Dedicated camera manufacturers are struggling to keep up with advancements in smartphone technology. So what happens when Sony puts some of their best consumer camera hardware into a waterproof smartphone? Cannibalization of their own dedicated product lines aside, you get Sony’s new flagship phone, the Xperia Z1s.
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Revealed at CES 2014, Sony’s Xperia Z1s is jumping ahead of the Xperia Z’s water resistance with an IP58 rating. This means the smartphone can be submerged (not merely dunked and removed) in up to 4.9 feet of freshwater for 30 minutes. Sony even encourages consumers to shoot photos and video underwater via the physical camera button on the device. And Wet-finger tracking technology should make it easier to navigate the phone in rainy conditions.
The Xperia Z1s camera itself brings Sony’s expertise to bear along with some exclusive software features. You’ll get a 20.7 megapixel camera, Sony’s BIONZ image processing engine, Sony G Lens, and a suite of apps. One of the features exclusive to the Z Series phones is background defocus, which adds a manual focus effect — this lets your sharpen objects in the foreground for a more professional look.
Sony’s also doing some neat tricks splicing photography and video into the typical social smartphone experience with “Social live.” This lets users start recording a video and broadcast it live on Facebook. Comments and “likes” appear in real-time on the camera viewfinder.
It looks like Sony will continue to push their PlayStation ecosystem into the Xperia Z1s by including the PlayStation App, which gives gamers access to PlayStation Network profiles, trophies, and its storefront. It also doubles as a second screen and remote control for select PlayStation 4 games and apps. The phone will come bundled with 10 PlayStation mobile games.
Speaking of its ecosystem, Sony is also handing out freebies on the digital music and video side. Sony will toss in vouchers for “six great movies” from Video Unlimited and a 60-day free trial of Music Unlimited. If you buy the Xperia Z1s with a PlayStation 4, Sony will give you a $100 prepaid Visa card for your troubles.
“As a waterproof smartphone complete with the best of Sony’s technology, Xperia Z1s breaks the mold of not only what you can do with a smartphone, but where you can take it,” said Ravi Nookala, President, Sony Mobile Communications U.S. “Building on the momentum of the successful partnership for the launch of Xperia Z, T-Mobile’s shared vision of delivering an uncompromised mobile experience makes them the perfect exclusive partner to bring Xperia Z1s to the U.S.”
The phone launches exclusively on T-Mobile January 22, and interested customers can pre-order the Xperia Z1s for $0 down using T-Mobile’s Simply Choice Plan.
Finally, here are some key tech specs:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2.2 GHz Quad core CPU
- 2GB RAM
- 3000 mAh battery
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- Camera specs: 20.7MP, aperture F2.0, focal length 27mm (wide angle), 3x Clear Image Zoom, max. ISO 6400, SteadyShot, HDR for photo and video, 2MP front-facing camera
I just received a review unit today and will absolutely be putting that IP58 rating to the test.