Sony Xperia Z – waterproof smartphone with improved camera

Sony Xperia Z – what is it?

The Xperia Z is a waterproof, dustproof smartphone with an improved camera for better low light photos. It has a high resolution 5-inch screen, runs on Android Jellybean and is aimed at the premium market, so it’s not going to come cheap – expect to pay around £500 for it when it launches around the end of February.

Visit the smartphones at CES news page for the latest on smartphones due for release in 2013 – see our CES news page for updates on all products announced at the world’s largest technology trade show.

The following is not a review, but our first impressions of the product based on a short time using it. Pricing and availability is tentative and subject to change.

Sony Xperia Z – what are the key features?

  1. Waterproof and dustproof – The Xperia Z has gorilla glass on the front and back and is built to be dustproof and waterproof . Sony says you can use the camera function underwater to a depth of around one metre.
  2. 5-inch full HD 1080p display – Sony is bringing its TV expertise to the smartphone with a high resolution ‘reality display’ screen on the Xperia Z that manages 443ppi (pixels per inch) – more than the Retina display on the iPhone 5. It should be great for watching videos and viewing photos.
  3. High-spec camera – The Exmor RS sensor for mobile on the Xperia Z lets you shoot HDR video, which should help you see the details in the foreground if your shooting into the light. It’s also been designed to take better low light shots, and takes photos at a (large for a phone) 13Mp.

Which? first impressions

Katie WallerA 5-inch screen makes for a rather large phone, but it doesn’t feel too big to use as it’s light and slim.

Low light picture quality from the camera is pretty good for a phone, but it’s still not a patch on a decent compact camera. The darkened room we were photographing wasn’t as dark as you might expect a venue to be if you’re on a night out , and although the photo turned out ok, it was a bit grainy.

The screen looks good and sharp and the waterproof capabilities of the phone are a plus, although Sony said you have to rinse it after underwater use and drying time is needed to listen to audio again properly.

The One Touch NFC feature makes it easy to share information, music and files across Sony devices. Touching the Xperia Z against other Sony NFC compatible products lets you watch movies from your phone on a TV by holding the phone up against Sony’s TV remote control, or play music from your phone on compatible speakers by just touching the two together.

Katie Waller, Technology researcher

CES 2013 FAQ

What is CES 2013?
CES is short for Consumer Electronics Show – it’s the largest trade show of its type in the world and the place where major technology brands announce their new products and discuss the future of technology.

Why does Which? attend?
It gives us an insight into what’s coming in the year ahead, so we can ensure we’re testing the right products in the right way. We also use the time to speak to technology companies to ensure they’re listening to consumer needs.

How can I find out more?
Visit our CES page for our first impressions of all the major new products from the show.

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