Xperia Z review roundup [T-Mobile USA Edition]

by XB on 12th July 2013

in Featured Content, Reviews, Videos, Xperia Z and Xperia ZL

XZ_Tmob_2The Sony Xperia Z (C6606) finally made it to a carrier Stateside earlier this week with T-Mobile gaining exclusivity of the handset. Whilst we already published a review roundup for the Xperia Z back in March, a number of US reviews for the mobile popped up recently to celebrate its launch on T-Mobile.

We’ve compiled the best reviews that we’ve come across for the T-Mobile edition of the Xperia Z below. Unsurprisingly, many of the reviews compare the Xperia Z with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 which are both being sold on T-Mobile at a similar price point. Some sites say the Xperia Z is a step behind those two phones, whilst others say Sony’s phone deserves as much attention as HTC and Samsung given its refreshing design, camera quality and water resistant chassis. Check out all of the reviews below.

T-Mobile Xperia Z review roundup

All Things D: “I experienced swift and smooth performance from the Xperia Z. Unlike Samsung, Sony hasn’t fiddled with the user interface too much, and I found it clean and easy to use. But the company, along with T-Mobile, preloads the handset with a number of software extras, such as Sony Select and T-Mobile TV. The Xperia Z supports T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE network, which is now live in 116 metropolitan areas. Here in San Francisco, where 4G LTE is available, I averaged download speeds of 8.13 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3.26Mbps. By comparison, I averaged 22.13Mbps down and 14.48Mbps up on my iPhone 5 on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Sony may be playing a game of catch-up, but the Xperia Z shows that the company can make a good Android smartphone. The HTC One would still be my top overall pick, but for those who really put a premium on battery life or want a water-resistant phone, the Xperia Z is worth a look.”

Android Central: “I can say without question that the Xperia Z is one of the most striking smartphones on the market today, thanks to its sleek boxy profile, its sharp corners, and its glossy glass backside. This is a device that will grab eyeballs and spark conversation — it’s rooted in Sony’s design history, yet it’s more beautiful than anything they’ve ever done. There’s an air of excitement about the Xperia Z — it feels fresh, new, and unlike anything it will share the shelves with this summer. This is the first American Sony smartphone with an aesthetic upper hand. For those looking for a truly unique device that stands out from the pack, one that demands attention and doesn’t necessarily conform to the standards we’ve come to expect, the Xperia Z is a spectacular choice. Sony is here to stay, and we couldn’t be more excited to have another foot in the ring.”

T-Mobile Xperia Z Review

Cnet: “Let me spell this out right up front. The Xperia Z is the best mobile handset Sony has ever built. Unfortunately, in today’s cutthroat mobile world populated with two mighty titans locked in a struggle to the death for mobile phone supremacy, Samsung and HTC (three, if you count Apple), Sony’s efforts are not quite enough. At the same price, $99.99 down on T-Mobile, both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 offer faster processors, better screens, and way longer battery life than the Xperia Z. The Xperia’s camera, while it snaps superb photos, can’t match the agility of the GS4’s or One’s imaging system. That’s why the clear Android choice on T-Mobile remains the Galaxy S4 if you want every feature under the sun in a smartphone, while the HTC One will appeal to shoppers craving luxurious build quality. I suggest buying the Xperia Z only if a water- and dust-resistant phone is your main objective or you are particularly loyal to the Sony brand and entertainment ecosystem.”

T-Mobile Xperia Z Review

Engadget: “If ever we were to champion carrier customization, a good case could’ve been made for the Xperia Z; a panel change would’ve been welcome here. The 1080p screen Sony chose is just lackluster. It washes out with a slight tilt; blacks appear grey; and it’s just too bright overall. Performance is pretty much on par with the global model of the Xperia Z — and why wouldn’t it be? This is the same phone we saw last February. So, who’s this Z for? Fans of Sony style, that’s who. The Xperia Z’s already been outpaced by newer, more powerfully specced flagship devices on T-Mobile, like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 — not to mention that Google Play editions of those two handsets and the iPhone 5 are already available. It’s also priced the same as the One and GS4 at $99 with a two-year payment plan, making it a hard sell for those who want the latest and greatest in smartphone design. Toss in that subpar battery life and washed-out display, and we’re hard-pressed to recommend this Xperia Z to anyone who’s not a Sony loyalist.”

T-Mobile Xperia Z Review

GigaOM: “Surely, the Xperia Z is competing for sales against the current crop of flagship devices that have similar features, a heavier dose of manufacturer software and newer processors. In my time with the Xperia Z, however, I found it to be a very comparable contender that will keep most people happy. As a result, I think it’s definitely worth a look.”

Gizmodo: “While we certainly like it more than the Xperia ZL, we’d definitely never recommend it over the HTC One or Galaxy S4. Maybe if you constantly find yourself the victim of dunk tanks, but if that’s the case, Which phone should I buy? is hardly your biggest problem. It looks great, but it underperforms, and unlike with the Xperia Tablet Z (which we really liked) that under-performance is likely to become a more serious nuisance. The Xperia Z definitely isn’t bad, it just isn’t awesome, either. And these days, awesome is what it takes.”

T-Mobile Xperia Z Review

IntoMobile: “So does the Sony Xperia Z have what it takes to go up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One? You bet it does. Sony is offering up a unique experience that’s more than welcomed in the Android space. The software on the handset is a simple and straight-forward experience that isn’t hindered by ultra-heavy customization or useless features, and the Sony-made applications are solid. With a powerful set of specifications and a great design, the Xperia Z can take on just about any smartphone on the market today. Plus, there aren’t too many phones out there with dust and water resistance capabilities. Even if said feature isn’t on the top of your list, it could come in handy when you least expect it.”

Laptop Mag: “Over T-Mobile’s LTE network in Jersey City, the Xperia Z lasted 6 hours and 36 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test (Web surfing via LTE). That’s about 30 minutes longer than the smartphone average (6:08). However, the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 tested in the same location lasted 6:44, and the T-Mobile HTC One lasted 8:17. T-Mobile is making it increasingly difficult for consumers to choose a phone — in a good way. In addition to the Xperia Z, the carrier also offers the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One for the same price. With its 1080p display, water-resistance and great camera, the Xperia Z should definitely be in the conversation when it comes to premium smartphones on T-Mobile’s LTE network. However, narrow viewing angles and a slightly bulkier design than the S4 are turnoffs. Our favorite Android phone overall on T-Mobile is the HTC One, which has a better screen and audio quality than the Sony, as well as longer battery life. But if you want a device that can shrug off water and take excellent photos, the Xperia Z will satisfy.”

MobileBurn: “The Sony Xperia Z looks like the perfect phone. It has a big display, a fast processor, a waterproof design, and software that actually enhances the experience rather than impedes it. However, nothing that looks perfect rarely ever is perfect. The Xperia Z has a big display with over-the-top brightness that doesn’t do much good outdoors. It has a fast processor, but not quite as fast as the competition. It has a tight form and prettier software, but is that enough to make someone overlook the annoying flaps that necessitate its ability to resist water? The Xperia Z is a phone that makes a heck of a first impression and slowly reveals some small flaws that may chip away at someone’s patience. Most people will be able to overlook those flaws without issue considering the tradeoffs. The Xperia Z is on the large side, but we’ve seen people willing to put up with larger than normal phones to a point that “large” is the new normal. When it comes to devices that can resist water, the Xperia Z is more appealing than all of them. Add a decent camera, strong battery life, and unobtrusive software, it’s easy to see why someone might be willing to stick around.”

PC Mag: “The phone is running Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean). That isn’t the newest version of Android, like you’ll get with the Galaxy S 4. But it contains most of the important features and tweaks you’ll find in 4.2.2, and Sony pledges to upgrade the phone to newer versions of Android in the future. The Xperia Z’s snaps photos quickly, in less than half a second. Photos deliver more detail than your average 8-megapixel camera phone, but tend not to preserve detail as well as the Galaxy S 4 when you zoom in. Colors are also a little less rich. That isn’t to say photos look bad. They actually look quite good. But compared to top performers like the Galaxy S 4, Apple iPhone 5, and Nokia Lumia 928, the Xperia Z is just a slight step behind.”

PhoneArena: “Honestly, there’s not much to complain here with the Sony Xperia Z. It has everything you’d like from a flagship device! From its premium design to its water resistant nature, this handset can easily stand toe-to-toe with some of the heavy hitters in the industry.”

PhoneDog: “It’s an awesome addition to T-Mobile’s lineup, and brings Sony’s flagship device to a US carrier. Is it worth buying over offerings from HTC, Apple, and Samsung?”

Phone Scoop: “Sony created a very nice smartphone with the Xperia Z. It’s an attractive device that has top-class hardware and a long feature list to go with it. The Z was particularly impressive as a voice phone, and battery life was great. In terms of the software, nearly every app and service worked well. The Xperia Z clearly has Sony’s stamp on the Android operating system, but that’s a good thing. I found the user interface to be flexible and quick; the camera software allows for plenty of shooting customizations; and the media options are endless. Toss in excellent performance from the camera, and a fine viewing experience on the beautiful screen, and the Z is a media powerhouse. T-Mobile landed a winner with the Z, a solid competitor to the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. If you’re looking for an alternative to those models, the Z should be the one you consider.”

Slashgear: “The Xperia Z is a surprise. From our original review, we knew it was a solid performer, but even with the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One on the scene, it’s impressive how well it holds up to – and, in some cases, out-performs – its newer rivals. In fact, with all three flagships having shown their best side, we’re leaning toward judging the Xperia Z as the best all-round Android phone of the moment. At $99.99 down and then $20 per month – on top of service charges – for the duration of a two-year agreement, the Xperia Z is well priced, too. Great battery life, a highly capable camera, usable durability without the normal addition of heft, and sophisticated, discrete styling add up to a smartphone that rightly deserves the attention Samsung and HTC have been getting.”

TechoBuffalo: “We recently received a review unit but, since we’ve already reviewed the phone extensively, we figured we’d at least bring you an unboxing of T-Mobile’s unit. The device is available in black or purple, though the purple version is an online exclusive. It’s water and dust resistant, which means you can get it dirty or take it under three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. We love the design of the phone, though think the screen’s viewing angles could be better.”

Toms Hardware: “Initial impressions didn’t change; the Xperia Z is one very elegant phone. While the HTC One is still to be admired for its superlative craftsmanship, the Xperia Z exudes class with its angular design and glass front and back. The one that’s selling today at Sony Stores across the country and via T-Mobile in a week is the C6606, which supports LTE in North America (Band IV). Testing the Xperia Z in the freshly launched LTE network in San Francisco yielded some speedy results. While the Sony Xperia Z can’t claim to be the fastest premium Android phone on the market, it stands out with a very classy design in a very unique water-resistant package. If Sony knows how to promote this phone correctly, it will keep a bowl of water nearby for live submersion demos. The feature is unique enough that customers will select it over other phones solely on it alone.”

UberGizmo: “T-Mobile has managed to secure an exclusive deal with Sony, and although the XPERIA Z isn’t the highest-end smartphone out there, it has one of the best design (including water/dust resistance) and is among the most responsive handset that I played with recently. Sony has done a particularly good job with the XPERIA Z. Interestingly enough, I feel like this T-Mobile version runs smoother than the original European Z that we had back in February. I was very surprised to see that things like keyboard interaction are even more responsive than the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition phones, which are supposed to be “butter smooth”. Overall, this is a very good phone that I think shouldn’t be judged on its hardware platform alone. Its design and relative ruggedness make it quite unique. We can’t give it an excellent rating because of the slightly slower hardware, but Sony came up with an excellent design and did a lot of great things in the software.”

T-Mobile Xperia Z Review

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