not. But I'm not convinced that the screen can adequately differentiate between the capacitance of a finger and a drop of water. It'll survive in the bath, but trying to use it will test your patience.

    The battery life, however, is dead good. Excellent power-saving modes gave me a long weekend away without recharge, despite having the camera on for half of the trip. For me, that's a real plus. Of course, it's not replaceable, so time will tell whether it remains serviceable for the lifetime of the phone.

    There's been a lot of talk about the screen. The screen seems good to me. Yes, you can read a text without picking it up off your desk. The viewing angle is fine, even if it may not be as good on paper as some. Taking photos where you can't get your head behind it is the only time this has affected me, but hey, it's a digital camera - just take a few at a few different angles. Brightness is on the pull-down menu, so only 2 clicks away.

    The processor is lightening fast, and unlike some commenters, I've not felt the phone get hot (no warmer than my S3, anyway). I'm used to running Cyanogenmod, so I may not be up to date with the latest stock Android features, but the keyboard seems good, and texting is easy (though a link to additional dictionary choices would be good, and I've not figured out a way to force double letters). I do miss the Samsung's hard 'home' button, and the screen lock/unlock can be hard to find (being so close to the volume rocker).

    In summary: If you want a shiny phone with a big screen, a good camera and great battery life, pick this. If you want something unobtrusive, lightweight and portable, or you'll really miss turning the screen on with a big Home button, don't. I like it, but not without reservations. So, any questions, ask away and I'll try to answer.

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