Ignoring rumors of its potential demise, the Sony mobile division created more tangible news at Mobile World Congress on Monday with the release of two new devices: the water-proof Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone and the entertainment-focused Xperia Z4 tablet.
The Xperia Z4 Tablet’s design doesn’t come as too much of a surprise since Sony leaked the info just last week. Still, on paper, it appears to be a mighty alluring device. Display quality is one of the fastest ways for mobile devices to strike a strong impression, and Sony claims its 10.1-inch 2K screen is brighter than all of the similarly spec’d competition, be it the Kindle Fire HDX, Apple’s iPad Air, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, or Samsung’s Galaxy S slates.
We were a big fan of the Xperia Z2’s gorgeous 1080p display, so here’s hoping this higher-resolution successor is just as stunning. A pair of “powerful” front speakers and some under-the-hood Sony tech—High-Res Audio, DSEE HX processing, and Sony’s new LDAC codec—aim to pump out audio that’s as impressive as the visuals.
All those pixels are powered by a 64-bit Snapdragon 810, Qualcomm’s latest and greatest mobile chip. More impressively, Sony managed to cram that high-powered processor into a supremely svelte stainless steel frame measuring just 0.24-inch thick and weighing a scant 0.86 lbs. in its LTE edition. (The Wi-Fi-only model shaves off a few grams.)
Like the Xperia Z3 devices launched last fall, the Xperia Z4 Tablet includes PS4 Remote Play, so you can beam your PlayStation 4 games straight to the slate. The tablet also comes with access to Xperia Lounge Gold, which provides videos, exclusive offers, trip competitions, and more.
You’ll find an 8-megapixel main camera and wide-angle 5.1MP front camera on board. Here’s hoping they’re more impressive than the ho-hum 8MP shooter on the Xperia Z2. Like its predecessors, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is resistant to fresh water for up to 30 minutes if you close all the port covers and don’t go deeper than 1.5 meters.
Xperia M4 Aqua
Speaking of water-resistant, the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua offers the same protection, as the name implies.
Beyond that, Sony’s pushing the phone’s camera capabilities. The main shooter’s a 13-megapixel model packing Sony’s Exmor RS mobile sensor with a F2.0 aperture and ISO 3200 sensitivity, and the phone’s camera software comes with a “Superior Auto mode” that Sony claims is capable of intelligently processing 52 different lighting scenarios. There’s also a 5.1-megapixel front camera with an 88-degree field of view for folks who want wide-angle shots without suffering through the indignity of using a selfie stick. (Ugh.)
The LTE handset packs a Snapdragon 615, Qualcomm’s 64-bit processor for mainstream-level mobile devices. Sony claims a two-day battery life for the Xperia M4 Aqua, but take that with a grain of salt, since manufacturer-supplied endurance claims are always, well, ambitious.
And, yay! The Xperia M4 Aqua will ship with Android Lollipop, the most current version of Google’s operating system. (Sony didn’t say which version of Android powers the Xperia Z4 Tablet.) It’ll pack Silver-level access to the Xperia Lounge.
The big no-show
Sony’s MWC announcements are also notable for what wasn’t revealed—namely, a new Xperia Z4 flagship phone. That doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, as the “news” was tipped last month. Sony just launched a new purple variant of the Xperia Z3 in January, and the company’s been rumored to be slowing down the break-neck release speed of flagship Xperia releases. Sony’s Z3 flagship phones were released less than six months ago, so giving them time to breath makes sense.
As far as the devices that were announced, the Xperia Z4 Tablet will launch globally in June. The Xperia M4 Aqua will hit 100 countries for roughly 300 euros this spring, in your choice of white, black, coral, or silver.