Only a year after releasing the Xperia S, its first post-Ericsson phone, Sony has already reached the end of the alphabet with its flagship for 2013, the Xperia Z. The implication behind the name is that this handset is as ultimate as the letter Z itself, and Sony’s design and marketing teams have worked hard to amplify that idea. Cheap plastic has given way to tempered glass on the phone’s back and the power button is a precisely machined aluminum disc — so much time and attention has been poured into this one device that Sony’s ads are now boldly proclaiming it as innovative as the company’s hallowed Trinitron and Walkman brands.
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One thing’s for sure: Sony’s not content with being an also-ran in the Android smartphone race, and the Z is its boldest attempt to grab the lead yet. It has all the requisite spec credentials — a 1080p display, quad-core processor, LTE — but it’s facing a market saturated with feature- and spec-rich devices that will demand something a little extra. Can Sony stand out on design alone, might the PlayStation Mobile experience finally deliver, or are we just staring down yet another overgrown Android looking for a raison d'être? Let’s find out.</ p>