The Xperia XZ1 has its call log separated from the contacts, but there are shortcuts from one to the other in the upper right corner. It can be filtered by missed, incoming and outgoing calls. Smart dial is supported too.
Messaging is equally straightforward. Sony's default app organizes communication into chats. It also has a nice collection of stickers and supports all sorts of attachments. These will force you to convert to MMS though.
Since Sony shops the XZ1 with a Google app package pre-installed, Gmail is probably the most obvious choice for email. Then again, Sony also has its own app. It has some pretty nice extra features to offer, like integration with Sony's calendar for event management and reminders, plus weather info.
If you plan on jumping into Sony's own ecosystem, you could give it a try.
SwiftKey has been Sony's bundled keyboard of choice for some time now. It is a truly powerful solution. You can customize pretty much every aspect of your typing experience, including custom layouts, themes, size adjustment, dictionaries and more.
We would take a stereo setup over a mono one any day of the week. However, there are certain drawbacks that come with most dual-speaker phones these days, primarily in the loudness department. Just like most of its siblings, the Xperia XZ1 just doesn't have enough volume to impress.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
In its default mode, the XZ1 barely pushes an "Average" mark. Fiddling around with ClearAudio+ or the S-Force Front Surround toggles nets you a decrease in volume either way. (You can't have both turned on at the same time). ClearAudio+ does seem to improve sound a bit, but S-Force Front Surround is just weird. We guess it's an acquired taste, and we do hear some of Sony's efforts to give some more sense of depth to the sound, but it just seems off - especially for voices.
Another thing to appreciate here is that unlike many of its competitors, Sony opted for a symmetrical setup, making for a much better stereo experience than blasting the earpiece on high.
Besides email, Sony has some other app basics covered with its own solutions as well. The News app is a news aggregator, pulling stories from sources on topics of your choice. It can also issue two daily bulletins for you at a time you specify, so you don't miss out on current events. There is also a simple weather app, complete with nice animations.
Xperia lounge is Sony's own entertainment app, feeding you exclusive content and competitions related to music, movies and games. What's new is a similar concept, but it act like more of a guide into Android applications, themes, games and more. It is a curated catalog of links to various other platforms, like the Google Play store, Audible, Amazon and others.
Sony's health-tracking app Lifelog doesn't come pre-installed, though all it takes to download it is a trip to the Play Store. However, there is no shortage of third-party apps that do come pre-loaded on the XZ1. AVG Protection Pro is a particularly annoying one, since its usefulness is questionable to begin with, and it is also just a trial.
Then there are the Amazon Shopping and Kindle apps. It is a fair bet that these would come in handy to at least some of the XZ1 users, but it is still a bit annoying to find them pre-loaded. If nothing else, we suggest you replace the Amazon app with the Underground one that has the application store intact.
Sony did finally include a simple file manager in its ROM, which gets the job done. There is a basic calculator as well. The default Google app package should have you covered for most everything else.