Sony to focus on higher-end smartphones, Xperia Z test photos and videos surface, ZL confirmed for Canada


There’s no question when it came to Android announcements at last week’s CES 2013, Sony stole the show with the Xperia Z and ZL. A pair of high-end devices to compete with the best Samsung and even Apple have to offer, the phones combine top-of-the-line specs with solid build quality and design.

We had the opportunity to play with both of them (as seen in our CES coverage here), even testing out the devices’ camera functions. Touted as one of the best in the biz, Sony’s packing a new 13MP Exmor RS sensor into each of its Z’s.

Unfortunately, the devices we played with weren’t connected to WiFi, so we had no way of uploading said images and video online. No worries, it looks like some lucky fellas over at BestBoys.de were able to quickly take the devices cameras for a spin, uploading the resulting images and video (in HDR) to the interwebz. Let’s take a look at a few of ’em:

The video and images look rather crisp and well exposed. Guess the Exmor RS sensor wasn’t all talk after all. Remember, the Sony Xperia Z and ZL are both able to crank out HDR photos and video, creating images that rival even the iPhone’s or One X. It’s this attention to hardware details that makes the Xperia Z and ZL one of the highest-end Android devices to date.

Speaking of high-end, wheree Samsung and other Android OEM’s tend to blanket the market in entry-level, mid, and high-end devices, Sony could be taking a entirely different route this time around. In an interview with Cnet, Sony’s Xperia Product Manager Stephen Sneeden mentioned Sony could be forgoing lower, entry-level devices, focusing all their attention on superphones like the Xperia Z. Apparently this has more to do with brand image than anything with Sneeden saying in the interview:

“We’re ready to be a premium smartphone provider, logically then, at the very entry level is where you lose the ‘Sonyness.’”

In the Android space, attention is definitely a good thing. With a smaller product line to focus on, a manufacturer could — hypothetically speaking — offer more timely firmware and maintenance updates to address bugs. Sounds like a winning strategy for both Sony, and consumers if you ask me. ‘Course, I’m sure if you ask any Android manufacturer, they’ll tell you none of their devices are “entry level,” they’re simply “more affordable premium devices.”

Also, as if there was any question the Sony Xperia ZL would be making its way on over to Canada it seems the official Twitter account for Xperia Canada has confirmed the device will in fact be available in Canada, although no specific date was given. Now, we just have to play the waiting game to see which US carrier will be the first to snatch up and announce either the Z or ZL here in the states. My gut is telling me AT&T with the Z, and possibly T-Mobile with the ZL but anything can happen.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Hey Chris, thanks for the write up. Did any of the reps perhaps mention what they thought the phone would cost in Canada? This phone looks amazing and I’m really interested!

    1. The phone IS amazing but no, they were all tight lipped on pricing. :/

    2. I guess it will be below $1000 everywhere, including Canada. Obviously a better choice than the iPhone 5 for the same $1000.

  2. I think there is some error here. Sony said its leaving the very frist tier entry level smartphones. It is about the very cheap smartphones, this not means sony is leaving low-end smarts, just the ultra cheap. I think the ones about $180 or less.

    1. Why should they get into that market? There’s enough of those phones out there. Maybe they don’t have the money to make cheaper phones. What I mean is have the cash flow to profit and survive off of cheaper phones.

  3. Google should really need to ask Sony to design their nexus. Look so sexy.

    1. I like that idea.

    2. Great idea but i think it would be extremely difficult to have Sony put out a N5 at $350.

  4. Which would you get the white or black zl Chris?

    1. I’d go with the black. Only because I fear the soft touch backing on the white ZL would get dirty and the little holes on the back would trap dirt and be impossible to clean. :p

      1. You don’t have to worry. Xperia Z is waterproof, so you can just wash it :)

        1. @disqus_WZlOGMtxwb:disqus @9dd2e732c0da641511a711674455e436:disqus had asked chris what colour he would prefer on the ZL, not the Z (the ZL is not waterprooof. The Z is.)

  5. I like the design. Bold.

  6. my fear is if they only release high end phone, they may get carried away with the price tag. Sony may become a high-end name that people associate wealth with. just a worst care scenario.

    1. works for me, Sony can hand apple their butts, and be considered the King of the high end space. this phone spanks everything out there right now. I’m getting one %100 as long as it drops on my carrier, be it the Z or the ZL

  7. It’s too bad Google doesn’t get camera sensors from Sony. Look at those pics! A Nexus phone would poop if it could take pictures like that.

    Maybe I should say hell will freeze over before a Nexus takes pictures like that…

  8. Ooo!! I remember watching videos on this earlier. I would love the Xperia Z. I know the ZL is the more premium model, but I like the form factor of the Z model.

    I want the black one. I don’t like how the front is always black and the back would be a different color. Doesn’t flow too well. Which is why I’d get the black one. This phone looks nice.

    1. your mistaken, the xperia ZL is the cheaper model, less premium if you may. The ZL is not waterproof and has a cheaper design than the Z which is full glass and waterproof, i would rather get the xperia Z than the ZL.

  9. This Xperia Z looks really sexy (oh that purple one, I love it!) and has great specs, too. Its water-proofness is a HUGE plus for me. But I wonder if it’s better than the Galaxy Note 2…

    1. ofcourse it is? the note 2 only has a 720p screen and has a 8MP camera with only 720P filiming on the front camera oppse to the xperia Z which has a 1080P screen, 13MP camera and 1080P filming in the front camera. Whats more the Snapdraggon is more superior than the exynos quad processor despite the note 2 being clocked that 100Mhz more, the xperia Z is a better performer in the long run.

      1. Has the Xperia Z already been tested? Does it really perform that well?

        There was a time when I thought that the Galaxy Note 2 would be cool for everything, including reading books (big screen after all…), but now I see the Xperia Z will be even better in all senses.

        1. The note 2 is only 0.5 inches greater than the Z but not as superior as the Z as it only has 267PPI @ a resolution of 1280*720 while the Z has a resolution of 1920*1080 @ 441 PPI which would mean that the Z would display the text more crisper and clearer. It it also faster than the S3 Note 2 & iphone 5, and a tad faster than the nexus 4 thanks to sonys innovative enhansed software, the only downside is the price, its alot of money ($850).

          1. $850 isn’t that much if we take into account that the iPhone 5, which is MUCH weaker, is sold for about $1000 here!

  10. The Sony’s website for US listed the Xperia Z having HSPA+ 850, 900 and 2100 MHz bands… which carrier does it work with?? Not at&t nor T-Mobile right?

  11. I have been waiting years for a real Sony phone to come out. They are the only android manufacturers that know how to make just as sleek a looking device as apple. Only problem was the hardware was always out dated by the time they came out. I would drop my gs3 in a heartbeat if this thing comes to verizon. Does anyone have any information on that?

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