The Sony Xperia ZR vs Xperia Z comparison aims to look at which of the two offers the best value pound for pound.
The Sony Xperia Z is the best smartphone that Sony has made in years. It’s a no-compromise device with top specs, great build quality and innovative features. Now they’ve announced the Sony Xperia ZR which is more of a mid-range handset with a lower price tag, yet this too makes surprisingly few compromises, so which is the better buy and for who? Read on to find out.
Sony Xperia ZR vs Xperia Z – Build quality and durability
The Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZR share a fairly similar design aesthetic. They’re both clad in glass, which gives them a classy, premium look. It’s shatter-proof and scratch-resistant too, which should ensure solid durability. If anything the Sony Xperia ZR edges the win here though, as while the Sony Xperia Z can survive a soaking, the Sony Xperia ZR is actually built to be submerged - just don’t go deeper than 1.5 metres or stay in the water for more than 30 minutes...or go anywhere near salt water.
Sony Xperia ZR vs Xperia Z – Display
The screen is probably the biggest difference between the two handsets. The Sony Xperia Z has a market leading 5 inch 1080 x 1920 Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 display with a pixel density of an incredible 441 pixels per inch. The Sony Xperia ZR on the other hand has a slightly more modest 4.6 inch 720 x 1280 Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 display with 323 pixels per inch. It’s still good, but nowhere near the quality of the full HD display on the Sony Xperia Z.
Sony Xperia ZR vs Xperia Z – Power
It’s a dead heat in the power stakes, with both phones packing a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. That’s more than anyone should actually need and only really topped by the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, so both the Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZR can be considered high end in that regard.
Sony Xperia ZR vs Xperia Z – Camera
The camera is pretty much identical in both handsets too, with both the Sony Xperia Z and the Sony Xperia ZR equipped with 13 megapixel lenses. They can both shoot 1080p video at 30fps per second too. There are a couple of differences though, on the one hand the Sony Xperia ZR can shoot underwater, which the Sony Xperia Z can’t, but the Sony Xperia Z can also shoot 1080p video with its front facing camera, while the Sony Xperia ZR can only muster VGA for its secondary snapper. Still, underwater photography on your mobile is exciting and innovative so we’d say the ZR trumps the Z.
Sony Xperia ZR vs Xperia Z - Battery life, memory and connectivity
The Sony Xperia Z has a 2330 mAh battery rated for up to 530 hours of 3G standby time, 14 hours of 3G talk time and up to 40 hours of music playback, which makes for slightly above average performance. The Sony Xperia ZR isn’t far off it, but comes out slightly worse with a 2300 mAh battery, capable of 520 hours of 3G standby time, 13 hours of 3G talk time and 45 hours of music.
For memory the Sony Xperia Z again takes the win, with 16GB of onboard memory combined with a micro SD card slot which can boost that by up to 64GB more. That’s compared to just 8GB of built in memory on the Sony Xperia ZR, along with micro SD card support for up to 32GB cards.
The two handsets are neck and neck for connectivity options. Both come with support for NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and 3G. The Sony Xperia Z is also available with 4G from EE and while there are no announcements yet on that front for the Xperia ZR we wouldn’t be surprised if they pick it up, or if one of the other networks does once they roll out 4G.
Sony Xperia ZR vs Xperia Z - Conclusion
Ultimately there is remarkably little to choose between the two handsets. The specs, cameras, connectivity options and physical design are all pretty similar. The improved waterproofing on the Sony Xperia ZR is quite exciting but we question how many people will actually take it for a dip anyway. That really just leaves the display, which is unarguably better on the Sony Xperia Z, making it the better handset overall.
However it’s also more expensive, coming in at around £450 (while the Xperia ZR is likely to retail for around £350). So if you want the best, go for the Xperia Z, but if you can live with an inferior screen then the Sony Xperia ZR is an excellent value option, and if you want to try some underwater photography on your phone it’s the only option.
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By Kevin Thomas on 15th May, 2013