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Record HDR video underwater with the new Sony Xperia ZR

Sony just unveiled the Xperia ZR, a waterproof and dustproof handset with mid-range specifications and a 4.6-inch 720p display. We take a look at the specs and features of the Xperia ZR, plus an image gallery and presentation video.
May 13, 2013
Sony Xperia ZR press images (3)

Sony just unveiled a new addition to its Xperia line, a waterproof and dustproof handset with mid-range specifications and a 4.6-inch 720p display.

Let’s give a warm welcome to the newest member of the Xperia family. After the Xperia Z and its more compact sibling the Xperia ZL wooed us with their sleek designs and great building quality, Sony tries to capitalize on the momentum with another elegant device.

The Xperia ZR is, in terms of specifications, a 2012 flagship – it features a 4.6-inch 720p (HD) display, a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a 13MP camera. While the device isn’t full HD (like the Xperia Z and ZL), the display is most likely crisp enough for most users – the pixel density is 319ppi, which is adequate in our book. The Xperia Z’s display has been criticized for its poor viewing angles and low visibility in direct sunlight. Hopefully, the ZR will do better, as Sony touted the removal of the air gap between the touch sensor and the display, which should in theory improve contrast and reduce reflections.

The specs of the Xperia ZR are not cutting edge, but they should be more than enough for many customers. And the 140 grams device offers a few perks that make it more attractive, such as the NFC support, the 13MP Exmor sensor (BSI sensor HDR on video and photo), and the dedicated camera button that lets you take a picture without unlocking the device.

Coupled with the superior resistance to water (compliant with IP55 and IP58 standards), the camera button makes the Xperia ZR an ideal camera phone for the outdoorsy. The ZR will withstand being submerged in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes (for your reference, the Xperia Z can be submerged into 1 meter of water for the same time). Just like the Z, the ZR features plastic flaps that cover the ports and Sony touted the anti-shatter film on the display that should enable it to resist mechanical shocks better than other phones.

Because that the Xperia ZR has a dedicated shutter button, you’ll be able to take photos and record full HD videos underwater. The presentation video below shows some images that Sony claims were taken underwater with the ZR, and they look pretty nice.

The device will be available in four colors, with the first markets to get in Q2 2013. Sony hasn’t been more specific about the price either, but we’ll keep an eye on it and let you know.

Check out the Sony Xperia ZR launch press release for full details about the phone. What do you make of this device? Worth your attention?


The new Xperia™ ZR waterproof* smartphone with superior Sony engineering

13th May 2013, London – Sony Mobile Communications (“Sony Mobile”) today introduces the new Xperia ZR featuring the highest level of water-resistance for capturing photos and Full HD videos underwater. This Android smartphone offers leading technology and content with a 4.6″ HD Reality display, 13 megapixel fast capture camera, Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ S4 Pro quad-core 1.5 GHz processor, and 4G LTE.

“The Xperia ZR pushes the boundaries on where and how consumers can use the full potential of their smartphone. By combining Sony’s leading camera technology with the highest level of water-resistance, you will never miss another moment.” said Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications. “Bringing together the best of Sony’s leading technology, media applications and easy one-touch connectivity with the largest ever range of NFC-enabled accessories, the Xperia ZR delivers the unique smartphone experience that people can expect from Sony.”

The ultimate in durable design
Xperia ZR is precision-crafted to handle whatever life throws at it. With its sleek, yet durable design, the Xperia ZR is your perfect companion in and out of the water. As well as being dust-resistant, this waterproof* phone is IP55 and IP58 compliant, so you can keep it submerged in 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Combined with its dedicated camera key, the waterproof capabilities let you shoot videos in Full HD or snap pictures underwater, capturing the sharpest visuals. The camera key also allows you to shoot even from a locked screen, meaning you’ll never miss a moment again.

Featuring Sony’s “Exmor RS for mobile” image sensor with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for both photos and videos, the Xperia ZR captures perfect pictures and videos, no matter what the conditions. Superior Auto mode combines Scene Recognition with high quality performance image processing technology (HDR and noise reduction) to automatically shoot with the most optimal settings. And when you want to capture action fast, simply turn on burst mode to shoot an unlimited number of images at 15 frames per second.

Xperia ZR also features Battery STAMINA Mode which significantly improves the standby time of your smartphone by four times or more** by automatically shutting down battery-draining apps whenever the screen is off and starting them up again when the screen is back on.

The solid yet comfortable styling of the Xperia ZR is matched by a choice of classic and fresh colours – black, white, pink and mint – each allowing you to express your individual style.

High quality viewing experience
Enjoy entertainment on the go with the super-sharp 4.6″ HD Reality Display powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 using the contrast enhancement technology expertise from Sony’s range of BRAVIA TVs, which together with the beautifully designed OptiContrast™ panel, delivers a beautiful high quality viewing experience.

The OptiContrast™ panel reduces reflections and provides clearer viewing, even in bright sunlight, and creates a seamlessly black surface when the phone is turned off. By eliminating the sensor layer and integrating the sensor on the lens, responsiveness of the screen is increased, so now your touch is both more effective and more intuitive. And with Sony’s unique prediction filter to help better detect the movement of your finger, scrolling on the Xperia ZR is reassuringly smooth.

Consistent Sony media entertainment experiences
The “WALKMAN”, Album and Movies applications enable discovery of online and offline content through a single access point with new ways to enjoy and share that content. The “WALKMAN” application provides access to all your downloaded music, a library of over 20 million songs to explore from Music Unlimited*** and Facebook social integration. The Movies application provides access to over 150,000 movies and TV series from Video Unlimited***. The Album application enables easy access to Facebook friends’ photos and browsing photos by location. A new feature of this app is ‘Faces’ which recognizes and sorts the faces in your photo album so you can tag existing contacts or add names to familiar faces.

Ease of sharing and enjoyment
One-touch functions let you easily share music, photos and videos from your smartphone to the widest range NFC-enabled Sony devices, including speakers, headphones and TVs.

Joining the ever expanding range, the new Stereo Bluetooth™ Headset SBH50 is an advanced app-enabled wireless headset with built-in FM radio, OLED display and one-touch connection for wireless audio streaming. Simply touch your Xperia ZR once to the headset to instantly pair the devices and make a call or begin listening to tracks. The SBH50 is available in either black or white colour variants. Other accessories which complement the Xperia ZR are the Charging Dock DK28 and SmartWatch MN2.

The Xperia ZR will launch in various global markets from Q2 2013 (availability will vary by market).