Usually being able to unlock the bootloader on your Android device is seen as a good thing because it gives you access to custom ROMs and the like. In the case of Sony’s new smartphones, though, you may want to think twice before making the move to an unlocked bootloader.
On its official bootloader unlock page, Sony explains that unlocking your device’s bootloader can void your device’s warranty and that it can cause “certain preloaded content” to be inaccessible because of the removal of DRM security keys. The company says that on high-end devices like its Xperia Z3, this can affect advanced camera features like noise reduction algorithms and low-light camera performance. Sony also says that if you unlock your bootloader, you can lose access to the secure user data partition and will stop getting official software updates.
This degradation in camera performance can be seen in the image above. The device up top is the Xperia Z3 Compact with an unlocked bootloader, while the unit on the bottom is an Xperia Z1 Compact with a locked bootloader. The Xperia Z3 Compact’s shot is noticeably worse than the Xperia Z1 Compact’s, despite the fact that they’ve got fairly similar camera features.
While unlocking a device’s bootloader is only something that serious Android tinkerers will consider doing, it’s still kind of a bummer to learn that their Xperia handset’s features can be adversely affected if they choose to unlock its bootloader. That’s especially true when it comes to the camera performance, which is one of the main features of Sony’s Xperia smartphones.
Have you ever unlocked the bootloader on an Android device?