Tuesday, March 11, 2014

a story about my new sony xperia z1 compact

Right from the day when the news and pics of the sony xperia z1 f surfaced for the japanese market which is just a small screen version of it's big brother sony xperia z1 i was very excited to finally a mid sized phone which is small enough to be operated with just one hand but powerful enough to match any big phone in the market at that time. I was finally thinking of replacing my HTC desire HD which is almost 4 years old and i still miss it for elegance and simplicity and most importantly its metal construction and camera.
After months of wait it finally got released and i made the mistake of buying it as soon as it got released. When i bought it (march 2014) on the 2nd of the official release in india it was 35k in the local shop but there wasnt a screenguard or a case available since its new. They gave me a temporary custom cut screenguard for 200 Rs. I bought an expensive screenguard online which need to be soaked in soap water before it has to be applied to the screen and it was a complete waste of money. I took it to the mobile shop with another screenguard which i ordered online again and they couldnt do it either but they gave me another crappy screenguard for 350Rs which doesnt cover the screen completely and it got a lot of bubbles. Now i have ordered a normal screenguard online for 600Rs, so i wasted 2750Rs (200+800+800+350+600) so far and i also bought a bugdroid case online since the back already has scratches on it. After 10 days of buying this phone now it is available for 32k on online stores.
Few things which really disappointed me are the [CONS]
1. the camera : My 4 year old HTC DHD with 8mp takes much better looking pictures than this new sony xperia z1 compact with 20mp. It doesnt have a face shutter but only has a smile shutter.
2. The Internet passthrough: I wasted 2 good days with this phone to try to use PC internet on the phone via USB which i had it in my 4 year old HTC DHD phone but it doesnt have that feature. Sony just like other companies is a partner centric corporation, when it comes to making products. I tried rooting the phone but still no go. HTC DHD has a 4th option to choose from when you connect it to your computer and that is internet passthrough (reverse tethering).
3. The Build: Since I was so used to the metal construction and rough handling of HTC DHD i didnt go for the delicate plastic darlings of samsung. This one has a stell frame but not the metal body. The back is still plastic and the front is glass.It is waterproof but a security risk where sim, memory card can be taken from the phone if you have left it unattended for even 10 seconds. The panel which covers the charging or the usb port seems fragile and may come off after a long use so you are forced to now buy an expensive magnetic charger which doesnt come with the phone.
4. NonAvailability of accessories: You make a waterproof phone and to avoid taking the lid off to charge you create an external magnetic charger but you won't make it available for a country with 1.30 billion people.  I can't find a good logic here. Am I missing something ? If the fragile lid after a certain period of time gets disconnected or comes off then sony has to replace the entire handset because In the authorized service centers of my metro city there is no repair option but to repair. The only magnetic charging cable (not the dock but just the cable) costs a whopping 2000 including shipping. wtf sony why do you want to hurt yourself ?
Today I filed for a repair of the product since The camera is worse than i though because many of the units are DOA when it comes to camera because they are affected by this flash bleed issue and it is construction problem and thus it cannot be fixed with a firmware update.
I called the sony service center and they told me that they will replace the handset. Thank you sony.
Today when I went Jayanagar, bangalore center they said they cannot replace it, how sad.
Below are the picture samples with "FLASH BLEED" problem and the pictures are horrible.

A sample from 4 year old HTC Desire HD

Gave back the handset to the sony service center after restoring the TA partition (unrooting the device) and relocking the bootloader with a new generic firmware from sony. They said they will get the handset replaced in a week. Waiting for it now. sigh.
Finally got the replacement phone. Tested it at home with flash in complete darkness and the flashbleed issue is no more there.
I strongly urge you not to use the default case provided with the phone which has a magnetic sticky strip to attach itself to the back of the phone. Its good but i somehow think the magnet in it is making the tiny camera parts inside go messy. I switched to bugdroid case and the images seems to be better.
Here are the samples of the sony xperia z1 compact phone main camera's samples after the replacement of the phone.

spent so for
+200(temporary screenguard)
+600(wasted Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Screen Protector) March 5, 2014
+600(wasted Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Screen Protector) MArch 7, 2014
+350(temporary screenguard)
+800(cruzerlite Case for Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Cruzerlite Bugdroid Circuit Case for Xperia Z1 Compact-Black; don't buy it if you use a screenguard. it will mess up your screenguard overtime)
+600(magnetic charging cable)
+600(wasted Capdase Klia Screen Protector for Sony Xperia Z1 Compact)
+600 (Capdase SPSYD5503-K Screen Guard for Sony Xperia Z1 Compact) 24/4/2014
40,919 INR :(
Lessons learnt so far:
  1. 20mp of sony xperia z1 compact > 8mp of HTC DHD, This is because many handsets have this flash bleed and interestingly this has not affected many of the black handsets.
    This 20mp is actually the 8mp which takes multiple shots and then combines it to make it look like a 20mp picture. Oppo has implemented the same in their new oppo find 7 phone where the 13mp camera takes 50mp pictures.
  2. Never buy a product before 6 months of its official release in your region.
    (a) it will be very pricey in the beginning
    (b)no basic accessories
    (c)if it goes for repair then it will take forever since it will be a new product and the parts will not be available soon for replacement.
  3. make a list of your favorite features of your current phone/product offers (internet passthorugh in the case of my HTC) and check to see whether your next product/phone offers it and if not is it worth buying it.
  4. Screenguards are too big a pain to apply.
  5. Avoid buying products/gadgets/smartphones from companies who have a conflict of interest in creating a competition with their own products. Everytime an iphone/ipad sells sony makes money since it is the sony sensor which is inside an iphone. Sony is one of the world's largest seller of point and shoot cameras, handycams and also they are now emerging into the field of professional photography and videography. No business minded company would like to make a camera-phone which could potentially threaten their money minting product lines of photo & videography.
    Samsung supplies Ram, Display Screen and even its A7 chip to apple along with the SSD in apple's macbook air. Nokia will have a conflict of interest with their main windows line up of phones so they will never make phones which might compete with their windows mobile OS. So, the only other player who is worthy of being called an iphone of android is HTC.
  6. Never buy body cases like  Cruzerlite Bugdroid Circuit Case since they will mess up your screenguard from the edge and then you will end up replacing the screenguards every month.