At CES 2014 today, Sony finally unveiled the worldwide version of the smaller-sized Z1 already released in Japan.
It wasn’t a big surprise, but it didn’t have to be. What Sony has done is release a ‘mini’ version of its flagship without compromising on hardware, as so many others have done (S4 Mini, HTC One Mini etc).
It’s no different to what Sony did last year when it rolled out the Xperia ZR, a more colourful version of the Xperia Z. Like the Z1 Compact, it too had the same top-spec, but with a smaller 720p display. It even had a camera shutter button where the Z did not, making it the ideal choice for the avid photographer.
The problem? Well, in the UK none of the operators were interested. It seems the cheaper Xperia SP proved the favourite, and good as it was, it was nowhere near as good as the ZR.
Fortunately, this time around it appears that at least one UK operator, O2, has confirmed it will be selling the Z1 Compact – and hopefully that will be followed up by announcements from all of the others in due course. [Update: Phones 4u is now confirmed too.]
The Z1 is a great phone, but with a larger footprint than the Z, it’s not for everyone. The Z1 Compact represents the perfect compromise of size vs performance.
What’s more, Sony has used an IPS display this time around which should mean superior viewing angles too.
At the same time, Sony has also announced a new range of SmartWear products, including a new ‘SmartBand’ that logs daily activities and shows them visually on Sony’s Lifelog application, plus some new stereo headphones – the SPH-80 with NFC, HD Voice and aptX.
Finally, there’s some additional good news in the form of a blog posted by Sony at the end of December, which stated that the Z1 will remain a flagship into 2014.
“We spent most of the summer bringing these products to market and gearing up for our last major smartphone announcement of the year. In September we launched Xperia Z1. Where Xperia Z was a revolution in design, Z1 was a revolution in technology. Through our work with Sony’s camera experts, we were able to create a camera phone that truly blurs the lines between mobile phones and compact cameras, whilst at the same time, new technologies in processors, screens, audio and media integration all came together to produce a smartphone that is simply brilliant. It is our strongest selling smartphone to date and will continue as our flagship into 2014.” – Sony Mobile Blog, December 31st 2013.
Now, of course it doesn’t say how long into 2014 that will be (tomorrow perhaps?), but I can only hope that Sony is going to slow things down a little and aim for an annual update for its flagship products in line with the competition.
That still leaves Sony having to find time to schedule in the release of a Z2, Z2 compact, Tablet Z2, Z2 Ultra, a cheaper mid-range model to replace the SP, and perhaps a low-end model.
That seems like a pretty comprehensive portfolio to me, but for now, let’s look forward to the Z1 Compact.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact – Stats at-a-glance
- 127×64.9×9.5mm / 137g
- 4.3-inch Triluminos IPS display, 720×1280 pixels (342 pixels per inch)
- 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 / Adreno 330 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 2,300mAh battery
- 2G/3G/4G LTE
- 20.7-megapixel camera with Sony Exmor RS sensor
- Android 4.3 (upgrade to 4.4 imminent)
- IP58 Water-resistant / IP55 Dust-resistant
- Dual-band Wi-Fi (inc 802.11ac), Miracast, DLNA, MHL, NFC