Yesterday at CES, Sony introduced its flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z, a beautifully crafted Android Jelly Bean device that features a 5-inch Full HD 1080p Reality Display with the new Sony Bravia Mobile 2 engine and it also runs on a powerful quad-core 1.5 Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. The new Xperia Z is packed with high-end features including a 443 ppi display and the new 13-Megapixel Exmor RS sensor that records HDR videos. I got a demo and I briefly tried the Xperia Z on the show floor, read my first impressions in the complete article and watch the video.

Product Design (excellent)

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When I landed my eyes on the device after the press conference, I was instantly impressed by the great build quality and the super slim body (7.9 mm). Although the Xperia Z has a quite large screen, its edge to edge design still maintains its compact body. The nicely crafted and shiny power button sticks out on the side while the volume command below is super thin and discreetly integrated. At the top, the audio jack is hidden by a flip over, which makes that area visually flawless. The camera on the backside is subtlety integrated at the top while a small Xperia logo is printed in the middle.

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The tempered glass that covers the body combined with the unusual purple color delivers a unique and stylish look that I really enjoy. While the Xperia Z is one of the most beautiful smartphones out there, it is also a tough cookie. Sony made it dust and water-resistant, and I cannot wait to submerge it to check the claim.

Display (very good)

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The large 5-inch Full HD 1080p display features 443 ppi, a higher pixel-per-inch rate than most high-end smartphones, except for the new Huawei Ascend D2, which delivers crisp and clear images. Additionally, the movies and images are processed by Sony’s new Bravia Mobile 2 engine, an image processing technology borrowed from Sony’s TV division. The image quality looked good when I briefly played with the device. The color is realistic – not oversaturated – and the contrasts were good as well.

Camera (user interface looks very good)

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I briefly saw the camera application and I love the user interface compared to other Android handsets. The key menu options are displayed at the top in semi-transparent, making them easily accessible without cluttering the images that you are trying to shoot. The Exmor R sensor is famous for its great low-light performance and the new Exmor RS adds HDR video to the feature list. I could not really shoot pictures and compare to other handsets on the show floor for now, but we will get back on this with the review unit. It looks like 13 MP is becoming the new standard in flagship smartphones, we have seen the LG Optimus G (Sprint and Korean version) and the new Huawei Ascend D2 with the same feature.

Perceived performance,  keyboard and custom features

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When I briefly flipped through the screens, the interface was fluid and responsive, comparable to the smartphones with similar hardware. The keyboard has a nice feel and I like the subtle force feedback. The device is NFC-enabled and I got a demo of NFC pairing with the Sony headphones. The company is going NFC full force this year at CES with the release of a broad range of NFC-enabled accessories.

Battery

At Ubergizmo, we love high capacity batteries on mobile devices, however, we understand perfectly that super-thin chassis do not have the room for that. The Xperia features a 2400 mAh battery and Sony designed a custom feature named Battery Stamina to help with power saving. Basically it lets you select the few applications that you use all the time and turns off the others, if you do not set it manually, it automatically turns off the high-consumption ones (see the video).

Conclusion

I was surprised that Sony could come back in the ultra-competitive Smartphone arena with such a beautifully crafted and powerful device. I cannot wait to put my hands on the review unit to check how it performs in real-life conditions.

Filed in Cellphones . Tags: CES, CES 2013, mobile, Smartphone, Sony, xperia and XPERIA Z.
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