I recently watched the videos Taylor posted regarding the new devices we can expect to see coming from Sony during the first quarter this year: the Xperia Z and the slightly differential Xperia ZL. While both phones are almost identical in specs, each offers something a little different to bring to the table in regards to features.

First, let’s go over some specs. If you’ve been following CES announcements the past couple of days you probably already know what they are, but for a quick recap: each phone has a 5-inch 1080p display, 2 GB of RAM, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, 16GB of built-in storage with an external microSD slot available, a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera (yes!) and a front facing 2.1 megapixel camera. Both devices are running on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean – but not the latest version). Definitely some slick looking specs.

As stated before there are some differences between the two devices, mostly cosmetic. The Xperia ZL comes with a matte finish on the back for the white version, and a textured back for the black version. I prefer these types of backings compared to slick or glass backs for a couple of reasons. One, while the sleek and shiny back looks gorgeous untouched, once they are handled they become a total fingerprint magnet. It’s kind of like snow; snow is gorgeous when it first falls, but then cars and people and nature get in on all the fun and it just looks tainted. Secondly, I find that both matte and textured finish are easier to get a good grip on. I don’t think I’ve ever handled my iPhone 4S out of its case for more than a few seconds because I’m afraid I’m going to drop it, putting either side at prime risk for shattering. The Xperia Z will have a glass back for both colors. Thanks, but no thanks; I think I’d be better off with something a little less breakable.

While I’m not fond of the decision for a glass back on the Xperia Z, it does have something really good going for it that the ZL does not: it claims to be dust and water resistant (up to 1m). The only reason I say “it claims to be” is because I don’t want anybody going out to buy one and running home to dunk it in water like an Oreo in milk - you probably won't have as good of a time as you think you will. Those features are primarily for emergencies (although I think it’s safe to say you can cover it in as much dust as you want and it would be less harmful than taking it for a swim) and not for science. Either way, it’s an added bonus as most phones don’t have that extra protection. If you are a person who works or spends a lot of time outdoors in the elements of nature, this phone might be something you want to take a look at.

I especially love the 13-megapixel camera on both devices. I expect we’re going to see a lot more of these pop up from now on and start migrating away from the 8-megapixel cameras. One thing I’m a little iffy about on the Xperia ZL is that the front-facing camera is located on the bottom right hand corner of the device. I’m used to front-facing cameras being on the top near the earpiece, and I feel that it’s an appropriate place. I have a tendency to hold my phone lower and lower over time, and I don’t rightly enjoy people looking up my nostrils any more than the poor sap on the other end would enjoy it. I could be wrong about how the angle will depict my face in a video chat, and hopefully I am, but if I’m not I probably wouldn’t be voice chatting very often anymore.

Overall, I dig the design and the UI of both devices.  Taylor mentioned that the customized UI looks similar to the PS3, and I agree that there are some elements of the phone that look very similar to the PS3 menu screen. The rounded icons and the font look to be the same, and even the wallpaper seen in the video is reminiscent of the animated stock background in the popular console. I personally dig the UI and can’t wait to test the device out for myself after it’s released, which is said to be sometime during this first quarter.

What are your first impressions of Sony’s fresh new devices this year? Is it something you’d be interested in buying yourself, or is it not your style?

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Adam Cuong Tran Phone getting ridiculous its too big. I found that if I can't wrap my thumb and middle finger around a phone that means its getting too ridiculous. I want a phone not a damn tablet. S3 is perfect S4 will be too big.
Song Jin They won't compete with Note series, because of the lack of pens in 5-inch phones
Anthony Bailey I laughed when the fool in the article was so giddy over the ridiculous 13mp
Christopher Manic Johnson They do, but it's gonna come down to performance; we'll see when they're released.
Juwon Donte Just wait until the s4 and note 3 is released..Sony phones look good but they still can't compete with the big boys yet
Noah Hupe Of course! But i i'm not sure about the 1080p displays .. battery life will show.
Dan Daniel Cameron 2400 Mh these are easily the bway phone Sony has ever made by far. I am baffled why updates the second they come out is so critical Most don't even know what the upgrade is
Jozef Sakac That explains it all iPhone user pfft
Cameron Walton What's the battery size?
Jeremy Bleich What makes you think I want to buy this phone? My iPhone gets updates in a very timely manner, a minimum of once a year. I'd never waste my money on another android phone
Muhammad Umar Beg i don't really care if my phone is dust or water proof, i'd rather prefer it updates rather become obsolete 2 months after release
Herbert Salamánca Ramos Easily impresses, but the competition is too tough
Jozef Sakac Dream on Jeremy go ahead and buy Sony phone don't expect an update until 2023
Jeremy Bleich I'm sure the galaxy s4, s5 and s6 coming out this year will pass it up eventually
Jozef Sakac And than the S4 will make Sony's crap look ancient
Ian Baylon They already make the Note 2 look old.
Keith Windiddy i would like to know Sony's history of updating their devices b4 procuring these devices
Anthony Evans Jr they look impressive till the big boys release theres.

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