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Sony Xperia Z review

Has Sony finally got a smartphone right?

Our Verdict

The original waterproof powerhouse from Sony is still potent thanks to a lower price point.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 13 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 11 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Water resistant
  • HD Voice
  • Good video camera
  • Stunning music quality

Against

  • Non removable battery
  • Software bugs

Sony Xperia Z review

To Sony's credit, it hasn't been lazy here. So often in the past, we've reviewed other Android handsets and the manufacturers have actually been quite tight in what they've included. Not the case on the Sony Xperia Z.

Of course, you get Google's standard suite of apps that come with all Android devices. That includes (though isn't limited to) the excellent Gmail app and the jewel in Android's crown: Google Maps.

The app so good, that it showed how bad Apple Maps was in comparison and then shot to the top of the download chart in the App Store on its release.

Thankfully, it's never been removed from Google (obviously), and has, for the last few years, given one of the best turn-by-turn navigation experiences on the market. Let's not forget this app is free - and it gives you so much more functionality and live information than you would ever get from many other paid for apps.

If you really don't like Google Maps though, you can take advantage of the free Wisepilot for Sony Xperia app. But we can't see why you EVER would.

Sony Xperia Z review

Aside from this, Sony gives us some other bits and bobs such as a basic note-taking/doodle app and a trial for McAfee mobile security. Obviously, it's keen to get you spending your money there rather than with Google, so although you can buy through Google Play, there are various hints to get you towards its Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services.

We tried them both and, unfortunately, neither worked. The former took us to a web page where Sony admitted it knew there was a problem but was working on it; the latter just hung up immediately and didn't do a thing. A bit shoddy in our eyes, considering this is hardly a new service.

Perhaps Sony could spend more time on sorting things like this out and less time working on its Play Now service, which it's still flogging like a dead horse on handsets. That too is included on the Sony Xperia Z and is so old, we could swear we had it on the K700i many moons ago.

Sony Xperia Z review

Office Suite is provided on the Sony Xperia Z free of charge - it's the free viewer version but it does the job admirably, and you can always download more expensive variants if you intend to use the Sony Xperia Z as your main document editing device.

We were also pleased to see a Sony Car app, which paid more than lip service to drivers. We tried it out and found it to be a great addition - offering large buttons and help for everything from navigation to music selections. You do feel, in some ways at least, that Sony has gone the extra mile here (see what we did there?).

And let's not forget that - this being an Android handset - there are hundreds of thousands of apps waiting for you to dive in and start downloading from Google Play.

This is one of our favourite things about getting a new smartphone to play with - it's like delving into a treasure trove. And with a screen like this, many of those treasures will positively glisten in front of your eyes.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
SAR Value0.48 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia Z
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 850, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution13 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time11 Hour
Product ModelC6603
Screen Size12.7 cm (5")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)146 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density441 ppi
Height139 mm
Width71 mm
Depth7.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXperia Z C6603 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Product LineXperia Z
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Gyro Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number1270-5659
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

HDR video camera

Xperia Z features Exmor RS™ for mobile, the world's first image sensor with HDR video for smartphones, so you can take beautiful stills and movies even against strong light.

13-megapixel camera

The 13 megapixel fast-capture camera and the next-generation Sony Exmor RS™ for mobile sensor makes Xperia Z the Android mobile that delivers crystal clear photos wherever, whenever.

Great in all light conditions

With Exmor RS™ for mobile and HDR, Xperia Z takes sharp photos and videos both in lowlight and strongly backlit conditions. The lowlight sensors on front and back make it the first dual Exmor R™ for mobile camera.