Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month, the Sony Xperia Z is the company's new flagship Android phone for 2013. Unlike most previous Sony smartphones, there appears to be a genuine buzz about this device. It features a 5in full HD 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera and is both water and dust-resistant.
The Xperia Z is very much a high-end smartphone, so it will be competing firmly against the market leader, Apple's iPhone 5. How will it stack up? Let's find out.
Xperia Z vs. iPhone 5: Design
The design of the Sony Xperia Z may very well be what sets it apart from other flagship phones of 2013. While it looks no different to many other smartphones on first glance, the Xperia Z is dust and water resistant, rated to IP55 and IP57 standards. The water resistant capabilities mean all ports are covered with flaps, but this is something we can live with as Sony promises the Xperia Z can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without damage.
Sony says it conducted research and took feedback on board from consumers which suggested that water resistance is a requested feature in a smartphone. We feel the water resistant capabilities will be welcome news to many Aussies. It's a feature that's not normally seen on high-end flagship devices so it could be a huge ace up Sony's sleeve.
The feature doesn't appear to have come at a cost of looks, either. Sony has already made mention of the fact it didn't want to compromise on Xperia Z's design by making the phone water resistant. The device is just 7.9mm thick, only 0.3mm thicker than the iPhone 5. Sony says the Xperia Z's "rounded edges and smooth reflective surfaces on all sides" will make it comfortable to hold and use. Our only concern is long term durability. The Xperia Z has a full pane of glass on both the front and the back, so it remains to be seen how it will fare if dropped.
The Xperia Z's design certainly differs to the iPhone 5. Its feather light 112g weight is one of the best features of the device. Apple certainly deserves a huge amount of credit for managing to make the phone significantly lighter than its predecessor while increasing its overall footprint. At just 7.6mm, the iPhone 5 is also one of the thinnest smartphones on the market.
Overall, there's an extraordinary attention to detail in the construction of the iPhone 5 and it's something that most competitors lack. However, the anodised aluminium used on the back and the edges of the iPhone 5 seems to be easily scratched and marked, which is something potential buyers should keep in mind.
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