The Sony Xperia Z needs to be a hit. Sony has been a giant in consumer electronics for decades, but the company's reputation for quality products hasn't translated to success in the Android smartphone race.

Despite CEO Kaz Hirai proclaiming earlier this year that Sony believes it has a realistic shot at being the third most successful smartphone vendor, its Xperia line has failed to provide the breakthrough device to propel the company to a leading sales position. Might the Sony Xperia Z be the device that finally takes Sony's smartphone efforts to the next level?

The Xperia Z has the hallmarks of a Sony product: thoughtful design and solid materials. It has a 1080p, 5-inch display tuned to improve brightness and color saturation. There's a 1.5GHz quad-core processor to ensure power, 2GB of RAM to enable fluidity, and a 13 megapixel camera to capture HDR photos or videos. The Xperia Z even has a waterproof body that's only 7.9mm thick. These are phenomenal features to have, but the total package is what will determine whether Sony has created its best Android smartphone yet.