Sony Xperia Z1 unboxing and first impressions

by: Adam KoueiderSeptember 29, 2013

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Sony’s been making a comeback in recent times, looking to return as the powerhouse it once was. The Sony Xperia Z was the first major attempt at this, but it lacked that killer feature and ended up being washed over by the HTC One and the Galaxy S4. The Sony Xperia Z1 looks to improve upon the Xperia Z and finally prove that Sony is ready to play with the big boys.

To find out, we’ve grabbed ourselves our own Xperia Z1 and the first step in finding out whether Sony was finally ready to join the big players, was to rip open that appealing white box to reveal the even more appealing glass and metal Xperia Z1!

The Sony Xperia Z1 comes with some of the most impressive specs on the market. A big and beautiful Full HD 5-inch LCD display, a Snapdragon 800 processor backed by the Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM, the impressive 20.7MP G-lens back camera and 3000mAh worth of battery to power the powerful machine.

The Xperia Z1 is no doubt, one of the most beautiful smartphones on the market, with its all-black (also available in white and purple), metal and glass design, but there are a few issues that you’ll notice straight away. The smartphone is rather large for its screen size which could be due to it also being waterproof (IP 58 rated) or simply just to cram all of those powerhouse specifications into the smartphone.

sony xperia z1 aa 29

Another issue is that the much maligned viewing angles of the Xperia Z — which looked to have been resolved in the Xperia Z Ultra — have reared their ugly head again in the Xperia Z1. The viewing angles on the LCD display are poor, but that’s pretty much the only downside to an overall great display.

While poor  viewing angles don’t seem to a problem to some, great viewing angles allow you to easily read text messages from their phone lying on a table, or when watching a viral YouTube video with a bunch of friends.

Stay tuned for the full review of the Sony Xperia Z1 coming soon, as well as tons of comparisons to other high-end smartphones.

What are your first impressions of the Xperia Z1? Has it impressed you enough to purchase it? Are poor viewing angles an issue for you?

  • Yumashish Subba

    Realistically you would never need to view any phone at the angle you were holding it in. Also I do think you guys need to start out with the caveat that Sony’s phones (all phones but Sony’s more so) seem to lose a LOT of contrast when you film it. After seeing the review of the Z here, I was shocked to find the Z’s screen in real life to be as colorful, without being overly saturated, as it was.

    To be honest, even with these “horrible” angles, I find that I could still read messages while my phone was on the desk – the only real problem being that to read anything after hearing the beep I had to walk over to unlock the device THEN WALK AWAY to check if it was legible and your claim held any merit.

    I think the whole “muh viewing angles” basically stems from an inherent masochistic desire – like trying to pry open a scab: you really have to go out of your way to make it a problem.

    • Leonardo Rojas

      Viewing angles, not a issue for me, but I’ll check the Z’s display for myself, what you say seems like a good myth busters challenge. Ha

    • egg

      but it’s always better when you have a display that looks consistently good from all sides.

      • spade


      • Jacob

        I think for text, people around you should not be able to read it!

  • 8Charlie

    I think the angles are a bit noticeable when it comes to color and saturation and even so, you have to realllly turn the phone to a weird angle. But everything is still visible and reading texts are no problem whatsoever. Furthermore, the viewing angles are not perfect but it’s really hard to notice. I use the phone the whole day and I have neverrrr had any problem with the viewing angles, it’s never bothered me and I just can’t think of how this would ever bother me.

  • Wudien

    Does anyone know when this will come to the states? I want this so bad but its becoming old news..

    • Adam Koueider

      My best guess is middle of October. However, that’s for the unlocked model for those who want it on contract… it’s anyones guess.

    • Craigus

      Go to and you can have one within a few days :-)

  • plastic screen protector

    let’s not forget that disgusting screen protector which losses is coating after a few months. oh and if you replace it you will lose the Sony logo in the front. this is the biggest draw back and no body else in the industry use this crap maybe invest sony will use gorilla glass

    • Clarence Alvarado

      Disgusting screen protector? Mine in my Xperia Arc is almost 2 years with minimal scratches and it still looks mirror finished.

      • David

        take it off and ur phone screen will look so much better and brighter, i got my da to peel his off on the xperia t and he couldnt believe the difference it made.

      • INurFACE
        • Clarence Alvarado

          Wait, do you have a scissor in your pocket? In real life scenario, you dumba** will not do that. It’s illogical.

          • Andreas Larsson

            My xz got scratched in my pocket in less than a week of usage, it’s rubbish really

          • I told you so Clarence

            yeah tell that to Clarence he seems to be in denial^^^

          • Clarence Alvarado

            Well again, it is case-to-case basis Andreas. And to narrow-minded people, they even got videos to post for non-sense. From scratching scissors (where in real-life you shouldn’t) to bounding to each and other phone’s disadvantages.

          • clarifyClarence

            so r you sayig tha the z1 does not have a plastic screen protector on a obvious inferior glass (why else would it need a screen protector) while 99% of flagship phones do not need such thing? how is it narrow minded to state the fact that the plastic screen protector can rub off it’s olec properties and that it can be damage easier than gorilla glass? please clarify…

          • Clarence Alvarado

            Did I say that? Well, review my comments again dude

          • Andreas Larsson

            The fact that Sony is the only company that doesn’t use gorilla glas speaks for itself, ofcourse it’s gonna scratch more easily than the scratch resistant gorilla glas counterpart, it doesn’t matter if that’s not your experiences or not

          • Rogue

            Sony uses dragon trail glass to the front and gorilla glass to the back and before you all complain do some research dragon trail glass is alot more resistant than gorilla glass. I too have had Sony devices and none of my screens have been scratched they are like new.

          • Andreas Larsson

            NO it doesn’t, it’s only said it uses tempered glas from 2 different suppliers for the front and rear, ant tests on the front glas have shown it to be weaker then dragontail

          • leascan

            I had mine in an empty pocket of a pair of soft joggers, the front and back had scratches without the protector on, the glass is shit

          • u r wrng.!

            Dude..u can only scratch the shatter proof film applied over the dragon trail to keep the screen in place in case it actually breaks.!

          • Andreas Larsson

            The xz do not have dragontail glas, and I have xz and have removed the shatterproof film and it does scratch more easy than gorilla glas

          • CLarence Alvarado the Dumb@@

            hey can’t handle the truth? here’s another reviewer saying how crappy the screen is


            again NUFF SAID

          • Clarence Alvarado

            And you used my name in accordance with the dumba**? Is it even more dumba**? as if no other phones like that do suffer screen scratches. Dude case-to-case basis it is. If you’re prone to phone scratches, it’s your life. Well, unfortunately not mine.

          • EvenInTheDarkestHour

            Isn’t really focused on a “crappy screen” but is a really good in-depth review/hands-on.

          • Leonardo Rojas

            Yup, she is really a nerd. It surprised me n.n

          • Leonardo Rojas

            A good film for the screen should/will “fix the issue” with the physical screen. Of course it’s a bit dissapointing that it’s not the best screen solution for such a flagship, as she said.

            What concerns me the most is the stupid, really stupid tricks Sony is doing with its “display techs”. I had an Xperia Pro and its screen was just LOVELY, it didn’t had the best viewing angles, but at least had no issues!!!!!!!!!

            I really hope that by first days of January Sony has fixed this stupid tricks/problems.
            I hope this video is vieweb by Sony itself, too. Please send it to them people!
            Now I’ll give it a better chance to the Note 3. I’m purchasing any of them, I’m sure, but on January.

        • Memphis May [S]unjay

          That is not the screen, there is an anti-shatter film on the phone.

  • stitch

    a drop test for this beautiful beast please.

  • Timmy

    Adam, what’s your take on the battery life?

    • Adam Koueider

      By all accounts it seems to be pretty awesome. We’ll be sure to test it out in the full review.

  • hammily

    Let’s see it in the drop test.

  • Leonardo Rojas

    It’s very nice and and one of the best smartphones of the world… but I want the Z Ultra to make it a nice couple with my compact Razr i. I’m not dropping my Razr i, so, to have another device (Z1) almost of the same size doesn’t make much sense buying, but with the Z Ultra’s features, power and size does give me a sense of completion and looks like a perfect addition n.n

    Currently I turn on my PC only to work and when I’m going to do heavy multiple tasks on it (Internet and MS Office), but 80% of the times I do all I want on my smartphone. I expect with the Z Ultra this will raise to 95%. My PC is having lots of rest ever since I got my first smartphone a year ago (Xperia Pro) and more, now.

    I think I didn’t get that clear: I work at home and mostly work only one or two days a week, so… my PC is almost all days turned off n.n’

    I find the Z Ultra even more appealing than a good laptop o.O I may be wrong, but it kind of is.

    Oh, wait. I’m still to decide whether I’ll get the Z Ultra or the Note 3. It’d be my first Samsung smartphone >.<

    • Ivan Myring

      I wouldn’t say by any means that they are almost the same size. 0.7 inches is pretty dramatic, and the i is very compact for its size, whereas the z1 is large for its screen size.

      • Leonardo Rojas

        Yeah, yeah. It’s not that “almost the same size” but for such matter the Z Ultra wins the preference. I need a big and all powerful device to couple with my Razr i n.n
        It may be the Note 3 or the Z Ultra (now that I’ve seen that video posted above, I’m more undecided)

  • Leonardo Rojas

    I hope your in depth review covers the RAM usage, please. I’d like to see that for the Note 3 too!
    Thanks n.n

  • Defaultyl

    When will this phone comes to t-mobile?

  • Crazy Eyes

    DO A DROP TEST!!! DO IT!!! DO IT!!! But not after a full review. DROP TEEEEEEEEST!!! DROP IT! DROOOP IIIIT!!!

  • Dusan

    I already mentioned poor viewing angles weeks ago but people said it’s just screen glare. Well, there you go :)

  • Liquid

    Is anyone experiencing a lot of noise with the camera itself? Pictures all turn out to be really grainy with both indoor and low light settings.

  • jamie

    Why Sony WWWWWWWHHHHHHHYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!! Why you give this phone such huge bezels!!! Make it thicker rather. Why! You could fit a 5.3″ screen on that thing.

  • BG

    RE: viewing angles….it’s a compromise. Sure, my old S2 looked great from any angle, but I couldn’t see much outside on a sunny day. My Z1 is easier to see outside, but a bit washed out when viewed indoors at an angle – but really, it’s not as bad as the reviews are saying. In fact, I’m not even sure I’d have noticed this just from my own user experience. So I’d rather have the Z1 display than anything else offered by Samsung etc…but that’s just my opinion.
    RE: size – yes, it’s too long. Sometimes it really helps if you can get sort of wedge the phone with little finger over the bottom edge, and index/middle finger over the top edge, and use your thumn to move round the screen. Not so with the Z1. Unless you have giant hands, you can only balance it in your hand, which makes you a bit nervous when walking outside with it. However, the camera and 3000mAh battery are superb – leagues ahead of my S2, so again, it’s a compromise that I’ll happily live with. The only thing Sony could have done at present to hide the chassis size is elongate the screen to something rediculous like 6″, but the aspect ratio would have been a bit odd then. Maybe the Z1’s successor will somehow reduce the size of the 3000mAh, and find a way of fitting that large camera sensor into a shorter chassis. Damn, that would be the ultimate – but for now, I’ll just ‘put up’ with this gorgeous slab of metal and glass ;)