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[Video] Xperia Z1 vs. Xperia S - Should you upgrade?

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Hermantje
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Phone [Video] Xperia Z1 vs. Xperia S - Should you upgrade?

Good day fellow XDAers!

I recently received my Xperia Z1 as an upgrade to my Xperia S as my Xperia S was hitting the age two mark, and what better upgrade than the Xperia Z1 I thought? Sure, the Z2 or Sirius is also about to be announced but that'll only mean the Z1 will be priced even better! I've had the Z1 for about a week now and I figured I wouldn't be the only one thinking of upgrading their Xperia S.
So in this thread I will let you know whether it's a good choice for you personally to upgrade (since there is no such thing as a 'smartphone to rule them all').

I will create another post below with a couple of camera comparisons because, if you were like me, you probably also chose the Xperia S for its camera, and are likely to consider the Xperia Z1 for the same reason. I will say beforehand that, yes, the camera is indeed an upgrade. The Z1's camera is not as bad as some review(er)s may have made you believe - at least not with the latest firmware of Android 4.3 installed.


Anyway, let's get to the hardware. The Xperia Z1 feels much, much more premium. It's a really slim device that's cold to the touch and has a bit of heft to it as well, making it feel as premium as it gets. Much more so than the Xperia S, that feels, after having held the Xperia Z1 for a couple of days, very plastic-y. One week prior to writing this I would've said that the Xperia S feels good in the hand, but once you've held the best, there's just no going back.

The processor is just extremely snappy, not much more to say of it. The Xperia S annoyed me with lag occurring more often than not, and if I were to upgrade, it would definitely be a major step upward, hence not going for the Xperia Z (which is probably still snappier than the Xperia S but I don't have experience with it). I wanted to test the Z1's processor but I couldn't find anything graphically intense and fun enough to do. So the Z1 is essentially more than powerful enough

Where the Xperia S had a pretty loose back, the Z1 is as sturdy as it gets with the aluminum frame sandwiched between the glass. If you're coming from the Xperia S, you probably won't mind the flaps. They're a tiny bit harder to open but that's obviously due to the waterproof rubbers (which seem a little too thin for my comfort but hey, Sony tested the device to be waterproof so I'll take that for granted).

I'll have to test the headphone jack some more but so far the quality seems on par with the Xperia S, if not better. I'm not the craziest audiophile out there, but I do believe there's a bit more bass outputting from the Z1's jack. Another thing worth mentioning about the build: the camera button is more comfortable to press and is a little better positioned, and the power button is perfectly in line with my thumb on the side (I hated the top mounted power button on the Xperia S - trying to press it while having it on a table has sent the device flying multiple times). The speaker on the bottom (which isn't the entire grill, just the most right part about one-fifth of the actual grille in size) is less loud as the Xperia S' internal speaker, but the quality to me sounds similar. Again, it's not as horrible as reviewers may have you think, but then again, they always get to review the best devices out there and this is just a mediocre speaker that gets the job done. Finally, the screen is really a joy to look at once you've set the white balance correctly, and the Full HD resolution does make it look better than 720p on the Xperia S. Colours pop more but the screen of the Xperia S seems to have a little more contrast. So yes, the display is indeed another upgrade to the Xperia S from what I can tell.


All in all, what are things you need to consider when you're in the market for a new Sony phone?

- Will the Xperia Z2 / Sirius have anything that *I* really wish I had, that makes me want to wait and get it instead of the Z1?
- Is the Xperia Z1 worth the money, since it's still priced very high?
- Do I want a 5" display on my phone, or is the display size of the Xperia S just fine (refer to the Z1 Compact then)?
- Are the downsides mentioned above not too important?
- How do *I* value waterproofing of a smartphone (I personally value it high, because I lost one phone to a river and it makes life so much easier carelessly taking pictures in the rain or playing music in the shower)




I hope this is of any use to you, looking to upgrade your phone. If this helped you make up your mind, don't hesitate to click a specific button under my XDA name
If you have any questions considering the two devices, please let me know - I'll answer them ASAP!


EDIT:
I've created a video comparison between the Xperia S and Xperia Z1, because I often look things up on YouTube myself
Check it out below:


Sony Xperia S vs. Xperia Z1 - Should you upgrade? <- link to the video

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Hermantje
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Now, for the camera comparison of the Xperia S and the Xperia Z1...
Disclaimer: the images were shot with Auto Mode on the Xperia S and Superior Auto Mode on the Z1. I basically compared them as point-and-shoot cameras.

Who would've thought the difference between the Xperia S and Z1 was this big? (zoomed in, that is)

Xperia S:

Screenshot_2014-02-21-16-16-19 by HurrHurrHerman, on Flickr

Xperia Z1:

Screenshot_2014-02-21-16-16-22 by HurrHurrHerman, on Flickr


Or let's try one without zooming:

Xperia S:

DSC_0019 by HurrHurrHerman, on Flickr

Xperia Z1:

DSC_0143 by HurrHurrHerman, on Flickr


I'm trying not to be biased, but the Xperia S suffers from much more lens flare than the Xperia Z1 for example I initially held the Z1 on the right next to the S, but after viewing the lens flare on the S I decided to swap the two, the Z1 now being right. Did it make a difference? Nope. Still the same lens flare on the S, still none on the Z1. When you're shooting in daylight, the Z1's camera really is amazing!
Once you take away the sun however, the Xperia Z1 is no longer amazing but just 'good' at best (I don't have examples just yet).


P.S. the full images of the first crop:

Xperia S:

DSC_0022 by HurrHurrHerman, on Flickr

Xperia Z1:

DSC_0146 by HurrHurrHerman, on Flickr


The Xperia Z1 also has the advantage of having a wide-angle lens, as you can see in the pictures above.
If you want to see more, let me know. I'm here to help and answer any questions!
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RodrigoOgasawara
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Good point,talking about the camera,does Z1 have 16:9 resolution higher than 8MP?
Xperia S
 
Hermantje
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RodrigoOgasawara View Post
Good point,talking about the camera,does Z1 have 16:9 resolution higher than 8MP?
As of yet, nope. But I expect the update to 4.4 to add a 15 megapixel option. Still, megapixels really don't matter as the 8 megapixel shots seem more detailed in daylight than the Xperia S'.
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sinple
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dam U, my XS just reached the end of contract. I trying persuade myself not to give in to temptation and buy such an expensive phone right away.
I am considering between Z1 or Z1 compact. Waiting for WMC to see if there is any phone to push the price of Z1 down.
 
RodrigoOgasawara
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermantje View Post
As of yet, nope. But I expect the update to 4.4 to add a 15 megapixel option. Still, megapixels really don't matter as the 8 megapixel shots seem more detailed in daylight than the Xperia S'.
I agree with that,but its a bit frustating thing to have a 20mp camera that don't shoot at full resolution,but the quality of the photos looks really good.
Another question,about image compression,pictures take with Z1 are less compressed than XS?I mean,with the Superior Auto mode.
Xperia S
 
Hermantje
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinple View Post
dam U, my XS just reached the end of contract. I trying persuade myself not to give in to temptation and buy such an expensive phone right away.
I am considering between Z1 or Z1 compact. Waiting for WMC to see if there is any phone to push the price of Z1 down.
If you don't have the cash, don't bother. The Xperia S is still a good phone. Not everyone needs the best high-end device out there, it's just that I love smartphones so much that I oblige myself to get at least a high-end phone (since I consider the Xperia S to be a darn good midrange device, just not high-end anymore).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RodrigoOgasawara View Post
I agree with that,but its a bit frustating thing to have a 20mp camera that don't shoot at full resolution,but the quality of the photos looks really good.
Another question,about image compression,pictures take with Z1 are less compressed than XS?I mean,with the Superior Auto mode.
The Superior Auto mode makes great images in daylight, but once the sunlight is partially gone or you're trying to take pictures with artificial light, the sharpness drops and you get to see this odd Z1 specific 'oversharpening lining' when fully zoomed in. Once you're out of the light, I really recommend using the Manual Mode, because setting the ISO manually makes a huge difference. So if you can live with that, the Z1's camera is as good as it gets (ISO-50 images in darker environments look detailed - Night Mode is even better!).

One other thing I have noticed, is that the Z1 has barely any chromatic (colour) noise - if you can see noise in pictures, it's going to be these 'sharpened lines' that I don't know how else to explain. I really hated how often the coloured noise occurred in pictures taken with the Xperia S, it really ruined the images for me.
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LevsOG
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Hi there, I liked reading your review as I have had the Xperia S for around a year now on 3 PAYG but Ive been ever so tempted to get either the Z1 or Z1C on contract, but now that ive seen rumours/videos of the suspected 'Z2' which looks pretty darn awesome, do you think its best I get a Z1 or wait for the new release? I mean the Xperia S is a great phone I could cope with it a little more, although stock jellybean 4.1.2 which is what im running has quite a few bugs, also lately my device has been 'overheating' after updating a fair amount of apps which is a sad thing so i guess its nearlly the end for my XS, sad times haha

Sent from my Sony Xperia S LT26i using XDA app-developers app
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LevsOG View Post
Hi there, I liked reading your review as I have had the Xperia S for around a year now on 3 PAYG but Ive been ever so tempted to get either the Z1 or Z1C on contract, but now that ive seen rumours/videos of the suspected 'Z2' which looks pretty darn awesome, do you think its best I get a Z1 or wait for the new release? I mean the Xperia S is a great phone I could cope with it a little more, although stock jellybean 4.1.2 which is what im running has quite a few bugs, also lately my device has been 'overheating' after updating a fair amount of apps which is a sad thing so i guess its nearlly the end for my XS, sad times haha

Sent from my Sony Xperia S LT26i using XDA app-developers app
I was just too eager to get the Z1 that I couldn't wait one other week for the Z2. But as for the leaks, the Z2 does look like a more perfect device, but it's probably going to be about €150 (or a similar amount of dollars) more expensive, and I didn't think the Z1 would get much cheaper instantly.
So if you can wait, do so. It's always better - prices can only drop. I just really wanted the Z1 and I wasn't planning on paying that much more for a Z2 that's a little closer to perfection.

To summarize, here's what the Z2 is probably going to improve:
- IPS display, so no more viewing angle complaints
- Android 4.4 (but I presume all software tweaks will be made available for the Z1 as well, either through Sony or else through the amazing XDA developers we got)
- Stereo speakers

Other than that, the Z2 seems to be similar to the Z1. So for the price, I'd go (and I actually went) for the Z1. But it's all up to you, and wait if you can because phones are only getting cheaper!
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sparxx4
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thinking to upgrade too
but i didnt chose yet ,, Z1 or Z1s or Z1 compact !!! i think the almost the same no ?
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[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"]Xperian TeAm[/COLOR]
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camera, performance, sony, upgrade, xperia
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