Sony Xperia Z1 Unboxing and Initial Review: It Truly Is the Best of Sony

Hello there sezzy!
Hello there sezzy!

Sony Xperia Z1: Officially Unboxed!

The Sony Xperia Z1 was launched together with the Sony Smart Lens QX10 and QX100 in South East Asia two days ago at the Mandarin Hotel in Kulala Lumpur, Malaysia. We were actually there (courtesy of the good folks of Sony Mobile Philippines) and we were able to get hands-on time with both devices. Members of the media were given review units of the Sony Xperia Z1 to bring home to their respective countries so you could imagine our excitement when we got the box. Anyway, expect a full review in the coming days but for now we’d like to share with you guys our unboxing as well as our initial impressions of Sony’s newest flagship smartphone.

As usual though let’s quickly go over the specifications.

Sony Xperia Z1 Spec Sheet

  • 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 processor
  • 16GB internal storage, with microSD card support for up to 64 GB
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5.0-inch TFT triluminous display of 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • 1/2.3-inch 20.7MP Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with 27mm wide angle and bright F2.0 aperture
  • 144 x 74 x 8.5mm, 170 grams
  • IP55/58 dust and water resistance
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • 3000 mAh battery
  • Available in Black, Purple, and White

As you can see, the Sony Xperia Z1 packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor that we first saw with the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. This CPU combined with 2GB RAM and the optimizations of Android Jelly Bean promises to deliver exceptional performance! Other than the internals, another impressive piece of tech in the Xperia Z1 is the camera. That 20.7-megapixel shooter with Sony’s G Lens is definitely something to be excited about considering it’s the same technology we see in their point-and-shoot digital cameras.

Anyway, let’s move on to the unboxing!

>>> SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia Z Ultra Full Review

Packaging and Unboxing

Usual box of the Sony Xperia products
Usual box of the Sony Xperia products

The box of the Sony Xperia Z1 is basically the same form and type of packaging that we’ve seen with a lot of their recent products. It’s the same rectangular shaped box with the product shot up front and all the important specifications and features at the back. Personally I think they should have went with something a little different considering the want to make a statement with the Xperia Z1. The same box is kinda boring already, hehe.

What the back of the box looks like
What the back of the box looks like

We removed the plastic and the tape and popped open to lid to find the Sony Xperia Z1 wrapped in plastic and covered with dual screen protectors. We slide it out of the plastic, peeled off the adhesive protectors, and turned the device on. While waiting for it to power up, we dug around the box and found just the wall charger and the USB to micro USB cable. Sony probably removed the earphones since this was a review unit, hehe. It should ship with earphones though once it hits the market in October.

It's officially unboxed!
It’s officially unboxed!

Over-all Sony needs to take a look at how to make the packaging a little more exciting and premium, especially when it comes to their flagship devices. Maybe they can consider using hard carton boxes and throw in a couple of freebies inside?

Hardware: Omnibalance Refined

Not as thin as the Z Ultra but definitely still very compact and easy to manage/use
Not as thin as the Z Ultra but definitely still very compact and easy to manage/use

The Sony Xperia Z1 is surprisingly not as thin as the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. While it’s not the thinnest smartphone on the block, it’s definitely still a good looking device. Just like the original Xperia Z, Sony used glass for the front and back of the Xperia Z1. It’s a fingerprint and smudge magnet but boy does it feel awesome when you hold it in your hands. You can literally feel that this is worth the money you shelled out for it.

All the ports and buttons are neatly placed on the sides with all of them having tray covers save for the headphone jack at the top. The covers are there since the Xperia Z1, just like the other members of the Z family, is water resistant. We haven’t tried yet if it’s as waterproof and water-useable as the Xperia ZR but we’ll definitely cover that in our full review.

>>> SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia ZR Full Review

Up front we have the gorgeous 5.0-inch glass screen. The display quality itself is pretty impressive as it uses Sony’s Triluminous Display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (that’s around 440+ ppi). The display quality is a massive improvement from the original Xperia Z which suffered from the white balance issues. This time around you get full, sharp, and vibrant colors with the icons almost jumping out of the screen. Sony has definitely made big strides with their mobile displays and hopefully the Xperia Z1 is a sign of things to come!


At the back the main star is definitely the 20.7-megapixel snapper. Sony is so proud of the camera technology they used that they even wrote down the brand and specs beside the lens. It says “G 1/2.3 20.7MP”. That basically means that it uses the G Lens of Sony (which they use for their digital cameras), has a pretty big 1/2.3 sensor, and can shoot in 20.7-megapixels. We’ve actually tried using the camera and we can assure all of you that it truly is one of the very best cameras you can find on a smartphone. Heck we can even say that right now it is the best one out there (with the exclusion of the Nokia Lumia 1020 since we haven’t tried that yet). We’ll do a separate post showing the photos we took with the camera so you can see for yourself.

We have a couple more observations about the hardware but we’ll reserve them for the full review.

Software: It’s a Screamer

Really fast!
Really fast!

The Sony Xperia Z1 delivers one of the smoothest, lag-free, and fluid Android experiences out there. We barely felt any slow downs at all while we were using it for the last few days. Apps launched fast and switched just as quickly. Widgets all ran perfectly even if we had a memory hogging live wallpaper running at the background. Games like Dead Trigger on Ultra Settings played smooth like butter. The Xperia Z1 has all the muscle you will need.

Need more convincing on the power? If we were to take Antutu Benchmark Test’s word for it, the Sony Xperia Z1 is the fastest device in the market today, scoring an unbelievable 35,060.

Happy birthday Bea!
Happy birthday Bea!

It’s not all strength though as Sony also made significant changes to the aesthetics of the UI. One of the ones I liked the most was their subtle changes with the SMS app. You can actually see the photos of the people your SMSing in the message thread itself.

We’ll cover more on the software on the full review but right now we can definitely say that this is one of the best Android handsets out there.

Initial Verdict: Made me Forget about the HTC One

Really good phone!
Really good phone!

As you guys know, one of my personal favorite Android smartphones is the HTC One. The build combined with the specs just made me fall in love with it. However I couldn’t really maximize it since it couldn’t connect to Smart’s LTE network. Well, I think I just found the smartphone will help me… uh… move on, lol. The Sony Xperia Z1 potentially is the best Android smartphone out there today and we will try to confirm this as we go about the full review in the next few days.

>>> SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia Z1 coming to the Philippines in October


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