Sony Xperia ZR in-depth Review with full Specifications

Sony has recently launched a compact high-end Android smartphone with the same specifications as the flagship Xperia Z with a 20% lower price tag. It’s named Sony Xperia ZR which sports a 4.6” HD reality display, fully fledged TimeScape user interface, 1.5GHz CPU and the premium Adreno 320 GPU. The camera is 13MP in resolution and capable of shooting full HD videos even under water as Xperia ZR is IP58 certified water-resistant up to 1.5m deep under water. The pricing is very attractive, at this moment this phone retails at 29,500 Rs. ~ 500 USD and considering the hardware specs and software features, we can say this is the best phone to buy under 30K Rs or 500 USD. Just have a quick look at the specifications with the side-by-side reviews-

 

 

Key Features
  • 1.5 GHz quad-core Krait processor & Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 S4 pro chipset, Adreno 320 GPU, 2 GB of RAM
  • 4.6 inches TFT display with good 1280 x 720 pixels resolution @ 319 ppi pixel density, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2
  • Android v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) OS with graphics intensive TimeScape UI
  • 13.1 MP AF camera with FHD recording, VGA front camera
  • Dust and water resistant (IP 55 and IP58  certified)
  • 2300 mAh battery

Market status: Available, released June, 2013

 

Specifications and Review
DISPLAY Size 4.6 inches (11.68 cm) The best display size for one hand operation and everyday uses. 319ppi feels great to naked eyes and the color reproduction is just accurate, there is no fancy saturation like Super AMOLED displays. Sony has used OptiContrast panel which minimises the internal reflection and makes display clarity and touch sensitivity superb.
Technology TFT (Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2), 16M colors
Resolution HD i.e. 1280 x 720 pixels @ 319 ppi
Type Capacitive, Multitouch (10)
Protection Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass
EXTERIOR Dimensions 131.3 x 67.3 x 10.5 mm (5.17 x 2.65 x 0.41 in) Very good compact size. Xperia ZR isn’t thin, but I don’t mind as it feels solid in hand and the back rounded edges give a good grip of the phone. There is a nice rubberised matt finish at the back. The glossy black front look and the metallic touch at the sides make this phone look like a beautiful black slab, there are three more colors available as well. But I must say still flagship Xperia Z looks better because of the all glass build, but doesn’t feel as user friendly as this Xperia ZR. There is a dedicated shutter key and an LED illumination bar on Xperia ZR missing on the Xperia Z.
Weight 138 gm
Ports & Keys microUSB port, Dock connector (right), Power key, volume rocker, camera shutter key (left), 3.5 mm jack (top), Camera with flash (back), Illumination LED bar (front bottom)
Sensors Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
Colors White, Black, Pink, Mint
PROCESSINGPOWER Processor Quad-core 1.5 GHz, Krait Extremely good CPU and GPU, best in its class. You can play any high graphics game out there in the play store with ease. The benchmark results are even better than the premium Xperia Z, because of the slightly lower resolution display.
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon (MDM9215M / APQ8064) S4 pro
GPU Adreno 320
MEMORY System Memory 2 GB of RAM Very good RAM though the low internal memory is a big disappointment. You can’t move any installed app to the external SD card till now.
Internal Storage 8 GB
Expansion microSD, up to 64 GB
SOFTWARE OS Android v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Not the latest OS version out of the box, but 4.2 update is coming soon. TimeScape UI is the most graphics intensive user interface in term of transition and movement effects. It looks stylish, bold and robotic just like the sophisticated exterior look of Xperia ZR. The addition of ‘Small Apps’ and a better interactive interface make this UI a very neat interface with good handy features. Click here to watch a video demonstration of the interface.
User Interface TimeScape UI
CONNECTIVITY SIM Micro-SIM, Single Slot Good connectivity options with best in class hardware. Xperia XR is also PlayStation certified, so you can connect your phone to your PS and play games. You can mirror the display of the phone to your TV as well. You can ‘Throw’ media files to other DLNA certified devices (like TVs, music systems, smartphones) and play them wirelessly. There is a ‘Smart Connect’ app preinstalled that detects any accessory attached and performs specific tasks, like attaching the headset will launch the music player automatically.
Operatingfrequencies GSM – 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHzUMTS – 850, 900, 2100 MHzLTE – 800, 850, 900, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz
GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
3G 42 MBPS HSDPA, 5.76 MBPS HSUPA
4G LTE (Cat3) with 50 MBPS uploading, 100 MBPS downloading speed
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Bluetooth v4.0
USB microUSB  v2.0
NFC Yes
Radio Stereo FM with RDS
CAMERA Primary 13.1 megapixels Great quality camera. Audio recording during videography isn’t excellent and the front camera is just basic VGA. You can shoot full HD videos under water and the dedicated shutter key makes this easier. Overall rating 4/5. Check the full resolution camera samples: click here
Secondary 0.3 megapixels
Video Up to 1080p @30 fps (Primary), 480p (secondary)
Flash Single LED
Features Auto focus, touch focus, Sony Exmor RS sensor, face detection, digital image stabilization, geo-tagging, HDR, panorama mode, superior auto mode, image capture during videography [1 MP], under-water video recording
BATTERY Capacity 2300 mAh Li-lon Overall good battery life. With wireless off or occasionally on, you will get 1.5-2 days of backup. Heavy users will get around 1 full day. The battery is removable unlike Xperia Z, so you can always carry a spare one with you while travelling. There is a stamina mood available which can increase the battery life up to four folds by turning off all the background processes as soon as they are left.
Talk Time Up to 11 h (2G) / Up to 13 h (3G)
Standby Time Up to 470 h (2G) / Up to 520 h (3G)
OTHERFEATURES
  • Other sensors : Accelerometer, gyro, compass
  • Water resistant (IP 55 and IP 58 certified) up to 5 ft i.e. 1.5m deep under water for 30min [Xperia Z is IP 57 certified – water resistant up to 3.3 ft deep under water for 30min]
  • Dust and weather proof
  • OptiContrast display for better touch sensitivity and less internal reflections
  • Multi-colored LED notification bar
  • Dedicated shutter key which is very handy under water
This Xperia ZR has the best hardware in its class, best dust & water-resistance, bunch of Sony image enhancement (like Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, manual white balance setting option) and sound enhancement options (like ‘Xloud’ sound enhancement, ‘speaker voice enhancement’ & ‘slow talk’ during calls, ‘Clear Phase’ sound quality adjustment, ‘Clear Audio+’ & ‘Clear Stereo’ for enhancing clarity in music player, ‘Dynamic Normaliser’ for minimising volume differences between songs and videos). The illumination LED light changes color in gallery, music player and looks better than the single LED lights you usually get with other devices.
PRICE Around Rs 29,500 ~ 520 USD Extremely good pricing, value for money rating 4.5/5

 

 

Strong points: Sony Xperia ZR is the best phone under 30,000 Rs ~ 500 USD so far with best in class CPU, GPU and great sophisticated gadget look. The benchmark results are even near to the powerful monster Samsung Galaxy S4. Good RAM, compact display size, good camera and overall great exterior look make this phone the best under 30K Rs.

Weak points: The low internal storage and a VGA front camera on a 30K phone are awful. Though there are bunch of multimedia enhancing features, Sony devices lack the fancy eye-catchy Samsung smart features. The display ppi is though great but falls short of the smoothness in 440ppi displays on Xperia Z or Galaxy S4, HTC one but we should not forget that Xperia ZR is 20% cheaper than those flagship phones and this is the main reason for the price cut, otherwise regarding the performance, Xperia ZR is nothing less than those famous premium devices from the market leaders. BTW, Nexus 4 is another phone that comes close to this phone in terms of hardware at a slightly cheaper price, but you should always prefer a customised user interface with optimised hardware and software features unless you are a developer or a geek.

Suitable for those people who are looking for a compact yet powerful smartphone under 30K Rs with great look and build. This is also good for photography, gaming and multimedia. If you want a stylish phone at around 30K with great gaming performance, just get this Xperia ZR

 

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Unboxing & Hands on Review

 

Benchmark Tests

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