The next wave of Android hardware seems to be building and this week, I reviewed the latest from Sony. The company’s Xperia Z with LTE for T-Mobile debuted on Wednesday and is available from the carrier this coming on July 17 for $99 down and 24 equal payments of $20. The handset uses a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display. Some may be put off by Sony’s choice of a slightly older chip to power the Xperia Z, but in my testing, it was a non-issue.
Instead of using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 like other currently available flagship handsets, Sony inserted a Snapdragon S4 Pro. This quad-core, 1.5 GHz chip is from last year. With the 2 GB of memory, however, the Xperia Z held its own against its peers, the Galaxy S 4, HTC One and LG Optimus G Pro. Yes, the phone benchmarks as a slower device, but I didn’t experience any noticeable lags or slowness by comparison.
Fairly unique to the Xperia Z is its resistance to dust and water. Yes, this phone can take a drop in the pool: I checked! You can also take photos and videos underwater but not for hours. The Xperia Z can withstand 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water. Sony lightly skinned the Android software so the interface isn’t as overpowering as Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense interface. And in areas with T-Mobile LTE coverage, the mobile broadband speeds are quite good. T-Mobile introduced several new LTE markets this week so your area may now be lit up.
While Sony is outing new phones, LG is only teasing its next device. We shouldn’t have to wait long though: On August 7, LG is holding a press event where it will debut the LG G2; the company’s first handset with a Snapdragon 800 chip. This is top-of-the-line silicon from Qualcomm and boasts faster performance as well as vastly improved support for video and still imagery. It’s likely the G2 will be capable of 4K video capture at 4,000 x 2,000 pixels. With all that power under the hood, the handset will surely have at least a 1920 x 1080 display and be 5-inches in size or greater.
This week also brought good news for HTC One owners, making me happy since I may become one of those soon. Paul O’Brien of MoDaCo showed his latest work in progress for the HTC One: A dual-boot option that lets you run either the HTC Sense software or the stock Google Android environment found on the Google Experience version of this phone. O’Brien is also working on integrating some of the better Sense bits, such as the camera app, into the stock Android software.
For now, however, you can boot into one or the other versions. And the two environments share the same data store. That means apps you add when running Sense, for example, appear when you boot into pure Android, and vice versa. The same holds true with your account settings, media and any other data. Here’s how it looks so far: