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Sony Xperia Z review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 500
inc VAT

It's still a classy handset but it's the upcoming Android 5.0 update that makes this a potential second-hand bargain


Android 4.1 (JellyBean), 5.0in 1,920×1,080 display

The display is hugely bright, but we did notice some slight light leakage around the edges when looking at large blocks of black. The screen also suffers in comparison to AMOLED screens such as that of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which has far deeper blacks. It’s still an impressive display, though, and seeing as no smartphone has an AMOLED screen of both this size and resolution it would be churlish to complain.

The display’s certainly good enough, and large enough, for watching films and for gaming. We tried it out with the Asphalt 7 racing title, which looked fantastic, and almost like something off the PlayStation 3.

To accommodate such a big display, the handset is understandably huge, and you’ll struggle to use it while carrying an umbrella. It’s only 3mm wider than the HTC One and has a larger screen, though, so the Xperia Z isn’t excessively large as this generation of smartphones goes. A screen this big also requires a large battery to power it, and Sony has gone for a chunky 2,330mAh model – very similar to the 2,300mAh battery in the HTC One. Unfortunately, despite having such a big battery, the huge screen takes its toll. The phone managed 5h 48m in our continuous video playback battery life test, which is below average, showing this is one Android phone that will require regular charging.

Sony has taken a different approach to HTC when it comes to the phone’s design. Instead of the HTC One’s all-aluminium body, the Xperia Z is all about the glass front and rear. Sony is tight-lipped about the kind of glass it uses, but leaks from a Sony press conference suggest it has toughened Dragontrail glass on the front and the more common Corning Gorilla Glass on the rear. It does look good, but we didn’t find it as comfortable to hold as the HTC One with its rounded edges and cool burnished aluminium.

Sony Xperia Z You could never say it was ugly, but we think HTC has trumped the Xperia Z with its aluminium One

The Xperia Z does have a party trick, though; it’s fully sealed against water and dust ingress, so will survive a rain shower or a drop from a top pocket into the toilet. The flaps covering its various ports are rubber-sealed and feel very sturdy when they clip in and out, so we’re not too worried about them breaking off.

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Main display size5.0in
Native resolution1,920×1,080
CCD effective megapixels13-megapixel
Internal memory16384MB
Memory card supportmicroSD
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 8
Wireless dataHSDPA+, LTE


Operating systemAndroid 4.1 (JellyBean)
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord, Excel, PowerPoint
FM Radioyes
Accessoriesstereo headset, charger, USB cable
Talk time11 hours
Standby time23 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£500
Price on contract0

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