Sony Xperia Z Review

7.9

Daniel Bader

August 15, 2013 6:20 pm

Sony’s Xperia Z is a bit late to market, but brings a slightly larger and more attractive version of the company’s Xperia ZL flagship.

Its claim to fame is a waterproof shell that is a perfect companion for someone looking to take it to a cottage or the sea.

sonyxperiazreview-7

Other than the aesthetic changes — the device is notably taller and more slippery than its stouter, grippier companion — the internals are unchanged.

You have a 5-inch 1080p display, a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage with a microSD slot, a 13MP Exmor RS camera, a 2330mAh battery, and Android 4.1.2 pre-loaded.

sonyxperiazreview-5Unfortunately for us, and for you, the device does not come with Android 4.2.2, which the ZL was recently updated to. This means that you’re going to be two software versions behind the latest and, performance-wise, notably behind the ZL. Android 4.2 brought a lot of added features to the Sony device, so we’re hoping it is updated soon.

sonyxperiazreview-4As Bell points out in its marketing campaign, the claim to fame is the waterproof nature of the chassis, but there are some caveats to note. Users must ensure that all ports, including the headphone jack and charging port, are closed securely with a built-in flap.

I tested this claim and found the device to work as advertised. Submerging the Xperia Z in water resulted in continued use and no issues with performance or the display. As this is the first high-end smartphone in Canada that can boast such claims, it’s worth considering for that reason alone.

The Xperia Z is a gorgeous smartphone – Sony’s best to-date. The all-glass design is something that any user would be proud to hold, but one must be careful not to drop it. Other than aesthetics, there is no real reason to choose the Xperia Z over the ZL, which is cheaper, smaller and available across more carriers. If waterproof is your thing, then go for it; if not, the ZL, with its IR blaster and camera shutter button, is actually a comparable smartphone.

The Sony Xperia Z is available for $149.95 on a 2-year term from Bell, or $649.95 outright. It comes in black, white and purple.

7.9

Final Score

8.9

Design

8

Software

7.5

Display

8.4

Performance

9.5

Build Quality

7

Camera

8

Connectivity

6.8

Battery Life

  • mistermystery

    “Unfortunately, there is no other reason to choose the Xperia Z over the ZL, which is cheaper, smaller and available across more carriers. If waterproof is your thing, then go for it; if not, the ZL, with its IR blaster and camera shutter button, is actually a better smartphone.”

    The ZL at Bell has been discontinued.

  • silver_arrow

    Woah, this is the shortest review I have seen here. But yeah it’s basically a water resistant (not waterproof) Xperia ZL with a few less features…

  • TomsDisqusted

    “Android 4.2 brought a lot of added features to the Sony device, so we’re hoping it is updated soon.”

    That surprises me. I thought 4.2 was one of Google’s worst released (buggy). I think there might be some sense in OEM’s skipping 4.2 and going straight to 4.3 once that matures.

    • mistermystery

      4.2.2 on my One is aces, made an already great device even better.

    • bobsuruncle

      Tom forgot to take his meds today.

  • andy c

    Probably a popular phone in countries with a monsoon season.

  • MapleHoney

    My friend hates his Xperia Z. The plastic seals broke and they are hard to replace. We called his phone a Xperia ZL with no waterproof. :)

  • Colton Maier

    How does even remotely count as a review, all anyone would be able to gauge from this is that the device is waterproof and pretty. Solid work there.

  • Kaathas

    Can I just mention that it isn’t ‘waterproof’, it’s actually water resistant, I’ve yet to actually see anything on phone specs the mentions it’s waterproof, as well if it was waterproof that means it wouldn’t have a limit of how long it could be in the water, and how deep as well.

    This is starting to get me mad that people saying that the phone is waterproof, when it isn’t. If people who work in the mobile industry are saying that, I hope to hell it blows up in their face because of false

    • Jurippe

      Well, there’s really nothing in the world that’s “waterproof,” water will always win. Everything is technically “water resistant.” There’s really not reason to get angry about it; for most uses, this phone is “waterproof.”

    • Chrome262

      he is right in a way though, if it was a watch they would say to what depth. But I guess no one is expecting you to go diving with it.

  • Eduardo

    While I’m really glad the scoring system is back, I’d like to know how it works as it’s clearly not the average of individual scores;
    S4: 8.4, 7.9, 8.7, 8.4, 7.9, 9, 9, 8.9 = 9.1
    Q5: 7.5, 8.2, 8.1, 7.9, 7.1, 5.7, 8.8, 8.8 = 7.6
    Xperia Z: 8.9, 7.5, 7.5, 8.4, 9.5, 7.2, 8, 6.8 = 7.9
    (really? The display on the Q5 is better than the one on the Xperia? )

    • JB

      Unfortunately the xperia z has some rather poor viewing angles, and a general lack on deep black that hurts it. While techically 1080p, I would say Blackberries 720p screens are superior in general quality. I still think the xperia z is a nice phone tho.

    • Eduardo

      I saw and played it with it a couple of days ago and while it’s not the HTC One’s screen it certainly didn’t look like a 7.5! I haven’t seen the Q5 but if it’s screen is superior as you mention, it shouldn’t be below 8 either.

      Like I said, I like the fact that there’s a score system but it’s totally subjective and makes absolutely no sense. I’ll just stick to the review part and forget about the scores.

  • uln

    Battery life is rated 6.9 but not a mention as to how long it actually last. Did the reviewer actually use the phone or was this just arbitrary numbers summoned from the spec,

  • God

    “Its claim to fame is a waterproof shell that is a perfect companion for someone looking to take it to a cottage or the sea.”
    It isn’t rated for salt water ;)

    • Chrome262

      Or pools with chlorine as well. So standing puddles and the lake is it.

  • Erik N.

    Review is a bit too basic and not in depth…You didn’t get into the native Sony UI and just said that 4.1.2 is inferior to 4.2.2 but didn’t explain how that pertains to this particular phone. You say nothing about battery life yet give it a low score? You did not get into camera picture/video quality, LTE speeds, Call quality. Way too simple and almost seems like you are relying on people reading the ZL review. Please guys, fix this for next time.

  • John Von Mac

    Great Camera Experience but you gave it a 7?