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Sony Xperia ZL hands on and pictures

Meet the Sony Xperia ZL. It’s the not-so-little brother to the Xperia Z, which is coming out in the UK at the end of this month. Like the Xperia Z, it’s a flagship Android smartphone, but unfortunately it won’t be coming to the UK.

The Xperia ZL sports the same 5-inch Full HD 1080p display as the Xperia Z, and it’s absolutely stunning. This is our first look at a Full HD smartphone display and we’ve instantly fallen in love – everything else looks blurry and dull compared. We might be exaggerating, but it really is something to behold.

The design is much the same between the two phones, although there are a few small changes. Unlike the Z, the ZL is not water and dust proof, and so the overall design has less of a unibody feel. The back is a dimpled rubbery plastic affair, unlike the smooth and sleek finish on the Z. As the back is non-removable, you’ll find a small flap at the bottom that reveals the micro SIM and micro SD card slots.

Another key difference is the location of the front-facing camera – it’s strangely located in the bottom right corner of the phone’s front fascia, not in the top left corner like on the Z and most other phones. It doesn’t seem to cause any issues though, and our brief test showed that the location made no difference.

Other than that odd placement everything is nicely placed on the ZL, with a micro USB socket on the top of the left edge, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top and a volume rocker, chrome power button and camera button down all down the right edge of the phone.

When we saw the power button placement we had our reservations, but it’s nicely sunken in and firm so that you won’t be pressing it by mistake when generally holding the phone.

For a phone with a 5-inch screen it’s surprisingly compact and both comfortable and easy to hold. This is because of the soft-touch rubberised back and edges to the phone, coupled with slightly rounded corners and edges and very little phone around the screen itself – it’s almost all screen.

We fired up the ZL and we were instantly impressed by the sharp, colourful and vivid nature of the display – it’s the best we’ve seen on a smartphone to date. The phone is also lightning fast thanks to its quad-core processor and generous 2GB of RAM, and as you might expect, Jelly Bean flows seamlessly from screen to screen, app to app.

Although the Xperia ZL won’t be hitting the UK, the Xperia Z will, adding waterproof and dustproof qualities to the long list of things we already love about the ZL.

The Xperia Z will be available in the UK from February 28th, whilst the Xperia ZL will hit Canada and other “select markets” pretty soon.

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