I know a lot of you will be receiving your Christmas bonus within the next few days so I thought you might be needing this.

For those who are planning to use their extra income to purchase a smartphone or a tablet this Yuletide season, I'll be posting several comparison entries to help you decide which models to get. This entry is specifically for the Sony fans who are having a hard time choosing between the three flagship Xperia handsets of the Japanese company this year.

Sony Xperia Z vs. Sony Xperia Z1 vs. Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Sony Flagship Smartphones

TP Friends, as some of you know, I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to extensively play with Sony Xperia Z, Sony Xperia Z1, and Sony Xperia Z Ultra LTE - shown in that order in the photo above.

Sony Xperia Z vs. Sony Xperia Z1 vs. Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Sony Flagship Smartphones

I'll give a quick and easy-to-understand comparison between these three top-level smartphones in terms of design, construction, technical specifications, Antutu benchmark score, key features, and price. Hopefully, the information would help you pick the right flagship model for yourself.

Sony Xperia Z vs. Sony Xperia Z1 vs. Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Sony Flagship Smartphones

Let's start with Design and Construction. Just from looking at these photos, it's clear that Sony Xperia Z, Z1, and Z Ultra all flaunt the same clean, squarish glass-sandwich Sony Omnibalance design identity. The face of each handset - which is without any unnecessary frills or embellishments - is made of scratch-resistant Dragontrail Glass while the back features Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is likewise resistant to scratches. Why Sony chose Dragontrail instead of the thinner (and less prone to sweat capacitance) Gorilla Glass 3 to be the touchscreen of these phones continues to baffle me up to this very day.

Sony Xperia Z vs. Sony Xperia Z1 vs. Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Sony Flagship Smartphones
Notice the difference in the position of the camera module at the back of each of these handsets.

As for dimensions and weight, Sony Xperia Z is the smallest (in terms of width and height) and the lightest of the bunch while, amazingly, despite its very large screen and footprint, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra phablet is the thinnest. Sony Xperia Z1, obviously, is in the middle of the pack in these departments; Though, really, it's just slightly bigger than Z. You can check the dimensions of each smartphone in the complete specs tables below.

Both the Z1 and Z Ultra LTE come with a metal frame that doesn't only give them a more solid, sturdy, and durable feel in the hand but also makes them look more stunning and elegant. Z has a plastic frame (with matte or rubbery edges) sandwiched by glasses, which - I think - made it possible for it to be that light.

Now, let's go to Technical Specifications. And for this, I'm just letting these TP Smartphone Technical Specs Tables for each of these releases speak for themselves.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Sony Xperia Z
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category High-End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions139 x 71 x 7.9 mm
Weight 146 grams
Available Colors Purple, White, Black
Operating System upon launch Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Xperia UI skin
Display 5 inches (~441 ppi pixel density), 1080 x 1920 pixels, TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, scratch-resistant Asahi Dragontrail Glass
Processor Quad Core 1.5 GHz Krait Adreno 320 GPU Qualcomm MDM9215M / APQ8064 chipset
RAM/ROM 2 GB RAM
Internal Storage 16 GB, expandable via microSD, supports up to 32GB
Camera 13.1 MegaPixels, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus and LED flash, 2.2 MegaPixels front camera
Video Capture Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second
Audio and Video Playback MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV, MP3, eAAC+, WMA, WAV, Flac player
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps, LTE, Cat3, 100 Mbps DL, 50 Mbps UL
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - C6602, C6603, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Gyro, Proximity
Ports microUSB 2.0 MHL A/V link, 3.5mm Audio Jack
Battery Li-Ion 2330 mAh non-removable battery
Uptime Standby of up to 550 hours, Talk time of up to 14 hours, Music play of up to 40 hours
Value-Added Features Flagship Release, latest version of Timescape UI, Shatter Proof and Scratch-Resistant glass touchscreen, IP57 certified Dust and Water resistant, Water proof up to 1 meter and 30 minutes, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2
Announcement Worldwide: December 2012
Availability Philippines: First Week of April 2013
Price Kimstore as of November 25, 2013: Php 18,500

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Sony Xperia Z1
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category High End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions144 x 74 x 8.5 mm
Weight 170 grams
Available Colors White, Purple, Black
Operating System upon launch Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with Xperia UI skin
Display 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density), 1080 x 1920 pixels, Triluminos, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, X-Reality for mobile – Sony’s intelligent super resolution technology which analyzes each image and optimizes the quality to deliver super sharp videos, scratch-resistant Asahi Dragontrail Glass
Processor Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 chipset
RAM 2 GB RAM
Internal Storage 16 GB, expandable via microSD card slot, supports up to 64GB
Camera 20.7 MegaPixels, autofocus, LED flash, BSI Sensor, 1/2.3'' sensor size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, panorama, Front: 2 MegaPixels, BSI Sensor
Video Capture Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second for main camera, video stabilization, Full HD 1080p for front camera (to be confirmed)
Audio and Video Playback MP4, H.263, H.264, MP3, eAAC+, WAV, Flac player
Ports microUSB v2.0, TV-out (via MHL A/V link), 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, ANT+, EDR, 3G HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyroscope
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600
SIM Card Type microSIM
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
Uptime Up to 880 Hours of Standby, 110 hours of Music Play, 15 Hours of Talk Time
Value-Added Features Triluminos Display, Big Battery, Sony’s ClearAudio+ which automatically optimizes the audio experience without the need to adjust individual settings, X-Reality for mobile, Top-notch Imaging Capabilities, IP58 Certified Water-Resistant
Announcement September 4, 2013 at IFA 2013 in Berlin
Availability Q4 2013
Price Kimstore as of November 25, 2013: Php 24,280

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Sony Xperia Z Ultra LTE
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen), Phablet
Price Category High End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm
Weight 212 grams
Available Colors Black, Purple, White
Operating System upon launch Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Xperia UI Skin
Display 6.4 inches (~344 ppi pixel density), 1080 x 1920 pixels, Triluminos, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, scratch-resistant Asahi Dragontrail Glass
Processor Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 CPU Adreno 330 GPU Qualcomm MSM8974 or MSM8274 Snapdragon 800 chipset
RAM 2 GB RAM
Internal Storage 16 GB (11 GB user available), expandable via microSD card slot, supports up to 64 GB
Camera 8 MegaPixels, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, no LED flash, BSI (Exmor RS); 2 MegaPixels front camera
Video Capture Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second for main camera
Audio and Video Playback DivX, Xvi, MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV, MP3, eAAC+, WMA, WAV, Flac player
Ports microUSB v2.0, TV-out (via MHL A/V link), 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, HSPA+; LTE Variant: Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyroscope
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600
SIM Card Type microSIM
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3050 mAh battery
Uptime Standby time of up to 820 hours, Talk time of up to 16 hours, Music Play of up to 120 hours
Value-Added Features IP55 and IP58 certified to be dust and water resistant, massive 6.4 inch display, first handset from Sony to flaunt a Triluminos display, supports hand-writing on screen using pencil or supported pen and stylus, Battery Stamina mode, LTE connectivity support
Announcement Shanghai: June 25, 2013
Availability Q3 2013
Price Kimstore as of November 25, 2013: Php 22,980

Key Specifications Rundown

Display: All three handsets have the same 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD screen resolution but both Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra LTE flaunt Sony's Triluminos display. This display type delivers a wider gamut of colors - deeper and richer reds, blues, and greens - compared to other LCDs, which greatly enhances the user's viewing experience. Z and Z1 have the same 5-inch screen size while Z Ultra has a massive 6.4-inch display.

Camera: Sony Xperia Z1 totally slays the other two in this department. As I've shared earlier, Z1 comes with the camera module on any Sony handset out currently; This shooter features Sony's award-winning G Lens with a 27mm wide angle and bright F2.0 aperture, custom made large 1/2.3-type CMOS image sensor Exmor RS for mobile with 20.7 MegaPixels and BIONZ mobile image processing engine. I've taken Sony Xperia Z's camera for a spin and I would have to say that - putting the high-end Nokia Lumia handsets and Sony Xperia Z1 in a separate category - it's still one of the best out there. Sony Xperia Z Ultra LTE is the weakest of the three in this regard largely because of the lower resolution sensor and the lack of LED flash.

Connectivity: All three smartphones share similar connectivity options headlined by LTE, which delivers the fastest mobile data speeds available. Sony Xperia Z, Z1, and Z Ultra are all compatible with the LTE bands of both Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.

Battery: Looking at the tables above, it's clear that Sony Xperia Z1 is the winner in terms of uptime. Its battery almost has the same capacity as that of Z Ultra LTE but since it has a smaller display, which uses less power, it's able to give users an extended mobile experience. As mentioned in my review of the phone, battery life is the greatest weakness of Sony Xperia Z, so if you're getting it, I would suggest that you also buy a power bank for peace of mind when you're away from an electrical outlet.

IP57 vs. IP58 Certification: Sony Xperia Z1 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra are both IP58 certified water and dust resistant while Sony Xperia Z only has IP57 certification. The first digit in these certifications indicates protection against dust ingress. According to Wikipedia, Level 5 certified means that "ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact." The second digit, on the other hand, represents protection against water ingress. Level 7 certification, in this case, means that ingress of water in harmful quantity is not possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 meter of submersion). In contrast, Level 8 certification would mean that the device is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed or is airtight. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. In the case of Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra, IP58 certification is equivalent to being "dust resistant" and capable of surviving being "immersed in 1.5 meter of freshwater for up to 30 minutes".

Innards: Z1 and Z Ultra LTE have the same Quad Core 2.2 GHz GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU based Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset and 2GB of RAM while Z has the older Quad Core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU and Adreno 320 GPU based Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC and 2GB. So when it comes to gaming and overall touch experience, Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra LTE deliver a similar, superior performance compared to Sony Xperia Z. This is also reflected in the Antutu Benchmark Scores of each handset.

Sony Xperia Z vs. Sony Xperia Z1 vs. Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Sony Flagship Smartphones

Price: With price tag of Php 24,280 as of today at Kimstore - my trusted online store, Sony Xperia Z1 is the most expensive of the trio. It is followed by Sony Xperia Z Ultra LTE that sells for Php 22,980. And finally, the most affordable of the bunch, is Sony Xperia Z, which now goes for only Php 18,500.

So which 2013 flagship Xperia is right for you? Well, I'd say it depends on two things: Your budget and what you need. If you're on a tight budget and you still want to experience the best of what Sony has to offer in the smartphone category, Sony Xperia Z would be a wonderful choice -- yes, even if it's already more than 6 months old. If you want a great Android cameraphone (with top-notch internal specifications) that performs well even in low light conditions, by all means, get Sony Xperia Z1. I have to warn you though that, good as it is, Z1's shooter is still inferior compared to that of Nokia Lumia 1020 and even the 920 and 925. Then again, you do get a wider choice of applications on the Sony Xperia Z1 versus its WP8 competitors. Now, if you're looking for a smartphone with the best technical specs that can practically double as a tablet and you don't really need an outstanding camera on the device, Sony Xperia Z Ultra LTE is the right handset for you.

Have you made your choice, TP Friends? If you're ready to make a purchase (or if you have more inquiries and clarifications about these smartphones), feel free to give Kimstore a ring at +63905-320-1818, +63922-885-9799, +63908-886-9799, and (02) 904-2966 or if you wish so, you can visit Kim's official website at Kim.com.ph.