Sony Confirms Xperia Z1 Flagship Phone: 5-Inch 1080p Display, 20MP Camera

Sony has named a new flagship in its Android-powered Xperia smartphone line up which focuses on beefing up camera capabilities.  The 4G Xperia Z1, roundly leaked under the moniker ‘Honami’ but officially confirmed today at Sony’s IFA press conference in Berlin, is a follow up to the 5-inch, quad-core Xperia Z unboxed at the start of the year at CES.

The Xperia Z1 has a 20.7MP camera on its rump (vs the 13.1MP on the Xperia Z) coupled with a 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, Sony’s G Lens (27mm wide angle, f2.0 aperture) and Bionz image processing engine which Sony users in its standalone cameras.

Sony is making big boasts for this lens combo — claiming it’s the “world’s leading camera in a smartphone” (Nokia may however disagree; its Lumia 1020 smartphone has a 41MP lens). NB: Sony’s odd wording there — “camera in a smartphone” — can be explained by its simultaneous attempts to extend phone camera smarts via a hardware add-on lens system that clips onto any phone.

Sony is also preloading a series of camera apps onto the phone to extend its photo capabilities — including a Social Life camera streaming app, a Timeshift burst feature to take multiple images so you can choose the best shot, and an augmented reality app. “It’s built with an open SDK and we’re already working with a talented group of app developers that will extend its capabilities,” Sony said today.

Elsewhere, the Xperia Z1 looks to be a slightly beefed up version of its earlier sibling, with the same size 5-inch 1080p display — albeit this time including newer Sony screen tech that it includes in its Xperia Z Ultra phablet. Sony’s Triluminos screen tech apparently supports a greater range of colours with natural shades. The Z1 also features Sony’s X-Reality technology for improving the viewing experience of low res video.

Under the hood the Xperia Z1 has a 2.2Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 chipset. There’s also 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage –expandable via a microSD card slot — and a 3,000mAh battery. Design wise, the Xperia Z1 shares the look and feel of the rest of Sony’s Xperia range — with clean lines and blunt edges, although Sony says it’s evolved the design with a one piece aluminium casing. The phone runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean at launch.

Oh and the phone is also waterproof, as is its predecessor. To ram that point home, Sony apparently thought it was a good idea to entertain IFA attendees by getting some ladies to cavort with some phones in some water. As sexist displays go, it’s pretty impressive — even by tech industry ‘booth babe’ standards — so well done Sony for alienating ~50% of potential buyers. It better hope the other 50% gets so distracted they end up buying two phones apiece.

Neither the Xperia Z1 or its numeral-less sibling is the largest handset Sony makes, although their five inch displays sits on the cusp of phablet territory. The Sony enormo-phone award goes to its palm-stretching Xperia Z Ultra: a 6.4 inch phablet that’s so large Sony sells a Bluetooth handset accessory for it so you can comfortably take calls.

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