By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
London – Sony Mobile expanded its Xperia Z series of smartphones with a third model, which becomes the second water-resistant model in the series to survive for 30 minutes of underwater movie-making.
The new Xperia ZR, an LTE-equipped phone, will be available in various global markets starting in the second quarter, the company said without offering details. Price and an availability date for the U.S. market were not announced.
Like the flagship Xperia Z unveiled at International CES, the ZR survives for up to 30 minutes in fresh water, but the new model survives to depths of 4.9 feet, whereas the Z survives for 30 minutes in up to 3.2 feet. Both models are also dust-resistant.
The flagship Xperia Z is available in the U.S. but only as an unlocked HSPA+ model at $629.99 through the Sony Store. An LTE version of the Z will be available through a carrier partner, though details of that launch will be announced at a later date, a spokesperson told TWICE.
The Z and ZR offers most of the same features, but the new ZR is a little thicker, sports a slightly smaller screen, and features 720p display instead of 1080p display, though it still captures 1080p video. Its front-facing video-chat camera is VGA compared with the Z’s 2-megapixel 1080p front camera, the company’s website shows.
The ZR features a 4.6-inch screen vs. the Z’s 5-inch display, 720p display resolution vs. 1080p display, and 10.5mm thickness vs. 7.9mm.
Features common to both include LTE, Android 4.1, Qualcomm quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 13-megapixel main camera with High Dynamic Range (HDR) capability and proprietary Exmore RS camera technology, and proprietary Mobile Bravia Engine 2 display technology.
Both also feature nearfield communication (NFC) technology to deliver automatic Bluetooth pairing with other Bluetooth- and NFC-equipped Sony products, including TVs, headphones, HTiBs and tabletop speakers.
Both also share Stamina Mode to boost standby time by four times or more by automatically shutting down battery-draining apps when the screen is off and starting them up when the screen turns on.
Both models also come with OptiContrast panel delivers less reflection for viewing in bright sunlight and creates a seamlessly black surface when the phone is turned off. Both also eliminate a sensor layer in the display to improve touchpanel responsiveness.
Other key features in the new ZR include Sony’s music and video streaming and download services, FM radio with RDS, Wi-Fi with DLNA certification, HDMI/MHL port, ANT+ , and 2300mAh battery.
A third model in the Z series, announced in March, is the Xperia ZL, which offers many of the same features as the flagship Xperia Z and the same 5-inch screen size but lacks water- and dust-resistance. The ZL, however, boasts a higher screen-size to front-panel ratio than the flagship. The ZL is available in the U.S. only as an unlocked model.
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