For some time now we've been looking to CES 2013 to be the even that marks a comeback of sorts for Sony and smartphones. It's too early to tell whether or not they've done that – with no plans on U.S. availability – but, from a hardware standpoint, Sony's latest Xperia smartphones look stunning. There's a duo of them being announced at this year's CES and they share an awful lot in common which might seem like a confusing strategy from the Japanese manufacturer. It's certainly an interesting approach but both of these phones are well worth taking a closer look at, read on to find out what sets the Xperia ZL apart from the Z and what Sony is doing with two smartphones so similar to each other.
Specs wise, the Xperia ZL is very close to the Xperia Z and if you were to pit them in a test on performance, you'd likely think them the same phone. That's perhaps where there similarities end however. The Xperia ZL will come packing the following specs under its hood:
- 5-inch 1080p Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA 2 technology
- Quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 pro processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 13MP Exmor R powered rear-facing camera; 2.2MP front-facing camera
- 16GB internal storage; expandable via micro SD card
- Android 4.1
- Battery 2370mAh
- 4G LTE connectivity
- There's no IP55 or IP57 compliance for dust and water resistance on the ZL
- Android 4.1.2 at launch
The Xperia ZL has all the same core components as the Xperia Z but the two smartphones are far from identical and the ZL seems to be more of a traditional smartphone design from Sony and actually reminds us a little of their devices from last year. The ZL loses the glossy, reflective finish of the Z and instead features a patterned finish that is said to be easier to hold in the hand. From a design standpoint, the handset is a little different as well, there is an added camera button that the Xperia Z doesn't have and the front-facing camera is located at the bottom right-hand corner of the device. The ZL is a little shorter and a teeny bit heavier than the Z and overall seems to lack the "premium" design of the Xperia Z, something that the Japanese company is calling an "omni-balance" design but, the ZL doesn't look poorly designed by any means and might be the one of the two that you actually prefer.
If you're the adventurous type, you might want to take note that the ZL loses the IP55 and IP57 dust and water resistance that Sony are keen to show off with the Z but, unless you're going to be in situations where that might be useful then there's no need to dwell on the omission. Sony's second device seems very much like a flagship in its own right. Whether or not Sony are going to be positioning this as a cheaper version of the Xperia Z is unclear but all the signs indicate that could well be the case. I think I speak for all of us out there when I wish for Sony to bring this device and the stellar Xperia Z to all carriers in the States and a widespread global release as well.