back to article Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

The Xperia Z has had a surprisingly short stint as the top dog of Sony’s smartphone range and has now been unceremoniously ousted by the Xperia Z1. Sony Xperia Z1 Sony’s Xperia Z1: getting it right, second time around? But the new Z1 isn’t just a cosmetic warm-over. It has a more powerful processor, a much improved screen …

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Anonymous Coward

"Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

I stopped reading there. Would you like a photograph of mine with the cover and battery removed? Get your facts straight. With one falsehood and how can one trust the rest of the article?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

@AC 23:40 - "I stopped reading there. Would you like a photograph of mine with the cover and battery removed?"

So - is the battery removable or not? Cause it's a deal breaker for me on any device if you can't replace your own battery.

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Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

Like all (the latest) Xperias - Z, Z Ultra, SP etc - the Z1's battery is most definitely fixed in place.

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Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

I disagree that there is any positive aspect to a sealed battery though as stated with the "but on the other hand the handset doesn’t disassemble itself when you drop it" comment in the article. There was a Z1 drop test video published by someone showing internal damage to the phone -- at least when you drop a phone and the battery flies out, internal damage is not being done due to the energy being dissipated by the flying battery.

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Silver badge

Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

The battery in the Xperia Go is replaceable, but the one in the Xperia P is not- that I know from first hand experience. Other models in the range I have to take someone else's word for.

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Anonymous Coward

Fixed Battery?

Oh dear: waterproof, decent camera or not, I do dislike this most basic built-in-redundancy technique.

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Anonymous Coward

So I sell both the Experia Z and Z1 in my store...

Good:

screens have good color reproduction

sony ui skin is non-obtrusive

camera is decent (actually, Z1 is in Nokia territory)

both are fairly snappy at tasks if you don't load too many apps or widgets (same can be said about all top-end phones)

water resistant (recording video in a pool is fun)

Bad:

phones are buggy as hell...sometimes won't hang up call, sometimes won't power on and restart unless you clear cache with long-press button sequences (volume up and power for 3-5sec for those that can't restart their experia), sometimes camera takes 10sec to initialize, etc. etc. We're on our 3rd warrantied Z demo after 4 months (only two non-hangups so far on Z1, fingers crossed), and all have the same persistent issues.

Your freaking screen is WAAAAAAY too easy to scratch, and/or break...I am SUPREMELY disappointed about this part. So a test we do with our hi-end phones in store is to take a key to the screen of the phone (same key every time) and run it back and forth...first lightly, then with heavy pressure. The S3, S4, 925, 1020, One, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, G2, Note 2, and Note 3 all did not retain marks after both tests. The Experias scratched easily with the light pressure, then heavy pressure LITERALLY CARVED UP the screens leaving deep, frosty white marks like hitting an ice block with a machete. Our current Z was dropped on carpet from 4-5ft by customer on accident, top glass is now cracked starting from earpiece in two sections, waiting for new demo replacement. IF YOU'RE GONNA MAKE A WATER-TIGHT PHONE, MAKE THE F&*K$NG SCREEN BULLETPROOF YOU SILLY, SILLY GENIUSES.

Ergonomics...there are none. They are right-angled rectangles. Heavy (more mass=more kinetic energy to break things when you drop it), right-angled rectangles.

While I agree the battery on the Z1 is above average, the Z's is laughable...stamina mode be dammed.

While I can look the other way on poor functional or aesthetic design, I can't forgive the sin of not critically thinking about the intent of the potential user: a smartphone for people who use most features of a feature-rich smartphone, and are not careful with their things. It makes me wonder who they choose for focus groups in the US...

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All Sony phone comes with a shatter-proof screen protector out of the box. The screen that you are complaining about being scratched isn't actually the screen at all, but instead this replaceable layer of film.

If it's a choice between a shattered and permanently damaged screen or a slightly scratched but cheaply repairable screen, I know which one I would choose!

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Think you've kind of proved there why I don't tend to listen to mobile phone salesmen, and pick my own device based on reviews from people who actually know what they're talking about. Can't speak for the Z1 as I don't have one yet, but after 6 months with the Z I can tell you :

1) Battery - absolutely fine, makes it through a day quite easily, even with 4G/WiFi, Google Now, GPS, BT etc all on. Stamina mode works a treat when the phone is idle. Last night it was showing 19 hours since charging with 45% left. The Sony phones tend to calibrate the battery over the first few charges, which it won't be able to do if it's constantly on charge in a store.

2) Software bugs. Only one I've found is Car Mode sometimes freaks out a but and won't let you unlock the phone, leave it 5 seconds it sorts itself out. Other than that it's been the most stable mobile phone I've had, including my old iPhone 4. Never had a problem hanging up calls, or using it as a phone, performance is fine no matter how much I throw at it.

3) Scratching screen - that's a screen protector you are scratching you utter div. Mind, the less said about mouth breathers in a mobile phone store deliberately scratching screens the better, I put one of the extra screen protectors that come in the box, 6 months later the screen is fine. But then I treat it with the respect a £500 device deserves, don;t attack it with a key.

4) Viewing angles - not really an issue for me as I use my screen straight on, don't really notice a huge amount of washout, especially with the screen on full brightness. Crank the brightness up the screen look sstunning in fact,

My Z has been absolutely superb - so good in fact half the family have traded in their Galaxys as they were fed up of random bugs and cracking screens, and the awful cartoony gloop that is TouchWiz. They're all on Z's now and more than happy. In fact I may have to get a Z1 to stay one step ahead :)

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FAIL

Are you sure you reviewed the right phone?

"The IP58 certification"

As I also pointed out on the Xperia Ultra review, it does not have an IP58 certification. It has an IP55/8 certification. That means that IPx6 is not covered, so it cannot stand up to water jets.

"As with all modern Android flagships the Z1 packs an IR blaster"

No it doesn't.

As for the screen, I really have no idea what anyone is complaining about. I can clearly read everything on the screen no matter how far I tilt it, right up until it's side on. It's obviously not as bright as looking at it head on, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. And that's with the brightness turned down as low as it will go. I haven't compared it with other phones so others may well be even better, but unless there's something seriously wrong with your eyes I can't imagine how anyone could have a problem with this one.

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Re: Are you sure you reviewed the right phone?

This is Sony's exact wording in regards to the Z1's dust and waterproofing

"Water and dust resistant (IP55 & IP58), durable tempered glass with a solid one-piece aluminium frame"

As for the infra red transmitter I have to put my hands up and say I was wrong, the Z1 does not have one. I can only assume I was reading from my LG G2 notes when I wrote that. Apologies to one and all for the error which was wholly mine.

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Works well for me

Upgraded from an S2 to a Z1. After about 6 weeks with my Z1 I'm still pleased with the upgrade.

Good points

Battery Life is really good for a smartphone. I have about 2 days normal usage with wifi enabled while in office and home. Have soundcloud, facebook, twitter, email and weather updates auto synching in background.

Screen is brightly coloured and I have no problems with watching anything on it at any angle.

Performance is fast and I've never had it lag out at all apart from one app crash on a moview which was more related to the app than the phone.

Call quality is way clearer than my old S2 even in low signal areas.

Waterproof enough to go out Geochaching in the rain without worrying about the weather.

Imported all my contacts, music and pictures from my S2 with the supplied software (very smoothly)

Runs FIFA14 like it's on steroids !!!

Bad points

Camera button gets triggered when putting it in the car holder so i have to occasionally turn off the camera before starting some music for driving.

Original firmware caused "camera not available" error but this is fixed with the latest firmware upgrade.

Entries on the calendar are indicated by a tiny dot that's not so easy to see (minor gripe)

Overall as an outdoor type it suits me well. It's survived a fall on the conrete without much more than a minor scratch on the side. The screen has a screen protector on it which doesn't affect the touch feel or responsiveness at all and It's going in a case as soon as I can find one I like. If an S4 was waterproof I'd of gone for that but that's the whole point of having some market differentiation. Sony waterproof, Nokia camera, S4 big screen, HTC speakers .... etc .....

All in all I've put the Z1 through it's paces and can find little of fault.

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FAIL

A Sony handset? Never Again!

Sorry Sony. For me you blew it by dropping support for Xperia Arc and Arc S users and others and leaving us with slow, bloated OSes and promising, and then not delivering, upgrades.

That was the point I said "never again" to buying a Sony phone. You went from being the best (K800 and other great camera phones) to the worst and whether this phone is good or not it's too bloody late.

It's like a girlfriend who slept with all your mates, the postman, the milkman and the cat asking you to take her back.

There's a reason you're way out behind with your phones. Treating existing customers like dirt while bending backwards to attract new ones.

Same applies to your laptops. You stiffed me and you stiffed a friend once too often with your poor service and stupid overpriced spares. £46 for a plastic foot anyone?

Now I'm doing what I should have done years ago. Just say no.

Rant over.

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Re: A Sony handset? Never Again!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Arc and Arc S were made by a different company - SonyEricsson. Sony's updates now are excellent, generally updated as long as Qualcomm can supply the drivers tor the chipsets.

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I've been a bit of a phone tart in the last year, Xperia Arc, Lumia 800, Asus Fonepad, iPhone 3GS - after I dropped the Fonepad and then back to the Arc before getting a Z1 in early October.

I almost went for a Z Ultra but after doing the whole Dom Joly thing with the Fonepad decided that the Z1 is about as big as a pure phone needs to be. Battery life is impressive, the screen is OK and it's certainly rugged. It even survived being dropped down the toilet by No.1 son.

The biggest downside was making sure my two kids realised that mine is the only waterproof phone in the house before they dunk test my wife's iPhone 5.

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I've recently got one...

...and the following things occur to me.

Firstly, I ordered this through work, in a rush, partly on the strength of this review. Then when I saw the size of it in the shop, I tried to change my order. But I was too late, so I figured I'd run with it. And sure enough it is big. But not unusably so. It's slim enough to feel fairly unintrusive in a pocket, but the smoothness and weight do mean you need to keep a firm grip on it. I can cycle with it in a front pocket, though a smaller man wearing tighter trousers might prefer not too.

The camera is pretty damn good, but like all phone cameras, the sensor gives you that weird 'painterly' quality at full magnification. Still, it's the best I've used, and the extra pixels give you much more room for fixing those edges. The stock camera app is mixed - Superior Auto mode is fairly smart, but Manual mode offers a limited array of options. I'm sure this could be fixed with a 3rd party app. Disagreeing with this review, both modes defaulted to 20Mpx shots straight out of the box. The manual button needs quite a firm click, too firm when you need to keep it steady, and you'll find you're often accidentally holding it half down which hides the on-screen controls.

Waterproof is good, especially as a cyclist, since I've found to my cost that most backpacks are not. But I'm not convinced that the screen can adequately differentiate between the capacitance of a finger and a drop of water. It'll survive in the bath, but trying to use it will test your patience.

The battery life, however, is dead good. Excellent power-saving modes gave me a long weekend away without recharge, despite having the camera on for half of the trip. For me, that's a real plus. Of course, it's not replaceable, so time will tell whether it remains serviceable for the lifetime of the phone.

There's been a lot of talk about the screen. The screen seems good to me. Yes, you can read a text without picking it up off your desk. The viewing angle is fine, even if it may not be as good on paper as some. Taking photos where you can't get your head behind it is the only time this has affected me, but hey, it's a digital camera - just take a few at a few different angles. Brightness is on the pull-down menu, so only 2 clicks away.

The processor is lightening fast, and unlike some commenters, I've not felt the phone get hot (no warmer than my S3, anyway). I'm used to running Cyanogenmod, so I may not be up to date with the latest stock Android features, but the keyboard seems good, and texting is easy (though a link to additional dictionary choices would be good, and I've not figured out a way to force double letters). I do miss the Samsung's hard 'home' button, and the screen lock/unlock can be hard to find (being so close to the volume rocker).

In summary: If you want a shiny phone with a big screen, a good camera and great battery life, pick this. If you want something unobtrusive, lightweight and portable, or you'll really miss turning the screen on with a big Home button, don't. I like it, but not without reservations. So, any questions, ask away and I'll try to answer.

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