You'd think a company that very recently announced two new flagship smartphones at CES would slow its roll and hold off on the product announcements for a bit. But no, Sony's introducing two more handsets to the mix with the Xperia T2 Ultra and Xperia E1, albeit for very specific markets. Neither the T2 Ultra, which gains its 'Ultra' distinction by virtue of a 6-inch, 720p display, nor the diminutive 4-inch E1, with its 100Db speaker and focus on music, are going after the early adopter crowd. Instead, Sony's crafted these devices for those with less champagne tastes; the T2 Ultra's aimed at "emerging markets", while the E1's a mid-tier take on Sony's Walkman legacy. And both arrive with dual SIM variants.
For the T2 Ultra, Sony's kept some specs consistent with the original Xperia T, like the 720p display (here of the Triluminos variety) and 13-megapixel camera, while enlarging the phone's overall footprint and beefing up its battery life with a 3,000mAh cell. Yes, that 6-inch display means pixel density will suffer, but on the upside, the phone is relatively thin at 7.6mm -- the same thickness as the iPhone 5s. Storage-wise, users are looking at a meager 8GB of internal memory with the option to expand that by an additional 32GB via microSD.
Sony's bundled a handful a camera apps for those users that want to take advantage of the T2 Ultra's 13-megapixel module. It's not entirely the same app suite we saw on the Z1S -- Info Eye, AR Effects and Social Live didn't make the cut -- but users will have access to Background defocus, Sweep Panorama, Collage, Timeshift burst and the selfie-friendly Portrait Retouch.
Despite its emerging markets bent, the T2 Ultra is indeed an LTE handset, owing to the unspecified 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor inside. That said, HSPA-only versions will be made available in certain markets where LTE isn't readily accessible.
As for the E1, that tiny (by today's standards) 4-inch HSPA+ handset's all about the music, not top shelf specs and will be available in three colors: white, black and purple. Its combination of a WVGA display (800 x 480), 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor paired with 512MB RAM, and 1,700mAh battery makes the E1 a solid budget device. What saves it from mid-tier Android smartphone obscurity and sets it apart, however, is its 100Db speaker.
If you're unfamiliar with decibel ranges, the E1's 100Db speaker essentially means you'll be able to blast the latest Pitbull/Ke$ha collabo over your dad's Saturday morning lawn mowing or the soothing sounds of jackhammers attacking the pavement. We're aware that audio quality could take a hit at those levels, but Sony's packed in its ClearAudio+ and xLoud technologies to ensure overall balanced sound. The E1 also features a dedicated hardware key for Sony's Walkman application, support for shake-to-shuffle play controls and a 30-day trial for Sony's Music Unlimited catalog.
At the moment, Sony hasn't released pricing or release info for the Xperia T2 Ultra or Xperia E1 -- not even pegging them for something as vague as a Q2 launch. We do know though that the Xperia T2 Ultra is being geared towards China, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, so don't count on seeing it show up in Europe or stateside anytime soon. The Xperia E1, on the other hand, is more of a wild card, but we're betting that 4-inch Android boombox gets the broader market rollout.
Sony Xperia E1