Flashbacks and Forecasts: Sony in 2016

by: Kris CarlonFebruary 6, 2016
1.4K

sony xperia z5 & z5 compact & Z5 premium aa 18

As the inventor of the Sony Walkman and maker of the world’s current most popular game console, Sony devices have enjoyed huge popularity over the years. But electronic devices haven’t been the core of Sony’s business for a long time and it is now crunch time for Sony Mobile, the most problematic of all Sony’s holdings. The stakes couldn’t be higher either: if worse comes to worse this year, 2017 will be the year that Sony Mobile goes up for sale.

Sony has been in the midst of a multi-year “restructuring” plan ever since its current president Kazuo Hirai was appointed back in 2012. Cost-cutting and profit optimization is the name of the game and changes to this effect have steadily been making their way through the Sony Group’s businesses: Sony Electronics, Sony Music, Sony Pictures and Sony Mobile.

In 2015, Sony Mobile was given a clear mandate: get back to profitability by the end of 2016 or face the consequences.

At the end of 2014, a new Sony Mobile chief was appointed, Hiroki Totoki, and Hirai gave the new CEO a clear mandate: get the mobile division back to profitability by the end of 2016 or face the consequences. Considering Sony had already sold off its computer division in 2014, the seriousness of the task ahead was clear.

While the larger Sony Group has become more profitable in recent years thanks to Hirai’s streamlining changes – even as overall revenue has remained relatively flat – Sony Mobile is among the last divisions to be overhauled. The lack of attention being paid to mobile is evident in the number of often embarrassing problems the division has faced in recent times.

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The curse of the 810

With the late 2014 Sony Pictures email hack still causing problems, the last thing Sony needed in 2015 was another scandal, but one arrived regardless. Sony’s first major device of the year, the Xperia Z3+, got widespread attention for overheating and camera crashes. The Snapdragon 810 chipset – the bane of many flagship phones in 2015 – was largely responsible, affecting the LG G Flex 2, Xperia Z3+ and HTC One M9 in the first few months of the year.

Sony's first major device of the year, the Xperia Z3+, got widespread attention for overheating and camera crashes.

When using AR Mode or 4K video on the Xperia Z3+, the app would crash after just a few seconds and the phone would need to be left to cool down before the camera could be restarted. Sony put out patches but failed to solve the problem. Considering the tough times Sony had been facing, the last thing Sony needed was a flagship phone with heavily publicized faults.

Thanks to its foolhardy six-month update cycle, Sony had long been accused of releasing new flagship phones that were only incremental updates from the last. The Xperia Z3 had been widely viewed as a very marginal update on the Z2, with the same camera, same amount of RAM, screen size and resolution but a smaller battery.

SONY REVIEWS IN 2015:

One, two, miss a few

As if performance and specs scandals weren’t bad enough, Sony also couldn’t seem to name anything logically. The Xperia Z4 Tablet arrived at CES when there was no Xperia Z4 phone. When the phone did arrive it was called the Xperia Z4 in Japan, the Xperia Z3+ internationally and the Xperia Z4v in the U.S.. The negative response to the Z4 in Japan was generally accepted as the reason for renaming the device internationally.

The naming confusion only got worse though. The Z3 Compact hit shelves in early 2015 as the successor to the Z1 Compact and was itself succeeded by the Z5 Compact later in the year. No one seemed to know what Sony was thinking and the company just seemed to make one bad decision after another.

Verizon ended up ditching the Xperia Z4v entirely and Sony advised Xperia owners that their phones weren’t waterproof after all. By the time the Xperia Z3+ was available in the U.S. the Xperia Z5 was already available internationally and for some unknown “business decision” the Xperia Z5 bound for America will arrive without a fingerprint scanner.

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Never say “never ever”

With the mobile division’s long-standing troubles only getting worse, rumors circulated in the middle of 2015 that Sony Mobile was going to be sold off. CEO Totoki struck back definitively, saying “we will never ever sell or exit from the current mobile market”. But Sony was hemorrhaging fans and Xperia sales in 2015 were the lowest they have been since 2011.

Against this backdrop it should come as no surprise that a little later in the year, Sony president Hirai was quoted as saying “we will continue with the business as long as we are on track with the scenario of breaking even next year onwards. Otherwise, we haven’t eliminated the consideration of alternative options.”

“We will continue with the business as long as we are on track with the scenario of breaking even next year onwards. Otherwise, we haven't eliminated the consideration of alternative options.”

While Sony Mobile was being given every opportunity to turn things around, Hirai’s attitude was clearly that of a sober businessman committed to improving the profitability of his stable of companies. And when you look at the facts, Sony Mobile hasn’t been making money for years, just as Samsung Mobile has become a constant drain on Samsung’s other more profitable divisions.

Sony Music, Sony Pictures and Sony Electronics have been picking up the slack for Sony Mobile for a long time. The new Bond film “Spectre”, Adele’s record-breaking album “25,” brisk camera sensor sales, and Playstation 4 sales that broke the 30 million unit ceiling within two years of launch are what made Sony money in 2015, not Xperia devices.

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Time to face the music

Like all other Android OEMs, a plateauing smartphone market, flatlining tablet market and increased competition from abroad are taking their toll. Even in Japan, Sony’s market share is only 17.5% and in the U.S. it’s around 1%. Despite a slight upswing in Xperia sales in the last quarter of 2015, Sony Mobile’s revenue was down 15% over the year prior.

While Sony executives have claimed Sony Mobile is on target for a return to profitability in 2016, the company’s most recent earnings call reported a “significantly deteriorated device segment”, going on to report “every other segment had an increase in operating profit”. In fact, even with Sony Mobile’s poor performance, Sony as a whole reported its highest Q3 profit in eight years (Sony’s financial year ends in March 2016, making the Oct-Dec quarter Q3).

Sony is only expecting to ship 3.5 million units this quarter – less than half that shipped in the previous quarter.

The earnings call also contained yet another re-adjustment of forecasted Xperia shipments for the full financial year. The figure once stood at 30 million, was then revised to 27 million and has now been further reduced to 25 million.

Considering Sony has already shipped 21.5 million devices, this means Sony is only expecting to ship 3.5 million units this quarter based on its own data – less than half that shipped in the previous quarter.

Xperia sales Xperia Blog

You may be wondering how figures like these will ever get the division back to making a profit by the end of 2016. The thing is, they won’t. Sony Mobile’s turnaround, like the rest of Sony’s restructuring, isn’t predicated on an increase in revenue. Rather, Hirai’s cost-cutting, streamlining and downsizing is what’s responsible for making each Sony division more profitable, not an increased market share.

We’ve already seen this in effect throughout the year. Sony cut 1,000 jobs back in early 2015 and then another 1,000 a few months later. With a workforce of only 7,000 people this is a significant amount of job losses. In more recent times we’ve heard that Sony is planning to ditch tablets altogether. A wise move perhaps, considering tablet sales only made up 5% of Sony Mobile’s revenue back at its peak in 2013 and things have only gotten worse since then.

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Sony in 2016

So what does this all mean for 2016? Basically, Sony Mobile is in a race for its life. With 2015 sales of just 29.4 million devices, the lowest since 2011, it’s a sad day when it must be admitted that Sony is better off without Sony Mobile. Unless Sony can turn things around in the next twelve months the Xperia brand will go the way of Vaio before it.

It’s hard to say how far along Hirai’s restructuring plan is within the division though. While Xperia sales may not be going anywhere, if Hirai’s streamlining and profit maximizing works as well at Sony Mobile as it seems to have done throughout the rest of the company, there might still be hope left. But even if Sony Mobile sees a return to profitability through jobs cuts and other strategies, it needs to prove its value, not simply stop hemorrhaging money.

With 2015 sales of just 29.4 million devices, the lowest since 2011, it's a sad day when it must be admitted that Sony is better off without Sony Mobile.

Opportunities and challenges ahead

Looking at Sony’s other divisions, Sony Electronics has the world’s most popular gaming console on its hands in the Playstation 4, with PS VR still to come this year. Both Sony Music and Sony Pictures are doing well and Sony’s Financial Services business is by far the most profitable of all of Sony’s holdings, generating more than half of the revenue and operating profit for the entire company.

Sony has also recently acquired a semiconductor company. Although global semiconductor sales hit a record high in 2015, the market seems to have already hit its peak and begun its decline. Sony’s image sensor sales have also taken a big hit in recent months. Like Samsung, Sony won’t be able to rely on chip sales to prop up a weak device market and even its popular sensor business is starting to show signs of weakness.

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The Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact are set to hit the U.S. market on February 8 and with a little luck, the various fiascos of 2015 will be forgotten in light of the generally positive reviews the Z5 series has garnered internationally. An outstanding camera and excellent battery life will hopefully be enough to make up for a debatable waterproof rating, too-familiar design language and interface that’s long overdue for an update.

It's likely that Xperia tablets will stop being produced in 2016 and Sony will end its six-monthly product cycle.

It’s likely that Xperia tablets will stop being produced in 2016 and Sony’s Smartwatch efforts may begin to taper off too. Sony will likely soon make it official that it is ending its six-monthly product cycle with the Xperia Z6 due for an IFA-release in September rather than its traditional timeframe of MWC 2016 later this month.

Apart from the unnecessary expense of developing and testing two flagships a year, Sony can’t afford any more bad publicity about incremental improvements. The U.S. public hasn’t seen a flagship Xperia product on shelves since the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z5 has already received some bad press over the loss of the finger scanner.

MORE SONY VIDEOS:

The forecast

If Sony Mobile gets sold, the result would be a more profitable and stable Sony Group that is known around the world for providing excellent financial services rather than for creating game-changing tech devices. Even if Sony Mobile manages to return to profitability this year, cost-cutting and profit maximization won’t be enough forever.

Sony Mobile needs to re-imagine its wireless portfolio, cutting high investment, low-return areas to remain as profitable as possible. The Xperia range needs to be revitalized in terms of design and interface and the company can’t afford any more high-profile scandals or missteps. The Xperia Z5 series, as good as it is, is faced with the ominous task of keeping the company afloat throughout 2016 if Sony Mobile is going to survive long enough to take the Xperia Z6 to market.

  • Diego

    Samsung is killing all other android oems.

    • Ivsil

      No, Qualcomm is doing that. If the SND 820 has similar problems like 810 OEMS will die because average user don’t know it is Qualcomm fault.

      • sjesudasan

        SD810 fiasco has pushed many oems to seriously pursue SOC fabrication and there is some very good progress there. SD820 is more important to Qualcomm than oems IMO.

        • moew

          The fiasco was 1 website commenting on LG’s implementation. The other dozen 810’s out there are just fine. Promulgation of lies by people like you have no merit in society.

          • sjesudasan

            HTC one M9, Xiaomi Note pro, xperia z3 + all had severe throttling issues due to overheating. So it’s not just lg gflex 2. Also overheating is the reason why OP2 underclocked its CPU. so calling my comments as lies is laughable. I don’t have any bias against Qualcomm. Most of the android devices I have used ran Qualcomm SOCs. Gsmarena, xdadevelopers, anandtech, tomshardware just to name a few sites have reported that SD810 before v2.1 throttles heavily. You can praise SD810 all you want but I’m waiting for SD820 ?

  • moew

    They just need to bring the current Z5 to the USA market. I rock a Z5 and it’s one of the most refined devices I’ve ever used. My 6P is collecting dust, and it’s lightyears ahead of my old OPO. The IP ratings on these phones is gold for many people that work in hot/humid environments, wet environments, or the coworkers that accidentally drops their phone into porcelain gods and have to buy a new phone.

    Sony has excellent phones, not sure how they have pissed off the USA carriers. They need to embrace them.

  • ryq24

    Maybe Sony should study how xiaomi and huawei or even asus are able to sell their phone so cheap. And see if they can copy them.

    • eur3kasizm

      It was never about the price, more likely to be bad marketing, slow/ limited market availibility after release, Bad decision on the chip choice and poor camera software.

  • DBS

    “An outstanding camera and excellent battery life will hopefully be enough to make up for a debatable waterproof rating, too-familiar design language and interface that’s long overdue for an update.”

    The problem here is that there’s NO outstanding camera on the Z5. The camera on the Z5 is as bad as on previous Xperias, with the aggravating fact that the “manual mode” just got even worse.

    The Z5 has very little – if anything – going for it compared to the Z3 before it. And that’s Sony’s problem. They insist on form over function and aren’t able to really innovate on mobile.

    Quite honestly, maybe it’s time for them to pack their bags and just quit. It’s a damn shame because the Compact line is probably the best idea anyone has had in mobile in years. But the Compact line – the only thing actually keeping Sony’s mobile division from sinking any further – isn’t enough.

    I still hope Sony will finally address the issues on the Z5 with the Z6 this year, namely finally adding OIS, completely re-doing the camera software, adding a proper flash, a SoC that doesn’t suck etc. But that requires Sony to actually invest some effort on mobile. And at this point I’m not sure Sony is that committed anymore.

    • moew

      The camera on my Z5 is exceptional. I actually prefer to use it over my 6P. Perhaps it was the old first gen camera app that you are thinking of? I’ve only been in the Z5 game since the update.

      OIS can pull tricks on your DOF, so I’m glad it does NOT have it. You appear to be very vehement in the matter, almost to the point of a Z5 terrorist.

      • nebulaoperator

        OIS helps in low light instead Z5 smears the detail up. I would also expect more from the actual image sensor manufacturer. Dynamic range on Z5 is far from ideal which often tends to overblow highlights or light parts of the image, sky for instance. S6 and Iph6s does a better job infact. Z5 images also suffers from quite visible softening/smearing as images moves away from centre . It’s far from exceptional taking those points to account and in comparison to those two phones at least.

        • moew

          TLDR, your first line is photography 101, and it mucks up the DOF. Didn’t have to read more than that. I see you are vehement against the Z5 and it’s a damn fine phone.

          • nebulaoperator

            Insider? Typical behaviour.

          • moew

            Average honeyfsckingbadger here. Your insight is diatribe and actually quite boring. Oh and I lug around full frame cameras with huge ass white lenses all the time. Your poopycat is so obvious it stinks through my monitor.

          • nebulaoperator

            Look at the pride look at it. How do you feel now making complete idiot out of your self? How much are insiders paid these days? On the conversation side you didn’t disprove my statements by an inch.

          • moew

            After talking to you on the phone, you don’t even have this phone, but you do have stockings, so there’s that!

      • DBS

        The camera on the Z5 is exceptional if you compare it with that of an HTC or Motorola. Put it against the likes of the G4, any flagship Lumia or the S6 family and it gets smashed to bits.

        The 6P also doesn’t have OIS. But it does have larger pixels. It’s still not a good replacement. The Z5, much like all Xperia flagships before it, can only deal with well lit pictures. Once that goes away, the camera falls apart. The lack of OIS makes every picture less sharp (when not just downright blurry), the post-processing produces a photo filled with artefacts and over-sharpening…it’s just horrible.

        And yes, I have a very vehement position on this matter because I’m lucky enough to be able to use more than one phone. You want to know how long I kept the Z5 Compact? 1 week.
        Because the phone was bad? No. Because it performed exactly as well (well, often it performed worse) as the Z3C I had before it and specially because the camera STILL sucked as much as the Z3C did…with the aggravating part that NOW I can’t even do such basic things as adjust ISO values on Sony’s so-called “manual mode” if I’m shooting at full resolution.

        No. The only terrorist here is Sony, who continues to blindly believe only in itself and blowing itself up with these failed “upgrades”.

        • moew

          Yup, best camera of the breed when the breed knows how to operate a camera. I see that you don’t fall into that category. Again, Love the Z5 and I’m in the USA rinsing it under a faucet today.

          Glad you agree DBS.

          • DBS

            You’re right. You fall into the breed who knows nothing of photography and to whom taking a photograph consists in pointing and shooting. I’m unfortunately amongst those who actually know a bit more than that. I can’t live in your bliss of ignorance ;)

            But I understand. You, being an American, probably had to work your arse off to be able to buy the Z5 and so you refuse to face the simple fact that its camera sucks. Well, maybe you’ll get better luck next time ;)

          • Andreas Larsson

            Blurry edges and blue tinted low light shots, nuff said

          • moew

            Only on those that unlocked their bootloader and lost their DRM keys. Yes, that’s right, unlocked devices are worth poo.

          • Andreas Larsson

            What? No I’m not talking about any unlocked devices, these are common discussed problems with the z5 camera in the xda forum

          • moew

            Right… these are all unlocked devices with the problems. Nobody with the current update and a factory setup has these issues.

            For those watching, if you unlock a sony phone, you lose your DRM keys. That severely affects the camera, and other software. If you are looking to buy used, watch out for this. Locking the bootloader does NOT restore the DRM keys.

          • Andreas Larsson

            “Nobody with the current update and a factory setup has these issues.”

            Right, liar.
            Everybody with the current update and factory setup has these issues, because they are caused by that extreme wide angle lenses making the edges go blurry because they are out of focus.

          • moew

            It’s not an extreme wide angle, and I’m sure that you are the liar. I have the phone in-hand and it works great in low light.

          • Andreas Larsson

            I’m starting to doubt you’ve even seen the phone.
            “Z5’s ultra wide-angle lens is completely unique in smartphone world. Z5 lens’s brightness at F2.0 is very unique even in the camera world. For example Canon and Nikon, which have the most extensive lens collections in the world for DSLR, do not offer this bright ultra wide-angle lenses (brightest available are F2.8). The most likely reason for this is the corner softness that bright ultra wide angle lenses have by nature. Sigma has a 20mm F1.8 lens, which has even softer corners wide open than Z5.”

            Quoted from the z5 xda forum

          • MS

            Taken with my Z5p locked bootloader. Look at the right corner. I love my phone, but please don’t try to defend something that it clearly suffers from.

          • moew

            Simple photography 101, they should have not gone as wide, as users like you think it’s a flaw, but it’s just Physics.

        • Shamoy Rahman

          Have you even used it with the new camera update? The old app had noise and grain issues in low light and the stabilization fell apart. However, after the new firmware update for the camera app and software, photos are looking better than my S6 and G4 now, even in low light. I find it really funny how they released the Z5 series with shitty camera software and decided to upgrade the software 3 months later…

          Anyways, my Z5 Premium is doing stellar now in camera and battery life is decent. I would upgrade to a Z6 Premium if it means better processing power, battery life, and even more improved camera. What Sony really needs to include is a new design.

          • moew

            Moew! First point is exactly the point :) How are you liking that Z5 Premium? Took me a while to pull the trigger on teh Z5, and it’s freakin’ amazing (late Jan). I can only imagine the Z5P is just so much nicer with that super premium screen!

          • Shamoy Rahman

            Its an awesome phone overall but I think there are few things that Sony still should improve to bring the closer to perfection and fulfill fanboy and spec whores’ desires. That would be inclusion of an OLED display, custom Sony CPU or SD820, OIS + DIS hybrid stabilization, and better battery life. I’m hoping to get the Xperia Z6 Premium or Z6 if there is no premium variant.

          • moew

            The Z6 doesnt’ exist. You are having a pipe dream. Also EWWWW OLED, that would kill the Bravia experience.

          • Shamoy Rahman

            Uh. That’s if we’re talking about Samsung OLED or Sony OLED. Sony OLED matches 99% of the BTU.2020 color gamut which is the highest color accuracy of any display compared to 72% sRGB on LCDs. OLEDs use less than half the power of LCDs and get you perfect blacks and brighter whites. So LCDs are garbage in comparion, they are inferior in every way. As an Xperia fan, OLED is the most desirable features because it will allow the display to be thinner, battery life would increase significantly, and we could put more components in there. OLED would be a huge gain for the Bravia experience.

          • Shamoy Rahman

            I’m saying when the Z6 comes out.

  • utack

    The market is really odd.
    Movies and Music, anyone can do that.
    The PS4 is a POS, but lack of alternative sells it.
    Their phones are the best in the Android market, and this is where they make loss.

  • Nexus Venturi

    The z5 has mechanical image stabilisation, the whole sensor moves, though I’m not sure it’s active in still shots. It definitely works in video though, compare z5 video to others, it’s incredibly stable.

    Xperia cameras suffer from poor post processing. The software hasn’t been worked on it seems since the Xperia z series started. Probably because they don’t want to spend any money on it. It is shocking coming from Sony who make excellent cameras and the even the camera sensors in most high end phones.

    The actual image sensor on the z5 is probably the best you can get. It’s just that the lens qc isn’t very good and the software is prone to aggressive noise reduction followed by over sharpening. Apparently Sony thinks that looks good on a smartphone and no one actually enlarges their pics.

    I also hate the wide angle lens and associated distortion. I realise you get more in a pic but I hate that straight lines aren’t straight, and people’s faces on edge of pic get messed up. Wide angle is rubbish imho.

    I’ve been a dedicated Sony phone despite their terrible camera software. The battery life is definitely the best you can get, water resistance and a ui that doesn’t look like it’s targeting toddlers, looking at you Samsung, lg.

    If I was Sony I would stop the stupid new phone every other month bs and spend the resources on starting over on the camera software and bionz processor.

    Lg and Samsung have been ahead of Sony in the camera game but not by a whole lot. It wouldn’t take much for Sony to be the best android you can buy.

    • Andreas Larsson

      “The z5 has mechanical image stabilisation, the whole sensor moves, though I’m not sure it’s active in still shots. It definitely works in video though, compare z5 video to others, it’s incredibly stable.”

      No it’s not mechanical, it’s software

      • Tim Austin

        It’s a hybrid of both. There are moving parts in the camera.

        • Andreas Larsson

          Do you have any source for that at all or are you confusing it with hybrid autofocus?

          • Tim Austin

            Search “Z5 Closed Loop Actuator”. The camera moves the lens array in response to movement, rather than the whole camera module, as with OIS. Because it isn’t traditional OIS (for video, it’s actually far superior to OIS), most reviewers overlooked it when they wrote their articles. But it’s there.

          • Andreas Larsson

            Cool, did not know the z5 had that, although it’s not “far superior to ois” and the z5 clearly can’t keep up with the best smartphone cameras on the market in low light still shots

          • Tim Austin

            I disagree vehemently. For video, OIS can’t touch the stabilisation of the Z5, which is universally recognised as having, hands down, the best video stabilisation of any current smartphone. And then some.

            OIS on the S6, for example, can lead to a “Jelly” effect. A friend took video on an S6 where the mountains around her seemed to be moving entirely independently of the road on which she was being driven. Even if not the case, OIS still allows jitters that the Z5 steamrollers out. It’s like having a steadycam arm attached to your phone.

            In low light photography, OIS on LG’s range will beat the Z5: no doubt about it. But I have got remarkable results from my Z5 in low light: you just have to know how to use the thing. Night photography on the Z5 can be very, very good: the higher ISO means that it picks up a brighter and better exposed night time image, in most cases, and the colour reproduction in near-zero light is rock solid. While it may not have the same level of super-fine detail as the LG, the overall image quality can occasionally beat it due to exposure, contrast and white balance.

            (I have links to my Flickr photostream to demonstrate but AA have to approve them and they, like most sites, never bother to do so. Search Flickr for timothyaustin1981)

            There’s so much more to image quality than resolution.

          • Andreas Larsson

            “There’s so much more to image quality than resolution.”

            Who claimed otherwise?

            “For video, OIS can’t touch the stabilisation of the Z5”

            I know, but it kinda sucks at still photography

            “In low light photography, OIS on LG’s range will beat the Z5: no doubt about it.”

            And so will Samsungs and apples, I I have seen a lot of pictures taken by the z5 have a nasty blue tint on low light shots wich looks really bad

            Besides because of the super wide angle lens of the z5 the pictures get blurry edges

          • Tim Austin

            Full res images at 20/23MP low light will suffer ISO fringing. That’s the blue tint you note.

            But the Z5 is designed to work at 8MP so that the sensor can supersample. It is essential that you put it in 8MP for low light. Do so and it’ll kick an iphone’s ass six ways from Sunday in low light. And it is comparable to an S6 in low light, though the Z5 will have better colour reproduction.

            I encourage you to look at my Flickr photostream, as noted in my last post. Those are not poor low light shots.

          • nexus2077

            try scn mode night mode, just get a tripod.for z5, “night mode” is a slowshutter. try to beat that with iphone and samsung.. only LG can beat that due to shutterspeed can be adjusted to slowest.. know how to use it first

          • Andreas Larsson

            And huawei with superior night mode then, but that don’t really work in real life, I don’t want to do that every time I wanna snap a picture at a party :p

    • nebulaoperator

      In my mind the only thing that stops Sony from nailing imagery experience with Z series is fear to jeopardize point and shoot Sony camera range which is quite astonishing . I have no other explanation hardaware is there though.

  • Vinícius Azzolin

    For me is sad seeing Sony going deeper and deeper to the end. They sell great devices, with good materials and even a good desing, that some think its old, but for me is just evolution of a good idea that started with the Z.

    Also, they have a very weird and not functional sales strategy, with much high price tags and usually something that made the device behind the others. They improve some things and even can go beyond the others, but things like the lack of OIS, dual tone flash, and other gimmicks make things hard to understand. But they have the best video stabilization system and a really good experience with their software (except the camera =P). I love my Z2 and I think that the Xperia line is really reliable.

  • I own both Z3 and Z3 Compact. Switched to an LG V10 Dual SIM (at least I have a spare battery now) because of lack of replaceable battery (it’s a must when you travel) and over exposing whites with shutter lag. There is no time to charge phones on the move. I want Sony to thrive.

  • aaloo

    xperia is probably the best looking android smartphone lineup after one plus (one, two and x). they just can’t seem to penetrate the north american market or don’t want to spend the money on advertisement here. they are still pretty big in asia. i’m rooting for them in 2016, but i doubt it’ll be any different.

  • xoj_21

    i find their IPS panels average at best, they were pionners in OLED, everyone is doing OLED OIS fast fingerpints, high end DAC with AMP 5 5.7 inches devices, if they cant do that they will keep falling behind.
    z5 was great ut the night photos have blue tint, the finger print scanner is horrible postion, camera doesnt have OIS, the screen is IPS no oled, etc.

    they have the best sensor but the worse software, even LG have better cameras.

    • Lisa Naarseth Myklebust

      “Worst software”. Lol, is this supposed to be a joke? They have among the best software, seeing as it is as close to Stock Android as it can be, except Motorolo’s devices of course. It’s snappy, fast, smooth and never gets slow over time — unlike TouchWiz or LG’s UI (which is absolutely horrible).

      You also have the power saving features that they give. They are market leading in terms of battery time, and I have stuck by my Z3 Compact for this very reason. Their cameras are also great; not no. 1, but certainly among the best.

      • moew

        I’m not sure he can even spell, lulz. I’ll bet he hasn’t even seen a sony phone, ever.

      • jkbox

        Better SamSung exploding battery packs without properly testing it before selling it. And SamSung overpriced their phone at $1,100+.. That is a joke!

        • Lisa Naarseth Myklebust

          You’re seven months too late.

    • Shamoy Rahman

      You’re right about the OLED part but Sony’s EIS beats OIS in almost every way. Have you seen the comparison with the Note 5 in stabilization? The fingerprint sensor is on a good location because its on the power button.

  • Wezi427

    “The PS4 is a POS, but the lack of alternative sells it” I’m sorry, but that makes no sense to me. How I take that is there isn’t much competition.

  • saksham

    but…. sony devices are pretty popular here in india

  • Bob

    Meizu has a 12V 2A charging. That’s supposed to charge up from 0% to 60% in 30 minutes on their latest device.
    If you can get hands on one, please include it.

  • Alexandros Vourlakos

    one of the few well-established brands i still respect, excellent design, very friendly to developers, stock android etc. i wouldn’t want to see them go. but sony works like htc, by being the pioneer. just making the successor a little bit better (z3, z3+ etc) won’t cut it.

    • nexus2077

      have you.tried using hi-res audio? i guess not.. use flac 24bit with hi-res headphones, every competitors won’t even touch it’s audio.quality.. don’t underestimate sony’s audio.. you haven’t used it for sure.. competitors have single dac.only.. they.are capped up to 20khz and 40khz..

      • HAWX

        Check the V10 for audio quality man ;)

        • nexus2077

          not as good as sony’s.. it can play 32bit but dsd is better.. also, they 32bit works with wired, not with wireless.. aptx on LG got up to.44khz 16bit only on wireless.mode.. wired mode is up to 32bit however, where can you get 32bit audio files? 24bit is the only avaiable next to DSD.. sony got LDAC for wireless lossless audio.. up to 98khz. i play.wireless, so still Doesn’t play as good as sony’s with mdr1abt.. if they can get 98khz on wireless mode, i’ll go for LG

          • HAWX

            Hmm. Wireless is nice option to have, but you can’t get information as much as wired. Sony’s LDAC allows up to about 980kbps, so it won’t extend to 96khz I belive. But it can throw most standart CD quality lossless files almost fully.

            For wired listening Lg’s 32bit dedicated chip is going to be better compared to stock Sp810. It’s like soundcard vs onboard audio. Soundcard most likely will better. So you will see it’s benefit in all formats. However Sony’s DSEE might sound better on Mp3 files. But I don’t know wheater it works on wireless or not.

            For wireless, LDAC is the best option, so that the Sony :) But for wired, you have better options.

          • nexus2077

            agreed.. it’s just i prefer wireless.. i always messed up with cables on previous years so i decided to go on wireless..

            as for dsee hx, it Doesn’t work on wireless mode.. however, mdr1abt got dsee by itself + s master which is far Superior than xperia phones.. that’s why if LG will get any technology which is similar to sony’s LDAC then i would switch to LG. i’ve been checking LG already and Sony now a days.. these 2 are really great devices for me. i like them better than samsung and apple..

  • AS118

    Sony has good products yes, but I feel like they try to aim for too high of a price point, given that they’re not a big name in smartphones the way Samsung and Apple are.

    Plus, I wish they’d work better with carriers to sell their phones and make sure that they’re marketed properly and available in all the most appealing colors. If the Z3 were available in white at T-mobile, I would’ve gotten one, but they were available in black only. And the Z5? Not available at any US carrier (that I know of) at all!

  • Sony needs to aware that they are not market leader anymore so they need to stop being cocky (expensive opening price, reduced features for non Japan market, mediocre screen)

  • Oobiewan

    I don’t live in the US, but I just don’t see why does SONY want to sell a “flagship device” anywhere without a fingerprint scanner.

  • I just ordered the Xperia Z5. excited.

  • jkbox

    Better than the SamSung S7 or Note 7 with the exploding battery packs. Not properly been tested and SamSung overpriced their phones at $1,100+.. That is a joke with SamSung. Sorry, I rather go for Sony Xperia XZ, HTC or other Android phones. SamSung being lawsuit again, with another incident of exploding battery. At least Sony is finding new ways to grow and they are achieving it. And they are doing the proper measurement of testing their products before selling them. They also have this Sony future laboratory for new invention and proper testing measurements. I think that is pretty well planned.