Critically, the software on the Xperia Z appears to be very similar to the stock version of Android. Sony has a poor track record with timely Android updates to its smartphones, so we remain hopeful that a light UI skin may mean the update process of the Xperia Z can be more timely than previous models.
Panorama photos, Facebook posts from the notifications screen and the 'Do Not Disturb' feature on the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 on the other hand runs Apple's latest iOS 6 operating system. Using the device is a very similar experience to previous iPhone's, though Apple says iOS 6 has added over 200 new features to the platform.
Xperia Z vs. iPhone 5: Camera
The Xperia Z has a 13-megapixel camera that features an Exmor RS image sensor. Sony claims it's the world's first smartphone image sensor with HDR (High Dynamic Range) video. This feature certainly looks appealing and should theoretically improve images that are captured with bright objects near darker ones. A good example is capturing a photo indoors with a bright window in the frame. It sounds impressive, but can't be judged until we see sample images and put the camera through its paces ourselves.
Other features of the camera include a superior auto setting that claims to capture photos with "optimal" settings, a sweep panorama mode and the ability to capture still photos while simultaneously recording video. The latter isn't a new feature -- HTC has used it on a number of its phones including the popular One X and One XL. Curiously, the Xperia Z can also capture video underwater.
The camera on the iPhone 5 is one of the best we've used on a smartphone. The 8-megapixel sensor captures excellent photos with great detail. Many of the shots produced are comparable to some dedicated point-and-shoot digital cameras.
During testing, we found that the iPhone 5's camera consistently produced accurate colours and impressive detail levels. Macro performance is excellent, and the lens is quick to focus on close range subjects. The iPhone 5 can also take quality photos in low light conditions, though these images are still noisier than most good point-and-shoot cameras.
Xperia Z vs. iPhone 5: Internals
The Sony Xperia Z certainly boasts impressive specifications. It's powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz Krait processor, has 2GB RAM and comes with 16GB of internal memory. There's also a microSD card slot, which will be welcome news to many ardent Android fans. A theoretical maximum 48GB of memory will keep most potential users satisfied.
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