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Sony Xperia Z - A Water-Resistant Full HD Smartphone (Part 1)

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Xperia Z is among the most typical and striking smartphones of the 2013, with a 5in Full HD screen and a nice unibody design.

Sony’s most hi-end smartphone at present is considered to compete against Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One – those latest Androids. Yet, Xperia Z will be released sooner, priced at $825.

Xperia Z owns a 5in Full HD display delivering 441ppi pixel density. In comparison with last year’s Xperia models, Xperia Z was upgraded with quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor (1.5GHz) and 2GB of RAM. Besides, the camera uses a new 13MP Exmor RS sensor capable of capturing video in HDR mode. Aside from specs and features, the design is also a new point making Xperia Z much more appealing.

Sony Xperia Z was introduced first of CES 2013Sony Xperia Z was introduced first at CES 2013

Sony Xperia Z was introduced first of CES 2013

Design

Xperia Z has an impressively nice design which people can’t help falling in love with at first sight. The case is a unibody-type, using anti-pressure glass which can stand against scratch in both front and back, thus Xperia Z appears glossy and sturdy with the super slimness (7.9mm) plus more seductive than any smartphones from Sony ever.

Sony applied the Omni-Balance design language aiming at the balance, simplicity and elegance into the new Xperia, reminding user of TV Bravia featuring the hi-end Monolithic design. The phone looks edgy yet slightly smooth. Right, left, top and bottom sides are all flat, forming a hem tightly holding front and back panel. Xperia Z comes in three colors: glossy black, purple and porcelain-white.

Xperia Z is distinguishable from other smartphones thanks to its water-resistance and anti-dust ability

Xperia Z is distinguishable from other smartphones thanks to its water-resistance and anti-dust ability

Though not as fat as Acro S or aggressive as Sonim’s enduring models, with IP57 standard, the phone can stand soaking into a 30-meter depth within 30min, enabling user to clean the phone under a faucet or use in rainy weather.

Left, right and top sides contain connectors, headphone jack or card slot… but they are all sealed by rubber flips and gaskets that are quite hard to be opened but strong against water and dirt. However, user must be careful not to let any of them be opened because water or dirt may go into.

The power button on top is well designed, round-shaped, placed in a high level for easy access. Volume keys are quite thin and more difficult to function. That there’s no specific camera is a shortage, compared with previous Sony models.

Sony’s smartphone is a large-sized one and hard-to-handle

Sony’s smartphone is a large-sized one and hard-to-handle

Despite being eye-catching and impressive but the design, itself, makes Xperia Z hard to used and handled with only one hand. With a 5in screen, slim body and angular shape, the model won’t fit comfortably in palm. Plus, the rear big flat glass screen makes the phone easily slip out of hand.

Additionally, speaker’s membrane is water-resistant yet small, making the phone, after soaked, has its volume lowered and the volume only returns normal once water is all out.

Display

Xperia Z with the screen with feature hi-end proprietary technologies from Sony

Xperia Z with the screen with feature hi-end proprietary technologies from Sony

Featuring 6in size, Full HD 1080p resolution, high pixel density and integration of many proprietary technologies from Sony, Xperia Z is not the smartphone having the best image quality at present. Actually, in comparison with rivals – HTC Butterfly or Oppo Find 5 – Xperia Z’s display seems weaker.

Sharpness and smooth display is uncontroversial for this model’s phone, delivering 441ppi density – 30% higher than that of iPhone 4/4S Retine display. Texts, icons… on Xperia Z’s screen all appear smooth and clear, plus no invisible pixel or noise. This is an upside.

Though, the display’s low contrast makes blacks unnatural, unlike on Nexus 4. In addition, its viewing angle is not wide, making image quickly turn blurred, flared and faded when user change the angle from direct one.

Xperia Z’s second-generation Mobile Bravia Engine technology enables Xperia Z’s colors more blazing, eye-catching yet unnatural. If you prefer mild color tones, this mode should be inactivated.

This may let user down as Xperia Z owns a lot of well-known technologies from Sony: Reality Display, Optimus Contrast panel like in TV Bravia

Camera

With a next-generation 13MP Exmor RS sensor, the camera has been highly expected for Sony Xperia Z

With a next-generation 13MP Exmor RS sensor, the camera has been highly expected for Sony Xperia Z

Xperia Z’s outdoor and indoor image quality is not much impressive and special, but good. In comparison with the previous Xperia S or Xperia Ion, Xperia Z’s detail is better while noise, in low lit, has considerably decreased.

Camera app is very interesting, similar to Xperia T’s one (Android 4.1.2), having more improvements. The new smart capturing mode helps user to shoot fast and easily and deliver better quality than the old SCN Auto. Bursting mode also caught a lot of attention with 3 different presets and was able to shot hundreds of photos within one minute.

Moreover, the 13MP Exmor RS can capture both photos and videos at HDR mode. This is an interesting feature, making recording video easier. Even in silhouette conditions, HDR recording mode also clarifies the scene, making it not too either dark or bright. This feature has just only appeared recently.

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