Sony unveils Xperia XZ flagship and Xperia X Compact
Sony has just announced two new Xperia phones at IFA 2016 - the new flagship Xperia XZ and the returning Xperia X Compact.
Sony Xperia XZ
Sony Xperia XZ is a successor to the Xperia X (XZ sounds just like X2, isn't it?) and it's a refresh over the Xperia X Performance. It focuses on a few important key features - design, performance, camera, and battery life.
It introduces a new signature design with looped surface kinda like the earlier Lumia phones) and a new signature color to represent the series - Forest Blue. The phone is made of a trademarked material called ALKALEIDO - it's a fancy word for a rounded aluminum piece, which is very nice to touch and rather smudge resistant.
Sony put a bigger 5.2" IPS display on the Xperia XZ, still 1080p resolution, though. Specs-wise the Xperia XZ is flagship-bred by the book. It's got a Snapdragon 820 chip with 3GB RAM, top-notch connectivity options, stereo speakers, and 32GB storage with expansion up to 200GB via a microSD card. The new USB Type-C is welcome as its adoption rate is growing stronger, while water-proofing is an established tradition and expected feature for each top of the line Xperia.
One of the highlights of the new Xperia XZ is its main 23MP camera with f/2.0 lens. It may look the same on specs, but Sony developed a new IMX300 sensor for the XZ and X Compact, which offers a new autofocus system. Now the camera uses color detection, phase detection, and laser-assist to measure distance correctly and track intelligently moving objects. This setup is called Triple Image Sensing and should provide always accurate focus for your images and videos.
The camera does not feature optical image stabilization - Sony is still on the fence about that. Instead Sony focused on its SteadyShot Intelligent Active Mode which now uses 5-axis gyroscope measurements (accounting for angle, roll, and shift shakes) to stabilize pictures and videos. This mode was also present within the Xperia X and X Performance but it lacked adjustments for shift shake.
By popular request Sony is adding manual shutter speed control and is bringing back the 4K video and it supports 2x lossless zoom.
Naturally, the power key's surface also doubles as a very comfortable fingerprint scanner, which we are quite fond of.
Finally, the XZ is powered by a 2,900 mAh battery - a small upgrade over the X Performance. It is capable of Quick Charge 3.0 but it's not clear whether the quick charger will be supplied.
The battery also supports adaptive charging for prolonging its life cycle - it learns when you are charging your battery overnight, stops fast charging around 90% and takes its time to charge you battery up to 100% until the morning. In theory this should double the service longevity of the battery.
The Xperia XZ will launch in early October in Mineral Black, Forest Blue, and Platinum. It is positioned above the Xperia X Performance meaning it's the best Sony has to offer. This also means you could expect a price tag north of €700 - but that's just us guessing.
Sony Xperia X Compact
The Xperia X Compact may share some DNA with the XZ, but it is not a smaller version of the latest flagship. It's exactly what the name suggests - a Compact flavor of the Xperia X. This means we will be getting a mini edition of the Xperia X with the same Snapdragon 650 chipset, same attention to detail in design, but also the same imission in the specs (ahem, water-proofing, ahem!).
Luckily, Sony decided to opt for the new looped design it chose for the Xperia XZ and it suits this smaller fella even better. Since the Xperia X Compact has to accommodate a rather big battery and powerful hardware inside a small shell, the X Compact is rather thick at 9.5mm. But thanks to the rounded profile and screen (a.k.a. looped surface) the phone should look and feel a lot thinner.
Sony says the Xperia X Compact body material was ceramic inspired, which sounds like sugar-coating the fact that it's made of plastic. Of course this has its benefits - the phone is lightweight and there is no need for an antenna strip at the back.
As we mentioned, the Xperia X Compact is a follow-up on the Xperia X, and it's powered by the Snapdragon 650 chip with a hexa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. Behind a 4.6" 720p display this chipset would deliver the same graphical performance as a Snapdragon 820 would behind a 1080p matrix.
The Xperia X Compact borrowed the design from the Xperia XZ, but it isn't the only thing it got from the flagship. It also employs the new main camera with all its goodies - the 23MP Sony IMX300 sensor with Triple Image Sensing tech (color + phase + laser detection). The SteadyShot Intelligent Active Mode is also available stabilizing the picture in five different axes. The new camera app with manual shutter control is also there.
There is no 4K video on the Xperia X Compact and instead of the new 13MP selfie camera, the X Compact features a 5MP front snapper.
Other borrowed specs are the USB Type-C port and the adaptive fast charging overnight - the phone is capable of Quick Charge 2.0, but when left on a cable overnight, it will charge the last 10% of your battery more slowly until the time you need to get up in the morning.
Sony will be positioning the Xperia X Compact somewhere between the Xperia X Performance and Xperia X, which means the phone will be priced at least €500 (just guessing).
The phone will launch next week in Universe Black, Mist Blue, and White, so we'll know more about the pricing very soon.