I've recently (early 2014) upgraded my mobile phone to a Sony Xperia Z1, from a Samsung Galaxy S2. There are plenty of reviews out there that include the hardware spec list, so I don't see the need to include that here. Rather I shall be adding some notes on the Xperia Z1 about my experience using it everyday.
Physical dimensions of the Sony Xperia Z1
The first thing that struck me about the Z1 when I took it from it's compact box is the sheer size of it! It's big.
Some would say this Xperia is too big, if you prefer your phones compact I would skip the Z1. Perhaps look at the Xperia Z1 compact.
It feels bulky in the hand with it's huge shiny screen. A screen that provides a crystal clear display of websites, photos etc
The Sony Xperia Z1 is supposedly water/dust resistant. Not a feature I intend to test, but worth mentioning because in order to achieve that the Z1 has little flaps that cover the various sockets and connectors. I do have some concern about how well those flaps will last over time, particularly as one of those is opened everytime you want to charge the phone.
Another flap covers the SD card socket and the SIM card socket. These are less of a concern in the Xperia Z1 design as they are opened less frequently.
Battery life and Stamina Mode on Sony Xperia Z1
After a week or so of having the Sony Xperia Z1 I have found so far that the battery life is quite respectable.
That is with the Sony Stamina Mode enabled. The Sony Z1 seems capable of lasting a full day on a single charge (when stamina mode is on) with moderate usage (Facebook, occasional Twitter use, Foursquare etc).
Stamina Mode in the Sony Xperia Z1 essentially changes the way the phone behaves to maximise battery life, which it does by reducing the mobile signal use when the screen is off. Disabling background data for example.
Now this does mean you won't always get an alert when your Facebook feed has a notification or someone sends you a Tweet, but given the phone is 4G capable, if you have a 4G contract then the Xperia Z1 will be able to fetch all those notifications very quickly once you ask it to.
Music player - Sony Walkman
I like to use my phone for listening to music, one reason I went for the Xperia Z1 is the FM radio it has built in. I've now loaded my SD card with my mp3 collecton and use Sony Walkman software for playback which has all the features I've wanted so far.
GPS is one of those features that having had it in the last couple of phones I've had (Galaxy S2, Motorola Dext) I have come to depend on. I don't think I'd ever choose a phone that doesn't have GPS now.
My experience with GPS in the Xperia Z1 is very positive, with GPS securing a lock quickly and tracking position with good accuracy. Again, with 4G I allow my Xperia Z1 to use my data connection to assist with GPS which probably helps.
Android 5.0.2 lollipop upgrade on Xperia Z1
As much publicised and discussed around the internets, my Xperia Z1 has now (April 2015) been upgraded to Android lollipop (5.0.2 to be exact). The process was painless, simply having the phone plugged in to a Windows PC meant the Sony PC Companion picked up that there was a firmware update for my Xperia and asked if I wanted to update.
All I had to do was confirm I wanted PC Companion to go ahead and perform the upgrade and wait. And wait.
Ok, so it took a while but my Xperia Z1 is now on lollipop.
What is all the Android excitement about? So far not much other than adding a few taps to get things done and slowing the phone down some. It is now easier to change the quick toggle icons in the slide down drawer, but otherwise I'm not convinced the improvements in Android 5 are, well, improvements.
So if your Xperia Z1 does not yet have Android 5, don't worry. You're not missing out!
My Sony Xperia Z1 on Android 5 / lollipop was getting very slow after the update to lollipop. In trying to find a solution I came across a few suggestions in a forum, one of which was to do a factory reset.
So after backing up my Xperia I did a reset. Lo and behold the phone is a new beast. Far more responsive than it ever has been.
If you update your Xperia Z1 to Android lollipop, obviously take a backup (photos, contacts etc etc) before doing so, but I'd strongly suggest you do a factory reset afterwards too.