For years, the varying divisions within Sony — electronics, photo, smartphone, PCs, music and movie content — have been at war with each other. But Sony's semi-new Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has sworn to herd these feuding cats and the result is the Xperia Z1 smartphone, formally announced at the company's event IFA in Berlin.
Well, Hirai's definitely herded the smartphone and camera cats. The big news with the Z1 is its 20.7-megapixel camera, second only to the 41 MP PureView on the Nokia Lumia 1020.
The muscle behind the Z1's many megapixels includes Sony's 27mm wide angle f/2.0 lens, a custom made 1/2.3-inch type Exmor RS for mobile CMOS image sensor, and a BIONZ for mobile image processor. You also get 3x digital zoom.
Up front is a 5-inch full HD "Triluminos" display, adapted from Sony's Bravia HDTVs, and the Z1's brain is a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. It's got the superphone de rigueur 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for expansion.
Housing the Z1 is a one-piece aluminum water- and dust resistant case. And it's shockingly light; if Sony hadn't said it was made from aluminum I would have guessed plastic from the feel and weight.
Behind The Screen
Sony has loaded the Z1 with a bunch of fascinating features, including:
- Social live: You can live broadcast from the Z1 to Facebook, and see snarky comments about your broadcast on your screen.
- Info-eye: Get info on what's in a photo you snap, such as the 911 on your tourist trap locale or data on wines or books.
- Timeshift burst: Snap 61 burst images in two seconds, a second before and after pressing the shutter, then scroll through the burst to find the best one (although 61 may be a bit of overkill).
With Sony's Walkman app you get access to the company's Music Unlimited 22 million track library, and your get 150,000 movies and TV shows through Sony's Video Unlimited Movie app. Sony also has added ClearAudio+ to enhance sound (although I didn't get a chance to listen; I was fighting off 6,000 other journalists trying to play with the samples). You also get 100 Euro worth of free content, including a copy of Sony's recent summer blockbuster, Elysium.
Plus, a new app called TrackID TV lets you search, share and explore information such as cast and crew bios and filmographies or related tweets from TV shows.
When you shoot photos or videos, they're automatically uploaded to Sony's PlayMemories online cloud app, sorted by date. Sony says you get unlimited storage space.
Upon further review, it seems as if all of Sony's varying divisions did contribute something. Consider cats herded.
(All photos by Stewart Wolpin for DVICE).