LAS VEGAS: There is no secret that we were left slightly chilly by Sony's 2012 Xperia smartphone lineup.
This is largely as a result of whereas handsets just like the Xperia S and T have been attention-grabbing, showcasing what Sony's custom Bravia and camera technology could do, they ultimately fell short, packing outdated variations of Android and slower processors than the competition.
Fortunately though it appears this downside wasn't misplaced on Sony, which has come out swinging, unveiling what we predict might doubtlessly be its best smartphone to this point, the Xperia Z.
Design and construct
The Xperia Z is an unashamedly massive handset. Packing a 5in HD screen, the Z measures in at a hefty 139x71x7.9mm and weighs 146g.
Nevertheless thanks to Sony's "Omnibalance" design, the handset doesn't look overly massive and you don't realise quite how massive it is until you actually choose it up.
Omnibalance is a design method that aims to make the Z look the identical from all angles.
Visually this means that the phone has a reasonably minimalist look with its back and front being solely void of buttons, only housing pretty effectively camouflaged cameras and Sony logos.
The Z's ports are also pretty nicely hidden, every being coated with a plug, that in addition to hiding the machine's inputs also serve to make the smartphone water resistant.
The one noticeable design feature on the Z is its aluminium energy button, which sits on the Z's proper side.
Sony's packed the Z with a sizable 5in Full HD 1080p Reality Display, loaded with its personal Mobile Bravia Engine 2 technology.
Boasting 1080p 443ppi resolution, Sony claims the Z's display is one of the best it has ever created and can supply equal performance to most HD Televisions.
During our palms on, we solely received the chance to check the display in a reasonably nicely-lit Las Vegas Conference Centre, but need to concede there could also be some fact to Sony's claims. Evaluating the Z to the Lumia 920, a telephone we've persistently listed as having among the best screens seen on any smartphone, we couldn't choose a clear winner.
Efficiency / Performance
The Xperia Z is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and boasts 2GB RAM.
Sadly we did not get a chance to see how nicely the Z carried out as the demo unit we obtained to try wasn't related to the internet. This meant that we did not get the prospect to see how well it performs loading net pages, streaming video or running demanding applications.
The Xperia Z is 4G-enabled, though there's at present no word on whether it will likely be launched on the UK's EE network, with carriers Three and Vodafone being the one firms but to verify carrying Sony's new Flagship.
This means these looking to benefit from the 4G choice must await Vodafone and Three to launch the service.
One of many nicest touches we noticed on the Z is the inclusion of Sony's OneTouch close to subject communication (NFC) service.
The characteristic aims to extend integration levels between Sony devices. During the demo we noticed Sony present how the know-how allows you to sync your telephone with speakers, headphones and even TVs just by tapping them with the Z.
Seeking to wrestle the perfect smartphone digicam title from Nokia and its Lumia 920, Sony's loaded the Z with a 13MP digicam, full with its own custom Exmor RS for cell sensor.
The Exmor RS for mobile is the first ever image sensor with HDR (High Dynamic Range) video designed for smartphones. It guarantees to radically enhance the camera's usability and versatility.
Testing the camera we were only able to take a few pictures of the showroom ground, but should concede we were very impressed. Even within the brilliantly bright lighting conditions the check pictures we took looked great, not looking oversaturated, and boasting great brightness and color steadiness levels.
Battery and storage
Sony's loaded the Z with a fairly large 2400mAh battery and 16GB of storage, which is upgradable thanks to the inclusion of a microSD card slot.
The Xperia Z runs utilizing Android 4.1 Jelly Bean combined with Sony's personal custom consumer interface. This means that whereas boasting all Jelly Bean's options, like Google Now, the Z's interface nonetheless seems largely an identical to the one seen on Sony's 2012 Xperia lineup.
The Xperia Z is set to arrive in the UK "within the coming weeks" in white, black and purple options. While there's at the moment no phrase on the Z's last value, contemplating Sony's observe document for charging a premium for its gadgets, we're thinking it could be pretty expensive.
That said, having had a chance to test the Z we've been left wanting extra and can't wait to place the system via some more thorough tests.