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Sony officially announces the Xperia Z1, an improved sequel to the Xperia Z (hands-on)

Sony has just unveiled its new flagship Android smartphone at IFA 2013 in Berlin, the Sony Xperia Z1. Just as last year’s Xperia T was to the Xperia S, the Xperia Z1 serves as a welcome update to the Sony Xperia Z which debuted at CES at the start of the year.

The Sony Xperia Z1 is the natural evolution of the flagship that was billed as ‘the best of Sony in a smartphone’, with the same OmniBalance design language, a stunning display and some of the most advanced camera phone tech around.

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Just like the Xperia Z, the Z1 is a construction of toughened Gorilla Glass and anodised aluminium, with each phone being hewn from a single, solid block during manufacturing. This improved design offers one key differentiation over its predecessor: Sony has granted the Xperia Z1 IP58 certification, making it waterproof rather than just water resistant. Styling elements from the likes of the Xperia Z Ultra and other devices from Sony’s most recent portfolio also make an appearance, like a magnetised charging port and a dedicated hardware camera key. Naturally, the phone will be available in black, white, and purple colour variants.

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The front of the Xperia Z1 is dominated by a 5-inch Full HD display, which uses Sony’s TRILUMINOS technology and runs on the X-Reality engine for mobile. And the good news is that this panel is much better than the one used on the Xperia Z. Colours are richer, contrast has been improved, and viewing angles are wider.

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The Xperia Z1’s rear plays host to one of its greatest assets; a new Cyber-shot inspired camera. Featuring a 1/2.3-inch 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS sensor behind a Sony G Lens and utilising BIONZ image processing, this is the most comprehensive imaging experience ever offered by a Sony smartphone to date. As well as Full HD and HDR video recording, the Z1’s camera features a number of pre-installed dedicated imaging apps, accessible from within the camera UI itself. These specialised apps include the ability to stream live video to Facebook, an advanced Google Goggles-style mode called Info-eye, and a 61-frame Timeshift burst mode for capturing spur of the moment events

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It’s not just the camera that’s taken a step up. The internals include the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core SoC clocked at 2.2GHz, 2GB of RAM, an Adreno 330 GPU, 16GB of on board storage, expandable via microSD for an additional 64GB, and a 3,000mAh battery.

On the connectivity front, the Sony Xperia Z1 totes 4G LTE mobile data speeds, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, WiFi, GPS and NFC with Sony’s One touch technology. That means that the Z1 can now interface with any one of 62 One touch Sony accessories.

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We’re excited to put this new flagship through its paces ahead of its release in Q3 – stay tuned for a full review in the coming weeks.

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