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Sony Xperia Z1


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 Sony Xperia Z1 Available now
4th September 2013

The Sony Xperia Z1 follows on from the original Xperia Z announced at the start of the year, but it comes with a better camera, faster processor and a bigger battery plus a whole collection of add-ons to make the Z1 rather more than a standalone smartphone.

The biggest problem we can see with the Xperia Z1 is just how complicated it all is. It's all very well adding more and more features onto a device such as this, but it gets to the point where there are just too many for most people to figure out and they become irrelevant. So, instead of trying to list every single feature of the Xperia Z1 we will try to concentrate on the stuff that actually matters.

Perhaps the main headline is the 20.7 megapixel camera with an LED flash on the back. With the Xperia Z1 it isn't just a case of upping the pixel count, Sony have also fitted a large sensor to give clearer pictures and have added a dedicated image processing chip. As well as hi-res photos, the Xperia Z1 can take 1080p full HD video, and there's a secondary 2 megapixel camera on the front. If you want, you can put one of a pair of add-on lenses on the back (called the QX10 and QX100) to turn the Xperia Z1 into a powerful digital camera. In addition there are a whole load of software enhancements and features to get the best out of your digital imaging.

 Sony Xperia Z1 The display is a 5" 1080 x 1920 pixel full HD panel enhanced with some of the technology found in Sony TVs (Sony call this "TRILUMINOS"). You can mirror the screen on an HDMI-equipped TV using an MHL cable, or you can do the same thing wirelessly with the Miracast IM10 add-on.

Inside is a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm processor which should make the Xperia Z1 one of the very fastest smartphones on the market, and the Z1 has 2GB of RAM which is pretty much the most you can squeeze into a smartphone at the moment. Internal storage is 16GB, and you can add a microSD card to give up to 64GB more if desired.

The Xperia Z1 is dust and water resistant to IP55 and IP58 standards.. so you can take underwater photos if you like, but don't expect it to survive deep-sea diving. Inside is a large 3000 mAh battery (29% bigger than the original Xperia Z) because frankly smartphones need as much juice as they can get. It's a bit larger and heavier than the Xperia Z as a result, coming in at 170 grams.

 Sony Xperia Z1 Multimedia is one of Sony's strong points, and the Xperia Z1 has Sony's Walkman player, an FM radio, full HD video playback and access to Sony's media library. If you are a long time Sony or Sony Ericsson customer then you may well be familiar with the very long list of Sony media enhancements that come bundled with it.

LTE 4G data is supported, as is NFC. Sony also sell NFC tags which can be made to change the phone's behaviour, the sort of thing that you might love or most likely will completely ignore. On top of that there are all the usual Android features that you would expect from any device of this type.

The operating system is Android 4.2, again with a list of Sony enhancements as long as your arm. If for some reason the Xperia Z1 doesn't do exactly what you want it to do, then there is almost definitely an application in the Google Play store that will do what you want.

 Sony Xperia Z1 Sony's term for the smart but somewhat understated design is "Omnibalance". It does basically look quite slab-like, but at least in this case you can choose a black, white or rather fetching purple slab instead of just having a black one.

As you might expect, all of this comes at a price and Clove in the UK are offering it for £564 SIM free (about €670) which isn't cheap, but it isn't a lot more than the base model Apple iPhone 5 (and we suspect prices will drop pretty quickly). There are a range of other accessories that you can spend you money on too, including Bluetooth gadgets, stands and docks plus the Sony Smartwatch 2. The Sony Xperia Z1 should be available in retail channels by the end of this month.

Sony Xperia Z1 at a glance


Q3 2013


GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

UMTS 850 / 900 / 1700 / 2100

LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 20



+ LTE + WiFi


5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels


20.7 megapixels (main)

2 megapixels (sub)


Large smartphone

144 x 74 x 8.5mm / 170 grams


Yes (4.0)

Internal memory:


Memory card:



2.2GHz quad-core






Yes (plus GLONASS)


Android 4.2

Battery life:

15 hours talk / 35 days standby (3G)

3000 mAh cell

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