I had to quickly change phones last week, and I decided to get a Sony Xperia Z1, even though the Z2 would be released fairly quickly. Spending a week with a broken phone was slightly annoying, and I needed to change, so the Z1 was it. I managed to find one that wasn’t too expensive and splurged on my first purchase since coming back from the Philippines after Chinese New Year.
The Z1 is waterproof, but slippery so even with its IP55/IP58 rating, a case is needed, otherwise it will simply slip out of your hands. The viewfinder is a bit strange, because it isn’t representative of the photos you take, at least in low light conditions. I found a lot of noise on the viewfinder, which I simply didn’t find in the photos I took.
I find the Sony’s Android implementation a lot less buggy than HTC’s, which was sometimes a pain. It was pretty easy to setup, and since my phone automatically backs up my photos to my Dropbox, I didn’t really need to transfer any content, except my contacts, which were easily exported onto my SIM card.
The camera is the big selling point of this phone, at 20.7MP, it’s the industry “best”. While the MP count isn’t really what makes good camera sensors, the Z1’s is impressive. So good that the Z2 uses the same one. The operation of the camera is easy enough, and the manual mode is where you’ll find all of the goodies, like HDR, burst mode, etc. All in all, the camera app has got a lot of features which were absent from the HTC One, so I’m happy with this. This is definitely a phone for people who enjoy taking photos. The microSD slot can take up to 64GB, so that’s basically 80GB to play with, which should be plenty for most people.
Another feature that has amazed me is text prediction. Ever since I switched to Android from iOS in 2013, I was used to fighting my phone’s bad text prediction, especially when I typed in other languages, like French and German without switching. This isn’t an issue at all with the Z1 as it recognizes languages as you type them, and it will auto-correct them, which is pretty cool, even with the right “accents”, ie ‘Bonne fete’ became ‘Bonne fête’. The keyboard will also read through your Facebook posts, Twitter posts, and your emails to learn from the way you write, so that text prediction is improved. Most of the time, I barely have to type 1 or 2 letters before it will suggest the right word.
The display is supposed to be this phone’s weak point, but I haven’t yet been able to see this in action. It seems quite good, but compared to a Samsung S4, it’s not as vibrant. This was apparently addressed in the Z2.
All in all, I’m quite happy with this phone, and I’ll keep it for a few weeks until the Z2 comes out in Taiwan, at which point I’ll upgrade and resell the Z1. The one thing that I have trouble understanding is why doesn’t Sony support the new 128GB microSD cards that just came out? I mean, the Samsung S5 supports them, why doesn’t the Z2.
The HTC One has been a good phone for a while, but ultimately, the camera sensor was disappointing. It was supposed to be a very good low-light camera, but in actuality, I prefer the Z1.