Helpful tips and tricks for your Sony Xperia Z

Xperia_Z_Gallery

The Sony Xperia Z is proving to be a popular Android flagship. It’s an interesting mix of sleek style and innovative functionality (it’s waterproof!). If you have one, then you’ll be interested in how to get the best out of it. That’s what we’re doing here – looking to unearth handy features or functions that aren’t immediately obvious. Check out these Sony Xperia Z tips and tricks and find out if you’ve really unlocked your phone’s full complement of awesome.

How to customize your homescreen

If you long press on a space on your home screen then you’ll get a customization menu at the bottom. It has the usual Android options to set up widgets, app shortcuts, and wallpaper, but there’s also a themes option. There are loads of themes to choose from in there, and they’ll change the text color and the lock screen and background aesthetics to give you the look you want.

How to save battery life with Stamina mode

Power_Management_Xperia_ZIf you go into Settings > Power management you’ll find STAMINA mode. This is Sony’s secret weapon in the fight against battery drain and it can reportedly boost your battery life considerably. There is some confusion over how it does this, and it can cause behavior that some people are mistaking as buggy. The idea is that when you turn your Xperia Z display off, thereby putting your device in standby, it turns off unnecessary functions. These are:

  • Data traffic
  • Wi-Fi
  • LED notification
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • Auto-sync

You’ll still get calls, messages, alarms, calendar events, and you can still play music or listen to the radio. You can also add apps to a white list, so they’ll continue to run in the background and potentially sync.

If you don’t like the idea of this, or it seems to be causing problems, then try Low battery mode (also in Settings > Power management) instead. It automatically disables the same things, but only when the battery falls below 20 percent.

(Note from the editor: In our testing, Stamina mode provided far better bang for your buck.)

How to boost your storage and back up photos

It’s worth installing the free Dropbox app on your Xperia Z as it can provide extra cloud storage space and it can be set up to automatically backup all your photos, making it easy to share them. To set this up you’ll need a DropBox account (2GB free) and you’ll need to install the app. When you start DropBox up on the Xperia Z go to Menu > Settings and turn Camera Upload on. It’s best to set it to Upload using Wi-Fi only to avoid using up your data allowance.

You can also install a micro SD card up to 32GB. If you want to move photos, videos, and files quickly and easily go to Settings > Storage and tap Transfer to SD card.

How to get Adobe Flash working

The Xperia Z has Chrome as the default browser and it doesn’t support Flash. Luckily you can use the Firefox, Dolphin, or Boat browsers. Start by installing Flash; there’s a guide with the necessary files at the XDA Developers forum. Once you have it installed, you will need to choose one of the browsers and enable Flash.

Here’s where to look in each browser:

  • Firefox: Menu > More > Settings > Plugins and make sure they are Enabled
  • Dolphin: Settings > Web Content > Flash Player and set it to On
  • Boat:Settings > Page Content Settings > Enable flash/plug-ins and make sure it is set to Always on

How to connect to other devices and TVs

If you’ve got a recent Sony Bravia TV with NFC, you can mirror your screen easily. Go to Settings > Xperia > Mirroring and you’re all set. You can also use good old DLNA via Settings > Throw. Any compatible device, whether it’s a TV or a sound system, should pop up as an option. There’s also Bluetooth, which you’ll find in Settings.

Xperia_Z_Share

For file transfers, sharing content, or contacts quickly with another NFC phone or device you can use Android Beam. Go to Settings > Wireless and Networks > More and enable NFC. Hold the devices close together and the Xperia Z should vibrate and prompt you to “touch to beam.”

How to automate your Xperia with Smart Tags

Sony has been working on some nifty automation options for your Xperia Z and you can access them via the Smart Connect app. It’s not exactly Tasker, but it is a lot more user friendly, and it allows you to do various useful things. Say you like to charge your phone every night, for example; you can use Smart Connect to dictate that your Xperia Z should start up the alarm and clock app, and go into silent mode every time you connect your charger.

You could also use Sony’s Xperia Smart Tags to enable specific functions via NFC. All you need to do is set what you’d like the tag to do, switch on GPS and Google navigator, for example, and then place it in your car and tap your phone on it when you climb in. You can get four colored tags for $20.

Xperia_Smart_Tags

How to use ‘small apps’

If you hit the Recent Apps button at the bottom right of your Xperia Z (to the right of the Home button), then you can see everything that’s running and quickly switch between apps. You’ll also see a menu along the bottom of the screen that highlights the small apps that are available to you. These are things like a calculator, notebook, and timer, and they can be opened to sit on top of whatever you are doing. If you like them, make sure you search for more in Google Play, because there are some great additional options for things like media controls and video playback.

Extra Xperia Z tips

When you’re using the camera try Burst Mode for best results. It tends to take better photos and it increases your chances of getting a perfect shot because you can choose the best one from the batch.

If you want to control another Sony device using your Xperia Z then grab the Media Remote for Android app. It basically turns your Xperia Z into a remote control. There’s a full list of compatible products on the app page.

It’s possible to speed up your phone and save a little battery power by turning off some animations. Head into Settings > Developer options and turn off Windows animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. If you don’t see Developer options in your Settings then you can unlock it by going to Settings > About device and repeatedly tapping on the Build number.

That’s all of your Sony Xperia Z tips for now, but feel free to add your own in the comments. Check back soon because we will update this article with more tips or tricks from time to time. Since the Xperia Z runs Android Jelly Bean, you may also be interested in our helpful tips and tricks for Jelly Bean users.

Deals

Protect your iPhone or iPad with the IPVanish VPN, on sale through February

One of our favorite virtual private networks for iPhones and iPads, IPVanish, is now offering a huge discount on its two-year subscription as part of its 7th-birthday promotion. Read on to find out more about how this VPN works and how you…
Gaming

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.
Home Theater

Here's a handy guide to mirroring your favorite devices to your TV screen

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device (or PC) to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Computing

Speed up your system by tweaking the startup application in Windows and MacOS

Bothered by programs that automatically start when you boot your computer, or want to add a new one to the list? Here's how to change your startup programs in Windows 7, 8, and 10, along with Apple's MacOS.
Mobile

Verizon is launching real standards-based 5G in 30 cities in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Samsung’s wide range of Galaxy products means there’s something for everyone

Samsung launched a host of new products on February 20, with prices ranging from just $35, all the way up to nearly $2,000. This was not by chance, and the company believes it has something for everyone in 2019.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. OnePlus 6T: Can the Flagship Killer survive?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the new affordable flagship on the block, but at $750, it's $200 more than the OnePlus 6T. Does the Flagship Killer stand a chance against the new generation of flagship devices? Let's take a closer look.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Deals

Amazon drops a sweet deal on the Kate Spade Scallop smartwatch for women

Unlike many other smartwatches geared toward women, the Kate Spade Scallop offers a more chic and minimalistic look. With this Amazon sale going on right now, you can get it for $109 off its retail price.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.
Deals

The 5 best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…