Product Sony Xperia Z
Specifications 5in 1080x1920 441ppi multi-touch Reality display, Qualcomm Krait quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage with microSD expansion up to 32GB, 13.1MP rear camera, 2.2MP front camera, GSM/3G/4G, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, DLNA, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, IP57 certified water and dust resistant, 139x71x7.9mm, 146g
Price Around £500 SIM-free
THE SONY XPERIA Z is perhaps the most heavily promoted Sony smartphone in recent years, as it becomes clear that the Japanese consumer electronics giant is positioning itself to take on Apple, Samsung and HTC.
Rightly so, too. On paper, the Sony Xperia Z is the most exciting Sony phone we've seen in a long while, even if it's not the official phone of the latest James Bond movie. Though we have a few quibbles, the Xperia Z managed to impress us too, and it looks like Sony could be about to turn things around.
The Sony Xperia Z is one of the most stylish looking smartphones on the market today. It's glossy glass-coated casing, although prone to picking up dirt and fingerprints, echoes the design of Sony's high-end TV sets.
We got our hands on the white model, which unlike the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3 managed to turn heads when we used it on the tube. That could be because it's prone to picking up glare, but we thought that was down to the Xperia Z's sleek and stylish design.
Although it looks good, the Sony Xperia Z isn't particularly comfortable to hold. With measurements of 139x71x7.9mm it's by no means a huge device, especially by today's smartphone standards, but we found that the phone's angular casing made it hard to grip.
It's not all about looks with the Xperia Z, though, as it's also IP57 certified. Unlike most competing devices, the Xperia Z is resistant against dust, water and scratches, despite its glossy, high-end appearance.
The microUSB port and headphone jack come plugged so that water can't easily get inside, which although it can be a nuisance at times also proved to be very effective.
We also tested the handset's ruggedness by (accidentally) dropping it onto a hard wooden floor, and much to our amazement, the glass-coated smartphone came away unscathed.
Sony claims the 5in 1080x1920 display on the Xperia Z is one of the handset's selling points, and it's hard not to agree.
Thanks to Sony's Bravia screen technology, the screen is quite vibrant, easily matching the display on the iPhone 5. In fact, it's easily the best looking screen to feature on a Sony smartphone yet, which can be credited to its mind-boggling pixel density of 441ppi (pixels per inch).
That's not to say the screen doesn't have it's faults. Despite Sony's claims that it's the best smartphone screen to date, we found that the 5in display didn't have the widest viewing angles and became washed out and almost unusable when used in bright sunlight.
Another slight gripe is that, like the shiny back panel on the phone, the display is prone to picking up glare, which can make it hard to use under harsh lighting.
Next: Performance, operating system.
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