The Sony Xperia Z [Review]


The Xperia Z came with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean pre-installed, with Sony’s “Cosmic Flow” interface over the top. This was the first Sony handset I’d used for a fairly long period of time, so it was the first time I’d really gotten used to Sony’s software, and I liked it.

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The interface.

Cosmic Flow isn’t as dramatic as some third-party Android skins — such as Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense — which I think is great. It still feels like stock Android for the most part, only with slightly different apps and icons here and there, and it has the same virtual button layout as the Nexus 4.

Sony does have a few apps of its own, such as Walkman, as well as a few nifty features. Small Apps is like a watered-down version of Samsung’s Multi Window — it allows you to use certain apps, like the calculator, within a window over other apps. I didn’t use it much, but when I did it worked well.

You’ll also find Sony’s PlayStation Mobile, Music Unlimited, and Video Unlimited apps.

On the whole, Sony’s software was enjoyable to use. I didn’t feel lost after switching from the Nexus 4, and although it’s clear that a third-party skin is at work, it’s certainly not as heavy as some of the others.


I very much enjoyed using the Xperia Z during the two weeks I had it, and I was sad when the time came to pack it up and send it back. Its 1080p display was a real pleasure to use, and while I originally felt that full HD displays were overkill in a smartphone, I completely understand why people want them now.

I also love that its water resistant — that’s something every smartphone should be offering by now.

I have a feeling the Xperia Z might struggle to compete with the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.

But if you ignore the 1080p display, the Xperia Z didn’t really offer me anything I didn’t already have in another smartphone. Its camera was a little disappointing, performance was good but not hugely different to existing quad-core devices, and I really wanted more from the speaker.

With those things in mind, I have a feeling the Xperia Z might struggle to compete with the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. Based on early impressions of these devices, I think I’d be disappointed if I entered into a two-year contract for the Xperia Z and not one of its latest rivals.

Note: This Sony Xperia Z was kindly provided by Phones4U, a leading British retailer that specializes in mobile phones and accessories, broadband, and laptops.