The Sony Xperia Z has pretty decent audio output. It did very well when connected to an active external amplifier and it didn't degrade too badly when we plugged in a pair of headphones.
However, the Sony flagship is no match for the HTC Butterfly and its Beats audio amplifier, which produces the finest audio quality we have seen in the past year or so. The Butterfly is louder and cleaner than its rival and generally has an output closer to what we are used to seeing from the best tablets, rather than smartphones.
And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|HTC Butterfly||+0.13, -0.29||-82.5||82.3||0.0090||0.022||-80.8|
|HTC Butterfly (headphones attached)||+0.16, -0.24||-82.3||82.1||0.0094||0.042||-59.7|
Sony Xperia Z frequency response
HTC Butterfly frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.
Winner: HTC Butterfly. The Xperia Z did well, but it's just no match for the Beats-powered HTC smartphone.
The Sony Xperia Z and the HTC Butterfly both have mono loudspeakers. On the Butterfly it's located at the bottom around back. It scored a Good mark in our test and it was among the louder smartphones that have come to the office recently.
The Sony Xperia Z is an entirely different story, however. The loudspeaker is awkwardly placed in the bottom right corner of the phone, meaning you can easily cover it while watching a video or playing a game in landscape.
Partly due to the phone's water resistance perhaps, the loudspeaker on the Xperia only managed to post a Below Average score. You'll hear the phone ring when it's on a desk in front of you and the vibration will make sure you'll feel it in your pocket. But if you carry the device in a purse or bag things don't look all that promising.
After we tested the water resistance, the loudspeaker sounded muffled - perhaps down to a wet membrane. Sony says this is normal but it did take about an hour and a half for it to get back to normal.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overal score|
|Apple iPhone 5||66.8||66.1||67.7||Below Average|
|Nokia Lumia 920||61.6||64.8||65.8|
|HTC One X+||64.6||65.8||74.6|
|Asus Padfone 2||57.3||66.7||77.8|
|Oppo Find 5||70.7||67.7||73.0|
|Google Nexus 4||71.1||66.6||78.8|
|Samsung Galaxy S III||75.1||66.5||75.0|
More info on our loudspeaker test as well as other results can be found here.
Winner: HTC Butterfly. The Xperia Z just isn't powerful enough (perhaps due to its water resistance) while the HTC Butterfly boasts respectable sound.