It's a widespread rumor that Sony are preparing a new flagship smartphone model, the Xperia Z4, and we've seen leaked specifications and rumors for the last few weeks. We have now seen a previously unheard of Sony device, the E6553, going through the GFXBench suite of tests and in the process, revealing a good deal about the specification. Let's take a look at the underlying hardware of the E6553, which we believe is the internal model reference for the Xperia Z4.
The rumored Xperia Z4, then, appears to be based around a 5.1-inch, 1080p resolution display panel. Sony, it appears have decided not to jump onto the QHD, or 1440p, resolution bandwagon. There are two schools of thought when it comes to the screen resolution. One is that for the size of screen and for most peoples' eyes, there is minimal appreciable advantage in going to the higher screen resolution as our eyes are unable to distinguish individual pixels for either screen. At these screen resolutions, what is arguably more important is color range, saturation and hue to bring a screen to life, and of course the power consumption of the screen too. The other side of the argument is that a sharper, higher resolution screen will enable features and applications that are currently not realistic or good enough quality, such as virtual reality. And some people can see a difference in screen sharpness.
The other specifications are very much as we would expect from a modern flagship Android smartphone, powered by Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. There's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, backed up by 3 GB of RAM. This processor is a big.LITTLE design, incorporating a quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor for the lighter duty tasks, backed up by a powerful, quad core ARM Cortex-A57 processor core for the heavy duty processing. This is a similar configuration that the HTC One M9 is using – perhaps one of the reasons is because whilst the Snapdragon 810 / Adreno 430 graphics chip can cope with a 1440p resolution display, it runs cooler when dealing with a lower resolution panel as the hardware does not need to work as hard. In addition to the processor and RAM, the Xperia Z4 has 32 GB of internal storage. There's a 20MP rear camera, which on paper looks similar to the previous flagship Xperia Z3 devices, plus a 5MP front facing camera. If the Xperia Z4 has the same camera module as the Xperia Z3, this is in itself not a bad thing – although I would suspect that Sony have polished the camera for the latest iteration.
It's shaping up that 2015 is going to be the year where flagship devices are released based around either the 1080p resolution screen or pushing to the 1440p resolution, based on a particular blend of compromises that the manufacturer makes. Sony's Xperia Z4 appears to be favoring the 1080p resolution along with the HTC One M9, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are sitting in the 1440p camp. We don't know for certain when Sony will be announcing the Xperia Z4, but if Sony has used a characteristically large battery, this should be an interesting flagship device.