Xperia ZL review for those that want The Z in a smaller package

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a final release Black Sony Xperia ZL from a very reliable source. This phone is expected to be released around the middle to end of March. This is the unlocked C6506 model of the ZL which comes with UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 1700 (Band IV), 1900 (Band II), 2100 (Band I) GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 LTE Band I, Band II, Band IV, Band V and Band XVII. For those of you who are not sure what that means this is a penta band phone that will work with Tmobile and AT&T HSPA + network as well as AT&T's LTE and Tmobile's soon to be released LTE network. I am currently using it on Tmobile but i have also tested it with AT&T.

This phone has the exact same specs as the Xperia Z minus the dust and waterproofing. However what you lose in extra protection gains you a very compact phone. It is actually smaller than the Galaxy S III as far as length and width are concerned, it is slightly thicker but not by much. The back casing is made of a poly plastic with a durable textured back that actually gives you a better grip over a 5" screen that was made to be used one handed.

The screen is bright and crisp and the viewing angles are great if your one of those people that look at your phone dead on (Why people want a phone that can be seen by the person sitting next to you is beyond me). I will take some pics comparing it with the Galaxy S III as well as the Xperia TX. But the screen is amazing and watching the walking dead on it has been a joy.

Battery life has been pretty decent. Im averaging about 13-14 hours of light to moderate use and 6-8 hours of heavy use witch include browsing the net, youtube, facebooking and watching movies. Mind you i have done all this without using stamina mode. i wanted to see what my results where without it so that i then have something to compare it against. i will report back.

The Ui is pretty slick it has some neat animations but its not heavily tweaked like sense 4.0 or cartoony like Touch Wiz. there is nothing about this phone that has lag or stutter in anyway. It is FAST, and ive attempted to bog it down opening and closing apps as well as switching between apps with not so much as a problem. Another nice touch which had me thrilled was that i was able to download all of my old Nvidia Tegra games that i purchased back when i was using the G2X (im really enjoying gaming on this phone GTA3 and Vice city play great as well as 9MM, Order and Chaos, The Dark Knight, Spiderman, Backstab, Max Payne, Dead Trigger, Dead Space, Vector and Angry Birds). Music sounds excellent provided you have decent headphones and the speaker on this thing is pretty loud.loud enough to allow me to have conversations on speaker while driving around town.

Things im not crazy about...Im not digging the fact that the background has switched from black to white in the stock messaging app as well as contacts but thats just personal taste. Also the lock screen requires you to do a full swipe up and down with this neat little window blind effect but its annoying at times because it really does require you to go from top to bottom and vice versa for it to unlock the screen. The camera takes great shots but i feel that the burst shot should really have its own button rather than me having to go looking for it in the menu or perhaps do like HTC has and register that fact that i haven't taken my finger off the shutter. Especially considering that theres unused space in the left hand menu options that would make for a good place to put a burst shot button.The notification area has the easy access settings buttons vibration, blue-tooth, wi-fi, data connections and settings, but they are not customizable at all and that really drags away from their purpose in my opinion as it should be up to the user to set. The placement of the front facing camera while interesting does mean that if your a right handed user you may be holding it with your left hand or looking at the person your chating with sideways because your palm may get in the way.

None of this is deal breaking just my personal take. If any one has questions or request ill try to accommodate so ask away.