Sony has announced its new flagship at consumer electronics show IFA. It will probably come as no surprise to Sony Mobile fans but the company's new device isn't called the Xperia Z6. No, no, it is in fact going by the name Xperia XZ.
Sony announced a new range of smartphones at MWC back in March called the X Series, as well as confirming in a statement that the "Z line has reached its culmination" and the "X series represents a new chapter".
Bye, bye Xperia Z5, hello Xperia XZ. Here is everything you need to know about Sony's 2016 flagship handset.
Why has Sony called its next flagship the Xperia XZ?
There were several rumours surrounding the name of the next Xperia flagship - F8331 and Xperia XR - in the run up to its announcement. This was because despite us knowing the "X" range was Sony's future, there was no clear naming pattern in the X smartphones that had already launched.
Then Sony officially announced the Xperia XZ and it all made sense, sort of. What we do know for sure is Sony loves the alphabet. The Xperia XA is supposed to represent the lower end of the X series, the X the middle-end and the XZ the top end, moving from A to Z, though we don't know why X wasn't therefore named XM or something.
There is some logic however, even if based on the specs, we'd say it would have made more sense to say the Xperia XZ name was to represent the joining of the "X" range and "Z" range.
Sony Xperia XZ: Release date
Sony has yet to detail how much the Xperia XZ will be available for, but it has said both devices will hit shelves in October.
The devices had 3 October on their screens in the press conference but whether this will be the launch date or not is unclear.
Sony Xperia XZ: Design
Just like its release cycles, Sony has been pretty consistent with its design, especially across the Xperia Z1, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3+ devices. Yes, things got a little slimmer and overall a little better looking, but the general scheme of things remained the same.
The Xperia Z5 changed things up a little, moving away from rounded edges to flatter and squarer. A fingerprint sensor was added to the signature side power button that changed shape from circular to a flatter oblong and overall, the Xperia Z design improved significantly.
The start of the Xperia X series took the Z5's design and runs with it. The rear material moved from glass to metal and the result was fabulous. The OmniBalance design remained intact, as did the side fingerprint sensor on both the X and X Performance but the new design gave Xperia a new lease of life.
Enter the Xperia XZ where Sony changed things up again, well a little. The same OmniBalance design is present again, but the top and bottom of the device are flat, while the sides are rounded like the current Xperia X devices.
The Xperia XZ has the brushed metal finish, but Sony has added a coating to the new flagship that is said to stop fingerprints showing up as much. It measures 146 x 72 x 8.1mm, weighs 161g and features a new camera layout on the rear.
There is also USB Type-C, a 3.5mm headphone jack and the oblong side power button with its built-in fingerprint sensor on board.
Sony Xperia XZ: Display
Display is an area Sony stuck to its guns with when it came to the Z series. While many of its competitors hopped on the Quad HD bandwagon, Sony continued to opt for Full HD for its 5.2-inch Xperia Z5 and previous devices.
The only place it changed things up was the Xperia Z5 Premium whereby it skipped 2K altogether and went straight for a 4K resolution. It's always said that at that size, you wouldn't be able to notice the extra pixels per inch and customers don't want to trade battery life for display resolution so a 2K display on the new flagship was always going to be a long shot.
The Xperia XZ therefore launches with a 5.2-inch Full HD display for a pixel density of 424ppi, the same as the Xperia Z5. Sony's technologies are on board, including X-Reality and Triluminos, but aside from that, it's a standard flat display even though it looks as though it curves round to the edges thanks to a design feature called Loop.
There is no pressure sensitivity, despite the original rumours, and there is no Always-On Display showing certain notifications without users having to turn the main display on completely. Things are just as they were on the Xperia Z5 aside from that slight design tweak.
Sony Xperia XZ: Camera
The Sony Xperia XZ features a 23-megapixel rear camera and a 13-megapixel front camera, like the Xperia X and X Performance, but there are a few changes.
Firstly, the rear sensor is supported by two additional sensors, one for colour and the other to help with depth of vision. The rear camera also has five-axis stabilisation on board so those of you with shaky hands should be able to record video, in 4K, without seeing too much wobbling.
You'll find a sensitivity of ISO 12,800 on the rear camera, which can be controlled manually along with shutter speed, and Sony claims it has a 0.6-second capture. It also has Predictive Hybrid Auto Focus, which launched on the X series earlier this year. This feature tracks and predicts movements in order to ensure moments aren't missed.
The front camera is the same as the X and X Performance, featuring a wide-angle lens, ISO 6400 and Full HD video recording.
Sony Xperia XZ: Hardware
Sony is one of Qualcomm's most loyal fans. From the Xperia Z1, Sony opted for the chip manufacturer's latest processor each time, even when some of its competition went down their own routes for 2015 following overheating concerns about the SD810.
Sony followed the same path for the X series, with the X Performance featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip. That's the same as what the Xperia XZ comes with, making it the first time Sony hasn't opted for the Qualcomm's newest chip, which in this case would have been the SD821.
There is also less RAM than what many expected at 3GB, but there is 32GB or 64GB of storage and microSD support for storage expansion. As we mentioned, USB Type-C is also on board, ready to charge the 2900mAh battery and the XZ has a water and dust resistance of IP68, something the other X devices, apart from the X Performance, miss off their spec sheets.
Sony Xperia XZ: Software
The Sony Xperia XZ comes with Android Marshmallow from the box and it features the company's bloatware over the top.
Sony has adapted the software slightly from previous devices, including adding a new battery management feature called Smart Cleaner. This automatically clears the cache as well as shuts down apps in order to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
The camera software has also been adapted as we mentioned, with the new device giving users the ability to manually control shutter speed and ISO.
Sony Xperia XZ: Where can I get it?
It isn't yet known which networks will be stocking Sony's new Xperia flagship but we will update this feature as soon as we receive more details.
- Sony Xperia XZ preview: Sticking to what it knows
- Sony Xperia X Compact: It's Compact, Jim, but not as we know it
- Sony Xperia XZ vs Xperia Z5: What's the difference?
- Sony Xperia XZ vs X vs X Performance: What's the difference?
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