Sony Xperia Z vs Xperia ZL: Key Differences Explained

By Anu Passary email: | Jan 11, 2013 10:42 AM EST

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Sony recently unveiled its much rumored Xperia Z and Xperia ZL smartphones at the CES 2013. The two smartphones are almost a spitting image of each other, but there are subtle differences which set the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL apart.

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Both the NFC-enabled smartphones sport the 5-inch full HD Reality Display (1920 x 1080 pixels) with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 and have a pixel density of 443ppi. The display is made of shatter-proof sheet on scratch-resistant glass. Both the Xperia Z and Xperia Z feature a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with Adreno 320GPU.

Additionally, the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL have 16GB of on-board storage, 2GB of RAM, 13.1-megapixel primary camera, 2.2-megapixel secondary camera, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The similarities between the two phones undoubtedly outweigh the variances. But what about the dissimilarities? We take a look at the key differences between the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL.


One of the main differences between the flagship Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL is the size. The Xperia Z measures 5.47 x 2.79 x 0.31 inches vis-à-vis the 5.18 x 2.7 x 0.39 inches dimensions of the Xperia ZL, making the former taller, almost the same width, and thinner than the latter.

Additionally, the Xperia Z is lighter than the Xperia ZL - 146gms versus 151gms. The Xperia ZL's heaviness may be attributed to its larger battery.


Yet another difference between the two phones is to do with design and some cosmetic changes. The Xperia Z has a shiny glass back unlike the Xperia ZL, which comes with a matte finish and a textured back. Some people may prefer the matte finish to the glass as it means that fingerprints are not left on the device. Moreover, the Xperia ZL seems to have virtually no bezels when compared to the Xperia Z.

Moreover, the Micro USB, micro-SD, and SIM card slots are hidden for the Xperia Z unlike in the case of Xperia ZL. Sony had to hide the ports since the Xperia Z is water and dust resistant.


Even though both the smartphones have the same camera resolution and technology, the placement of the secondary camera is slightly different. The front-facing camera for the Xperia ZL is on the bottom right, whereas the one for the Xperia Z is on top left.

Sony noted that the Xperia ZL has the unusual bottom right placement for the front-facing camera to accommodate the size, else the phone would have had to be 2mm bigger.

Water and Dust Resistance

A key difference between the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL smartphones is that the former is both water- and dust-proof, features that are notably missing in the non-flagship Xperia ZL.

The Xperia Z is water-resistant up to one meter and Sony claims it has the highest levels of dust and water resistance (IP55 & IP57), found in any high-end smartphone. The phone, apparently, can be submerged in up to one meter of water for close to 30 minutes at a time.

What's more, the display for the Xperia Z also incorporates Sony's wet finger tracking technology, which basically means that one can use the phone even with wet fingers.

The Xperia ZL is neither waterproof nor dust resistant like its sibling. In case you're wondering why Sony chose to skip the features in the Xperia ZL, it's because the phone has infrared/IrDA functionality, which turns the handset into a remote control for various home entertainment devices.

"In Xperia ZL, the specific features you'll find include infrared/IrDA functionality, so that you'll be able to use your smartphone to control your TV, cable box, DVD player or other IR enabled entertainment device," notes Sony.


The Xperia Z has a 2330mAH battery which is slightly smaller than the 2370mAh battery of the Xperia ZL. The Xperia Z supports 11 hours of talk time, whereas the Xperia ZL offers 10 hours. The standby time for the Xperia Z is slightly better at 550 hours, compared to the 500 hours of the Xperia ZL.


Both the phones will release in Q1 2013, but the Xperia Z will be available in three hues - black, white, and purple. On the other hand, the Xperia ZL will come in two colors - black and white.

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