Sony Xperia Z1 hands on and first impressions

We spend a little one on one time with Sony's latest flagship.


Hot on the heels of the Note 3 launch, Sony launched their flagship Xperia Z1 in India. Weirdly, both Samsung and Sony had the event at the exact same venue, down to the very same ballroom! In any case, we were present both days and having brought you a hands on with the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear, let’s have a quick look at Sony’s latest flagship device which was recently unveiled at IFA 2013. We aren't going to go too much into the specifications today as you can read all about that here.

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

 

The Z1 looks a lot like the Xperia Z and we feel that’s a good thing since it was a sexy looking phone. However, where the Z was all plastic on the sides, the Z1 improves on this by getting a unibody aluminium frame and tempered glass for both sides. This keeps the weight down to a bare minimum and it’s noticeable when you hold it. Overall, the phone feels a lot better to hold as it’s not razor thin anymore. A welcome addition is the dedicated shutter button which lets you access the camera a lot quicker. Here's a quick tour:

The speaker at the bottom is larger this time and much better than the Xperia Z. Audio was loud and a lot clearer compared to the Z or even, the Z Ultra. One of the biggest changes however, is the Triluminos display on the Z1. This is the same panel used in the Z Ultra, now in a more manageable size. Colours are crisp and vivid with wide viewing angles. The UI remains pretty much the same as the current series so there’s not a big change over there.

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

 

The camera however, gets a revamped interface which we liked a lot better compared to the current setup. The layout for various options are easier to figure out and there’s a new ‘Mode’ option just below the onscreen shutter button. Tapping this, lets you choose between various modes like Superior Auto, Manual, Timeshift burst, Picture effect, Sweep Panorama, AR effect, Info Eye and Social live. The new AR effect feature in the camera is pretty cool as you can do some crazy stuff with your surroundings. Just take a look at the video and you’ll see what we mean. The burst mode is pretty snappy. It captured some 61 photos in a matter of two seconds. 

The new 20.7MP camera does a good job of capturing low-light pictures. We’ll still reserve our final verdict for when we actually receive the device.

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Sony has launched the Xperia Z1 at an MRP of Rs 44,990 which is roughly the price we expected. The online price is closer to Rs 43,000 which is exactly the same as Sony’s Z Ultra, which can be confusing to customers. Even though we’ve not yet tested the Z1, it’s safe to say that it makes a much better option between the two. This also happens to be the cheapest Snapdragon 800 handset in the market right now so if you’re a numbers man (or woman), then this is the holy grail of all the current SoCs. However, we have a sneaky feeling that LG may disrupt Sony’s claim to fame when they launch the G2 sometime next week. To sum up, the Xperia Z1 is the beautifully crafted and insanely powerful phone with a pretty mean camera to boot. It’s essentially what the Xperia Z should have been in the first place. Props to Sony for updating their flagship in a matter of six months and giving us something that’s deserving of the title.


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