Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
The Xperia Z6 is slated to be one of the best phones of 2016 IBTimes UK

While Samsung, LG and Apple are gearing up for their flagship launches this year, little has been reported about the Sony Xperia Z6, the company's flagship launch for 2016. Expected towards the second half of the year the device will look to offer flagship takers something new, as well as competitive specs compared to the upcoming LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 7.

Can the next flagship from Sony stand up to these highly anticipated phones? IBTimes UK takes a look at what we know so far on the upcoming device:

Design and Display

The look of the phone will be similar to its predecessor the Z5 but may boast a more square design. Japanese website DoCoMo said the Z6 will continue to have a 5.2-inch screen just like the Z5, which means the screen height is not being pulled down so the width may be broadened to fit into the square size speculation. Rumours say a water-proof glass and metallic body is also in the works.

On the screen part, the phone will bear the signature IPS LCD panel that Sony uses for most of its smartphone screens. As far as the display is concerned the Xperia Z5 Premium, which sported a 4K display has left most tipsters confused about whether the same can be seen in the Z6.

However, most reports until now suggest that a Full HD display is what is likely on the cards, which roughly measures to 1,920 x 1,280 pixels and a 420 - 440 pixel per density for the given screen size. This may be a disappointment to many who anticipated that the phone might pack a QHD screen like other latest smartphone releases as the Oppo Find 7 and LG G3.

Xperia Z6 is also speculated to have an iPhone-like 3D Touch tech, which Sony may be indigenously developing. The said tech relies on detection of pressure on the screen to issue commands.

Processor, RAM and OS

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 is expected to feature in most flagship phones this year and we could expect that Sony will be using it as well. Sony uses MediaTek chipsets as well, mostly for the mid-range models like it did for the Xperia C5 Ultra and is expected to do so further with the Xperia C6 this year.

The Xperia Z5 had offered just 3GB of RAM that is expected to be pepped up to 4GB for the Z6 given that the processor has got a major upgrade. Although for internal storage and RAM Sony could introduce variants in the Z6 category like it did with Z5, Z5 Compact and Z5 Premium. This means different variants may sport different storage and RAM capacities.

For the OS, it is almost certain that the Xperia Z6 should have the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed, failing which it will face a huge setback when compared to other phones releasing this year.

Camera and Battery

Sony has been the market leader when it comes to impressive phone cameras and supplies most flagships from other companies as well with their technology. The Xperia Z6 is rumoured to feature a mammoth 23MP rear camera with an F2.0 aperture and a front-facing camera between 5 to 8MP.

Yes, 23MP may sound insane but Sony recently launched the IMX318 image sensor that uses 22.5 megapixels. Sony says that it created the IMX318 sensor for smartphones that require "increasingly better cameras and thinner form factors." The sensor can apparently handle full 4K recording at 30 frames per second and also shoot impressive slow-motion videos. Check out the demo video below that the company released to show how the technology will be.

Not much has been reported on the battery capacity of the Z6 but given that the earlier model had a 2,900mAh battery, the upcoming model should have something close to a 3,200 mAh capacity to support the upgraded processor. In addition, Sony's STAMINA Mode and Ultra-STAMINA Mode coupled with Android Marshmallow's doze mode should be able to provide long lasting usage for the device on a single charge.

Other features

A Type-C USB port is also rumoured to be under the works that will enable data transfer and fast charging. Other than this, the fingerprint scanner the company had on the Z5 is dubious at this point given it did not introduce it for the US models. But with most flagships set to launch biometric authentication on their devices, a finger print scanner cannot be ruled out especially since Sony already has the tech.

Release Date

It is certain by now that it is not going to be the MWC 2016. The company only recently released the Z5 models in the US and MWC is too close to make another launch. In fact, the company is speculated to launch the mid-range Xperia C6 at the MWC.

The last Xperia Z flagships were unveiled by Sony Mobile at the IFA in Berlin and this time the IFA is expected to be held around September, which makes it a plausible time for the device to be unveiled.