Sony’s fatter, aquaphobic version of the Xperia Z, the Xperia ZL, now up for pre-order in the U.S.

Sony Xperia ZLCheck out our full review of the Sony Xperia ZL smartphone.

Sony has put the Xperia ZL smartphone up for pre-order in the U.S. via its own online store. Wait, you may be saying, we know all about the Xperia Z. Well, this is a different version of this year’s Sony flagship phone, designed to meet different needs and different wallets, so here’s what you need to know.

Like the Xperia Z, the Xperia ZL has a 5-inch, 1080p display which uses Sony’s Bravia Engine 2. It’s powered by a 1.5GHz, quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM, plus there’s a 13-megapixel camera using Sony’s Exmor RS sensor on the rear of the casing. Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean comes pre-installed along with the Walkman music player and several spec niceties such as NFC, DLNA and a microSD card slot.

The Xperia ZL shares all those features with the Xperia Z, so where’s the difference? For a start, the Xperia ZL is not water resistant or dust proof, meaning it’ll have to be treated with more respect, and the glass rear panel found on the Xperia Z has been replaced by one made of glass fiber polymide on the Xperia ZL. This alteration brings about perhaps the most significant difference between the two phones, as the Xperia ZL is slightly thicker and heavier than the Xperia Z. How much? An Xperia ZL sat in the palm of your hand will measure 9.8mm thick and weigh 151 grams, while the Xperia Z is a more lithe 7.9mm thick and 146 grams.

There are two versions of the Xperia ZL available, on with 3G and HSPA+, and the other with 4G LTE. According to the store, an unlocked HSPA+ Xperia ZL (with the model number C6502) will cost $720, while the LTE-equipped C6506 is $760. If you order one today, the shipping date is expected to be April 8. Eager buyers have the choice between a black, white or red phone, just like the Xperia Z.

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