Our own Klaus Wedekind is at CES 2013 this week, and brings you an exclusive hands-on with the Xperia Z: Sony's brand-new flagship device:
After a few solid but unspectacular devices, Sony has managed to create a real masterpiece: the Xpiera Z. I was almost tempted not to return the device after spending some time with it at CES. The design, hardware and software create a near-perfect package which could rocket Sony to the top yet again.
Holding the Xperia Z in your hand, it feel like the perfect combination of a Nexus 4 and iPhone 5. You get the feeling that Sony has strained to build a top-class smartphone. The workmanship is stunning, the display fits the casing like a glove and the all glass exterior gives it an elegant touch.
You won't see too many buttons on this device; just a volume rocker on the right and a pronounced on / off switch. Both elements have been crafted from aluminum. The phone creates the magical illusion of appearing smaller than it actually is; as you can see below, the display is significantly larger than that of the One X, but the device isn't:
Comparing the Sony Xperia Z's 5" display to the One X's 4.7" display. Can you see the difference?
The Sony employee who let me play around with the unit said that the firmware is as-yet not final. But the device I held in my hands did not in any way feel like a pre-production unit. One almost felt the device responded before you touched it, so on-the-ball is Sony's new showpiece. No matter what I was doing, there was no sense of lag.
Having tested the Xperia T, I wondered what kind of images I'd be able to shoot with the Xperia Z. I only had a chance to take a few photos under the Nevada sun, but I can say the camera is at LEAST as good as the Xperia T – presumably they're equivalent on paper as well. One feature I particularly liked was that the camera automatically shifted scene modes based on the environment. If someone held still, the camera would shift to portrait mode. If the person moved, it would shift to action mode. It is a pity, though, that Sony didn't give this phone an independent shutter button. I don't think it would have hurt the design one bit.
Finally, a few more sentences about the display. It is one of the sharpest and sexiest screens I've ever seen on a smartphone. It was even bright enough to operate beautifully in direct sunlight. The color balance, too, seemed just right.
I certainly look forward to giving this phone an even more detailed review in February.
All photos copyright AndroidPIT.