It’s been leaked and rumored over the past several weeks, but today the Sony Xperia Z is official. At its CES 2013 press conference this afternoon, the company announced a new flagship smartphone with large, high-resolution display. The Xperia Z packs a 5-inch 1080p Full HD Reality display, and runs Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with 2GB of RAM.
Sony’s given the Xperia Z an angular and blocky sort of shape that might be disliked, but will certainly make the phone stand out from the pack. The Z also sports a glass back similar to that of a Nexus 4, which gives it a sleek and classy look (even if it does add create a fragile sense).
Perhaps the most interesting and unusual feature of the Xperia Z is its water-resistant construction: Sony claims the phone can withstand being submerged in a meter of water for as much as 30 minutes at a time. It also utilizes a special “wet finger tracking technology” that lets the screen recognize input even when it’s wet. Realistically speaking, I’m not sure how many people actually need that in a smartphone, but it sure is a memorable quality that’s practically made for marketing.
To shoot images, the handset features a 13-megapixel camera with a backside illuminated sensor. That means the camera app has a useful HDR mode to take still shots under low-light conditions. One interesting twist is that Sony claims the Xperia Z can also enable its HDR mode while capturing video, the first smartphone I’ve heard of that can do this. Other camera features include a burst mode, panorama, plus a bevy of special filters and effects.
Since this is a global handset, the Xperia Z operates on GSM networks but should connect to 3.5/4G HSPA+ infrastructure for quick data access. The Xperia’s high-capacity 2,700mAh battery is not removable, but the device does have a microSD slot to add additional memory.
Overall, I am surprised by Sony’s ability to put out a flagship device that light’s up my eyes. Hopefully it’s as good in reality as it is on paper.