Following the original Xperia Z series, Sony Mobile has started pushing its latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update to its newer models. This covers the Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact and its Xperia Z Ultra phablet.
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The race is on for smart phone manufacturers to release the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop to its existing smart phone. With the Lollipop source code being released by Google, Sony has gotten the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) version to run on their current Xperia Z1, Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z3 devices.
Note that the OS shown here is plain vanilla stock Android and Sony is expected to release the new Android update officially early next year with its own customised Xperia UI. For developers that can’t wait, Sony will be making the necessary binary files and AOSP source code available and it currently works for the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z2. The Xperia Z3 version will be released a bit later.
Check out the Android 5.0 Lollipop AOSP video after the break
We managed to get a hands on with the newly announced Sony Xperia Z3. To see how much different, or how much similar it is with its previous models, we have compared the Xperia Z3 with the Xperia Z2 and the Xperia Z1.
One of the biggest change is the edges on the Xperia Z3. It is more rounded now which makes it more comfortable to hold but somehow we felt that the flat edges on the Xperia Z2/Z1 gives it a more elegant feel to it. With its boxy flat edges, the former flagships kinda demands more attention and care when holding it in the hands. The new one just feels quite alright without dramas, and then you realised that the new Xperia Z3 is actually thinner by almost a millimetre than its former model.
Another welcome change is the flap. On the Xperia Z2, the microUSB and microSIM cards share the same single flap cover, which is quite annoying with its long dangling cover. On the Xperia Z3, they have moved the nano-SIM and microSD card under a single flap, which you’ll hardly mess around. And this leaves a microUSB port having its own tiny little flap cover, which is much easier to manage especially when you’re charging with a power bank while on the go.
Check out the side by side hands-on comparisons between the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z1 after the break.
UPDATE: The Mi 3 is now priced at RM769. RM120 less than before.
The Xiaomi Mi 3 which goes on sale on 20th May is steal at just RM889. Unlike the current flagship smart phones that runs on the latest Snapdragon 801 processors, the Mi 3 settles for a tested and proven Snapdragon 800 processor that powers most smart phones before MWC 2014. Despite the processor difference, the Xiaomi Mi 3 is a stellar performer on AnTuTu which is said to score even higher than a Galaxy S5. This is attributed to its clean and mean MIUI operating system which we feel is definitely better than stock Android any day.
So if you’re in the market for a high-end smart phone and you don’t want to fork out more than RM2,000 for the latest, we’ve compared last year’s flagships such as the Nexus 5, LG G2, HTC One, Xperia Z1, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 against the Xiaomi Mi 3. Processor wise, the Mi 3 is on par or better than the rest as it uses a newer Snapdragon 800 MSM8274AB processor with 2GB RAM. In terms of display, the Mi 3 is on par with a 5.0″ Full HD display which pushes a high 440ppi (pixels per inch) for greater clarity.
In terms of dimensions, the Mi 3 is just 8.1mm thick which is the second thinnest here and it only loses to the Galaxy S4 (7.9mm). This is impressive considering it packs a large 3,050mAh battery which is 2nd largest battery capacity on the list. The only downside is the lack of microSD slot which is similar to the HTC One, Nexus 5 and LG G2.
Pricing plays a big deciding factor in this comparison. While these flagship models featured here are about 6 months to 1 year old, the prices are still hovering around RM1,300-RM1,900 range. That’s still a far cry from the RM889 retail price the Mi 3 is carrying. So looks like the winner is pretty clear here. If you want to secure a unit, 20th May is the day that you need to log on to mi.com/my to place your order. The exact time hasn’t been revealed yet so be sure to check their Facebook page for updates.
Sony has been a strong advocate for water and dust resistant devices. It started from its rugged Sony Ericsson Xperia Activ back in 2011 and now Sony has been incorporating water resistance on every high-end devices they make since the Xperia Z. They had made their mark by pioneering a flagship devices that can be taken to the swimming pool at anytime.
To highlight the benefits of having a waterproof device, Sony has released an infographic highlighting facts and figures of exposures to wet and rainy conditions including user habits of taking their phones to the bathroom. This illustrates that having a water resistant device is more important than what we imagine and it really gives better peace of mind knowing that your phone can withstand accidental spills, rain exposure or accidental drops into water. Even Samsung has incorporated IP67 rated water and dust resistance on their latest Galaxy S5, which is a sign that water resistance is becoming more of a necessity.
The Sony Xperia Z1, Z2 and Z2 Tablet comes with IP58 dust and water resistant rating which is capable to withstand being submerged under water beyond 1 metre deep for 30 minutes. The first digit in the IP rating indicates its dust resistance while the second digit represents its water resistance level. You can get the full details of IP rating over here.
View out the full infographic after the break.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a new 16MP camera that uses its new ISOCELL sensor. On paper, this should give the Galaxy S5 camera a better low light performance with reduced noise. For video, it is also capable of shooting at 4K resolution.
In our hands-on with the Galaxy S5, we find the camera to be rather snappy with a claimed focus speed of 0.3 seconds. So how does it perform in terms of picture and video quality? We’ve taken some samples and compared them with the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Lumia 1520 and the Xperia Z1.
Check out the sample photos and videos after the break.
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The Sony Xperia Z2 features the same 20.7MP camera as the previous Xperia Z1 with a 1/2.3″ Exmor RS sensor coupled with Sony’s G Lens and BIONZ image processing engine. With a superior Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM, we are wondering if Sony has improved its imaging capabilities on the latest Xperia Z2.
To find out, we’ve taken a couple of sample shots with both Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z1 at the recent Jakarta event for comparison. While the cameras are the same, the results are surprisingly different.
Check out the comparison samples after the break.
Most of the high-end devices are huge and 5″ is usually the standard screen size for a flagship device. While smart phone makers offer a “mini” version of such models like the Galaxy S4 mini and LG G2 mini, it is often a stripped down version with mid-rated processor with an average camera.
With the new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, you’ll get a powerful 2.2GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM and a 20.7MP camera like the full sized Xperia Z1. It also retains the same IP58 dust and water resistance and its premium looking metallic frame around the sides. In the hands, it does feel as good as the original Xperia Z1 but the back panel appears to be made out of plastic, instead of tempered glass. There’s NFC, 4G LTE support and 16GB of storage on-board which comes with a microSD slot as well.
The only compromise on the Z1 Compact is an expected smaller 4.3″ display and a smaller 2,300mAh battery. Although the 4.3″ display pushes a lower 720p HD resolution, the screen is still sharp and pretty decent to look at. In terms of viewing angles, the Xperia Z1 Compact is actually superior than the bigger Xperia Z1 which suffers washed out display at tilted angle. Side by side with the Xperia Z1, it is slightly thicker by 1mm at 9.5mm (Xperia Z1: 8.5mm) but it is lighter at 137 grams (Xperia Z1: 170 grams). It will be coming to Malaysia in April along the Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet, Xperia T2 Ultra and Xperia M2. Pricing wise, it is expected to be around RM1,800.
Check out our hands-on of the Xperia Z1 Compact after the break along some comparison with its bigger Xperia Z1.
The new Sony Xperia Z2 offers a number of new hardware upgrades and features but in the hands, it is quite hard to differentiate it from the existing Xperia Z1 smart phone. It feels the same with a familiar feeling aluminium frame with glass panels for both front and back. According to the spec sheet, the new model is thinner at 8.2mm and lighter at 158 grams.
The Xperia Z2 is slightly taller and features a larger 5.2″ display that does a Full HD resolution of 1920×1080. While the screen on the older Xperia Z1 was disappointing with bad viewing angles, we are happy to report that Sony has finally addressed the issue on the Xperia Z2. The colours are richer and even light coloured text are now readable when tilted sideways.
A nice addition on the Xperia Z2 is a pair of front facing speakers and they have also replaced the mesh speaker grill for a cleaner looking 3 hole vent design. Other than that, there are some slight changes on the ports with the microSD slot now placed to the right while the left flap covers both microUSB and micro SIM slot. The 20.7MP camera is the same as the previous model but now it is capable of shooting 4K Videos. You can check out the sample after the break.
Out of the box, the Xperia Z2 runs on the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat and there are a couple of new enhancements in the UI as well. A few features worth mentioning is a new built-in Answering Machine feature where the device can answer unanswered calls and save your caller’s message on the device. Apart from that, there’s also a Smart Backlight Control and Double Tap to wake feature for the display. In our brief hands-on, the Xperia Z2 is very smooth without any noticeable lags. After all, this is running on the very latest 2.3GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM, which puts it among the top spec’ed smart phones for 2014. Battery life should be improved as well since the Xperia Z2 packs a larger capacity 3,200mAh battery, which is 200mAh more than the Xperia Z1.
Check out our hands-on video of the Xperia Z2 and some comparison shots with the Xperia Z1 after the break.