Well, Sony’s big reveal at the CES 2013 event took us all by surprise. Not because it was a 1080p smartphone, we already had plenty of that prior to CES. But mainly because we rarely expect anything from Sony. The Japanese manufacturer was seldom known as the company to bring innovation to the fore, sure there were smartphones like the Xperia S last year, but these devices didn’t stick in our memory for far too long. Fortunately enough, we can’t say the same about the Xperia Z. This droid packs all the goodies you’d expect from a flagship smartphones and more. I don’t think we’ll come across too many smartphones which are pleasing to the eye and equally durable. So much so, that the Xperia Z is water and dust proof with IP57 certification. So what can stand in the way of this beast of a device? Well, let’s look at a few competitors in the market today.
The Huawei Ascend D2:
Most of you might not know or be excited about this smartphone too much, but this one is certainly up there with the Xperia Z in terms of hardware specs. Featuring almost identical specs as the Xperia Z, the Ascend D2 is yet another force to reckon with. There’s everything here that you would find on the Xperia Z, except for the gorgeous glass design of the Sony droid. It’s hard really to pin point an area where the Ascend D2 would excel over the Xperia Z. But if there’s one area where the Ascend D2 would be considered over the Xperia Z, it is with regards to its pricing. Sony droids are usually known to be quite pricey while Huawei smartphones are exactly the opposite. But sadly, we aren’t quite sure if the Ascend D2 will see a wider global rollout like the Xperia Z. So that immediately puts a damper on Huawei’s chances. But from a strictly specs and design perspective, we would have to give it to the Sony Xperia Z.
The HTC Droid DNA/J Butterfly:
This HTC flagship was one of the first smartphones in the planet to feature the 1080p Full HD panel and this one did it months before Sony’s offering arrived. The Verizon Droid DNA as it is known in the U.S is actually a variant of the original Japanese HTC J Butterfly which broke cover in October 2012. Its American sibling however received all the attention for being available on the country’s largest network. There wasn’t much known about a variant for other global markets of this smartphone, so the J Butterfly and the Droid DNA was basically everything people heard about from HTC. So these smartphones don’t really pose a threat to Sony’s offering. Also, these HTC smartphones aren’t IP57 certified, so should you dunk it in a bowl of water, you’re basically doomed. We should expect a rival smartphone arrive on a wider scale later this year, with an announcement at the MWC 2013.
The LG Google Nexus 4
The Google Nexus 4 broke cover shortly after LG unveiled the Optimus G smartphone. This was a remarkable smartphone on paper and what made it even better was the price. However, it had its own share of issues to deal with, which kind of put a damper on the smartphone to be completely honest. The smartphone’s initial launch was marred by annoying Google Play Store issues, after which the smartphone refused to be in stock with delivery listed as late as 6-7 weeks at one point. So how exactly is the Nexus 4 a threat to the Xperia Z? Well, in terms of software updates, the support one would get with the Nexus 4 is second to none. That being said, since the Nexus 4 is hardly in stock, it would make sense for the customers to think towards Sony’s offering. But if you get the Nexus smartphone for the original listing price and not the bloated up retailer prices, you basically can’t do better. But for those who pay little emphasis to software updates and worry more about performance and raw hardware power, the Xperia Z is an instant choice. This one is a little too tough to call as the Nexus is the grand daddy of all Android smartphones. But I think I’ll have to go with the Xperia Z here mainly due to the Nexus 4’s availability issues.
The Nokia Lumia 920
This Windows Phone 8 smartphone from Nokia, is the best smartphone ever made by the Finns and I really mean it. However, while the hardware is one of the best for a smartphone, it’s the software aspect of the Lumia 920 which makes it a downer. But if we leave out the Windows Phone aspect of the Lumia 920, it’s a screamer of a device capable of giving even the top flagships a run for their money. However, it’s just not possible to leave the OS out of the equation, even hypothetically. Regardless of that, the Lumia 920 poses no real competition to the smartphone in its current form and it would at least take two iterations of the smartphone to come even close to the performance offered by the Sony Xperia Z.
The Apple iPhone 5:
The iPhone 5 in all its wisdom features one of the most beautiful looking designs for a smartphone (which is apparently non-durable). However, when we consider the hardware aspect of it or even the software side of it, there’s nothing new with the current iPhone besides the increase in length. By merely increasing the length and not the width, Apple ensured that the device was still as pocket friendly as previous iterations of the iPhone. But to many, this was just a useless gimmick as there was absolutely nothing new in the hardware front (at least visibly), except for the change in design of course. The Retina Display was retained and most apps had an annoying black bar on top as the new resolution wasn’t supported yet, the developers were quick to rectify that though. Whether the iPhone 5 stacks up well against the Xperia Z or not is a very tough question to ask, but if you ask me, I would say the Xperia Z is a clear winner. With a breakthrough display technology and top end hardware specs, one simply can’t ask for a better smartphone than this. I’m sure iPhone 5 owners will disagree, but the Xperia Z certainly sets a new benchmark for smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy S III:
No comparison list is complete without the mention of the Samsung Galaxy S III. And hence we can mention the smartphone here without any hesitation. But in terms of sheer specs, we’ll have to say the Xperia Z is far ahead of the Galaxy S III. Not by much in the CPU department, but when it comes to display and design, the Xperia Z trumps the Galaxy S III. However, we’re dealing with a May 2012 smartphone here so the comparison is very unfair. As of now, the Xperia Z scores all the points against the Galaxy S III, but we fear that is short lived as Samsung is expected to launch the next Galaxy S flagship in May this year. Before that happens, manufacturers like LG and HTC will want to show off their best at the MWC 2013 event in Barcelona next month.
So these are the current crop of smartphones that the Xperia Z goes up against. And quite honestly, the smartphone comes out on top in almost every comparison. Maybe not so much with the Huawei Ascend D2 as they both feature similar specs, albeit with a different processor. However, the limited availability of Huawei’s offerings pose no threat to the Xperia Z, which is why we haven’t mentioned Oppo’s Find 5 smartphone either which was announced weeks before the CES event. So Sony can sit proud for now knowing that their smartphone is currently the best in the market, but only until February when we see what other manufacturers have in store. We’re playing our cards close to the chest, as manufacturers like HTC are known to be game changers even though it isn’t having a pleasant time in the market. Then there’s the major BlackBerry 10 announcement happening later this month. Will the Sony Xperia Z manage to keep steam until mid-2013? What do you think? Sound off in the comments box below.