Sony Xperia Z1: A specifications review

Sony has finally taken the wraps off its latest imaging-centric smartphone, the Xperia Z1, and we had a look at all the specifications that the smartphone will come with...

The long wait has finally come to the end. Sony pulled the wraps off its imaging-centric smartphone, the Xperia Z1, yesterday. With the new device, Sony continues its trend of coming up with compact, water-and-dustproof smartphones. This time around, though, the company has also thrown in a range of new features for a better camera experience. The latest Sony flagship builds on the existing platform made by the Xperia Z and the Z Ultra. Now let’s take a closer look at the specifications it will come with: 

OS- Android 4.3
As expected, the Xperia Z1 comes with the latest Android build in the market, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The smartphone comes with enough display real estate for users to easily switch between multiple home screens. In addition, the Xperia Z1 allows users to easily change the order of their app icons in the menu to offer quick access to the most-used apps or any custom order that they prefer. The Xperia Z1 comes with a slightly tweaked image and video gallery, with Sony packing in its Music and Video Unlimited streaming apps as well. Users who opt for these paid services can get 60 days of free music streaming as well as six free recent movie releases. Users who missed out on Elysium, for example, can watch the same on the Xperia Z1, as soon as it comes up as an official digital download. 

 Sony Xperia Z1: A specifications review

Sony's latest Xperia Z1 comes with Android 4.3 running the show



Cellular connectivity: LTE, GPRS, HSDPA
As with most other top-of-the-line smartphone offerings this year, the Xperia Z1 comes with LTE connectivity. The smartphone comes with 4G support for a range of networks, and also adds in GPRS and HSDPA for areas where 4G cannot reach.

Display: 5-inch Triluminos capacitive touchscreen with 1080p
The display, in terms of size, is definitely a step down from the company’s earlier offering, the 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra. That being said, the Xperia Z1 comes in with a good looking 5-inch full HD Triluminos capacitive display with a pixel resolution of 1080 x 1920 and a pixel density of 441ppi. This is similar to what was earlier seen in the Xperia Z.

The display, like most other smartphones this year, comes with multi-touch as well as shatter proof and scratch resistant glass. Sony, apart from its patent Triluminos technology, has also added its Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 to the Xperia Z1. The company has claimed that the addition will give the Xperia Z1 rich colours, deep contrast and pin-sharp clarity. It is hoped that the company does not repeat the slight washed out TFT LCD seen in the Xperia Z, which also came with rather poor viewing angles.

Form factor: Slim, smart, weather-proof
The resemblance between the Xperia Z1 and the Xperia Z is unmistakable. The Xperia Z1 comes with an all-glass front and back, strikingly similar to its older sibling. The Xperia branding on the back, the camera lens in the top-left corner and the large power button on the right-hand edge further heighten the similarities between the two.

That is where the similarities end, though. The first difference is the aluminium band that is seen around the edges of the phones. The band is made from a single piece of metal that the company believes will help increase the sturdiness of the smartphone. And unlike its predecessor, which sported rather sharp edges, the Xperia Z1 comes with a rounded metal edge that should be easier on the hand. While the Xperia Z1 comes with roughly the same dimensions as the Xperia Z, the former is slightly thicker.

Like most other recent Sony smartphone offerings, the Xperia Z1 is completely waterproof. That means that the more adventurous among us will be able to drop it in a puddle of water, make calls in the rain and even take it to the shower (the reasons need not be specified). Unlike the earlier Sony model, which placed a flap over the headphone jack, the new smartphone comes with a waterproof jack itself, meaning that you will not need to pull out the flap every time you want to plug your headphones in.

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Sony's Xperia Z1 is a weatherproof phone that can even be used under water


Wi-Fi-All the usual suspects
Being the current flagship of the company, the Xperia Z1 comes with the very best in Wi-Fi connectivity. This includes all the usual 2013 suspects going up to the ac band. Apart from that, the smartphone also comes with Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA for content sharing. As with most other current smartphones, Wi-Fi hotspot is also present.

SoC-Snapdragon 800
The Sony Xperia Z1 comes with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 800 SoC. Packed into the CPU are four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.2GHz. In addition, the smartphone comes with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The Xperia Z1 will definitely not lack in sheer processing power. The latest processor, apart from coming with improving performance, also brings in native always-on voice command support and an updated version of Qualcomm’s power management solution.

Internal storage-16GB with microSD slot
The Xperia Z1 comes with 16GB of internal memory. In addition, the smartphone also sports a microSD slot on its water and dustproof form that allows for expansion up to 64GB. That should definitely be more than enough to store all the full HD videos that you may want to see on-the-move.

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The XperIa Z1 comes with a mammoth 20.7 megapixel camera 


Camera-20.7MP Exmor RS, BIONZ for mobile”sensor, 2MP front facing

Pride of place goes to the new camera that the Xperia Z1 comes to the market with. The smartphone houses a massive 20.7-megapixel camera. This is a huge step up from the 13-megapixel camera sported by its predecessor, but the company has said that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The sensor size in the new smartphone, at 1/2.3-inch is much bigger than what is normally seen, and is similar to what Samsung’s other camera-centric smartphone, the Galaxy S4 Zoom comes with. So far, the only other smartphone that comes with a bigger sensor is the Nokia Lumia 1020, which comes with a 1/1.5-inch sensor. In addition, the Z1 makes use of a wide angle 27mm f/2.0 G Lens along with a Bionz image processor. The company has claimed that the latter has considerably been tweaked to minimise the noise in low-light environments. Added to the package is a 2 megapixel front facing shooter that can take videos at 1080p.

The company has added a bunch of smart applications for the Z1. The first on the list is Social Live, for broadcasting videos live from the smartphone to Facebook and the likes. Also seen is Info-eye, to help with information on landmarks or books or food after they have been captured. Timeshift burst will allow users to take 61 images with just one click of the shutter. Users have the option of scrolling back and forth to find the image of their choice. The last on the list is AR effect, which gives a selection of customisable animations to create pictures using the company's Smart AR augmented reality technology. The company has also built in an open SDK for the smartphone's camera for other developers to use its features in third-party apps.

Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass
The smartphone comes with all the usual suspects seen in recent models. An Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor and a compass are featured in the Z1.
Just like all other high-end devices in the market today, the smartphone comes with both A-GPS and GLONASS support thrown in. The latter should significantly reduce the location lock time for users.
Extras-NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
The Z1 comes with One-touch NFC support as well as Bluetooth 4.0. This should ensure that data transfer while using the Z1 should not be an issue.

Looking at the camera and display the Z1 packs, a competent battery is necessary. Addressing that need, Sony has packed in a 3000 mAh battery for catering to all the applications and features on the smartphone.

The bottom line:
All-in-all, the Xperia Z1 looks like a good smartphone. With a form factor similar to the Xperia Z, the new offering definitely looks good. The massive camera and latest processor will ensure that users should not have any complaints with the smartphone. The Xperia Z1 reflects the increasing focus that smartphone manufacturers are bringing to bear on imaging-centric smartphones. And the 20.7 megapixel sensor will ensure that the Xperia Z1 will stand firmly in the race for smartphones with good cameras.

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