Sony Xperia Z1: first impressions

, posted: 25-Nov-2013 18:41

I’ve been following the TelecomTech posts ever since the HTC Sensation series, and as time goes by the top end smartphones get better and better. Now the Sony Xperia Z1 is the latest and greatest, and I’m one of the lucky Geekzone members selected to put it to the test.

Opening the box of the Sony Z1 and a sleek black sheet of glass stares back at you. Picking it up and the phone feels solid, with a glass back and only the power button and headphone jack noticeable around the black and brushed aluminium sides.

It is slightly heavier than expected when first picking it up (at 170g), but you soon don’t notice it, feeling almost reassuringly hefty. It fits in the hand comfortably, and in my opinion is the most stylish looking phone out there. Plasticky is not a word this phone will ever be accused of.

 

Switching on the phone and the 5.0 inch screen makes an immediate impression. At 1920x1080 pixels it boasts a full HD display which is bright and clear from almost any viewing angle. Coming from a small screen phone to a big screen phone is a joy, mobile browsing has moved from Opera mini (with images disabled!) to a full rich browser experience on Chrome or Firefox.

As a first time Android user setting up was simple enough, with the Sony setup guide taking care of the wi-fi password, Sony Entertainment Network account, Google account and social network accounts. The calendar synchronised with my Outlook.com account, and it also comes with Exchange ActiveSync for easy business connectivity.

Apps and Music services can be accessed from Google Play or the Sony Select screen. The Sony Select screen suggested the Asphalt 8 game, which looks stunning on the Z1 and has vastly improved the quality of my daily commute, in the screenshot below I had just crashed into a bus whilst riding on the bus…

The black bar with three dots on the side of the screen is where the Android navigation buttons are – like the Nexus phones, Sony have dispensed with physical buttons on the front of the device, which I didn’t even notice at first. For some apps like YouTube they disappear altogether until you tap the screen, for others like Asphalt 8 they stay available.

The 20.7 megapixel camera takes impressive pictures and I’ll be exploring the camera functionality more in a future blog post. In the meantime I’ve had good fun with the kids using the Augmented Reality feature, this one was taking Auckland Airport back to the late Cretaceous:

Performing the obligatory benchmark, my AnTuTu score is 33275 which puts it 4th in the overall rankings. This was after installing some apps and using the phone for a while – some other reviews have achieved a score of 35000. This is a ‘real world’ review experience, but still it is nice to know it thinks the phone is ‘Amazing’.

 

The Sony Xperia Z1 has a waterproof rating of IP58, meaning it can be submerged up to 1.5 metres underwater. I can’t dive down that far without popping my ears, but we’re going swimming at the weekend so with not a little trepidation I’ll be taking some underwater photos to see if it really is as waterproof as it says it is..

About the Author:

Jon Bielby (JonB) is a keen follower science and technology, living in a house with Windows, iOS and Android gadgets. I’m working as a software tester in the healthcare IT field in Auckland, and have been an owner of Sony Ericsson phones since the K750i, with a W705 as my smartphone before upgrading to the Sony Xperia Z1. You can be one my first twitter followers at @j1blb

Other related posts:
Sony Xperia Z1: The Camera
The Sony Xperia Z1: initial impressions






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Telecom New Zealand
Auckland
New Zealand


Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

The team will post firsthand reports on using these smartphones on New Zealand's smartphonenetwork. Make sure to keep an eye on this blog. Who knows who might be our next "test drivers"?

   

Catch up on previous Telecom Tech reviews - read about the Nokia Lumia 1020Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 and HTC Sensation.





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