After many weeks of rumours and leaks, Sony have this morning announced the new Xperia Z4, but only in Japan. Remember that rumour of an all-metal build? That turned out to be false. With the Xperia Z4 appearing to be little more than an updated version of the Xperia Z3, what’s new in Sony’s latest flagship?
Let’s first look at the specs: the Xperia Z4 has a slightly tweaked OmniBalance design in a profile that’s 0.4mm thinner than the Xperia Z3 at 6.9mm. The Xperia Z4 is also slightly lighter at 144 grams (versus 152 grams), but these changes are minimal at best.
On the display front, the Xperia Z4 has the exact same 5.2-inch Full HD IPS display found on the Xperia Z3 with the same ten finger multi-touch, shatter-proof glass, Triluminos display and X-Reality Engine. The upgrades – the little ones that do exist – are under the hood as the Xperia Z4 is powered by an updated octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB RAM. There’s also 32GB storage and a microSD card to expand the storage by up to 128GB.
On the back is the same 20.7MP camera found on the Xperia Z3 complete with all the bells and whistles, while the front facing camera has had a slight upgrade from 2.2MP to a 5.1MP sensor. The only other real difference is that the Xperia Z4 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box and given Sony’s difficulty to offer timely updates, this is probably a good thing. The Xperia Z4 presumably also comes with the same features that the Xperia Z3 recently got alongside the Lollipop update.
Which brings me to my original point: what’s new in the Xperia Z4? The answer? Very little. Sure there’s a better processor, more RAM, the new OS and an updated front snapper, but that’s it. Sony has a long history of launching bi-annual flagships – mainly to cater for the Japanese market – but with no announcement so far this year, it was hoped the company had learnt from their mistakes. Clearly not.
Why does the Xperia Z4 exist? Honestly, I’m not sure. It could be because Sony wanted to compete with the latest flagships, but if this was the case then the Z4 isn’t going to do that. It could be as the company felt the need to introduce a new device for Asia, but why call it the Xperia Z4? That would signal a clearly improved flagship and to be honest, on paper at least, the Xperia Z4 seems anything but this.
The fact that Sony couldn’t hold off until September and release the metal-clad device we’re looking for suggests that the company’s management is making rash decisions. The Xperia Z4 just seems like a rushed launch where the company felt the need to introduce something new but didn’t know what to announce.
Sony have long been rumoured to be pulling out of the smartphone industry but it was hoped that the company would release a handset that gave them a fighting chance of being a success in the market. The Xperia Z4 is probably NOT the handset that will do this.
Rival smartphone manufacturers don’t seem to be resting on their laurels – HTC aside that is – and even if they did, the Xperia Z4 still wouldn’t cut it. On paper it offers a functional experience but that’s the problem: it’s just functional. In a market where a single handset can make or break a company, the Xperia Z4 could be just another nail in Sony’s smartphone coffin.
Let me know your thoughts!