Sony banks on premium parts, funky names with Xperia Z1

With the Xperia Z1, Sony hopes that a high-quality camera and other premium components will help its flagship phone stand out from the pack.

The Xperia Z1 has a 5-inch, 1080p screen, along with some extreme marketing jargon for the display technology. Sony claims that the “Triluminos” display provides a wide color palette, while the “X-Reality” picture engine analyzes each image for sharper video performance.

Sony’s Xperia Z1

The wild marketing lingo continues with Sony’s 20.7-megapixel camera, which features a “G Lens” and “Bionz” mobile image processor. Essentially, Sony is claiming that image quality will be on par with a conventional digital camera, with a large CMOS image sensor allowing for sharp images in low light. In a nod to Nokia’s Lumia 1020, the high megapixel count on the Xperia Z1 camera allows for 3x digital zoom without a noticeable drop in image quality.

Sony is also throwing a handful of new software features into the phone’s camera. “Timeshift burst” sounds the most useful, capturing 61 images over two seconds—starting one second before the shutter button is hit—and letting the user select the best photo. Other features include visual search (similar to Google Goggles), augmented reality effects, and “Social live,” which broadcasts live video to Facebook and shows comments in real-time.

Martyn Williams/IDGNS
Sony took the wraps off its Xperia Z1 smartphone at the IFA show in Berlin.

The design of the Xperia Z1 is similar to its predecessor, the Xperia Z, with a waterproof enclosure, glass panels on the front and back and an oh-so-slightly rounded rectangular shape. The waterproofing can withstand a 1.5-meter dunk in the pool for up to 30 minutes, and it allows the user to snap underwater photos using a dedicated shutter button.

As for tech specs, the Android-powered Xperia Z1 has a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, up to 16 GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot, a 2-megapixel front camera and a 3,000 mAh battery. The phone weighs 0.37 pounds and measures 0.33 inches thick.

There’s no word on exact availability, but Sony says the Xperia Z1 will launch “globally” in September. Sony’s phones have a history of showing up late on U.S. carriers—the Xperia Z, for instance, landed on T-Mobile in July, five months after its initial release date—so we’ll see if the Z1’s can do any better.

Updated on September 5 with a video report from IDG News Service.

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