Top positive review
55 people found this helpful
A great phone you should have no problem considering
on August 9, 2013
I had been looking for a waterproof mobile phone for a long time. I even bought one made for use in the Japanese market, but had to give it up because it's features were so dumbed down for outside Japan, that it wouldn't receive signal outside the country I bought it in I'm in Asia). So when Sony came out with the Acro, a waterproof phone which wasn't tiny (I can't type on screens smaller than 4 inches) and wasn't slow as a dog (not mentioning Motorola's attempts at waterproof mobiles), I gave it a try. I chose white because it looks better than black, and I have this fear that if I drop it in the pool or ocean, it'd be easier to see when trying to catch it before it disappears from sight.
(you can read my review at the Acro page in Amazon)
I was so confident that recently I went to the beach and went into the water with it. I'd already done it once before a few months ago. However, this time, the waves were much stronger, and I was waist deep in the water when a couple of consecutive waves hit me, twisting my phone from my grasp, and my acro slipped away, never to be seen again. The white colour helped not a whit. It was totally my fault. In hindsight (such a wonderful thing...), I realised I should have at least put a string/wrist strap on it, which I did have, but was currently attached to my torch.
So fast forward a day, I was without a mobile phone, so I rushed down to the local telco shop (took an hour off work for it! hehe) and got the Z. My criteria for a mobile hadn't changed, and Sony had released several new waterproof phones, of which Z was one. I've had it almost a month now, and I like it even more than the Acro, and I'd already kept the Acro for almost a year (I'd considered it a keeper)
- looks good. Feels good in the hand. However, at 5 inches, the size is starting to seem a little big
- well spec'd- good processor and latest Android OS.
- Generally good phone- clarity of both listening and speaking and it's external speaker are more than acceptable.
- 13mp camera has a lot of features. I don't know if it's the Android software, or Sony's input, but the camera is revamped:
** There are buttons for still shot photos and red dotted video button on the screen so you don't have to swop functions through a menu- just press one button and you're done.
**If you take a video, there is yet another button next to the stop button which allows you to take a 1 mp pic at the time without stopping the video. You know it's a 1mp pic because the button says "1mp".
** There is a multi shot option. As far as I can see, there is no limit to how many photos you can take. Today I used it as a helicopter did a flyby and stopped at 139 photos. I don't know if they are full res or not. On the album, you do not see all 139 photos. Instead, you just see a single pic and at the bottom left corner you see a series of rectangles overlapping to indicate it was a series of multishot photos.
** at the top you have simple clear buttons for flash, increase/decrease exposure, HDR, Camera shot function- which includes single shot, multishot, panorama, evening etc, and settings. Personally I find HDR to be of limited use as you have to be extremely still to do this. For those who don't know, HDR is a technique to get a sharper better colour/shadow balance and is done by taking 3 consecutive photos- slightly darker, normal and slightly brighter, and then superimposing all three together to get the final HDR photo. It does mean you have to be very very veyr very still, as if you move, at least one photo is now not the same and the final result is blurry. With real world cameras, you'd do HDR ideally by placing your camera, usually a dslr, on a tripod. Good luck getting the same precision handholding your slim Xperia z. I tried it twice and I can't do it.
- Have had no problems with browsing. Internet connections are very speedy. I thikn it uses 4G? Not sure about that.
- Has a LCD light on the front of the phone to notify you if you've received messages, etc. However, unlike the acro, it does not keep blinking forever until you view your message. It seems to stop after a while- maybe 15 minutes? I have found no options in settings to change the time which the LED light continues to blink, only the colour.
- decent battery life. I know some reviewers have been bitching about bad battery life. Well let me tell you, I think it's just fine. I used a Sony Ericsson Arc S before the Acro, and it's battery would be down to 15% after just 6 hours using msg apps only, like whatsapp. I use power save function and when you go to screen save or it turns off, data stops as well. In addition, you can manually stop data exchange yourself. It makes a big difference. If you let the phone continually exchange data- browsing, chatting etc, then the battery can decrease by as much as 1% a minute. But when you turn it off, it may take an hour on standby to drop 1%. You can view the % on the new versions of Android.
- Waterproof. I have taken it into the shower a couple of times to keep chatting. Yeah yeah yeah...showing off :)
- 5 inches is a very useful size. It is sharp, colourful and I've had no problem with the capacitive part.
The Not so Good:
- I suspect it's more because of Android than Sony, but the predictive text is just nuts. it no longer gives words based just on those you typed, but a whole host of other words too, regardless of whether or not you typed them. And there is no working dictionary. In theory, there is a very unwieldy way to do it, by going to setting;language and input;personal dictionaries. You then press Add, and input your word or (for me) acronyms. In reality, even though I've entered the word, it doesn't appear in the list of word options. Crazy.
- The top of the screen shows icons of apps being used or messages received eg by whatsapp, sms, gmail, etc. However, they are all only in grey. In the Arc S, they were all different colours, so it was easy to see what app had received a message. Now you have to squint more to see the tiny icon shape.
- Unlike the Acro, the Z does NOT come with a charging dock, just a ubs cable. This is not good because it means you have to peel open the catch for it, and that means everytime you do that, the seal of the latch becomes just that tiny teeny bit less solid a seal, which, in turn, reduces the waterproof aspect of the phone. I have bought a charging dock from a third party online- awaiting it now.
- Have to remove any covers you've put on in order to put it in said charging dock.
- This is a minor thing, but it's a bit too symmetrical for me. I often take it out of my bag upside down because there are no obviously physically distinguishing sides, unlike the Arc S.
Overall, should you buy this phone?
If you want a waterproof phone, then definitely yes!
If you are looking for a normal touchscreen phone, then it's defintely worth a look! It has decent features, is well made and has good holdability, good speakers, battery life and is attractive.
If you've made it to the end, then thanks for reading!