Where to start with the hardware? How about here: this is Sony's best-looking smartphone ever. Lacking any removable panel to access the battery meant that the Xperia Z's components could be squeezed together into a slender profile measuring a mere 7.9mm (0.31 inch) and weighing in at 146g (5.15 ounces). Thanks in part to the hidden ports, light is able to bounce off the phone's white sides. In short, it's a real beauty. It's worth noting that alongside the increasingly safe choice of black and white, there's also a purple edition -- one that our Spanish team got to play with.
Where to start with the hardware? How about here: this is Sony's best-looking smartphone ever.
But while it's certainly a looker, the expanse of that 5-inch screen and accompanying bezel mean that it isn't the most comfortable smartphone we've handled. Compared with the substantial Lumia 920, the Xperia Z is slightly taller, but it's easier to grip, thanks to that slimmer shape. Put differently, it feels more like the Droid DNA than, say, the Galaxy Note II. As we noted before, reaching the phone's upper edge is a bit of a stretch if you're using it one-handed -- we're hoping Sony's incoming Xperia ZL (with its smaller dimensions) will prove a little more manageable. Thanks to one very geometric silhouette, the phone is a little uncomfortable to hold after extended use, what with those sharp corners pressing into your palms. However, we had no problems sliding it into our pockets -- something we can't say of other phones with 5-inch screens.
Comparing the Xperia Z against the only other 1080p phone we've reviewed, the Droid DNA, Sony unfortunately comes in second place
It's a shame to see so relatively little 1080p content, something to showcase that full-HD display
PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE
|Sony Xperia Z||LG Optimus G||HTC Droid DNA|
|Vellamo (v2.0 HTML5)||2,198||1,710||1,752|
|SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms)||1,900||1,284||1,150|
|GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt 1080p Offscreen (fps)||29||31||31|
|Battery life (rundown test)||5:35||8:43||6:38|
|SunSpider: lower scores are better|
When launching the camera app from a freshly booted device, it took a mind-numbing three seconds on average
It's a relief to see Sony now making a concerted effort to make a premium phone -- and that's what this is