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Sony Xperia Z vs Sony Xperia ZL – A comparison in Full HD

Earlier in the year Sony revealed two Full HD smartphones at the same time. The Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL share the same hardware inside but differ in design and some other areas. One is destined for Europe and the other will hit the US, Canada and other countries.

The Xperia Z is now out here in the UK, although the Xperia ZL is yet to hit both the US and Canada, but will do soon. We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on both at the same time, so we thought a comparison to show the differences between Sony’s two new Xperias would only be fair.

The first thing you’ll notice when holding the two together is the difference in materials used – the Xperia Z and it’s all glass build feels sturdier and yet still sleeker. Whereas the Z has a flat and smooth back, the ZL has a slightly convex dimpled plastic back. This makes the ZL a fair bit thicker – 9.8mm thick compared to the Z’s slender 7.9mm, in fact, but it also makes the ZL nicer to hold as it curves to fit your palm nicely.

Despite featuring the same glorious 5-inch Full HD display, the Xperia Z is a fair bit longer and a little wider than its brother, and we have to say that we prefer the overall size of the Xperia ZL.

There are a couple of other bonuses up the ZL’s sleeve as well, some of which make us look at the Xperia Z and wish it had the same. For starters it has a physical camera button on the right edge, which is something that we love in smartphones. Through using the Xperia Z we’ve found ourselves taking the phone out of our pocket to take a snap and finding the phone the perfect size and shape to hold landscape, but the omission of a camera button makes taking pictures a fiddly nuisance.

There’s also a pretty neat glowing notification LED situated at the bottom of the phone. The Z has a notification LED in the top right corner but it’s circular and, well… regular. The ZL’s stretches out like a line of light and looks much cooler, if you ask us.

On the inside both are nigh-on the same – the 5-inch Full HD display, 13 megapixel camera, quad-core Krait processor, 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM are all the same. The ZL has a 2.2 megapixel front facing camera that’s oddly situated in the bottom right corner of the case, whereas the Z has a 2 megapixel snapper in the top left – both produce the same results from what we’ve seen.

Overall it seems that both sides of the ocean will be getting veritable top-end smartphones. In Europe we get the better end of the design bargain with the slim, all-glass, waterproof Xperia Z whilst over the pond the Xperia ZL provides a better all-round camera experience and an eye-catching light.