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10 tips to get more from your Sony Xperia Z1S

If you aren’t convinced by the charms of Sony’s Android flagship then perhaps our Xperia Z1S review will persuade you. This is a powerful and stylish smartphone with a stunning 20.7-megapixel camera, and it’s not afraid of water. It’s taken a while for it to land in the United States, but Sony makes up for that with an extra 16GB of internal memory, boosting the total to 32GB.

Our purpose today is to suggest some Xperia Z1S tips and tricks for owners. We’ll cover some general tips that will serve any Android device owner well, and we’ll delve into some of the features that help this Sony offering to stand out from the crowd.

How to transfer your contacts and more

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The easiest way to transfer your contacts from an old Android phone to your new Xperia Z1S is to open up your contacts app, select all of them, and then export them to the memory card. Now you can import from the memory card and choose your Google account as the destination. Sign in to your Google account on the Xperia Z1S and go to Settings > Accounts > Google, then tap Sync Contacts.

Here’s how to transfer contacts from an iPhone to your Xperia Z1S. If you have another type of phone then try using Sony’s free PC Companion software, as it can also upload your old contacts to your Google account.

The PC Companion software also features something called Xperia Transfer. It’s capable of moving your contacts, messages, music, photos, videos, and other files from your old Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry to your new Xperia Z1S. It covers Android 2.1 and later, iOS 4 and later, and BB OS 4 and later.

How to get a $100 Visa gift card

If you buy an Xperia Z1S between the 1-13-2014 and 1-21-2014 and a PlayStation 4 between 1-6-2014 and 2-5-2014 then you can claim a $100 Visa gift card by filling out the form available at the Sony website. You will need your receipts, the UPC from your PS4 box, and the bar code label from your Xperia Z1S box.

How to get free entertainment pack

You’ll find that the Xperia Privilege app is pre-installed on your Xperia Z1S. Use it to get exclusive rewards and offers. To get you started Sony is offering six movies from Video Unlimited, a 60-day free trial of Music Unlimited, and 10 pre-selected games from PlayStation Mobile. You’ll need to fire up the Xperia Lounge app between 1/22/2014 and 3/31/2014 to claim your entertainment pack.

How to customize Quick Settings

When you pull down the top of the screen you get a bunch of quick settings displayed for easy access. You don’t have to live with those defaults. Go to Settings > Personalization > Quick Settings and you can choose the ones you want to appear.

How to deal with bloatware

You might not want to use all of the apps that Sony pre-installs on your new device and there’s a chance you’ll want to get rid of some T-Mobile bloatware as well. You can always go to Settings > Apps and check the list under All to see everything that’s there. Tap on any unwanted apps and choose Disable. You can re-enable them later if you feel the need.

If that’s not enough, then you might consider rooting your Android smartphone, so you can freeze or even uninstall the apps you don’t want.

How to use the cameraHands On Sony Xperia Z1S apps

The camera app on the Xperia Z1S is bursting with options. To quickly launch it from the lock screen simply swipe to the left near the top and the app will open. You can tap and hold the camera button and line up your shot perfectly before releasing it to take the shot.

You can go with automatic settings or tweak everything manually, but there’s also a range of extra camera apps pre-installed. The AR effect, for augmented reality, allows you to add virtual scenes or characters to photos. Info-eye is a bit like Google Goggles, as it overlays the camera viewfinder with relevant information about what you’re looking at, and it can scan QR codes, barcodes, and even business cards. Social live lets you stream video to Facebook.

Timeshift burst is ideal for capturing a string of shots, so you can pick the best one, and there are a few other options worth exploring. For example, you’ll find Smile Shutter in the camera settings and it will automatically focus on a face and take the shot when the subject smiles.

How to save photos to the cloud

Sony actually offers this via the Settings in the camera app where you can select Auto Upload. There’s a service called PlayMemories Online which offers unlimited space for automatically uploaded photos, though they are resized to 1920 pixel length. You can also get 5GB free for original, full-size photos and videos.

If you don’t like the Sony service then you can always install the Google+ or DropBox apps. Both have an auto-upload photos feature in the app settings. You get 2GB for free with Dropbox, or up to 15GB with Google+ and there are many other cloud storage options out there that you can use to manually upload photos and other files.

How to extend battery life

In general the Z1S has really impressive battery life, but there will be times when you want to squeeze a little extra out of it. Take a look at Settings > Power management and consider using Stamina mode. It can cut down on data traffic, connectivity, syncing, and LED notifications in order to save power.  For more ideas check out our general tips for saving smartphone battery.

How to share photos, music, and moreSony-Xperia-Z1S-screenshot-2

Sony knows that you want to be able to view your photos on the TV, play music through your speakers, and mirror your display on the big screen. The Xperia Z1S supports a wide variety of options including Miracast, DLNA, and MHL. You can also use NFC to touch on supported devices and stream music, share files, or mirror your screen.

If your devices are on the same Wi-Fi network you can stream files to your Xperia Z1S by finding the relevant device. Use the Walkman app for music, Movies for videos, and Album for online photo albums. Connected devices should display automatically. You can also set your Xperia Z1S to act as a media server via Settings > Xperia Connectivity > Media server settings.

For mirroring go to Settings > Xperia Connectivity > Screen mirroring or use an MHL cable to create a wired connection and the TV launcher app should start automatically.

How to automate your Xperia Z1S

You’ll find a pre-installed app called Smart Connect on your Xperia Z1S, which allows you to create events with conditions. For example, you could set up an event that automatically launches the Walkman app when you plug your headphones in and then closes it down again when you remove them. If you like this kind of thing and you want to unleash more automation possibilities we recommend the Tasker app ($3).

Sony also sells Smart Tags ($20 for four) and they can be used to trigger events via NFC when you tap your Xperia Z1S on them. You could have one next to the bed that puts your phone into silent mode and sets the alarm, for example.

That’s all of our Xperia Z1S tips for now, but you can find some more relevant advice in our Xperia Z tips article. If you have any good tips of your own then please share them in the comments.