The Sony Xperia Z1 Reviewed

The waterproof and dustproof Sony Xperia Z1 has been receiving lots of media coverage, being one of the first mainstream, rugged smartphone ever made by a major player in the smartphone market. Unlike many of the awkward rugged looking mobile phones that we have seen in the past, the Z1 looks surprisingly similar to a regular phone, which we are guessing is one of its biggest appeals.

© sonymobile.com

© sonymobile.com

At first glance, the Z1 looks very similar to the Sony Xperia Z that was launched earlier this year. But that is where the similarity ends. The Z1 is a much more powerful phone in general. For instance, it comes with a whopping 20.7MP camera. It is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Krait 400 processor, 2GB of RAM and has 16GB of built in storage. The powerful processor provides a smooth and seamless experience, even when running resource heavy games and software.

Unlike many other high-resolution camera phones that sports a protruding hump to house the high-resolution lens, Sony has managed to pack the 20.7MP lens into its body without any protrusion, maintaining its sleek lines throughout its body. For display, the phone comes with a 5-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution screen that is excellent for HD movie playback. Its viewing angles leave much to be desired but we really liked it for watching HD movies and videos under optimal conditions. The device runs on Android 4.2.2. The battery can last up to one and a half days on moderate use.

© sonymobile.com

© sonymobile.com

To add to its durability, the Sony Xperia Z1 makes use of cover flaps to conceal its ports and slots. That makes it a little more of a hassle to use on a daily basis, but it is a small compromise to accommodate the rugged features. Speaking of ruggedness, one of the highlight features on the phone would have to be the fact that it is waterproof. It can remain waterproof for up 30 minutes in the water. It can also withstand depths of up to 1.5 meters underwater. Before you get too excited over this and start making plans to take the phone with you on your next snorkeling trip, be aware that it has some pretty stringent limitations. For instance, Sony have expressly stated that you should keep the phone away from saltwater, sand and mud. These three limitations severely reduce the utility of its rugged features.

Overall, although we really like the Sony Xperia Z1, we can’t help but to notice that the phone is suffering from some sort of identity crisis (or the lack of one). Whether it is in terms features or design, the Z1 fails to stand out in any category. The 20.7MP camera is a pretty impressive feature on its own but it still pales in comparison in the light of phones like the Nokia Lumia 1020 that comes with a 41MP lenses. Yes, the display screen is pretty and it does come with some powerful specs, but so does every single other high-end smartphone in the market. In terms of design, we really like the clean lines and minimalist look of the phone, but there is really nothing memorable about it due to the lack of defining or distinctive aesthetics. For us, the only redeeming feature of the phone would have to be its waterproof features and even that comes with significant limitations that makes it a far cry from being an outdoors, sport worthy phone. Perhaps it was the excessively high expectations that left us a little subdued.

With that said, for the sake of a fair analytics, we would still like to stress that the Sony Xperia Z1 is after all a very competent and good looking phone thanks to its high-resolution camera lens, gorgeous screen, clean lines, powerful specs and waterproof features. If you are looking for a good-looking phone with some built-in rugged features, it doesn’t get any better than the Z1.

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March 2014
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