IFA 2013: Sony hands-ons

GSMArena team, 04 September 2013.
Pages: 123456

Introduction

Sony has deconstructed its best smartphone and put it back together into something amazing. The Xperia Z1 (codename Honami) is a powerful, camera-centric flagship backed up by the QX line of attachable camera modules and the SmartWatch 2.

The Sony Xperia Z1 takes some of the highlights of the original Xperia Z - the gorgeous OmniBalance design, a 5" 1080p screen, water resistant body - and kicks everything else into overdrive. The major crowd puller is the 20.7MP camera with G Lens and big 1/2.3" sensor, but the display tech is new and improved and the Snapdragon 800 chipset is the current chart-topper.

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Meeting up with the Sony Xperia Z1

The 1/2.3" sensor is as big as what most point-and-shoots have, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Camera and Galaxy S4 zoom hybrids. True, it's smaller than Nokia's 1020 PureView imager, but Sony didn't compromise the build - the Xperia Z1 is 8.5mm thick throughout, there are no humps to hurt pocketability (and desirability).

Sony Xperia Z1 at a glance

  • General: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, penta-band UMTS/HSPA, 100 Mbps LTE
  • Form factor: Water-resistant camera phone
  • Dimensions: 144 x 74 x 8.5 mm, 170g
  • Display: 5" 16M-color 1080p (441ppi) capacitive touchscreen TFT Triluminous display with X-Reality and OptiContrast
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800, quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400, Adreno 330, 2GB
  • OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Camera: 20.7MP camera with 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor and Sony G Lens, F/2.0 aperture; 2MP front-facing camera
  • Video camera: 1080p video capture with HDR mode
  • Memory: 16GB storage, microSD card slot, up to 64GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, standard microUSB port with MHL and USB host, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC
  • Battery: Sealed 3,000mAh battery
  • Misc: IP58 certified - dust-sealed and water resistant beyond 1 meter; shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass for the front and the back panel, metal frame on the sides

Today, top cameras are put on top phones and you pay for both. Plus, even the ones with impressive imaging credentials like the Xperia Z1 lack the optical zoom or stabilization of dedicated cameras, which on the other hand come short of features and apps, not to mention skimp on screen size and resolution.

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Sony Cyber-shot QX100 and QX10

Enter the new QX line of lens-style cameras that allow you to enhance any smartphone with a 10x zoom or a large 1" sensor borrowed from Sony's acclaimed RX100 II camera. Each QX camera contains its own lens, image sensor and battery and uses NFC and Wi-Fi for pairing and communication with the phone.

QX100 at a glance

  • Sensor: 1" 20.2MP Exmor R
  • Lens: F/1.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonar T* lens with optical image stabilization
  • Zoom: 3.6x optical zoom
  • Image processor: BIONZ
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
  • Misc: Standard tripod mount

QX10 at a glance

  • Sensor: 1/2.3" 18.2MP Exmor R sensor
  • Lens: F/2.0 Sony G lens with optical image stabilization
  • Zoom: 10x optical zoom
  • Image processor: BIONZ
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Misc: Standard tripod mount

Blinking lights have performed notification duties for almost as long as there have been mobile phones. Color lights and active screens have allowed phones to communicate more information, but they still do nothing when the phone is in your pocket.

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Sony SmartWatch 2

With the SmartWatch 2, Sony is continuing its push to make notifications richer and more accessible (it's always on your wrist), while at the same time allowing for more info to be displayed and giving you more controls, all in a single stylish package.

SmartWatch 2 at a glance

  • Form factor: Water-resistant aluminum smartwatch
  • Display: 1.6" transflective touchscreen LCD of 220 x 176 resolution; customizable watch faces
  • Connectivity: NFC and Bluetooth; microUSB
  • Apps: call and message notifications, music player controls, camera viewfinder, third-party apps from the Google Play Store
  • Battery: 3-4 days with watch always on
  • Misc: standard, exchangeable aluminum or silicon wrist band; Android 4.0+ compatible

This year at IFA, Sony is reimagining the future - in the year 2013 you won't need to pull your phone out of your pocket to read a new message or pay the flagship premium just because you want a good camera. And if you do pay for the flagship, the Xperia Z1, you'll get the bleeding edge in smartphone tech.

Join us on the next page as we take the Xperia Z1 and its crew for a spin.

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