On the media features end, Sony has revamped the default suite of applications with enhancements to the album, gallery, music player and video player application. There’s a strong focus on the media and the way that it is showcased to the users.
The new Sony camera application comes with new features, such as the Superior Auto+, Panaroma, HDR. The Sony Xperia Z camera uses the Exmor RS sensor. The Exmor RS sensor has the ability to filter out the noise that often disrupts photos while maintaining brilliant color. HDR Video is a feature that is available on the Xperia Z and it allows users to capture video in high-contract environments. For example, when trying to shoot video of friends at a concert with the sun shining in the background.
When combined with the water-resistive feature, it makes for some interesting photography moments. Initial attempts at underwater photography didn’t turned out so good as the screen wouldn’t respond underwater. A tip was to use video recording mode and to start recording before submerging the phone. Just today, I brought the Sony Xperia Z along with me for the Men’s Health Urbanathlon 2013, which also happened to be sponsored by Sony too, and the Xperia Z was available for the racers to give it a whirl. I had it along with me from start to finish, and could track my progress and was also able to take candid photos along the way. The phone’s water resistant capability was a strong factor for me to consider bringing the phone along, and it tagged along like a champ. Even as my pouch was soaked in perspiration or when I poured water over my body to cool off at the hydration point, I wasn’t worried about the phone. Subsequently, after the race, I just rinsed it under the tap.
The default media apps are pretty good at aggregating files on your phone, the file search is aggressive and there’s also an online catalog search to populate media information, such as movie title, synopsis, show time duration etc. It is pretty nifty. In addition, the default video player has support for network media files over DLNA and it was able to detect my XBMC server when connected to my home WiFi. Video file type support ain’t that good, and wasn’t able to playback MKVs. Interestingly as well, the phone has a 1080p screen, and ability to support external memory, officially 32gb, but users have tried 64gb and it worked. My first thought was to load the external memory card with a number of 1080p movies, but this run in the range of 6-8gb file sizes. The Xperia Z only supports microSD in the FAT32 format, which restricts file size to 4gb. There is no exFAT or NTFS support.
Sony also supplies a pretty decent pair of headsets with the phone – Sony MH-EX300AP headset. It has superior acoustic performance which helps realize sound true to the original recorded sound. It is not some cheapo pair that you often find with other phones.
Lastly, Sony is hoping to entice more users to take advantage of its PlayStation Mobile platform today by offering 6 weeks of free games from its PlayStation Store. Every 7 days for the next 6 weeks Sony will make one game from its PlayStation Store available for download free of charge, hoping that once the promotion ends more users will stick around and use its store.
This offer will only be useful if you have a PlayStation Certified device, which the Sony Xperia Z is.