mobile photography technology, culture and community

Sony launches Xperia Z1 smartphone with 20.7 megapixel camera

The Xperiz Z1 is Sony's latest flagship smartphone

Sony is making the first move among the big manufacturers at IFA today. The new and innovative QX10 and QX100 smartphone "clip-on lenses" are getting a lot of the attention, but during a busy press conference Sony has also launched a more conventional smartphone, the Xperia Z1 which previously had been floating round the Internet rumor mill under the code name "Honami."

The Z1 follows the original Xperia Z which itself was only launched in January as Sony's flagship smartphone. As it is the norm with the Snapdragon 800 2.2 GHz quad-core unit, the new model features a more powerful processor but overall the Xperia Z1 is more evolution than revolution. It still features the Z's angular design and waterproof body (IP58 certified) but now comes with a sleek two-tone metal color scheme and a beautifully made one-piece aluminum frame.

The Sony press conference at Berlin's IFA exhibition was very busy today.
But standing in the line is worth it if you're one of the first to get your hands on the Xperia Z1.

The most exciting news, especially from an imaging point of view, is the camera though. In our review we weren't too impressed with the image quality of the Xperia Z's 13MP shooter, so it'll be interesting to see how the new model's 20.7 MP equivalent will perform in our tests. Is the increased pixel-count actually going to result in more image detail or just bloated file sizes? We'll only be able to tell once we hold a production unit in our hands, but the good news is that the Sony's 20.7MP are not crammed onto a tiny 1/3 sensor as commonly used in smartphones. Instead Sony's used a slightly larger 1/2.3 backside-illuminated CMOS sensor.

That is the same size sensor that you would find in most consumer level compact cameras. 20 million pixels still sounds like a lot for this type of sensor but we'll have to wait and see how the Sony Bionz Mobile imaging processor can cope with the image information and the high pixel-count should facilitate 3x digital zooming without a loss of quality.

Combined with some new Sony-specific imaging apps such as Info-Eye and Timeshift Burst  the Z1's hardware should make for an interesting camera phone that we hope to get in our hands for a full review soon.

Key Photographic / Video Specifications

  • 20.7 MP 1/2.3 Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • 1080p/30 fps video
  • HDR video

Other Specifications

  • Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz processor
  • 5-inch 1080p Sony TRILUMINOS display (441ppi)
  • Android 4.2
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Waterproof body (IP58)
  • 16 GB internal memory
  • microSD up to 64GB
  • 3,000 mAh battery, non-removable
  • Available in black, white and purple


Total comments: 8

This photo by Reuters at IFA appears to show the Sony CEO demonstrating a Z1 WITH A BUILT-IN MOUNT for the QX10/QX100 but I haven't seen any info about any such version of the Z1.

Anyone know what on earth he was using?

Tonkotsu Ramen

its a case with a place to mount the camera lens.

1 upvote

Sony is still using their terrible displays that are even worse than those on $150 Chinese knockoff phones. A big part of a smartphone with a good camera is being able to view the images on the best display available. Someone needs to throw some ice water in their faces so they will finally learn to venture into their local supplier and get a decent off the shelf IPS display. Even the cheapest and most generic one will be better than what they have. It's shameful how much they tout that godawful thing too.


Sony claims the xperia Z1 camera beats Nokia (and other phones) in blind tests

Tonkotsu Ramen

since they are one of the few companys with an actual imaging division, i wouldn't be surprised.

i wonder if apple went that route too (as in, buy sony's newest sensor and stuff it in their iphones, like in the past).. because it would kind of negate all this hype.

Edited 2 minutes after posting
Tonkotsu Ramen

i think i just found my next phone and p&s replacement!!


Man I wish I did not get the ZL ;)

Edited 12 seconds after posting

Awesome phone!

Total comments: 8
About us