Squeezing your flagship smartphone in a tinier, sportier shell is the fad in Android these days. Not the one to blindly follow the pack, Sony has chosen to do things differently. The Xperia ZR didn't get as far down as the Galaxy S4 mini and the One mini, and got a 4.55" display rather than a 4.3" diagonal.
However, unlike its HTC and Samsung rivals, the Sony Xperia ZR is keen to match the oomph of its flagship, offering better IP protection at that. Considering how important dust and water resistance were for the Xperia Z' success, some may as well consider this one as an upgrade, rather than a trimmed down version. There's also the proper shutter key - the Xperia ZR comes across as the better photographer too.
The battery capacity has been kept the same, and it's even user-removable this time. Together with the smaller screen of slightly lower resolution and stamina mode, you get a smartphone that's not only easier to pocket, but one that will last more than the premium package. Now, how's that not a winning combo? Here goes the complete list of Xperia ZR pros and cons.
So, basically all you'll be losing if you chose the Sony Xperia ZR over the Xperia Z is some screen estate, the 1080p front-facing camera and the Full HD display. We wouldn't call any of those a deal-breaker, though: the smaller screen favors portability and, at this size, 720p is more than adequate. As for the video-call camera, most video-chat apps don't really support much higher resolutions anyway.
It seems then that Sony has another potential winner on its hands. The Xperia ZR might just be what the company needed to cruise through the next quarter and allow enough development time for the Honami and Xperia Z Ultra, which look like the kinds of projects they wouldn't want to rush.
We need to see whether the smartphone behaves as promised, getting the most out of an impressive feature set. We start with the full physical right after the break.