Sony Xperia Z review

Can this 5in device help Sony to recapture a share of the mobile market?

Price
£36
  • Water and dust resistant; Classical styling; Immersive display
  • All ports under flaps; Mediocre battery life; Gets warm with intensive use

Sony has done something relatively unheard of in western markets with its latest flagship by making it dust and water resistant. 

The Xperia Z can survive being submerged in one metre of water fo half an hour. So whether you're in old blighty thumbing through Google Maps mid-downpour or you drop your phone into the swimming pool on holiday, you needn't fear for your phone's functionality. But are such ruggedised features enough to help it challenge the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3?

Life proof?

The Xperia Z has a International Protection Rating (IPR) of 57. The 5 denotes dust resistance, the 7, water resistance up to a depth of one metre for 30 minutes.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good is that Xperia Z owners can be as carefree as they wish when it comes to getting their phone wet. Ideal in the bath or when faced with an unexpected plunge down the toilet, but more to the point, it's ideal for any industry that requires a smart, water resistant phone.

Indeed, it's the only high performance option for anyone in need of the feature. All you have to do is make sure all the flaps are closed before the soaking begins, and that brings us onto the bad side of the IP57 rating, the flaps.

There are flaps everywhere. Each port, be it the 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB port, micro SIM card slot or microSD card slot resides under a flap; all irksome if opened regularly. 

Looking the business

Available in black, white and purple, unless the latter two colours tie in with your brand image, chances are any business-centric users out there will opt for the black Sony Xperia Z. 

In term of design, the device looks classical. Clean lines, angular corners, this phone is nothing short of a 5in Bravia TV. 

This elegance is complemented by the glass front and back, ensuring a polish we don't normally see from Sony phones. Being Dragontrail glass, it's also six time stronger than regular glass, and is touted to be as as strong as Gorilla Glass 2.

In the hand, it certainly feels slick. At 5in, it's also big. Anyone with smaller hands will definitely notice the burden when compared to 4.3in screens, and even the 4.8in Samsung Galaxy S3. 

Despite being only 0.2in larger than Samsung's S3 in terms of display, that flat, premium finish we spoke isn't anywhere near as ergonomic as Samsung's curvaceous, albeit plasticky offering. So while we'd sooner present a document on the Sony Xperia Z to an all important client, we'd rather have an S3 in our pocket.

Why would we rather present a document or presentation from the Xperia Z? The design as we mentioned is nothing short of premium, and the Sony Xperia Z packs is its full HD 5in display.

Mobile Bravia Engine

Sony's Mobile Bravia Engine 2 makes a noticeable difference in a world where every smartphone manufacturer is peddling a 1080p display. The engine applies a filter to anything presented from the Album or Movies app. This real-time filter gives colours an extra boost, ensuring they're presented in a rich way, bespoke for the Sony Xperia Z screen without altering the video file.

We can attest to colours packing a zest not present on other LCD screens out there. What's more, with a PPI (pixels per inch) count of 441, videos, images and text look spotless.

Clean lines, high detail levels, strong brightness levels and an altogether jawdropping picture come together on the Xperia Z to make the screen nothing short of its star attraction. 

Perhaps the only shortcoming of the Z's display is the viewing angle. Colours look somewhat neon at extreme angles, with the remainder of the picture washing out slightly. The phone in turn would work as a great presentation tool for three people or less.

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