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!
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