Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1 review

Chris Finnamore
7 Nov 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

The Xperia Z1 has great build quality, huge performance and an impressive screen, but is let down by its camera



Android 4.2, 5.0in 1,920x1,080 display

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.

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony has also taken the opportunity to cram some more power into the Z1. While the Z made do with a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, the Z1 has a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 - a true monster of a chip. The phone completed the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark in 767ms, which is the fastest score we have ever seen from a phone. The handset was even too fast to get a measurable score in the 3DMark Ice Storm benchmark, where we saw a "maxed out" error. Once we switched the benchmark to Unlimited mode, we saw an astonishing 17,551. The only phone we've seen that was faster in 3DMark was Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, which managed 19,093.

All this power certainly translates into real-world performance. Real Racing 3 was beautifully smooth, so demanding 3D games aren't a problem, and we can't imagine Android being much slicker. Apps open and close quickly, and home screen transitions are beautifully smooth. Complicated web pages render quickly, and there's barely a hiccup when flicking around past large images; there was none of the hesitation we see on many Android phones, even powerful models such as the LG G2.

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