About a week or ago, I decided to get a new phone. I’d been googling new mobiles for about several months but not really seen anything that I wanted. Part of that is recognizing that new phones come out every few months or so and knowing that as soon as I buy one, a better one is going to be launched. Part of it is wanting to wait for my company phone to become available for an upgrade. Another part is refusing to buy anything related to LG ever again (baaaad experience with stock LG; upcoming blog is going to cover that story – also see these embarrassing forum entries); and knowing that HTC and Samsung are notoriously unfriendly to mods and custom development down the line.
What triggered the decision to finally go out and upgrade was that my old personal phone, purchased a mere year ago, had a bad component. In the end, it decided to start sucking my battery dry in a mere 10 hours in standby mode, whether I used it or not. On stock LG software, that would be unbelievably close to the norm, in fact. But with my modded ROM and kernel from XDA-developers.com, I had finally gotten up to 4-5 days of standby time (that should give you an idea of just how bad stock LG software really is). So… ’twas decision time.
Having realized that the real competition was either the iPhone 6 (never gonna happen anyway) or the new flagships from HTC or Samsung, my options went down to nothing. Or one, as it may be.
I bought a Sony Xperia Z.
It’s waterproof, has a 5″ screen, is extremely lightweight and agile in use (I have big hands, fortunately), and Sony has done a really good job with their stock launcher. Some very nice details there 🙂
The good stuff:
- Large screen with ample space to view stuff. That’s a huge plus when you get to be 44 and farsightedness starts kicking in along with the default nearsightedness from youth…
- Very responsive touch screen, probably stemming from the over-achieving 4-core processor
- Waterproof. Or, at least, water resistant. Sony claims this thing can stay immersed in water for 30 minutes without getting damaged. I, for one, don’t really care (not going to take it swimming or in the shower) but it’s nice to know it’s not going to fail during a sudden rain shower. Also, I wonder how Sony is going to respond to actual water damage warranty claims…
- Excellent support for AOSP down the line. Heck, Sony even posted their own flashing tool online… Of course, it’s for restoring the stock ROM once you’ve flashed a custom ROM – and it breaks the warranty, but you’ve already done that… Now, that’s commitment 🙂
- Mobile Bravia Engine makes for some good, high-definition pictures when using the stock camera
The not-so-good stuff:
- 5-inch display just a tad bit too big, even for my large hands. Getting used to it, though.
- Functional limitations to the stock launcher in terms of widget resizing possibilities and number of home screens. Considering Nova Launcher, which I already own.
- Shitty stock keyboard. C’mon, Sony, the period key is located on the “symbols” page… Definitely install an alternative keyboard.
- Mobile Bravia Engine (yeah, I know I listed that as a plus, too). The deal is, the stock camera takes two images with different exposure settings, then merges the two pictures for enhanced contrast. Well…the thing is, if you move the camera – or, as I did – try to take a picture out of the window of a moving vehicle? You get a ghost image because the vehicle moved just a little bit and the angle towards your subject changed….You can disable Bravia, but the kodak moment went bye-bye in the meantime.
- No video (HDMI) out, which I’m used to from my old P990. But hardly ever used it anyway, and the Nvidia proprietary code couldn’t be ported to custom ROMs. The Xperia is odd, though, in that it supports proprietary Sony wireless video displays, but who the heck owns a Sony TV anyway? Why would that be a driver for only supporting proprietary video devices? There’s, like, 100 people in the world who would own a Sony TV and be able to figure out how to work out the setup. If this kind of “strategic” thinking starts picking up steam, then soon enough, companies like HBO is going to restrict on-demand internet movie streaming to only Samsung TVs. Oh, wait…
- System apps. Who cares about the Sony apps? Like, I have to update every other app individually just because I don’t also want to update Xperia Link, Music Unlimited and Socialife? Time to root this thing and freeze those apps.
The software stuff can be fixed. So, all in all, very happy 🙂