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Xperia Z - Jelly Bean 4.2.2

Last week, we started hearing reports that Sony‘s Android 4.2.2 update for the Xperia Z had begun rolling out worldwide. The update is said to finally bring Sony’s current flagship device up to date with the Android latest release, bringing with it a bunch of new features.

As soon as I heard about it I started checking my device regularly for an OTA update, sadly to no avail – Sony’s PC Companion software was also no help. Being a good, impatient Android nerd, I took matters into my own hands! I quickly acquired the Global C6603 10.3.A.0.423 firmware, and installed it on my Xperia Z.

If you’re not familiar with the process of rooting and installing custom ROMs, I strongly suggest you wait for the official Sony update. For those that must know, I used this method from XperiaGuide.

What’s new?

Firstly, a performance boost. Performing most tasks seemed a touch quicker – not something that’ll make a huge difference, because the phone was already pretty fast with Android 4.1. The new update has made it just that bit smoother and quicker.

Benchmarking bears this out, too. On Geekbench I was previously getting a total score of around 2100, where I’m now getting around 2300. Surprisingly, the biggest improvement appears to be browser performance. While I was getting scores in the 1400 range previously, I’m now getting around 1100! Lower is better in Sunspider’s javascript benchmarking tool.

Most of the changes you’d expect from Android 4.2 made it across to Sony’s version. These include Lock Screen Widgets, with the right-swipe to open the camera intact – happily, it works just like a Nexus 4. Daydream is also on board for those that want it.

Curiously, Sony have changed the background behind the on-screen buttons to include slight transparency – this takes effect on the Home Screen, but reverts back to the standard black background when navigating Settings menus and apps. I quite like this effect, as it gives the appearance of more screen real estate – a good thing in my book. I think Nexus homescreens would look better with this effect, too.

For those that hoped the display’s viewing angles might be improved with this software update, the answer is no. That light coloured text will still be near impossible to read on a white background if you’re viewing it from a sharp angle.

One thing that I’d really hoped for in this this update was more toggles in the notification panel – wish granted. In Settings, under Display you’ll find a new submenu called Quick Settings. Where previously I was stuck with only a few toggles, I can now pick from a choice of 15 toggles, and I can edit where they’re located in the panel.

Unlike Samsung’s Toggle-licious panel that contains more toggles than you can poke a stick at, Sony has decided to limit theirs to 2 rows of 5 – 10 toggles, all-up. I suspect the thinking is to leave more room for notifications.

One more thing…


Sony has also included a magnification window that appears when you press on a word, to help you see what you’re reading more easily. The window moves around with your finger in a pleasing, fluid manner, making this a feature that you’ll want to use when necessary. While this was previously available when editing text, it now seems to be system-wide to help you drill into a body of text that you’re looking at, whether you’re editing or just reading.

These are the changes I’ve noticed since updating. Have I missed anything else significant? Tell us your experience in the comments!

Devices: Xperia Z