Sony announced the Xperia Z4 smartphone, its flagship Android device for 2015, at the end of April 2015, but only for Japan. For a few weeks it remained tantalizingly out of reach for many, but then, Sony announced the Xperia Z3+ — an international version of the phone. Here’s what you need to know about the Xperia Z4 and its alter ego, the Xperia Z3+.
Updated on 05-26-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of the Xperia Z3+’s announcement, and global release plans.
The Xperia Z4 and the Xperia Z3+ are both exactly the same, just with different names. This means if you’ve studied the Z4’s spec sheet already, you’ll know all about the Xperia Z3+. If not, here’s a refresher. The Xperia Z3+ (and the Xperia Z4, don’t forget) has a 5.2-inch, 1080p touchscreen surrounded by a polished aluminum body and a glass rear panel, much like Xperia Z-series smartphones introduced in the past. Inside is Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor, running at 2.0GHz and supported by 3GB of RAM.
Related: Sony announces the Xperia Z4 Tablet
Sony’s promoting the Xperia Z3+’s front camera rather than the rear, which stays at 20.7-megapixels, and has added an intriguing Intelligent Active Mode. This is an electronic image stabilization system to minimize camera shake when taking selfies, or in an example provided by Sony, when you’re out running. The 22mm wide-angle selfie cam has an Exmor R sensor and 5.1 megapixels, plus various apps to add fun effects to your snaps. The rear camera even has a Gourmet Mode setting for making pictures of food look their best.
Sony has slimmed down the Z3+’s body to just 6.9mm, and reduced the weight compared to the Z3. It now weighs 144 grams. There’s excellent news for careless owners, because the Xperia Z3+ and the Z4 is rated at IPX5/IPX8, so is resistant to water and dust. Sony has also enhanced the audio side of the Z3+, and added its LDAC for lossless Bluetooth audio streaming feature, a system previously seen on the Sony ZX2 Walkman.
A 2,930mAh battery powers both versions of the phone, plus there is 32GB of internal storage, and a MicroSD card slot to add an additional 128GB. It’s going to come in four different colors — black, white, copper, and aqua green — which Sony says are very hardwearing, and will always retain a cool sheen. Finally, Android 5.0 in installed with Sony’s own user interface over the top, and the device is ready to connect to 4G LTE networks.
The Xperia Z4 will be sold in Japan through several networks from June. The Xperia Z3+ will also go on sale globally in June, in either single-SIM or dual-SIM configurations. The price and any network support in the U.S. has yet to be announced. We’ll keep you updated here.
CONTINUE TO PAGE TWO FOR ALL THE RUMORS LEADING UP TO THE XPERIA Z4 and XPERIA Z3+’S RELEASE
Sony is rumored to be abandoning its six-monthly, high-end smartphone release pattern for a more traditional annual refresh, and it could start with the Xperia Z4. To ensure the new phone is desirable for a longer period of time, Sony is apparently preparing to stuff the Xperia Z4 full of the latest tech, should the rumors prove accurate.
Updated on 04-14-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in rumors of possible launch date
The Xperia Z4 wait could almost be over
Early reports, including one from Android Origin, said the new flagship Z4 phone would come during Mobile World Congress back in March, but all we saw was the Xperia Z4 Tablet and a new budget phone at the Barcelona show.
Nearing the middle of April, a report published in Japan said Sony will reveal a new Xperia smartphone there on, or just before April 20. It’s not absolutely certain the device will be the Xperia Z4, but given the recent increase in leaks, it’s still a high possibility. The timing is also interesting, due to LG almost certainly announcing the G4 smartphone on April 28.
Other reports state the Z4 Ultra and Z4 Compact may not arrive until the second quarter of 2015, and this seems to be accurate so far.
Xperia Z4 design leaked in new photos
Sony is likely to stick with its popular Omni-balance design language for the Xperia Z4, according to several accounts. This means it probably won’t look all that different to the Xperia Z3 or the Xperia Z2. Its was never the looks that dampened our enthusiasm for the Xperia Z3, but the relatively basic alterations between it and the Xperia Z2. That doesn’t sound like it’ll be the case for the Z4, or something we’ll have to contend with from Sony again.
On April 9, two press style images of what’s supposed to be the Xperia Z4 were leaked by @onleaks. The phone matches with the previously published pictures, and shows once again, the design will be consistent with Sony’s past Xperia Z models. There is one slight discrepancy with other leaks. The power button appears to be slightly higher up on the side panel, so we could be looking at two different phones. No specifications were included in the leak, and there’s still no word on when the phone will be officially announced.
Recent leaked captures of the what appears to be the Xperia Z4 from Nowhereelse.fr seem to corroborate earlier reports. By all appearances, the Z4 does seem to resemble its predecessors, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
A new Twitter leaker by the name of OnLeaks — who happens to be from French site Nowhereelse.fr — posted a new render of what appears to be the Xperia Z4. The image shows the Z4’s metal frame, a round button, and a screen that’s coated with Sony’s UI.
— OnLeaks (@OnLeaks) March 16, 2015
Last year, in the midst of the recent spate of Sony hacks, Gizmodo claims to have uncovered official renders of the Xperia Z4’s design, along with marketing materials for the next James Bond film, Spectre. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) CEO Michael Lynton’s inbox full of emails was leaked during the hack, and that’s where Gizmodo found references to the Z4 and renders of its design.
In one email to Lynton, George Leon, Sony’s executive vice president of consumer marketing, revealed the company’s plans for Spectre product-placement. Preliminary designs of the Xperia Z4 and references to the amount of money Sony stands to make from product placement shots of the phone in Bond star Daniel Craig’s hands were revealed in the text.
The renders show a sleeker and slightly slimmer looking Xperia phone that bears a strong resemblance to the Xperia Z3. The edges of the phone look slightly squared off in one image, which also describes the glass as 1.2mm thick, and mentions a resin bezel. Although there’s no telling how early these renders were made or how accurate they are now, it seems likely that Sony will stick to the design pictured.
Sony Xperia Z4
The Xperia Z3’s 5.2-inch display could be swapped over for a 5.5-inch screen on the Z4, and the resolution increased to 2560 x 1440 pixels, matching the LG G3. In a recent interview, Sony’s head of marketing said the Xperia Z3 didn’t adopt a “quad HD” resolution because the difference between it and an optimized 1080p panel were minimal, especially on anything less than 8-inches in size. It also mentioned battery life as a consideration. Presumably, the G3’s success and the Galaxy Note 4’s introduction have helped change its mind.
Power could be provided by Qualcomm’s next big chip, the 64-bit Snapdragon 810, which has eight cores and a clock speed of 2.8GHz. Another report from PhoneArena hints that the Z4 will have the Snapdragon 805 instead, as the 810 won’t be available in time for Sony’s projected release date. However, Qualcomm announced the 810 back in April, and stated the processor would find its way inside smartphones by the first half of 2015, so the Z4’s processor is still a matter of debate. A massive 4GB of RAM is also mentioned, along with 32GB of internal storage space. The Z4’s camera may retain its 20.7 megapixel count, but feature an improved lens and sensor array, to produce better pictures.
Sony Xperia Z4 Music, Z4 Ultra, and Z4 Compact
Sony typically introduces multiple versions of its Xperia smartphones, and it seems the Xperia Z4 will be no exception. The latest variant to be rumored is a music-focused model called the Xperia Z4 Music. The device, which was spotted by iGeek, reportedly combines the functionality of a Sony Walkman and the Xperia Z4 in one. Sony’s Z4 Music will supposedly support high resolution audio playback of DSD, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, and more file types. It’s also said to sport S-Force PRO surround sound speakers with S-Master on the front of the device.
Although the Z4 Music will have top-of-the-line music playback powers, it’s screen may leave a lot to be desired. The Z4 Music will reportedly sport a 4-inch Triluminos IPS screen with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. A 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM will power the device, though. Sony will also supposedly pack 32GB or 128GB of internal storage into the device, so you can store all your high-res audio. Other specs include a 2000mAh battery, an 8-megapixel camera, and Android 5.0 Lollipop.
This could mark a return to familiar territory for the company. Back when Sony produced feature phones with Ericsson, devices with Walkman branding were common place.
PhoneArena has reported Sony will also unveil an Xperia Z4 Ultra alongside the new flagship Z4. The Ultra will sport a much larger 5.9-inch Triluminos screen, but have the same Snapdragon 805 processor and 4GB of RAM as the Z4. Surprisingly, the Ultra is said to have a 16-megapixel camera with dual LED flash, instead of the super high-resolution 20.7-megapixel sensor expected on the Z4. Sony may also shave the Ultra’s width down to a very slim 5.7-millimeters to make up for its big screen size.
A later leak from Android Origin stated that the Z4 Ultra will sport a massive 6.44-inch, Quad-HD resolution screen. Unlike earlier rumors, this report hints that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM will power the Z4 Ultra. Otherwise, the specification speculations are the same. The publication does throw in a new rumor about battery size, estimating that it will fall between 3,500 and 4,000mAh.
A rumored Xperia Z4 Compact may join the Z4 and Z4 Ultra. Supposedly, it will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor and sport 3GB of RAM. Android Origin also suggests it will have 32GB of storage, a 20.7-megapixel camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with 1080p video recording, as well as IP68 dust and water resistance. NFC and wireless charging support for the 3,000mAh battery are also possible. In other words, the Z4 Compact will be just as powerful as the standard Z4, but with a smaller, 4.7-inch 1080p screen.
All Z4 models may be coming soon
We’re sure to hear more about the Xperia Z4, the Compact, the Music, and the Ultra, and we’ll make sure you’re kept up to date.
Updated on 04-10-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in further leaked pictures of the Xperia Z4
Updated on 04-06-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added reported images of the Xperia Z4.
Updated on 03-16-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added new leaked render of what appears to be the Xperia Z4, and updated launch date rumors.
Updated on 01-12-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added new report that Sony will introduce a music-focused Walkman version of the Z4.
Updated on 12-19-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added new report and images from Gizmodo that claims to have official leaked renders from Sony hacks.
Updated on 12-15-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added new report from Android Origin that lists Xperia Z4 Ultra and Xperia Z4 Compact specifications.
Updated on 11-24-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added new report from PhoneArena with updated specs and news of Xperia Z4 Ultra.