Sony Xperia Z1 – The Final Season

In a rather sad story, the Sony Xperia Z1 has had to be returned.

The reasons is poor camera and random reboots. Sony plug the Z1 as the best camera on a smartphone in the world. Well it isn’t. I just could not live with the poor camera and excessive noise.

If you are not too concerned about the camera, then the Z1 represents a stunning piece of hardware. In my view, Sony should not have let this phone be released in this way. Now all the reviews written will comment on the poor camera quality, even if at a later date it is rectified by Sony.

5 thoughts on “Sony Xperia Z1 – The Final Season

  1. I would have considered this device because of its camera, but taking your comments into account will give it a miss. you are right about them not releasing it til it was right, but car manufacturers have been doing that for years.


  2. As we have covered this in longer lengths via personal emails Gavin I won’t go over it all again but for the readers:-
    Gavin is TOTALLY correct.
    The Z1 currently has an horrendous camera and Sony know it.
    Yes they are currently working on the update and it should be with us in the next two weeks.
    But should that be enough to put things right?
    No it blinking well is not!
    Sony pushed out the phone under the fanfare the Xperia Z1 gives you the best overall image quality of all leading smartphones.
    Well I don’t know what smartphones they are basing this on but in my view ANY leading smartphone would leave the Z1 camera trailing in the digital dust.

    Sony simply should have not have released the phone when knowing full well it would not deliver. Yes they knew even before launch the Z1 had issues but as we all know where money and sales are concerned nothing stops a release date.

    Regardless, I have decided to keep mine. I will wait until the update reaches us (there’s one just about to hit the UK but that is for another issue) and I’ll see how things develop.

    Gavin, I sincerely hope you better luck with your next hardware.



  3. Hi Gavin,

    I’ve been following your progress with the camera avidly but have been unable to come back to you on it over the last week as I’ve been on holiday.

    Sad to hear that you’ve returned your Z1. The latest firmware – 534 – (a stopgap firmware, still, as the Bionz Engine still hasn’t been released, as far as I can see) improves noise. Noise is still present but the automatic ISO settings seem to be less aggressive, leading to clearer yet slightly darker images.

    I can’t help feeling that you’ve returned the phone too soon. I’ve got magnificent results from the phone’s camera, I really have. In fact, I’m planning on doing my own Flickr feed on it. Sure, Superior Auto needs/needed (depending on how improved 534 has made it at judging white balance) improvement but that’s a simple thing for Sony to fix as It’s just a matter of correctly judging the environment, which it wasn’t doing.

    But pop it on 8mp 4:3 manual (and even 20mp, as the noise levels are much more acceptable now), leave is to judge its own ISO, tweak white balance occasionally and the quality of the hardware speaks for itself. Judging it on its “pure point and shoot” merits was always foolhardy, if you don’t mind me saying – Superior Auto was always too aggressive and the iPhone doesn’t have anything of the sort.

    Remember, the hardware is superior to the competition. This means that software updates will always, eventually, bring it far clear of other Android phones and, potentially – eventually – the iPhone.

    Apple is using a sensor that is 3 years old – you’d bloody well expect them to be used to processing the images that it produces, by now. Give it 3 months, a few firmware updates, the addition of the (currently absent) Bionz algorithm and watch the Z1 fly.

    That it doesn’t produce world beating results on Superior Auto kinda misses the point: it produces outstanding images in manual and the main issue with Superior Auto is a simple one – it just jacks the ISO too high for the conditions. THIS HAS BEEN FIXED.

    My experience with the device seems to have been the polar opposite of yours, I simply can’t recommend it highly enough.


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