IFA 2016: The new Sony Xperia XZ is the Xperia Z6 in disguise


Sony has announced two new flagship phones, with the Xperia XZ offering the top end specs that we were expecting from the clearly-not-ever-appearing Xperia Z6.

That phone will be joined by the Xperia X Compact, a curious handset that features a lower feature set than the ‘main’ XZ, designed more for those on a budget and wanting a smaller screen.

The Xperia XZ features a 5.2-inch Full HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 3GB of RAM.

It also features a brand new design with Sony’s own ALKALEIDO metal back (which doesn’t seem to actually add more than it being made out of metal), more rounded edges than ever before and, thankfully, the return of IP68 water resistance, meaning you’ll be able to drop this phone in water and not have to worry about it dying.

Sony Xperia XZ
The Sony Xperia XZ has a revitalized design.

Both the Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact are also the first Sony phones to embrace USB-C technology.

Compact mirror

The X Compact features a 4.6-inch 720p display, 32GB of storage and a 5MP selfie camera. It’s a smaller phone, designed for those who like powerful yet less unwieldy devices, and features a back panel “inspired by ceramic” that feels, well, like it’s inspired by ceramic, but isn’t actually made of it..

It only weighs 135g and has dimensions of 129 x 65 x 9.5mm.

Under the hood the X Compact sounds a little disappointing with a Snapdragon 650 processor and 3GB of RAM. The Xperia Z5 Compact, announced at IFA 2015, featured a powerful Snapdragon 810 and 2GB of RAM – so the new Compact device isn’t the ‘same spec but in a smaller package’ option we’re used to seeing from Sony.

Sony Xperia X Compact
The Xperia X Compact is supposed to be small but powerful. Whether it is or not is a different story.

Each phone boasts a 23MP camera sensor – the same we’ve seen in the Xperia Z5 series and Xperia X – but only the XZ features 4K video recording.

Sony is talking up big camera improvements on both phones including 5-axis image stabilization, better white balance control and laser auto-focus.

The Xperia XZ has a powerful 13MP front-facing camera but your selfies won’t be as rich on the Xperia X Compact as it’s only a 5MP sensor.

Each phone features a fingerprint sensor on the right hand side – whether that will come to the US is unclear as Sony didn’t include it on last year’s Xperia Z5 release, but it’s a strong feature that should make it through this time as sensors become cheaper.

Better battery – again

The Xperia XZ comes with a 2900mAh battery while the Xperia X Compact has a 2700mAh cell – but both phones also now come with a new tech that should help stop it draining more quickly as it gets older.

Your phone will learn your charging habits over time, so it won’t be pumping in power when it doesn’t need to when your charger is connected.

This means if you regularly charge your phone overnight and take it off at 7:30AM, it’ll charge to 90% as soon as possible and finish off in the last 10% moments before you wake up.

Xperia X Compact

Both new phones are running Android 6 Marshmallow software with the Xperia UI overlay sat on top, and a Sony spokesperson has confirmed to TechRadar it will be updating the phones to Android 7 as soon as possible.

You’ll be able to buy the Xperia X Compact from September 5 in the UK and the Xperia XZ from the week commencing October 3 – but the Xperia XZ and X Compact price is still unclear

We’ll update this story with the latest on the price and release date for both phones once we know it.

  • Read our hands on reviews of both the Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact

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