Sony Xperia Z1 Review: The Smart Paanwala’s Choice

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We review phones with an obsessive focus on the experience that really matters to you. We don’t care about specifications, we will tell you what you will really feel while using the phone. And needless to say, we maintain total integrity and truthfulness in our reviews.

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Sony launched the successor of Xperia Z last week with many common factors but some good improvements. The Sony Xperia Z1 popped out with the similar omni-balance design & the water-resistant property as that in Z.

The flagship device is tossed with a hefty price tag of Rs. 42,000 with some great features you would like to boast. It has 20.7MP rear camera that will take your photography experience to new heights. Xperia Z1 sports a 2.2GHz quad-core Krait 400 processor coupled with 2GB RAM & Adreno 330 GPU.

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Pros and Cons

• Camera

• Display

• Water-Resistant

• Looks

• Fragile Body

• Heating

• Battery Life

The Smart Paanwala

What does the Retail Package come with?

  1. The Handset.
  2. USB Cable, USB charger, Headphones.
  3. Warranty Card & Quick Start Guide

User Experience

i. Design: Beautiful

First Impression: Sleek, Edgy, Rectangular and BEAUTIFUL.

Sony gives very special attention in design of the Xperia series smartphones (especially the flagship models). Z1 got omni-balance design, very similar to its predecessor- Xperia Z.

The phone is surrounded by curvy aluminium bezel which gives it much better look than Xperia Z. The front & back are again made up of glass which, the manufacturer claims, are supposed to be scratch-resistant as well as shatter-proof.

The glossy front as well as back takes up fingerprints very easily, so you’ll always need to keep a clean cloth handy. These faces are so reflective that you can also use the glass surfaces as mirror when you are in need.

The glass-made screen makes this phone least sturdy as you may end cracking it up after few drops. So beware if you have a kid at home who fidgets with your phone or if you are not a very cautious user.


Z1 is 5.68 inches in height. The size of the phone is outsized as compared to the screen size, mainly due to the space below screen. The capacitive buttons are taken onto the screen rather than being below the screen.

The phone weighs around 169grams with the thickness of 8.5mm. The rounded edge gives Z1 a better grip. All the hardware buttons are on the right side of the phone. This makes the device to be best suitable for a righty person (But lefty people will need some self-adjustments).

Finally we have a dedicated Camera Hardware Button. Thanks Sony!

ii. User Interface: Utterly Butterly Smooth

Sony Xperia Z1 runs Android 4.2.2 JellyBean with Sony’s customized UI. There is not much difference in the user interface than the Xperia Z. There is a variety of themes available with the device.

There were no LAGS in the UI. Overall, the operations were very smooth. The transitions & animations are good, but could have been made better.

iii. Display: Fragile

Xperia Z1 brags a 5” Full HD screen with pixel density of 440.6ppi. The screen is scratch-resistant but not shatter-proof as claimed by Sony. So be cautious.

Xperia Z1 is FRAGILE due to the Glass make-up.

The display looks gorgeous. During full HD video, it feels as if it uses each & every pixel of those ~440ppi screen. The Triluminos display with X-Reality image processing engine does all the work.

Colour representation, clarity, crispness, sharpness, brightness, viewing angles- Everything Perfect.

I am in Love with the Display.

The auto-brightness feature couldn’t be accessed from the notification panel. You’ll have to hunt it down from Settings>Display>Brightness.

Reflectivity of the screen is as good as a mirror so it would be advised to use the auto-brightness feature. The screen takes smudges easily so don’t forget to inspect your hands every time you use the phone.

Single Handed Reach- Not Possible.

iv. Typing: Lovely

I like Sony’s Keyboard & the user experience around it. Typing in portrait mode was fluent because of the Swipe feature inbuilt.

Landscape mode typing is good with spacious keys on the keyboard. Predictions & auto-correct worked very well & the dictionary & voice dictation feature will make your typing experience better.

There are small personalization options with the keyboard. The emoticons are similar to those you find in other Xperia devices. There is a magnifier that pops out every time you want to change the location of the cursor. I like that.

v. Browsing: with Chrome

Writing about the browsing experience would be like reviewing the Chrome browser. Sony did not give any of those stock Android browsers in Z1; it has Google’s Chrome browser.

Scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, double-tap-zoom worked perfect. The browser has multi-tab options with some good transition effects. It also supports incognito mode.

Considering the overall screen resolution & crispness, the browsing experience is wonderful.

Multi-tabs- Sony Xperia Z


Camera: The best from SONY

Sony improved their rear camera from a 12.78MP in Xperia Z to a 20.7MP in Z1. It is accompanied by the BIONZ image processing engine & Exmor RS sensor. It shot pictures with a resolution of 5248×3936 pixels with a much better AF & LED Flash.

I liked the UI of the camera. The camera is as rich in features as that in Xperia Z. The Superior Auto feature detects the scene automatically. The colour representation & sharpness of the images are very good.

The Auto-focus in Z1 has a bunch of options like- Single AF, Multi AF, Face Detection, Touch Focus & Object Tracking. Z1 has 8x zoom but the images don’t restore sharpness after 3x zoom. The front camera is 2.1MP which shoots images with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.

Video recording is fun with Xperia Z1. The Auto focus is very quick & there is no lag on the screen. But the video quality becomes grainy as you zoom in.

Multimedia: With Some Improvements

Sony has come up with some improvements in the inheritor. Z1 has got a larger speaker with much better audio quality. The audio quality is not as expected from Sony, but it is above average. There was a good clarity in the audio.

The music player is named as Walkman after the famous Walkman series from Sony. It has a visualizer option which shows some animations according to the song. This should be an intriguing feature especially if you are fond of some special effect with your music.

The placement of speakers is good & sensible at the bottom side of the phone. It is almost impossible to fully obstruct the speaker with your hand while listening to music or watching some videos.

The gallery in the device is named as Albums. It has got nice pinch to zoom in thumbnail view. Sorting & hiding options are absent from the albums.

The movie watching experience in the Xperia Z1 gets a huge support from one of the best displays in smartphones. The thumbnail view shows a preview of the last played video.

The video player has video info options & the tap to seek has no delays. The equaliser in video player is similar to that in music player. During the Full HD (1080p) video, it seems all those pixels are at work, giving a great experience.


Hardware Performance: Is it the Best Performer?

Sony Xperia Z1 is leagues ahead of its predecessor, the Xperia Z. It is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Krait 400 processor based on Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 chipset, the latest from Snapdragon. The Adreno 330 GPU & 2GB RAM are also added to the specs.

As far as my 2 days encounter with Z1 goes, I experienced no delays & lags in the phone at all. The performance of the phone is undoubtedly one of the best you expect from a smartphone.


Benchmark Score
AnTuTu 33345
Quadrant Standard 21610
Nenamark 2 60 fps
Geekbench 3 Single: 913; Multi: 2825


The ringtone is loud & clear with a pre-defined heap of options to be selected from. I tried the phone in the right pocket of my jeans with the speaker faced down in a semi-crowded place- the ringtone did not disappoint me at all.

Unlike Samsung, there is no customisation in selecting Vibration types & intensity. The notification LED is somewhat lost in the Z1. The LED is in the earpiece right at the top of the screen.

Connectivity options

What it has- 2G, 3G, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot, GPS, USB 2.0 (MHL) with OTG, NFC.

What it misses- dedicated HDMI port.

Battery: Its Hot

The Li-Ion Battery is non-removable having capacity of 3000mAh. You might be under the impression that a battery of such capacity might be sufficient to power the phone for a full day on normal usage but it doesn’t. The phone also gets heated up within no time irrespective of the work you’re doing.


Final Verdict

Great Performer

Sony Xperia Z1 shows great performance. It looks beautiful & the display technology would be loved by all. The camera is one of the best available in today’s Smartphones.

The audio quality is not the best expected from Sony but still they have managed to make it better than Xperia Z. The glass body looks good but you have to be cautious while using it. The battery backup is low & the heating problem is a big problem in the phone.

If you can cope up with the heating problem, then you can surely buy this phone.

Coming Up- LG G2 Review (Launching on 30th Sept’13 in India).

  • Interested in Photography
  • A Music Enthusiast
  • A Movie Buff
  • A Power User
  • Looking forward to Record an Under-water Scene 😉

  • A Rough User
  • Allergic to Heated phones 😉

Sony Xperia Z1 Specifications:


Sony Xperia Z1

Chipset Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800
Processor (CPU) 2.2GHz quad-core Krait 400
GPU Adreno 330
Display Type TFT Capacitive Triluminos Display with Scratch-Resistant Glass
Size & Resolution 5” 1080x1920pixels (440.6ppi)
Primary Camera 20.7MP with 8x zoom AF, LED flash, records 1080p videos @30fps
Secondary Camera 2.1MP
Android OS Android 4.2.2 JellyBean
Battery 3000mAh Li-Ion (non-removable)
Memory Internal- 16GB; microSD card (expandable upto 64GB)
USB Yes v2.0 (MHL port) with OTG support
Wi-Fi Yes (with Wi-Fi Direct & Hotspot)
Bluetooth Yes v4.0 with A2DP
Dimensions 144.4×73.9×8.5mm (5.68 inches in height)
Weight 169g
Sensors Accelerometer, Light, Orientation, Proximity, Gyro, Magnetic.
Water-Resistant Yes. [Condition- In fresh water up to 1.5m for 30 min. External connector covers must be shut.]
Dual SIM No
Colors White, Black Purple
Online Price  Rs. 42,500

Specs Source:


  • Karen says:

    According to drop test videos on Youtube, the Z1’s glass is indeed shatter-proof. But, you seem to claim otherwise. Can you please confirm if the glass on your Z1 broke from a fall?

    • Ankur says:

      I am sorry but we can not do that for you. We have based our opinion on a survey of owners we conducted. It seems users have an experience that contradicts what sony claims.

      • Vishal Agrawal says:

        Even I had the same question in mind as Karen. I think you would have given the review more credibility if you had mentioned that your opinion is based on a survey. Am tempted to ask, you sure you didn’t make up the survey part? 😉

        • Ankur says:

          Our review is based on the actual device test we conducted. The video on our youtube channel might serve as proof, along with the pictures we have taken and put up on the review.

          Now it is undoubtedly your right to opine that this all was a fake review. But the question remains, why would we lie to our readers when the only thing it will lead to is mistrust from the readers. And my dear friend, that is the only asset we are building up in this business is trust 🙂

          • Vishal Agrawal says:

            Ankur, it seems you got me all wrong. I am thankful to you for your reviews, and I really like your site. I know it’s easy to criticize (which I am doing) while it is really difficult to put up a good review (which you have done).

            But I want you to read my comment again. I never once said that your entire review was fake. I said that I was just skeptical about your reference to the “survey of owners we conducted”, since the “survey” is not alluded to anywhere in your article at all. That’s all. And I would have believed you if you had clarified by confirming the survey or giving more details about it.

            Again, I really like your site and hope you keep doing the good work for the benefit of everyone. No offence is or was meant. Peace.

          • Ankur says:

            Appreciate the candour you have shown. The survey was basically done with the retail outlets we cover. About 15 of them. And I have to admit we did not keep a paper record of it. Will make an effort to back all our inferences with better data henceforth. Thank you for this suggestion which will help us get better!

            Peace! 🙂

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