Jan 24, 2014
First, a few stats… not shabby for a 2013 flagship: 5″ screen fit into a 139 x 71 x 7.9mm body, front-facing 2.2 MP camera paired with a 13.1 one in the rear. The screen has a resolution of 1920×1080, with Dragontrail glass upfront and Gorilla in the back.
Internally, the Z packs a Snapdragon S4 chip, 16 GB of flash memory and 2 GB RAM, and can use up to 64 GB of expandable memory.
The hardware is is gorgeous to look at. It’s a stately slab, with deliberate edges and corners that lend themselves to its appearance. It feels great in hand, and just looks as though it’s comfortable in with its non-diminutive size. The weight is spread well, and the all-black lends to its allure.
The software suite offers the usual suite of Android staples: Maps, Gmail, Chrome and Music are sandwiched by T-Mobile stockware and some Sony standard apps like Playstation and memory stroking Walkman. The most pleasant revelation for me was the realization how thin Sony’s user interface is; the phone’s UI is relatively clean, and perhaps a bit more reminiscent of stock Android than, say HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz. Of course, the T-Mobile stuff cannot be deleted on a stock device, but disabling is possible. Most the system processes are laid out in standard Android OS fashion.
Of special interest to me were the Sony apps; how will Sony set itself apart from the sizable Android OEM crowd? The Walkman app is the first stock Android music app I’d use on a daily basis, and it’s not just because of nostalgia. It’s nicely done, with a look that fits the device. The Playstation App is similarly regal with bluish undertones and has a nice selection of unique games.
Call me crazy, but I expected the device to be a bit zippier. It didn’t gasp, but there was a stutter now and then. I wasn’t able to to test call quality, but the audio quality without earbuds was not as pure to me as some of its contemporaries.
In smartphones time, the Z is pretty mature, but still manages to represent Sony particularly well. With new devices from Sony due out at any second, the Z reminds us why we like Sony, and why choice is ALWAYS a good thing.