Camera is the crowning glory of the Xperia Z1
Sony Xperia Z1
The very first thing I do when I look at a new phone is to check its camera. This is a personal habit, but as phones are now the main witnesses to our lives – via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other messaging services – I quite like to have the best available snapper attached to my handset.
Price: from free on contract with operators
The crown for best cameraphone changes frequently (on the day I'm writing this, I've just been handed Nokia's 41-megapixel Lumia 1020, while there's still Apple's 'large pixel' iPhone 5S to try out).
But I've been using Sony's 20-megapixel Xperia Z1 now for three weeks. It is fair to describe the camera of the five-inch Android phone as outstanding. Specifically, it offers marginally higher clarity and resolution than any other cameraphone I've had to date.
Aside from the extra megapixels, this is probably down to Sony's decision to add a proper (if low-end) camera sensor.
This gives better detail, especially in low light. It also allows more depth of field.
An external camera button wakes the camera up from a locked position, while the gadget's bright, clear screen is a superb viewing display for shots and video, also.
Realising its worth as a standalone camera, Sony has also sensibly tried hard to beef up the device's battery power, giving it a relatively large 3,000mAh battery.
Being honest, it won't get you through a full day of shooting, Facebooking and tweeting. Then again, no cameraphone will.
I've gone into more detail on the handset's performance and features as a phone in an in-depth review on Independent.ie. Suffice to say that it mostly performs well, with one or two minor cribs.