Conclusion: If you're fond of Sony's smartphones and software experience, the Xperia ZL is particularly attractive as a no-contract smartphone. It's fast, the UI is clean and pleasing and the camera is very good. Here in the US, I suspect no-contract high end phones are beat out by carrier subsidized models, but for those of you who appreciate an unlocked world phone or perhaps aren't due for a subsidized upgrade, the Sony Xperia XL has its appeal (especially because you can use it...
Pros: Compact 5" full HD Android smartphone, unlocked with 4G LTE, very good camera, has AV Remote with consumer IR.
Cons: Display viewing angles aren't great, battery life so-so.
Summary: The Sony Xperia ZL is a powerful handset with a superior camera, a premium design and excellent audio. However, the $759 price for this unlocked Android phone is pretty high when you consider that the HTC Developer Edition costs $649. (The unlocked One without the bootloader unlocked costs $549.) HTC's device offers much wider viewing angles and a faster processor, along with more sophisticated software for its built-in TV remote.
Pros: Powerful quad-core processor, Superb camera, Excellent audio quality, Can be used as TV remote