Do we want a smart phone with 5" 1080p display and Quad-Core processor... hell yes!
We have tried numerous different touch screen devices since the Xperia PLAY and the honest trust is that none of them will ever be as good as the play for gaming, because of the lack of the gamepad. That is why we here at Xperia Gamer have taken it upon ourselves to hunt and road test every Android gamepad we can, to find the one that works as good as the play with a standard touch screen. My favourite so far is the MOGA gamepad and I am taking it with me more and more these days, especially as the library of supported games is growing. But this article isn't about that today, I wanted to write about the Xperia Z.
I was fortunate enough to be over at CES for work related stuff, so naturally I took an extended break and wanted to go and have a look at what Sony were up to. There was shed loads of Windows 8 laptops and hybrid devices but I couldn't give a monkeys about Windows at the moment. I just wanted to have a play with what is appearing to be one o fthe hottest smartphones to arrive in 2013, the Xperia Z. So not only was I lucky enough to have a play with it, in some detail but since I have had a few hands on opportunities, so I wanted to share my experience.
First as we all know, it is pretty big, you have a 5 inch display which for the first time in a while is actually symmetrical to the bezel of the phone. so that frame we hold in our hand is the same width on both sides of the device which has been missing on not just Sony's but pretty much every Android device out there. This means that when you are holding it in your hand, it is center aligned and feels more like a miniature TV. The resolution is FULL 1080p HD!!! Awesome huh? I don't think there is any games which are truly optimised for 1080p on Android at the moment but if you want to watch a BluRay rip in between blowing up stuff, then there is nothing that can compete.
It does support Miracast as we have read about on the Xperia T before. At the moment, this is a relatively unknown technology and here in the UK, TV's or adapters that support MiracCast streaming are very rare. According to the sony bods though at CES, this will change in April 2013 as Sony start to ship TV's with this technology built in. So this means, no more HDMI cables or adapters, you will be able to stream your game directly from the phone to the TV using Wi-Fi Direct, leaving your phone screen to be the controller in some cases. Have you seen the WiiU yet from Nintendo? That wireless gamepad uses MiraCast and is a glimpse in the future of all this cool tech that smartphones will be capable of. Ofcourse it does stil support MHL HDMI out so if like me, a new high end TV isn't on your shopping list, then cables it is then.
The Xperia Z is the first Xperia Droid to have Quad-core, a choice which has left some nerds uttering in sighs of relief 'FINALLY!'. It is the Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz with Adreno 320. Now just as much as that ultimately means more power and a smoother experience, I have to say that I never suffered from lag on my Xperia T using dual-core so I have yet to experience a real game optimised for quad-core which brings a better experience. However, there is the future proof argument to that. In 2014, maybe the quad core abilities will bring us real PS2 and XBox emulators.
So with all of the above in consideration it has plenty of power and hardware to make this an amazing smart phone for gaming. What I noticed more though after playign with it for a while, was how much more responsive the Sony JellyBean software was. The new home layout is less messy and runs a lot smoother, I was asking around and I did find out that finally with this JB update on the Xperia Z, it was utilizing the graphics processor for managing the graphics and transitions on the Android UI. This sounds obvious but it has been a major flaw with Android in the past and especially the Sony eDream overlay.
When I got my hands on with the Xperia Z, I had to try it out for gaming and I had to try it out with a gamepad. Luckily for the few minutes I had with it, I had my MOGA with me in my bag. The Sony guys were generous enough to let me play about and pair it all up. I made the below video quickly just to show you, how super smooth it looked. Honestly, I couldn't fault it! This was an early prototype sample of the Z but still it behaved like a pro.
Have Sony finally done it and produced a must have touch screen Android that will please gamers, Tweeters, instagramers, fashion victims or just the general public? I think so and we are going to see even more awesomeness in Mobile World Congress before it's released.
Xperia Z with Dead Trigger and MOGA gamepad
Xperia Z Official Video