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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

We have to hand it to Sony here for not making changes for change's sake - Android has a great contacts system and thankfully, Sony has recognised this by keeping it and giving it a mere cosmetic lick of paint.

Contacts download automatically when you first log in to the Sony Xperia Z. They come from your mandatory Gmail account, which is free to set up.

And for those who wince at the thought of being forced to have a Gmail account, you don't have to use it. But it is it an ideal way of backing up those numbers and addresses, should disaster strike.

Accessing said contacts is simple: you just tap the phone icon on the screen - which is also how you get into the dialler - or you can start to type the name of your contacts into the Google search widget on the home screen.

That's if you don't have a contact widget or shortcut installed on your home screen.

Sony Xperia Z review

This is where you see one of Android's benefits over iOS, which still doesn't allow these sort of shenanigans without going around the houses.

Contacts are displayed beautifully with photos brought in from Facebook, Google or other sources, which is a real cosmetic plus.

Alas, Android doesn't bring them across in high res, so when you get a call, your contact can look rather pixelated, which ruins an otherwise beautiful appearance.

Putting new contact names into the Sony Xperia Z couldn't be easier. Just bring the keypad up, type in the number and hit 'Save.'

You can also add details ranging from their birthday to whom their spouse is.

Social networking isn't supported by default. This highlights the differences with an HTC handset, which tends to want you to sign into a million accounts on setup.

Sony Xperia Z review

We can't complain too much about this, since we are glad to not to have to endure Timescape anymore.

And anyway, if you use Twitter, Facebook and others it's much nicer to be able to just sign into and use the networks that you - the user - wants to use.

It takes mere seconds to download official or third-party apps, and then you'll find you can hook everything up.

Calling a contact is as easy as tapping the person's name.

We found the performance on calls to be excellent. We sometimes lose track of the fact that a smartphone is a phone, and call quality can range from the brilliant to the unacceptable.

We had absolutely no issues with the Sony Xperia Z's call quality and found that not only did calls connect easily, but they stayed connected even in places where we'd expect them to drop.

Sony Xperia Z review

One other thing we should mention here is something often not touched upon, but present here, and that's HD Voice. Many handsets support it these days, but it is network-dependent.

We can confirm, however, that it is a brilliant addition to the Sony Xperia Z.

It just makes it a far more pleasant experience when chatting to people - both for them and you.

Audio volume was loud enough for us when talking to buddies, and they reported no issues hearing us.

Again, this will be assisted by the HD Voice element, which helps with noise cancelling.

There is one, admittedly pathetic, point we'd like to raise: the edges of this phone are actually a little sharp and holding the phone close to your ear isn't a comfortable experience. Good that the sound boosting is actually pretty good, then, eh?

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.