Sony Xperia Z: Performance

February 20, 2013 by Dragan Petric Reads (37,981)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service, Warranty & Support
    • 9
    • Ease of Use
    • 9
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Value
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 9.20
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


The Sony Xperia X certianly does not disappoint when it comes to performance. It seems that Sony got more out of the latest Qualcomm chipset with a quad-core Krait CPU running at 1.5 GHz and Adreno 320 graphics than anyone else. On synthetic benchmarks, this device shows impressive results, better than all current flagships with quad-core processors and can be concluded — even on paper — that this is currently the fastest smartphone in the world.

Sony Xperia ZStill, smartphone benchmarks are a long way from reality, due to a lineup of other factors affecting the devices’ performance, besides the chipset itself. The Xperia Z is one of the fastest smartphones in the world, but not at every task. While multimedia playback, like Full HD video  and fast-forwarding a video clip without any lags runs immaculately, running several applications at the same time can take a long while, which is unexpected.

This particularly goes for starting the camera — I saw far faster smartphones when it comes to this action with much older and ‘poorer’ chips, but I must admit that the photo application which comes with Xperia Z is significantly more complex than any other.

I also noticed imprecision while scrolling and zooming in and out of more complicated web sites — there were no lags or glitches, but the scrolls did not run as expected while moving the page with a finger. This can be solved if Chrome is not used, which is the default browser of this phone, so it can be concluded that the browser is causing the trouble, not the chipset.

Everything else runs at a fantastic speed. I especially loved playing games on Xperia Z. With such a resolution, imaging sharpness, Bravia Engine 2 and a large screen, plus a processor which handles this type of actions well, this Sony model provides immense entertainment.

As it supports MHL, as well as the option of NFC connection with other devices, including Full HD TV sets, the difference of practicality while playing games is vast. This is, convincingly, the most entertaining smartphone in the world currently available.

This is the first Sony device with Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean). Sony representatives promised to upgrade the version to 4.2 once it is available for sale. What makes this device different from the competition, from the software perspective, are the modifications made to Google’s standard user interface.

Firstly, it should be pointed out to everyone who knows older Xperia models that Timescape and Mediascape have (finally) been omitted from the OS. The device comes with a launcher with five homescreens (they can be added or removed), filled with various Sony widgets and application icons. Then there are five icons at the bottom of each homescreen. The center includes an icon that turns on the applications drawer, while two can be hand-added on each side. Under these icons are the control keys (back, home, tasks).

The lock-screen is modified to enable fast camera access (swipe to left), i.e. Walkman — the defualt application for music playback (swipe to right). While listening to music, the lock-screen also includes the music player controls. Conveniently, mini applications can be turned on at any moment which using the device (much like with Samsung’s devices), which pop up in a separate window. These include the Calculator, Timer, Notes and Voice Recorder. Sony has also added its own Backup & Restore options to the Android OS settings.

Still, the biggest modifications refer to those on the camera, video and Walkman application. The latter is familiar from the older Xperia models — this is a fantastic music player with an abundance of options and an equalizer. Sound quality is above average, even with provided headphones, and the feeling of music is even ‘softer’ than on most other smartphones.

The application for taking photographs and recording videos also provides a great many options. The rear-facing camera has a maximum resolution of 13 megapixels (4128 x 3096 pixels), but when HDR photographs are taken or the Superior mode is turned on, the maximum resolution will be 12 megapixels (3920 x 2940). This is because the device might be moved while taking multiple shots, so the image is software stabilized and the edges are trimmed.

Sony Xperia Z Rear ViewEven though the application is slow to start, the trigger is very fast. The rapid shutter works fantastically and can shoot several dozen consecutive shots in full resolution. HDR is supported even with video recording, while photographs can also be taken during video recording, even thought the resolution will be significantly poorer.

Image quality drastically varies, depending on the shooting conditions. The images are immaculately sharp with natural lighting, with exceptionally precisely interpreted colors, without any noise — as if they were taken with a compact camera. The same thing goes for videos.

With poor lighting conditions and the use of a flash, Sony’s software has too much work and the images, even though quite sharp and without noise, end up unrealistically interpreted and overly saturated colors. This is a good thing for previewing images on Xperia Z’s screen, but if you wish to post the images on Facebook or print them out, you won’t like the way they look.

Battery Life
The 2,330 mAh battery can handle the energy demands of the processor and the huge screen fairly well. With average use, this device needs to be charged only once every two days. However, more frequent usage of the 3G or LTE antenna drastically reduces battery life, and demands the smartphone to be charged every night.



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