Sony has an impressive track record of innovation - many of their products are still recognizable brand names even if they are no longer relevant (remember the Walkman tape-players?). Some of that old spirit was very much felt watching the company unveil its new products at IFA.
The Sony Xperia Z1 (commonly known as Honami) feels like the old Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot soul has finally found a new physical form - a large Sony-made sensor and fast Sony-branded lens see the company flexing its vertical integration muscle and building on years of digital photography experience.
We mentioned the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom, but the reality is that those two will probably be low-volume devices. The Xperia Z sold well, selling 4.6 million in 40 days according to some numbers, and the Z1 compares more favorably against the competition than its predecessor did.
Last year the Xperia Z beat the competition to the quad-core Snapdragon punch, but when the other eventually arrived they brought a newer version of Qualcomm's chipset. The screen and camera were not great either if we have to be honest, but everyone definitely appreciated the design and the water resistant housing.
This year, Sony made sure to use the latest Snapdragon, fixed the screen, bolstered the waterproofing while keeping the sexy design and went all out with the camera.
And if the camera on your current smartphone isn't that good, maybe it doesn't matter anymore - the Cyber-shot QX lens-style cameras are a cheaper camera upgrade than either buying a new phone or a new camera. The writing has been on the wall for point-and-shoot cameras for a couple of years now and the QX10 might be the final nail in the coffin, while the QX100 brings back all the people who begrudgingly use the small sensors in their smartphones because their camera can't auto-upload photos and share them on Facebook.
The detached theme continued with the SmartWatch 2, which is an easy and discrete way to read information off the phone and handle basic commands. It's especially good if you have a large Xperia Z Ultra or a Xperia Z1 with QX100 attached stashed in your backpack and the phone beeps with a new notification.
Of course, we'd have to spend more time with the Sony Xperia Z1 and its sidekicks to test the new chipset, bigger battery, better screen, but the good thing about it is it doesn't hinge on the camera like the Lumia 1020 or the HTC One.