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(Pocket-lint) - A new handset has been announced by Sony at IFA 2013, updating and refreshing its flagship Android offering and looking to continue the good work started by January's Xperia Z.

But is this just more of the same? Is it too soon for Sony to be updating its handset, or is it just trying to fend off the likes of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4?

We've drilled down into the details, to find out exactly what the difference is.


One of the strong points of the Sony Xperia Z was the unique design. The Xperia Z1 keeps that premium glass sandwich design, with a super-skinny waistline and a high-quality finish. But Sony has enhanced it. The edges are now better slicker, designed to be nicer to hold, even if for the most part it looks the same. Crucially, however, that headphone flap has now gone, because the 3.5mm socket is now waterproof.


The Sony Xperia Z launched on the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro platform, clocked at 1.5GHz with 2GB of RAM. Its early appearance meant that it was soon surpassed by models from HTC and Samsung sitting on the latest Qualcomm hardware. The Xperia Z1 changes that, now with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 internals, clocked at 2.2GHz: the Xperia Z1 will be powerhouse, not a slouch.


Sony has drawn a lot of attention to its smartphone cameras, with plenty of customisation to the control interface, for example, making the experience similar to using a compact camera. That was true of the Xperia Z, but in the Xperia Z1, it's gone the whole hog and used a 1/2.3-type compact camera sensor. A bigger sensor, with 20.7-megapixels, a Bionz imaging processor and Sony G Lens promises to be a great performer, one we can't wait to test in depth.


The Xperia Z's display was good, but perhaps not as good as the display on the HTC One. The Xperia Z1, however, brings an improvement, with Sony saying it has added everything it has learnt from its Bravia range of TVs. You now get a Triluminous display, promising better, more natural, colours. It's still 5 inches in size, with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, and from what we've seen so far, it's a great display.


To keep the phone running, there's now a unrated 3000mAh battery. That's a really positive move, meaning you'll be able to snap those huge pictures without the worry of the phone falling flat. The 2330mAh battery of the original Xperia Z could be made to last all day thanks to the granular detail of Sony's Stamina Mode, so we've high hopes for the Xperia Z1: it should last you through the day with ease.

Upgrade or more of the same?

Much of the user interface and experience remains the same: Sony's customisation of Android brings a few new additions, especially in the camera department and it remains to be seen whether these are restricted to the new model, or will roll back to the older version. With Sony refreshing its leading handset every six months, we'd be tempted to see what January 2014 brings when faced with an upgrade.

If you're buying new and faced with the choice, however, it's easy: if you're in the market for a premium Android experience, the Sony Xperia Z1 is going to deliver it by the bucketload.

READ: Hands-on: Sony Xperia Z1 review

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 30 August 2013.