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Update: While we initially believed that the Xperia Z4 would be introduced at MWC 2015 in March (alongside the One (M9) and the Galaxy S6), recent reports suggest that Sony has decided to go back to a year-long product cycle for the Xperia Z series. That, combined with the absence of any major leaks a little over a month to MWC, suggests we may have to wait until later this year to see the Xperia Z4.

Original:

CES is in the rear view mirror now, and Mobile World Congress is approaching quickly. While CES is generally somewhat mild when it comes to Android-related announcements, MWC is the complete opposite. Not only do we expect the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9 to debut sometime in March near the MWC timeframe, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sony Xperia Z4 make an appearance as well.

Despite the fact that MWC is only a little over a month away, most of the rumors related to the Xperia Z4 have been pretty mild or they’ve come from sources that are pretty hard to confirm. Still, we have done our best to gather up all the best-known rumors about the Z4 in order to give our readers a sneak peak as to what the Xperia Z4 might bring to the table.

Keep in mind that these rumored features and specs are subject to change, and sowe wouldn’t take this post too seriously until we get even closer to the Xperia Z4’s arrival. In other words, read this post only if you enjoy speculating as much as we do!

Design

Somewhat blurry alleged image of Xperia Z4

Somewhat blurry alleged image of Xperia Z4

Aside from some leaked James Bond movie material that allegedly shows off the Sony Xperia Z4, there have been little details about what to expect from Sony’s next-gen Xperia Z as far as design is concerned. That said, it seems a safe bet to assume that Sony will continue with the design language it started with the original Xperia Z, simply refining and slimming the design with each iteration.

That means you can expect a device that’s waterproof, has front-facing speakers, and a metallic frame with metal power and volume buttons. Judging by the evolution seen with the Z3, we also hope to see the bezels shrink down once again — one can dream at least.

Display

sony xperia z3 first impressions aa (9 of 17)

Xperia Z3

When the first flagships started to surface with 1080p resolutions, everyone quickly followed suite, making Full HD the standard when it came to flagships. So far it’s unclear if QHD will have the same level of impact. While we think it’s pretty likely that Samsung will introduce QHD to the Galaxy S6, at least one rumor claims otherwise. The HTC One M9 is also rumored to be keeping a 1080p display. So what about the Z4? It depends on who you ask.

Some rumors claim that the phone will offer the same 5.2-inch 1080p profile found on both the Xperia Z2 and Z3. Then again, there are also reports Sony will jump up to 5.5-inches and will introduce a QHD display. It’s really too early to say which rumor is right, though perhaps Sony will increase the display this time around in order to give the Z4 a bigger boost up in appearance and specs when compared to the Z2 and Z3.

Specs

Let’s be honest, when you put the Xperia Z2 and Z3’s spec sheet next to one another, it is really hard to tell the difference. Thankfully, the Z4 should finally give us a more substantial update.

There are a number of rumors floating around regarding what processing package Sony will utilize, with some saying it will offer a Snapdragon 805 — the same chip as the Galaxy Note 4. Other rumors claim Sony will offer up a 64-bit Snapdragon 810, the same chip that HTC, Samsung and LG are expected to introduce in their next-gen flagships.

Every rumor is consistent on one area, and that’s RAM. The Xperia Z4 is expected to feature 3GB RAM. Rumors also suggest the phone wil come in 32GB, 64GB and even possibly 128GB models. Turning to battery life, rumors are a bit inconsistent. We’ve heard both 3400 mAh and 3220 mAh mentioned as possible sizes, but it’s too early to say for sure.

As for other sensors? It’s hard to say what Sony will or won’t introduce. Sony tends to be a bit more sparse with all the extra sensors when compared to companies like Samsung, but with fingerprint readers becoming more commonplace, it’s possible Sony could follow suit. We also expect LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and other standard sensors.

Camera

sony xperia z3 first impressions aa (13 of 17)

Xperia Z3

Sony has been utilizing the same 20.7MP IMX220 sensor since the Xperia Z1, so they are certainly due for an upgrade. While the IMX230 is expected to show up sometime in the future months, it’s likely not going to be ready for mass production in time for the Z4. So what does that mean for the fate of the Xperia’s camera?

On one hand, it seems possible we could see the 20.7MP IX220 one more time. On the other hand, rumors suggest Sony has another sensor in store (outside of the IMX220 and 230) for the Z4 that will allegedly offer a whopping 27MPs. Honestly, we doubt that the latter of these is the case, as much as we’d love to see Sony upgrade its camera experience.

It’s unclear what the front camera on the Xperia Z4 will be, though Sony has been offering a 2.2MP front shooter since the Xperia Z2 and so we wouldn’t be too surprised to see the same front cam return.

Software features

Z3 Compact -- look at the  UI

Z3 Compact — looking at the UI

In Sony’s typical style we expect to see the return of the minimalist Xperia UI, this time running on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. We really don’t know much about what will be new in terms of software, though at the very least we expect to see the return of all the Z3’s special features such as PS4 remote play and more.

Release date and possible pricing

The Sony Xperia Z4 is expected to be announced sometime in March, likely during Mobile World Congress. The phone should then hit store shelves in April or May, at least if the rumor mill proves correct.

As for US carrier availability? At the very least, it’s possible T-Mobile will get the phone, as they have been a pretty consistent partner for Sony. That said, Sony recently expanded its relationship to Verizon with the Xperia Z3v, so it’s possible Big Red could also see the device. As for AT&T, Sprint and other minor carriers? Anything is possible, especially if Sony wants to continue to increase its reputation in the states.

Turning to pricing, judging by the past, we expect the Sony Xperia Z4 to price somewhere in the $600 – $800 range unlocked. Of course that’s really just speculation at this point.

Wrap up

As you can see, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Sony Xperia Z4. We hope to see a bigger update than the Z3 saw when compared to its predecessor, but at this point we can’t say for sure how much bigger this upgrade will be.

We aren’t 100% convinced that the twice-a-year flagship model is necessary as specs continue to slow down, but at least Sony has consistently improved the user experience and build quality over the years.

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