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Sony Xperia Z1 review

  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z1 outdoor
  • LG G2 outdoor
  • Sony Xperia Z1 low-light
  • LG G2 low-light


Great build quality, huge performance and an impressive screen, but its camera lets the Z1 down

Review Date: 10 Apr 2014

Price when reviewed: £546

Buy it now for: £371
(see more store prices)


Reviewed By: Chris Finnamore

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

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Updated 10 April 2014: Sony Xperia Z1 gets Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade

The Sony Xperia Z1 is finally being upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat, bringing this great phone bang up to date. The release of the new software started on 10 April 2014 and Sony has also updated its stock email and camera apps. Android 4.4 KitKat has great features like Google Now, so you can control your phone and search the web using your voice. Multitasking and managing apps is also a lot easier, while the operating system has been optimised to be quicker and improve battery life.

Despite the Sony Xperia Z2 being just weeks away, the Xperia Z1 shouldn't be forgotten. You can pick one up for £426, which is £120 less than its launch price. By comparison the shiny new Xperia Z2 will set you back £535.

If you're looking for a high-end Android phone the only disappointment with the Z1 is the camera, which when compared to the amazing cameras on the HTC One (m8) and Samsung Galaxy S5 simply isn't up to scratch.

We've always been big fans of Sony's Android customisations and its interface is one of the best around. Compared to the often garish and poorly designed customisations found on Samsung and LG phones, Sony's Android handsets look sleek and sophisticated.

If you really want an excellent camera phone then the Xperia Z1 isn't for you, but the great screen and fast processor make it a seriously good handset, especially now Android 4.4 KitKat is available. All that said we'll end this update with one proviso: the Moto G is exceptionally good value at £140.


The Sony Xperia Z was the company's flagship handset from earlier this year, and while its Full HD screen and 13-megapixel camera ticked the necessary high-end Android boxes, we weren't so keen on its hard plastic edges and slab-like design. Surprisingly, considering that the Z has only been on sale for around six months, Sony has now launched a successor - The Sony Xperia Z1.

Sony Xperia Z1

It looks similar, with its square edges and glass front and rear, but the frame is now metal instead of glass fibre. This is cool to the touch, and makes the phone significantly more comfortable to hold than the Z, as well as better-looking; we particularly like the version with the white rear. Like the Xperia Z and Tablet Z, the Z1 is also waterproof; it will cope with 30 minutes immersed in fresh water at a depth of up to 1.5m.

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