IFA 2013: Sony hands-ons
Sony Xperia Z1 display
The Sony Xperia Z1 features a 5" Triluminos display of 1080p resolution (441ppi pixel density). The screen image is enhanced by Sony's proprietary X-Reality Engine and is built on the OptiContrast design (it eliminates the air gap between the glass and the screen, which reduces glare).
The display is tack sharp and has great colors too. A weak point for Sony displays used to be poor viewing angles but starting with the Xperia Z Ultra and now the Xperia Z1 Sony has resolved the issue.
The display is still on the glossy side, which hurts its sunlight legibility. We'll have to take it to our lab to get accurate measurements though.
Sony Xperia Z1 camera
Sony leveraged its camera know-how to custom-build an Exmor RS sensor just for the Xperia Z1. It's the highest resolution sensor in a smartphone at 20.7MP (even if you squint and include the Samsung Galaxy NX camera).
The Z1 uses a wide-angle (27mm) Sony G Lens camera with a bright F/2.0 aperture and a BIONZ image processor. The camera can shoot HDR stills and videos and the company is promising a best in class low-light performance. That's just the hardware though, the Xperia Z1 is very impressive on the software end too.
There are a ton of new features, including manual controls (to battle the Lumia 1020) and various social features like the ability to live-stream video to Facebook. The camera app can pick the correct scene automatically with Superior Auto, do Timeshift burst, regular picture effects and impressive AR effects that paint a virtual world over your scene.
In a Goggle-esque twist, the Xperia Z1 has a feature called Info-Eye that can recognize text, business cards, QR and barcodes, landmarks, bottles of wine and books too. Sony has partnered with leading companies in the respective fields to provide info (e.g. Amazon for books, Vino for wines, etc.). We have that on video, check it out below.
Overall, the camera app doesn't feel gimmicky (AR features usually raise a flag in cameras) and has something for everyone - casual users will enjoy the automatic effects and video streaming, while pros can try their hand at the manual settings.
Sony was kind enough to let us snap a camera sample. We won't judge image quality based on just one sample, especially on a phone that hasn't hit the stores yet, plus this isn't a full resolution sample.
Both cameras on the Xperia Z1 records 1080p video (the 4K video rumors didn't pan out). Still, with such a large sensor we expect the video quality to be great.
Update Sept 6: We've taken some more samples with the Xperia Z1. This time around, the quality has definitely improved.
And here are a couple of new 1080p videos shot with the Xperia Z1 as well.