Sony's Xperia ZL is the companion phone to the Z, and though it's not as splashy as its bigger sibling, it shares many of the excellent features. It's basically a smaller version, without the waterproofing. Other than that, there's a lot to smile about.
The ZL has a similar exterior to its fancier cohort, but it's thicker and smaller. That doesn't mean it's squat -- it still measures a sleek 5.2-by-2.7-by-0.3 inches. Instead of premium glass back panel, the ZL is housed with a plastic back, so it's definitely less elegant, though plastic is actually easier to grip than glass.
There's one noticeable design flaw: the microSD port is kind of flimsy. It's nice of Sony to include a slot for extra storage, but the flap covering the microSD and micro-SIM ports doesn't sit evenly with the rest of the panel. So it feels like it could break off at any second. Unlike the rugged Z, which can take a dunk in the pool, the ZL won't be able to take a garden-variety tumble on the ground. Be careful.
Still, there's a lot to like about the ZL: it features a beautiful 5-inch screen, powered by what Sony calls "Reality Display" technology. That's just fancy marketing-speak for vibrant colors, and it's one of the finest displays on the market. Though the ZL is a lesser phone than the Z, it's graced with some of the same outstanding features -- and the touch screen is one thing in common. The ZL boasts a dazzlingly clear and detailed resolution, beating out even the iPhone in clarity. Like the Z, though, poor viewing angles stymie the ZL's lovely screen: if you tilt it, the colors wash out. But if you're looking dead-on, it's an unbeatable display.
The 13-megeapixel camera is nothing short of amazing. It's the same unparalleled hardware found on the Z: in addition to an in-house sensor, the shooter boasts the ability to take HDR videos as well as still images, a unique boon will capture your interest if you like shooting home movies. The editing software isn't anything to write about, but you won't have much of a need to tinker with the photos after you take them, since the UI automatically makes adjustments to maximize the shot for you. That means it's the perfect phone for any fledgling photographer.
The ZL also runs on a lightly-skinned Android 4.1, and though it's not the most recent version of Jelly Bean, the lack of serious customizations and bloatware means you'll get updates quicker than most. And thanks to a beefy 1.5-gigahertz quad-core chip, the apps and games will load lickity-split as well.
Overall, the Xperia ZL is a high-quality phone that only lags behind the Z in a few areas. It's a worthy contender to rival high-end devices, and if you're considering the Galaxy S3 or iPhone 5, take a look at what Sony has to offer. ♦
1) Display -- simply stunning, the best I have seen so far. true the viewing angles are a bit off but not bad at all. in fact I realized I never watch my phone in an angle other than head on- but checked it out only since it was mentioned in reviews. The colors simply are the best I have seen and contrast is quite good too. I have used a galaxy note and an iPhone 4 and was a bit worried after reading a few reviews but now I am very satisfied. In fact had a video shoot out for a 720p video (oblivion trailer) with a note2- and the winner was clearly the ZL. The difference in screen size is almost insignificant. I will write in detail about the display later as there is so much more to talk.
2) Battery (stamina mode)- 100% charge at 6am -- normal day- 25mins of calls, 40mins watched videos, 30-40mins of browsing(WiFi and 3G), 30-40mins of messaging and mail, 20-25mins Google play, 20mins gaming(asphalt7), 20-30mins misc. = ended the day with about 46% charge at 11:30pm. (I don't think I will be using my phone for 3hrs every day -- this is only in the beginning :-) need to use my nexus 7 as well from time to time so that it doesn't feel left out) -- big plus to stamina mode
3) Performance -- normal operation- with a quad core processor you wud expect lag free but I did feel slight lag from simply scrolling the home screen- this can be attributed to custom ui and frankly I have seen this on almost all android handsets except the nexus devices which don't have any lag even on dual core processors. In fact the lag vanished on my old note when I rooted and loaded a custom ROM on it. This lag is insignificant and 90% of people won't be able to notice it- only maybe the ones who have used an iPhone -- which funnily shows some lag when it is rooted.
4) Performance -- games -- simply a beauty -- zero lag and excellent load times -- faster than note and iphone4 -- tested asphalt7. Also remember this phone is displaying 1080p so it is amazing that it manages to run significantly faster. It is also slightly faster than note 2 -- though not by much.
5) Camera -- quite good. The best in outdoor shots and pretty good at indoor shots. Colors are quite good and realistic- I am not a fan of camera on a phone but I like the camera on my old iPhone 4 and now this.
6) Audio -- I felt it was a bit low on volume at first but after using it for last 4 days it does not seem inadequate at all -- the volume is slightly lower than my note but the audio is much clearer and very pleasant to hear. The stock earphones are quite good too.
Overall very satisfied with the phone -- and as a plus the design feels quite good too -- IMHO best smart phone have had the joy of owning but this is purely personal preference. I chose this over the Z as this is easier to hold with a curved back.
Low speaker volume compared to other smart phone, but quality of auido is one of the best.Was this review helpful to you?
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