With the new Xperia Z, Sony shows it can play in the smartphone big leagues.
The Xperia Z, recently unveiled in the U.S., helps Sony catch up with offerings from Samsung and HTC, but one feature stands out: Its water-resistant shell means you can submerge the phone. That's great if you're a lifeguard, or if you're prone to dropping your phone in toilets or spilling coffee near it. You can also take underwater video and use the phone during rainstorms.
Sony Corp. also enhances the Android operating system made by Google Inc., without cluttering the phone, as Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp. do with their Android customizations. There's still some junk from Sony and its partner, T-Mobile, but not a lot.
I particularly like the idea behind a battery-saving feature called Stamina. It's supposed to block apps from checking for updates when your screen is off. Calls and texts will still come through, and you can add exceptions such as email and Facebook. In practice, I got a few email updates when I wasn't supposed to, but the blocking seems to work most of the time, especially after I reset the phone to its factory settings. In the U.S., T-Mobile is offering it exclusively, in black or purple. The up-front cost is $100, with $20 monthly payments over two years for a total cost of $580.
There's also a separate feature for dimming the screen and turning off some functions automatically when the battery drops to a certain level.
- The Associated Press