Sony Xperia Z1S hands-on preview at CES 2014

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 10, 2014

International CES is winding down, but that doesn’t mean that the hands-on videos are stopping. The latest device to be given the hands-on treatment by our Josh Vergara is the Sony Xperia Z1S.

Launched on Monday along the long rumored Xperia Z1 Compact, the Z1S is coming later this month to Sony’s traditional partner in the States, T-Mobile. For the most part, the device is an Xperia Z1 rebranded for T-Mobile, but there are a couple of notable changes, on the outside and the inside, as well as a few software additions.

On the outside, the obvious change is the replacement of the aluminum frame with a plastic one, which takes away from the phone’s premium feeling, but makes it a bit nicer to hold in hand. The plastic frame also makes the device a bit lighter than the international version, which was considered quite heavy by many reviewers. Other changes in appearance include the presence of the T-Mobile logo on the back and the relocation of the headphone jack, which now lacks the plastic flap that covers the jack on the Z1. Don’t worry though, the Z1S retains the IP58 certification of the international version, which means it’s waterproof and dust resistant.

Sony Xperia Z1S aa

The specifications of the Xperia Z1S remained mostly unchanged, with the exception of an upgrade in storage, which is now 32GB, instead of 16GB. Other specs include a Snapdragon 800 processor, two gigs of RAM, the same 5-inch TFT LCD display, and a 3,000 mAh battery. The Z1S’ forte is the 20.7MP camera, and Sony made it easier to use with the dual-détente camera button, that you can press halfway for focusing before shooting.

Another addition to the camera arsenal is the Background Defocusing option, which tries to simulate the out-of-focus effect known as bokeh, which is typically hard to achieve with a smartphone camera. Background Defocusing is currently an Xperia Z1S exclusive feature, though it will probably make it to the Z1 and other Xperias in the future.

The Xperia Z1S also packs the recently launched PlayStation App, a companion to your PS that gives you access to various social features.

The Sony Xperia Z1S will launch on T-Mobile on January 22.

  • Brendon Brown

    This phone feels pointless … Its mainly camera software that’s been changed … could’ve been a small software update for the Z1 instead. Increased storage isnt bad though.

    • Jean Cédric Huet

      One of the best 4.7inch phones of the market…May I remind you that some people don’t like phones over 5inch and this one is the answer to our demands!

      • Brendon Brown

        You know its a 5″ screen rite ? And over 5 inches ? If that’s the issue then you could just get the Xperia Z1 as well .. its only 5″ …. seriously , read the damn article before commenting !

        • Jean Cédric Huet

          It appears I’ve made an error thinking the Z1S would be the american version of the Z1F. Now I understand your point of view, the Z1S feels a bit pointless.

          • Brendon Brown

            Oh ok, sorry about that :P

    • JonofPDX

      I get what you’re saying, but I think you’re looking at it the wrong way.

      This is basically just a refinement of the standard Z1. A couple little software tweeks, the LTE antenna, a little lighter (at the cost of the aluminum body) and the extra 16GBs of memory. And I don’t think anyone’s arguing that you should replace a Z1 with this.

      But for most American customers, this is the first Z1 they’ve had access to. I mean, yeah, you could buy the unlocked international version but you are paying a pretty high premium for that honor and won’t get the LTE or extra memory. This is just the American variant of the stock Z1, rebuilt slightly to meet T-Mobile’s requirements and add a little value with the extra memory in order to try and stay relevant when the next generation of Samsung and HTC phones come out in a few months.

  • Ryan

    wat date will xperia z1s released in the Philippines

    • Gutt Grinder

      Secret.. Not telling…….. :D

      Anyway, this version of the Z1 is quite the same. If you ask me, I rather prefer the Z1 compact since, I do prefer 4.3 size phones. But the increase for the internal storage isn’t bad.

      • JonofPDX

        I was thinking about the Z1 compact too–may end up updating in 6 months if T-Mobile gets it but I’ve always had smaller phones so I’m looking forward to the larger screen real estate. I’ll have to see if the form factor trade-off is worth it.

    • JonofPDX

      It won’t–the Z1s is a variant on the stock Z1 designed specifically for T-Mobile in the US. If you like the feature set though, you could certainly look at the Z1. Other than a few software tweeks, a little more memory and a plastic body the Z1s is identical to the Z1.

  • inspire

    “plastic flap that covers the jack on the Z1”! Really AA? Which special version of xperia z1 do you have Which has flap covering the headphone jack?

    • JonofPDX

      A plastic flap covered the jack on the Z and Sony made a point of noting the “new” waterproof jack now in the Z1s. That is likely where the mistake originated.

  • djunk

    Background Defocusing !!! Another marketing strategy I suppose. Its not that hard for other smartphones to achieve the bokeh effect. I do it many times on my Nokia N8….

    • JonofPDX

      I think it’s harder than you imply for the average user, but even if it weren’t I look at most of those pre-installed camera apps as gravy. It’s not the reason you look consider a given phone, but more a reason to break a hard tie between two equally matched competitors.

      It’s a gimmick, but that’s not BAD. Though I have to say the Timeshift burst is way more interesting to me.