The Xperia ZR is a new waterproof smartphone from Sony. Based on the similar chipset and almost identical hardware specs from the older siblings, the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL, the Xperia ZR is a smartphone ideal for the Indian climate conditions. With an IP58 certification under its belt, the phone is dustproof and waterproof, submersible up to 2 metres underwater for almost 30 minutes. Read ahead to find out what the ZR has under the hood and how the phone fares in our tests.
4.5-inch TFT HD display, 13MP rear camera, IP58 certified water and dust proof chassis
Design and build
On the design front, the Xperia ZR looks similar to the Z and the ZL variants when referring to the front panel, while the rear panel looks similar to the ZL. The front is an entire glass panel with just the opening for the ear piece on the top. Alongside are the front camera and a translucent window for the sensors beneath it. The control buttons for menu, back and home are incorporated within the user interface itself. The power button is similar to the Z series with a round chrome button placed in the centre on the right side. The volume rocker is provided just below the power button, which is pretty slim, but highly tactile and responsive. A physical button for the camera shutter is also available on the same side below the volume rocker. The earphone jack and the micro USB connectors are placed on the top and left sides respectively and sport a water tight port flap each. This port flap ensures that the inners are safe from water, moisture and dust, provided they are shut when not in use. Lastly, the bottom sports two openings, one for the mic and the other for a lanyard. The rear sports the main shooter with an LED flash just below it. On the lower side of the rear panel is a small speaker grille with a water and dust-proof mesh installed.
10.5 mm thick, water-tight port flaps for headphone and micro USB sockets
The entire chassis is build with a strong weatherproof polycarbonate plastic. The rear panel can be opened to access the battery, microSIM card and the microSD card. The three (battery, SIM and storage card) are placed well within a small chamber that gets sealed with a rubber gasket placed on the rear panel. The rear panel and the rest of the chassis have a matte-finish surface and the handset feels very firm and comfortable to grip. The handset weighs 138 grams and measures 67.3 x 131.3 x 10.5 mm.
The 2300 mAh battery, microSD memory slot and microSIM GSM card slots are well protected
As mentioned earlier, the Xperia ZR is a mini version of the big brothers, the Xperia Z and ZL. However, unlike its rivals, HTC and Samsung, who made their “Mini” handsets a strip down version of their flagship models, Sony has squeezed its entire flagship model (the Z) in a mini package by only sacrificing on the display. This is a huge step from Sony which offers its new users the same performance of the flagship phones for a cheaper price along with an IP certification. The Xperia ZR has almost 90 percent similar hardware as that of the Z and ZL. Features that are identical are the chipset, which is the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064; the processor, which is a quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait; the GPU, which is the Adreno 302; 2 GB of RAM and the main camera, which has a 13MP sensor. Other identical features again are the connectivity options, which include Wi-Fi dual-band a/b/g/n, 3G and LTE, Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, A-GPS and GLONASS, FM radio and TV out. What we only found missing was an infrared transmitter. Few differences spotted are the smaller display size, which is a 4.55-inch TFT with a reduced resolution at 720 x 1280 pixel (323 ppi), 8GB internal storage, the front VGA camera and lastly, the removable Lithium Ion 2300 mAh battery. With almost identical hardware and a slightly better battery running on the smaller, lower resolution display, you are definitely in for a longer battery life.
Power button, volume rocker and camera shutter button on the right side
Some features that we could also highlight are the IP certification and the display type. Unlike the Xperia Z, which has an IP57 certification, the ZR sports the IP58 certification, which is a tad higher than the former model. It can be submerged under 1.50 metre of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. As far as the disply type is concerned, here too the display is similar to the type of OGS technology used. It is called the OptiContrast and Direct Touch technology where the layer between the LCD display and the touchscreen is eliminated and the surface is coated with a shatterproof layer for additional durability. The display also runs on the Mobile Bravia Enigne 2 technology for better contrast, sharpness and colour with less noise and distortion. The Xperia ZR runs the Android Jelly Bean operating system with the version being v4.1.
Android Jelly Bean v4.1 with Timescape UI
As per our routine, we stress out the phone to get some scores so that we can find out the actual performance of the internal core hardware. In our tests, AnTuTu Benchmark scored 21501, Quadrant scored 7695 and Linpack resulted in 163.4 MFLOPS and 423.3 MFLOPS in the single-thread and multi-thread tests respectively. NenaMark2 was almost useless as the maximum recordable frame-rate by the utility is 60 fps and the ZR was trying to exceed these limits. We did run a new benchmark, 3DMark - The Gamer’s Benchmark, and the scores are only for your disposal.