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    new_new Reviews Sony Xperia Z preview

    Sony Xperia Z preview

    Failing to react to market tendencies has been an Achilles' heel of sorts for Sony in the past. Joining the dual-core and to quad-core parties late over the past two years has caused the once mighty smartphone maker to slide down in ranks and came dangerously close to the role of an also-run.
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    Sony Xperia Z official photos

    It appears that the Japanese giant may have finally learned its lesson though, and this time around they are among the first to jump onto the 5" 1080p bandwagon. But the Xperia Z is more than just a pretty face - with a Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset and a glass-covered back, this is also a properly powered and properly built flagship powerhouse.
    As usual, we start with a quick rundown of the Sony Xperia Z hardware.
    Sony Xperia Z at a glance

    • General: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, tri/penta-band UMTS/HSPA, optional 100 Mbps LTE
    • Form factor: Touchscreen bar phone
    • Dimensions: 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm, 146 g
    • Display: 5" 16M-color 1080p (1080 x 1920 pixels) capacitive touchscreen TFT with Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2
    • CPU: Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait
    • GPU: Adreno 320
    • Chipset: Qualcomm APQ8064
    • RAM: 2GB
    • OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
    • Memory: 16GB storage, microSD card slot
    • Camera: 13 megapixel auto-focus camera with face detection; Full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps with HDR, LED flash, 2.2MP front-facing camera
    • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, standard microUSB port with MHL and USB host, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC
    • Misc: IP57 certified - dust-sealed and water proof up to 1 meter and 30 minutes; Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass for the front and the back panel

    The specs sheet seems to leave no boxes unchecked and even the most demanding of geeks will struggle to find something wrong with it. The Sony Xperia Z is less than half a millimeter wider than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S III, yet it packs a larger battery, a screen of more than twice the resolution and a chipset fully capable of handling all those pixels.
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    Sony Xperia Z at ours
    And if that's not enough for you, the Sony is willing to throw in dust and water resistance on the Z, so you don't have to worry about a spilled glass of wine ruining your evening. There's also a new 13MP camera and HDR 1080p video recording which the cameraphone enthusiasts can look forward to. It seems then, that with the latest Sony flagship it comes down to a question of not whether it is better than other smartphones on the market, but by how much.
    As long as everything works as promised, the Sony Xperia Z has all the necessary ingredients to lay a proper claim to the smartphone throne. Let's find out how it all comes together at first glance.

    Ever since initial rumors of the Sony Xperia Z and its 5" screen surfaced, many have expressed concerns that the smartphone will be impossible to handle, even before having seen it. However, once more details started to appear, it became clear that Sony has done an excellent job of minimizing the bezel and the Xperia Z is only about a millimeter wider than the 2012 flagships. They also managed to keep the weight under control as the Xperia Z tips the scales at the perfectly reasonable 146g.

    Sure, it's a tad taller than the Galaxy S III or the One X, but it's certainly not unmanageable. And if over 50 million pockets and palms were big enough for the flagships of old, then the Sony Xperia Z has nothing to worry about - particularly when you take into account that the tradeoff is a gorgeous fullHD screen.
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    The Sony Xperia Z sized up against the HTC Butterfly and the Oppo Find 5
    Design and build quality

    The Xperia Z is instantly recognizable as a Sony device with its sharply angular design, but it departs from the arc-inspired back of its predecessor, instead featuring a more modern looking flat back. There's no denying that the smartphone is a real looker - the glass covered front and back panels go along excellently with the rubberized edges and the glossy blue plastic bits on the sides. It's a handset that you'd be proud to be seen with.
    There are several flaps on the sides that not only helped the Sony Xperia Z achieve its IP57 certification, but also conform to its design. There are no ugly gaps and openings to spoil the smartphone's profiles - it all looks consistent and stylish. The only exception is the rather big lanyard eyelet at the bottom right corner, but even that doesn't look too out of place.
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    The Sony Xperia Z is certainly a looker
    The choice of materials has just one negative side - with twice the amount of glass used, there's that much more area to cover in smudges and fingerprints. Indeed the Xperia Z turns into a greasy mess quite quickly, causing it to lose some of its brilliance. Fortunately, the good news is that cleaning it isn't particularly hard. Besides, you can always opt for the white version, which will certainly make fingerprints harder to spot than on our black review unit.
    The build quality seems excellent as well - there are no squeaks, creaks or any other disturbing sounds to be heard when handling the smartphone and it generally feels quite sturdy. We can't do a proper test of the back panel scratch resistance, but Sony claims it's the same as the one on the front so it should be quite durable.


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