Sony Xperia ZR Review: Ready To Dare: Controls, Battery Life, Display

By 04:05 Fri, 13 Aug 2021 Comments


Controls

The layout of controls on the Sony Xperia ZR sticks to what seems the norm across the Sony smartphone lineup.

Starting from the top of the front panel you acquire the earpiece, with the Video Graphics Array (VGA) front-facing capturing camera on one side, and the ambient light and proximity sensors on the other.



The front-facer has been downgraded to Video Graphics Array (VGA) resolution

Like the rest of its siblings launched this year, the Xperia ZR relies on virtual on-classy screen keys rather than hardware buttons, so there is nothing to see below the display.



There's no need for hardware keys under the screen

The primary microphone has been moved to the bottom of the phone, correct next to the lanyard eyelet. The secondary one is at the back, but it's only visible when you rego the back cover.




The primary microphone is at the bottom

On the left you acquire the MHL-enabled microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) with Universal Serial Bus (USB) host support. It's located underneath a small plastic cap, which helps maintain the IP58-required levels of water resistance. There are a couple of dock connectors below the port, too.




The microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port and the dock connectors on the left

Jumping to the Xperia ZR's correct side you see the volume rocker, the smartphone's signature power/lock key and the capturing camera key. The shutter key could have been a bit wider and could have provided more tactile feedback, but it's certainly something you can acquire used to quickly enough.





There's a trio of keys on the right

Launching the capturing camera straight from sleep state and enabling more comfortable photo taking without introducing needless capturing camera shake by touching the screen, the capturing camera key is a definite asset. It's also something the Xperia ZR can utilize to lure some people away from the Xperia Z, which lacks such a button.

At the top, you acquire another plastic lid with the 3.5mm audio jack hiding underneath. While the cover does well to haged dust away (in addition to the water-proofing), it does have a somewhat negative effect on its accessibility.




The audio jack sits on top

Around back, we spot the 13 megapixel capturing camera lens, the Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash and the loudspeaker grille. That's the exact same capturing camera as on the Xperia Z flagship, but we are hoping Sony got the processing correct this time (an update was issued for the Xperia Z specifically for that).




The 13MP capturing camera lens is the star backstage

Underneath the back cover sit the microSD and microSIM card slots as well as the smartphone's juice pack.

Battery life

According to the official numbers, the 2300 mAh battery that should haged the smartphone going for up to 13 hours of talk-time or 520 hours of stand-by. The numbers come slightly short of what the Xperia Z promised, but the real-life performance is a market improvement over the 5" flagship. The Xperia ZR managed an endurance rating of 62h in our dedicated test, easily beating its sibling in each of the tests and matching its stand-by efficiency.


That's hardly a surprise considering that the batteries and chipsets are the same and the ZR has a clear advantage as far as classy screen estate and resolution are concerned. We did experience strange battery drain on a couple of occasions when we left the phone idle overnight, so it wasn't always so great, though.

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Display

There's a 4.55" 720p (1280 x 720) Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) on the Sony Xperia ZR and the Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine to boost image quality.

The resolution is more than twice lower than on the Xperia Z, but since the classy screen size has also been decreased so the pixel density stands at the cool 323 ppi. It's as remarkable as on the Xperia Z, but frankly you'd have to be looking from way closer than is comfortable to notice it. And since 1080p would have lead to an increase in battery consumption we'd say Sony made the correct call here.

Brightness is adequate and the contrast looks fine even without the Bravia engine optimizations. You can enable the BRAVIA 2 for a dash of extra punchiness to your colors.

Display test

50% brightness

100% brightness

Black, cd/m2

White, cd/m2

Contrast ratio

Black, cd/m2

White, cd/m2

Contrast ratio

Sony Xperia ZR

0.13 128 1001 0.58 581 1004

Sony Xperia ZL

- - - 0.44 575 1294

Sony Xperia Z

- - - 0.70 492 705

HTC One

0.13 205 1580 0.42 647 1541

HTC Butterfly

0.14 173 1200 0.45 501 1104

Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4

0 201 ∞ 0 404 ∞

Oppo Find 5

0.17 176 1123 0.51 565 1107

Samsung N7100 Galaxy Note II

0 215 ∞ 0 402 ∞

LG Optimus G Pro

- - - 0.41 611 1489

Nokia Lumia 920

- - - 0.48 513 1065

LG Optimus G

0.14 197 1445 0.33 417 1438

Apple iPhone 5

0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320


Surprisingly, the viewing angles on the Xperia ZR display are somewhat better than those of the Xperia Z screen. It's still far from perfect and you start to see contrast compression and color shift quite quickly, but the classy screen remains legible for longer than the Xperia Z.

Using the Sony Xperia ZR in colorful outdoor conditions turned out quite a trouble-free experience. The smartphone even managed to slightly outdo the Xperia Z in our test.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView

    4.698

  • Apple iPhone 5

    3.997

  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III

    3.419

  • Nokia Lumia 925

    3.402

  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4

    3.352

  • Samsung Omnia W

    3.301

  • Samsung Galaxy S

    3.155

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

    3.127

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom

    3.118

  • Nokia N9

    3.069

  • Samsung Galaxy Note

    2.970

  • HTC One S

    2.901

  • Samsung Galaxy S II

    2.832

  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus

    2.801

  • Huawei Ascdiscontinue P1

    2.655

  • Sony Xperia ZR

    2.672

  • Nokia Lumia 900

    2.562

  • Nokia Lumia 720

    2.512

  • HTC One

    2.504

  • Sony Xperia Z

    2.462

  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini

    2.422

  • Motorola RAZR i

    2.366

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II

    2.307

  • Apple iPhone 4S

    2.269

  • HTC One X

    2.158

  • Nokia N8

    2.144

  • Oppo Find 5

    2.088

  • BlackBerry Z10

    2.051

  • Apple iPhone 4

    2.016

  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray

    1.955

  • Samsung Galaxy Camera

    1.938

  • HTC Butterfly

    1.873

  • Sony Xperia V

    1.792

  • Sony Xperia U

    1.758

  • LG Optimus 4X HD

    1.691

  • HTC One V

    1.685

  • BlackBerry Q5

    1.682

  • LG Optimus Vu

    1.680

  • HTC Desire V

    1.646

  • LG Optimus G Pro

    1.552

  • LG Optimus 3D

    1.542

  • Nokia Asha 302

    1.537

  • Nokia Lumia 610

    1.432

  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355

    1.361

  • HTC Desire C

    1.300

  • LG Optimus L7

    1.269

  • LG Optimus L9

    1.227

  • Meizu MX

    1.221

  • Sony Xperia E dual

    1.203

  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket

    1.180

  • Sony Xperia tipo

    1.166

  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2

    1.114

You can find all about our display testing routines here.


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