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Old vs new: Sony’s UIs compared

Old vs new: Sony’s UIs compared

While we’ve tested out several types of Android User Interfaces in the past, most of them have been either through custom ROMs or stock Android. Today, we’re going to have a look into Sony’s Xperia UI over the last two generations. A lot has happened since the Xperia Z has dropped on the market, including a UI overhaul for the Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra.

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© AndroidPIT


With their updated UI, Sony has moved away from a darker theme and embraced the lights ide of things with a whiter background and colorful icons with flat buttons. This is probably one of the better “settings” layout that we’ve seen for the Android devise. In the past, it was dominated by gray, black, and blue and with the update; it definitely seems a bit brighter and more playful.

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CAPTION – REPLACE ME! The Xperia Z settings (left) and Xperia Z1 settings (right). 


Here the biggest change immediately falls to the new folder icons. Sony has simplified the design and now only uses on square as a folder icon. When you open up the folder, the view inside it has changed as well: icons and the header are significantly larger. For my own personal opinion, I think they’re a bit too big and that they waste space unnecessarily.

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The Xperia Z1 (right) has a new folder view which takes up more space. / © AndroidPIT

App Drawer

With the Xperia Ultra Z and Z1, there is a new side menu that provides access to options and setting, such as sorting or uninstalling apps. Compared to the older version of the UI which has the settings and other options as a little blurb in the top corner and an always visible app list.

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Now, more options and settings are available in a side menu (right). / © AndroidPIT


The pre-installed keyboard UI on the newer Xperia models is significantly flatter and waives any glossy effects. As a result, it has a more modern and homogeneous keyboard that is easy on the eyes.


New to the Xperia Z Ultra and Z1 is an app for creating sketches and handwritten notes. As well, the camera apps received a completely overhaul and has a brand new user interface. As well, some additional features (such as augmented reality effects) made their way into the camera app as well.

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The new and improved camera app for the Xperia Z1. / © AndroidPIT


The new Xperia U1 is an evolutionary improvement over the old one and has definitely been softened to move away from the darker black/gray tone theme . If / when the new Xperia UI will make its way to older devices, such as the Xperia Z, we don’t know. Sony is still mum on the word and hasn’t made any announcement on a final decision as to whether it will be ported or not.

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