Sony's flagship smartphones may not have set the world on fire so far, but the company is making another concerted push in 2013, launching two top-end phones with near-identical internal specs. The Xperia Z is the main player here, with refined mirrored panelling across the sides and back and a machined power button being the only physical undulation from the 5-inch oblong. Sony's put in its latest tech from across the family, being the first device to house its Exmor RS sensor capable of HDR video, and a 1080p 5-inch TFT Reality Display (that's 443 dpi), packing the upgraded Bravia Mobile Engine 2 to augment colors and contrast on videos and stills. From its imaging arm, Sony's cleaned down its on-screen camera interface and is now more inline with its standalone point-and-shoots and NEX range.
Work has also been done on improving the algorithms behind its automatic settings -- now dubbed "auto i+" -- while the phone-maker has caught up to the competition with a 9-megapixel burst mode at 10 fps and the ability to capture stills during video. It's even upgraded the front-facing camera to a 2-megapixel Exmor R sensor, while the rear-facing 13-megapixel primary shooter will be able to capture HDR video -- offering up a new solution to dim filming conditions. Software additions to Jelly Bean Android, alongside those Sony entertainment services, include a battery stamina mode that will monitor and switch off apps when the screen is off, while you'll also be able to add necessary apps to Sony's white list. The phone will be LTE-capable, with a potent Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and (perhaps surprisingly, given how the phone looks) IP55 and IP57 certified water-resistance. It'll also be the first phone to communicate through NFC with Sony's family of new HDTVs, something we'll be hearing plenty more about later this week.
The phone has barely appeared on stage here at CES but Sony has promised a global launch this quarter -- and we've already managed to snag some playtime with the device -- you can find our full impressions here.
Sony Xperia Z announcedSee all photos
Introducing Xperia™ Z –the best of Sony in a premium smartphone
Full HD 5" Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 for super brightness and clarity
Sony's media applications deliver rich user experiences and instant access to entertainment services
Easy and fast One-touch functions to wirelessly share music, photos and videos across devices
New stand-out Sony design with water and dust resistance
January 7th 2013, Las Vegas, USA – Sony Mobile Communications ("Sony Mobile") today introduces its new flagship Android smartphone, Xperia Z. With a 5" Full HD 1080p Reality Display, Snapdragon™ S4 Pro quad-core processor, 13 megapixel fast-capture camera and 4G LTE, Xperia Z has all the specifications expected from a premium smartphone. On top of this, it brings the best of Sony's unique technology, content, design and connectivity to deliver rich user experiences. Xperia Z will launch globally in Q1 2013.
"With Xperia Z, we are bringing over half a century of innovation in TV, imaging, music, film and gaming to create a superphone experience that truly stands out," said Kuni Suzuki, President and CEO, at Sony Mobile Communications. "With great specifications, Sony's media applications, One-touch functions and outstanding battery life, Xperia Z is well positioned for leadership in the smartphone market. By putting smartphones at the heart of our strategy, Sony is enabling people to create, enjoy and share content and experiences like never before."
Intelligent Sony Technology
Xperia Z's razor sharp Reality Display, powered by Mobile BRAVIA® Engine 2, brings Sony's long-standing TV expertise to the smartphone and delivers an immersive viewing experience with super brightness and clarity. The smartphone shares capabilities with Sony digital cameras and features Exmor RS for mobile, the world's first image sensor with HDR (High Dynamic Range) video for smartphones. HDR technology gives clear images against strong backlight, so users can capture razor sharp pictures and videos whatever the conditions.
Xperia Z also includes Battery STAMINA Mode that can improve the standby time by four times or more* by automatically shutting down battery-draining apps whenever the screen is off and starting them up again when the screen is back on.
Discover, enjoy and share entertainment with Sony's media applications and One-touch functions
Sony media applications offer a consistent entertainment experience across a range of Sony devices. Pre-loaded on Xperia Z, the "WALKMAN", Album and Movies apps, enable discovery of on-line and off-line content through a single access point with new ways to enjoy and share that content. The "WALKMAN" application provides access to all your downloaded music, a library of 18 million songs to explore from Music Unlimited and Facebook social integration. The Movies application gives consumers access to over 100,000 movies and TV series from Video Unlimited while the Album application enables easy access to Facebook friends' photos as well as browsing photos by location.**
One-touch functions enable consumers to easily share music, photos and videos from their smartphone to an array of NFC-enabled Sony devices, including speakers, headphones and now TVs. With the new BRAVIA TV, also announced today, simply touch Xperia Z to the remote control of the TV to instantly enjoy your photos and videos on the big screen.
Two additions to Sony's range of NFC-enabled headsets were also introduced today, the Stereo Bluetooth™ Headset SBH20 and the Wireless Headset DR-BTN200M. Touch Xperia Z to either headset and begin listening to tracks instantly.
Stand-out design and durability
Precision engineered with premium materials, Xperia Z introduces a unique OmniBalance design with subtly rounded edges and smooth reflective surfaces on all sides. Despite its slim 7.9mm body, Xperia Z is highly durable with tempered glass and anti-shatter film on the front and back, as well as the highest levels of dust and water resistance*** (IP55 and IP57) found in a premium smartphone.
In selected markets, a design variant of Xperia Z – Xperia ZL – will also be released in Q1 2013. Xperia ZL delivers the same immersive entertainment experiences as Xperia Z but in a smaller form factor.
Xperia Z and Xperia ZL will launch on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and will be upgraded to 4.2 shortly after launch for the latest Android user experience.
Key features for Xperia Z
5" 1080 x 1920p full HD Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine 2
13MP Fast Capture camera with Exmor RS for mobile, HDR video, Superior Auto and Noise Reduction to effortlessly capture razor sharp pictures and videos in any conditions
Dust and water resistant (IP55 & IP57) with a durable glass display
1.5 GHz asynchronous quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor with 2GB RAM
Battery STAMINA mode improves standby time by at least 4 times
- ENDS –
* Based on testing done with default settings, default accounts and applications for Skype™ and Twitter downloaded to the phone. The more applications installed, the bigger the effect of Battery STAMINA Mode.
**Sony Entertainment Network services are subject to availability by region, please see www.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com for more details.