While most consumers eyes in 2013 have been fixated on the HTC One and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, it doesn’t mean that those phones are the only top-notch smartphones available on shelves. In fact, there are a number of high-end, extremely enticing devices available right now including LG’s Nexus 4 and the Sony Xperia Z which arrived just a short time ago.
With the HTC One on the way, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch figuring to take place later on this week, consumers at the end of their contracts will likely have both of those near the top of the smartphone shopping list. However, lest they forget, there are other smartphones from other companies out there, many of which will be extremely solid choices in the days, weeks and months to come.
One of those devices is the Sony Xperia Z, a device that was first launched at CES 2013, and one that finally found its way to shelves in several regions around the world.
The Sony Xperia Z represents one of the most intriguing Sony smartphones in the quite some time as it packs in an extremely modern design along with high-end hardware and some intriguing, almost vanilla Android software as well. More than that, it’s an extremely viable competitor to the Galaxy S4 and HTC One as well as many of the other phones that are currently available to consumers.
One of its main rivals will be the LG-made Google Nexus 4, a device that was first released back in November and will be the company’s current-generation Nexus device throughout most of 2013.
The Nexus 4 is an intriguing device for a number of reasons. Besides its high-end hardware, it also possesses the unique qualities of a Nexus smartphone including pure Android and quick updates, and it also sports one of the cheapest unlocked price tags around making it an extremely solid option for those that aren’t looking to sign a new contract with a carrier.
And while there are ways in which the Nexus 4 beats the Sony Xperia Z, there are also quite a few ways that it doesn’t. That said, here are eight different ways that the Sony Xperia Z beats the Nexus 4.
Even though the Droid DNA arrived on Verizon in November with a 1080p display, the Nexus 4, which also was released in November, was released with lesser display technology, technology that indeed found on the Sony Xperia Z.
The Nexus 4 features a large 4.7-inch 720p HD display that features a high 320 pixel-per-inch count. The Nexus 4 display offers good looking images, video and text but content on the screen will pale in comparison to content on the display of the Sony Xperia Z, which offers a larger display with even better resolution.
Sony, like many Android manufacturers in 2013, has equipped the Sony Xperia Z with a 1080p display which translates into full HD resolution for content like movies, games, and more.
What’s more is that it’s equipped with a display that offers 443 pixels-per-inch which should translate into beautiful content. Both displays are nice but those looking for the better looking content will likely want to look more closely at the Sony Xperia Z.
The Nexus 4 is equipped with a good camera, but Sony has outfitted with a rear camera that’s so impressive, it’s even rumored to be on board both Apple’s iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 later this year.
LG’s Nexus 4 utilizes an 8MP rear sensor that can shoot good photos and take 1080 video. And while it’s certainly a good camera, it’s definitely going to win any awards. Those looking for a phone with high-powered photography are going to want to look at the Sony Xperia Z and its 13MP camera which could potentially be one of the best of the year.
Sony’s Xperia Z comes with a Exmor RS sensor on board which Sony is promoting as one of the device’s main features. Unsurprising, given the quality of photos and features that brings to the table.
The sensor allows users to capture HDR video, a feature that isn’t available on the Nexus 4. HDR Video allows users to capture video in high-contract environments such as when trying to shoot video of friends at a concert with the sun shining in the background.
It also has a number of other features including panorama shots, burst mode, extremely fast pinch-to-zoom, and Superior Auto which automatically ensures that the best quality photo is being taken which help to trump the Nexus 4’s good but last-generation camera.
The Nexus 4 utilizes a unique design, different than past Nexus smartphones, but it’s that design that should unfortunately have clumsy people a little worried.
LG took a bit of a different approach with the design of the Nexus 4. While it’s mostly made of plastic like its ancestors, the Nexus 4 also features a glass back, that shines when place in the light but also is susceptible to cracks and damage when dropped. This fragility means that Nexus 4 owners almost need to buy a bumper case for the Nexus 4 in order to make sure that the device lasts.
The Sony Xperia Z on the other hand features a much more modern design that doesn’t need the assistance of a case.
The Xperia Z design is both water and dust resistant and owners can take the phone to depths of one meter without fear of water damage. In addition, the Xperia Z features anti-shatter glass which should help protect it from drop damage and general wear and tear. Sony built this without a case in mind so those who may have a tendency to wreck their phone may want to think about the Sony Xperia Z.
The Nexus 4 comes in two storage sizes, 8GB and 16GB, however those are what owners are stuck with as the device does not feature any type of microSD card slot.
While this might work for some people, particularly those that are heavily reliant upon the cloud, many others will want the security of having more on board storage space for things like movies and apps.
The Sony Xperia Z comes with ample storage space thanks to 16GB of on board storage and a microSD card slot which allows users to expand that storage beyond the device’s out of the box storage.
This means that owners not only can rely on up to 48GB of internal storage space with the Sony Xperia Z, but on the cloud as well making it a better choice for power users who tend to fill up their hard drive with ease.
Smart Display Features
The 1080p resolution and the high pixel-per-inch count aren’t the only reasons why the Sony Xperia Z features a superior display. There are a number of other reasons why the Xperia Z display is better than the Nexus 4’s.
As we’ve said before, Sony had its Bravia TV engineers work on the Xperia Z’s display to ensure that it not only looked great for content, but was extremely smart.
The Xperia Z display utilizes Sony’s Bravia Engine 2 which helps the display adjust automatically in certain situations. For example, in high contrast areas, the screen will automatically darken the darkest parts of the content to help bring out the most detail. The screen will automatically reduce noise for a clearer video when watching low quality content on places like YouTube.
Additionally, the display also automatically applies a sharpness filter so that content on the display looks detailed and rich. All of these, and the 1080p resolution, make the Xperia Z display a much nicer way to view and interact with content.
While a white Nexus 4 has been thought to be coming in the future, as it stands, there is only a black variant of the Nexus 4 leaving those who like to have other color options out in the cold.
A white Nexus 4 could arrive at Google I/O in May, or perhaps even sooner, but those looking for something different are currently out of luck.
That’s not the case with the Sony Xperia Z which is available in three different colors. Black and white are the standard options but those looking for something a little different can opt for the purple Sony Xperia Z.
It’s entirely possible that we see other Xperia Z colors emerge later in the year though the company remains mum.
Sony Xperia Z is PlayStation Certified
Another unique feature of the Sony Xperia Z is the fact that it’s PlayStation Certified, a honor that has not been bestowed upon the Nexus 4.
What this means is that the Xperia Z can take advantage of Sony’s unique mobile PlayStation store which provides those with gaming in mind a selection of games beyond the options in the Google Play Store.
The Nexus 4, at the moment, only has access to the games on the Google Play Store making the Sony Xperia Z an intriguing option for the mobile gamer.
Battery life is extremely important to smartphone users. And while both the Nexus 4 and Sony Xperia Z come equipped with big enough batteries, the Xperia Z also has a feature that should help to keep unwanted battery drain to a minimum.
Sony has attached a feature called Smart Battery Mode to the Xperia Z which should help to make sure that owners aren’t always having to scramble to find a charger.
When a user turns the Xperia Z display off, Battery Stamina Mode turns off smartphone functions that aren’t necessary to help save battery life. The device will still keep notifications active and will also restore functionality once the display is turned back on. It also kills Wi-Fi and data traffic when the phone is in standby, helping to save even more battery life.
The Nexus 4 doesn’t come with this feature built-in which means that the Xperia Z offers an advantage to those looking for consistently good battery life.