January 10, 2013
Hands On Review Of Sony’s Xperia Z At CES
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Sony announced a brand new addition to their Xperia line of smartphones at the beginning of this week, just ahead of CES. As one with half a brain would expect, the tech giant is more than just a little proud of this new smartphone–the Xperia Z and Zl– and have stocked their monstrously sized booth to the gills with these devices.
Nearly every station underneath Sony´s umbrella, from Bluetooth speakers and headphones to music creation, social, and photography, has an Xperia Z or ZL with which to touch.
After spending several minutes with the Xperia Z, it´s easy to see that Sony has put some thought into the build quality of this device. There are other parts of the device which do not make as much sense, standing out as oddball features or quirks.
There´s also the fact that Sony made this device waterproof. It´s not as if anyone would ever turn down a waterproof smartphone, of course. Yet, the decision does seem to come out of left field a bit.
The latest trend (apparently) is to make high quality, top tier smartphones as ridiculously large as possible. Perhaps these companies assume buyers will be impressed by this large size, believing that more inches means more functionality. While the Sony Xperia Z was no slouch when it came to performance, it´s formidable size made it difficult to hold comfortably for any stretch of time over 5 minutes. This is fine, of course, assuming you only use your phone to check the time and shoot off the occasional text message, but this begs the question, why make it such a work horse for such simple tasks?
Yes, the Xperia Z is large, just as the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Notes and others are large. Yet, it´s a great looking device. The entirety of the phone feels solid, even rigid, and like it would be able to stand up to all sorts of torture. Torture such as being dunked in a shallow pool of water over and over again.
Sony dedicated a good 25% of their booth to the various features of the Xperia Z. One of these features includes its waterproof and dust proof shell. In order to show this off in an only semi-interesting demo, Sony had a few of these phones mounted on a motorized arm enclosed in a case with a small pool of water. Pushing a button on the outside of the case dunked the phone into an inch of water.
While this does show off the phone´s resilience to water, it also doesn´t prove much. In order to make the phone truly water and dust proof, Sony has moved the charging port to the side of the phone and locked the SD card slot and more behind some flaps and trap doors.
All this to say, there´s nothing on the bottom of the phone, the part which is being dunked. While any kind of moisture is bad for phones, a brief dip in an inch of water where there aren´t any ports is a pretty safe demo. Considering there are companies literally smashing their devices with hammers at this event, this seems like a safe maneuver.
There are parts of the Xperia Z that I like, parts I don´t, and parts I don´t understand. Yet, I´d be lying if I said I didn´t want to buy one then and there just to see how much torture this smartphone could withstand.