Sony Xperia ZR review: Ready to dare
Ready to dare
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 get the earpiece, with the VGA front-facing camera on one side, and the ambient light and proximity sensors on the other.
Like the rest of its siblings launched this year, the Xperia ZR relies on virtual on-screen keys rather than hardware buttons, so there is nothing to see below the display.
The primary microphone has been moved to the bottom of the phone, right next to the lanyard eyelet. The secondary one is at the back, but it's only visible when you remove the back cover.
On the left you get the MHL-enabled microUSB with 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.
Jumping to the Xperia ZR's right side you see the volume rocker, the smartphone's signature power/lock key and the 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 get used to quickly enough.
Launching the camera straight from sleep state and enabling more comfortable photo taking without introducing needless camera shake by touching the screen, the camera key is a definite asset. It's also something the Xperia ZR can use to lure some people away from the Xperia Z, which lacks such a button.
At the top, you get another plastic lid with the 3.5mm audio jack hiding underneath. While the cover does well to keep dust away (in addition to the water-proofing), it does have a somewhat negative effect on its accessibility.
Around back, we spot the 13 megapixel camera lens, the LED flash and the loudspeaker grille. That's the exact same camera as on the Xperia Z flagship, but we are hoping Sony got the processing right this time (an update was issued for the Xperia Z specifically for that).
Underneath the back cover sit the microSD and microSIM card slots as well as the smartphone's juice pack.
According to the official numbers, the 2300 mAh battery that should keep 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 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.
There's a 4.55" 720p (1280 x 720) 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 screen size has also been decreased so the pixel density stands at the cool 323 ppi. It's as great 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 right call here.
Brightness is adequate and the contrast looks good 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||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|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|
|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 screen remains legible for longer than the Xperia Z.
Using the Sony Xperia ZR in bright 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
Apple iPhone 5
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
Nokia Lumia 925
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
Samsung Omnia W
Samsung Galaxy S
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
Samsung Galaxy Note
HTC One S
Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
Huawei Ascend P1
Sony Xperia ZR
Nokia Lumia 900
Nokia Lumia 720
Sony Xperia Z
Samsung Galaxy S III mini
Motorola RAZR i
Samsung Galaxy Note II
Apple iPhone 4S
HTC One X
Oppo Find 5
Apple iPhone 4
Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Sony Xperia V
Sony Xperia U
LG Optimus 4X HD
HTC One V
LG Optimus Vu
HTC Desire V
LG Optimus G Pro
LG Optimus 3D
Nokia Asha 302
Nokia Lumia 610
Gigabyte GSmart G1355
HTC Desire C
LG Optimus L7
LG Optimus L9
Sony Xperia E dual
Samsung Galaxy Pocket
Sony Xperia tipo
Samsung Galaxy mini 2
You can find all about our display testing routines here.
- 19 Nov 2021
Can i use xperia zr without battery as tv box? It support mhl and mhl charge speed not enough to power on zr all the time.There is a dock charge port and alkol micro usb port.
- 25 Jul 2020
You should need a old charger cut the pin of charger and get red wire in positive terminal of bettery and negitv to negitive after 3 to 4 minuts clean the bettery connecter using blad or knife and clean the bettery gold plated pins using blade or kni...
- 25 Dec 2019
My Xperia ZR cant power on...can someone help me how to power on my device...please help me