Sony is on the comeback trail. The Xperia Tablet Z is one of the best Android tablets we’ve ever used, and that’s among fierce competition. On the smartphone side of things, the Xperia Z did many things right, but the waterproof, dust proof and scratch resistant phone wasn’t quite the Samsung-killer we wanted thanks to a washed out display and sub-par viewing angles.
Its successor, launched less than six months after the Xperia Z, is the Xperia Z1 – which we just happen to have received in to the office over the weekend and are currently putting it through its paces. The Z1 has all of the credentials to be a top performer, starting with Qualcomm’s exceptional Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and a new 1080p display from Sony’s TV display division.
Does it finally put Sony back in the game?
It’s certainly heftier than the original Z. A new, softer design with more rounded corners and more metal along the edges makes it look and feel classier and more comfortable. Unfortunately, that also means that it adds weight, and it’s much bulkier than many of its contemporaries. Against the Samsung Galaxy S4, a phone with which it shares its screen dimensions and processing punch, it weighs a full 40g more and has a much, much wider bezel (130g vs 170g for the Z1, and the S4’s bezel is almost non-existent).
It’s still waterproof and dust resistant, mind, although by the looks of it it still has the built-in plastic scratch protector which appeared on the Xperia Z and – ironically – scratched easily. That thin film does appear a bit tougher mind.
The best news, however, is that the Xperia Z1 seems fantastically fast and multitasking is a breeze. Stay tuned for a full work up of the phone before the week is out.