Sony has revealed the Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact, a pair of flagship smartphones with new designs and improved cameras. The Android handsets were announced during a press conference at IFA, Europe's largest consumer technology trade show, and will go on sale later in the year.
Sony claims the XZ's rear camera is one of the very best in the business. It has a 23-megapixel sensor and a new 'laser' infrared focus which helps the camera to focus and shoot more quickly, especially in low light. The XZ's camera is claimed to go from standby to capturing a picture in 0.6 seconds.
A new five-axis image stabilisation system helps to keep images sharper and video smoother. The XZ can shoot 4K video and the front-facing camera has a 13MP sensor.
Inside, the Xperia XZ is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor with 3GB of RAM and either 32 of 64GB of expandable storage. There is a fingerprint scanner on the side-mounted power button, just like on the Xperia Z5 and X, and at 2,900mAh the better is slightly larger than the X's.
Speaking of the battery, Sony has stopped claiming its phone can manage two days of use. Instead, it has switched tactics to focus on the health of the battery by claiming the XZ and X Compact employ a system which charges to 90%, then only completes the last 10% just before it is unplugged. The phones work this out based on your daily use habits. Say you unplug your phone at 7am every morning; the battery will stick at 90% until just before 7am, before filling to 100% when you wake up.
This technique, Sony claims, will make the battery last much longer and mean the phone can work for a full day now, but also a year or more down the line.
And what about the Sony Xperia X Compact?
Like all the Sony's Compacts which have come before, this phone meshes its small size with flagship specifications and performance. The 4.6in screen only has a 720 x 1280 resolution, the same as the Z1 Compact from January 2014, but the rest is pure flagship.
There is a Snapdragon 650 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, a 23MP rear camera, USB Type-C charging port, a fingerprint scanner and the same charging technology as the XZ, although at 2,700mAh the battery is slightly smaller.
Aside from the screen, the only real negatives for the compact are a lack of waterproofing, and how the front-facing camera is just 5MP, way down on the XZ's 13.
Sony says the X Compact will go on sale globally in September, while the XZ will be available in October. Prices have yet to be announced.