Sony has struggled to make much of a mark in the smartphone scene of late, but the company might have a secret, super-powered weapon in the works: the Xperia XZ Pro.
Following last year's strong Xperia ZX Premium (shown), this rumoured superphone would pack in top-of-the-line, flagship-level tech with something else mighty impressive: 4K resolution on an OLED display, nudging past the LCD version seen on the Premium.
Of course, a Pro device will come at a premium price, and the competition will only get stiffer in the months ahead. With a reveal expected in a matter of weeks, here's everything we've heard so far about Sony's reported next handset. plus rumours of what else could be on the way.
When will the Sony Xperia XZ Pro be out?
Mobile World Congress is the year's biggest smartphone-centric show, and it's usually where heavyweights like Samsung and LG reveal their new phones – and Sony, too.
If the Xperia XZ Pro really is planned to launch early this year, then we'll probably see it at MWC at the end of February. We haven't heard anything concrete, but given the timing of the leaks and the usual precedent, we'd be surprised if Sony holds out. CES came and went with the Xperia XA2 making its debut, a mid-range handset that wasn't quite the flagship we were hoping for - fingers crossed MWC will deliver.
As for the actual release, that should come soon after – March or April, we'd guess.
We're just speculating at this point, but an MWC reveal seems likely along with a proper release within the next month or two thereafter.
How much will the Sony Xperia XZ Pro cost?
Flagship smartphone costs have risen pretty steadily over the last year, with each big new phone nudging the price skywards. Sony will probably follow suit with the Xperia XZ Pro.
A leak from Chinese site MyDrivers (via XDA) suggests that the Xperia XZ Pro will sell for more than 6,000 yuan, which translates to about ₹60,000 at present. But with the Xperia XZ Premium selling for ₹60,000, we suspect the Pro model could actually go for ₹65,000 or more – especially with all of the cutting-edge tech rumoured to be packed in there.
It might not be one of the most expensive phones on the market, but we don't think Sony is shooting for OnePlus territory here – certainly not with a 4K OLED display in the mix. Something around ₹65,000 would make sense.
What will the Sony Xperia XZ Pro look like?
We haven't seen any legitimate design leaks just yet, but Sony has a very specific kind of smartphone aesthetic that we've seen in some form time and time again.
Ultimately, we expect that the Xperia XZ Pro will look a lot like the XZ Premium, which itself wasn't a far cry from a lot of other Xperia models. The Premium has the usual rectangular look, albeit with some nice curved 2.5D glass in the mix, but it's super heavy on bezel.
We'd love to see Sony trim down on the extra heft and join its competitors in making more streamlined devices, but we're not holding our breath with this one. However, if the XZ Pro ends up having an extra-tall screen, maybe that'll help make a difference.
What you're seeing above is a mockup render from MyDrivers, which keeps the boxy form while bringing in some tweaks alongside a taller display.
Will it look like an Xperia phone? Yes, we fully expect that it will. But if it's anything like this mockup, then maybe it'll bring enough of a shift to impress us once again.
What about the Sony Xperia XZ Pro's screen?
Packing a 4K display onto a handheld smartphone is a bit silly, since the visual advantages are extremely minor at that size – but it's one of Sony's unique calling cards. And a leak suggests we'll see it on the Xperia XZ Pro too.
And better this time, too. See, the reported 5.7in display will be an OLED panel instead of the LCD seen with the XZ Premium, which means we'll get deeper blacks and improved contrast.
We assume that it'll also offer HDR capabilities, so it very well could be the new reigning champion of smartphone screens – but we'll see what Samsung has to say about that with the Galaxy S9.
One thing we're unsure of at this point: the leaks don't say whether it'll be a taller screen at or around 18:9 aspect ratio, like so many other smartphones from the last year, although MyDrivers' concept mockup shows a screen like that. And frankly, that's what we're expecting.
We're excited to see a 4K OLED smartphone screen in action, and it seems like a safe bet that it will be a super-tall display. Hopefully that helps kill some of the excess bezel.
How much power will the Sony Xperia XZ Pro pack?
Loads, it seems. The leak suggests that Sony will utilize Qualcomm's brand new Snapdragon 845 processor, which will surpass its predecessor to become the fastest Android chip on the market today.
Only Samsung's new Exynos chip is likely to compare, but even Samsung uses Snapdragons in some parts of the world. Pair that with the 6GB RAM mentioned in the leak and the Xperia XZ Pro will probably be one of the fastest phones on the market this first quarter.
Using anything besides the latest and greatest Snapdragon would make the Xperia XZ seem outdated from the start. Sony isn't going to let that happen.
What kind of cameras will the Sony Xperia XZ Pro have?
Like a lot of other flagship makers, Sony seems to be going the dual-camera route: the leak suggests an 18-megapixel main back camera with a 12MP sensor alongside it.
The main sensor is pegged to have a 1.33μm pixel size, with the secondary sensor at 1.38μm. Beyond that, we don't have a lot more details, although a 13MP selfie shooter is expected on the front. This mockup from MyDrivers suggests how the cameras might be positioned on the Xperia XZ Pro.
Sony went with a large megapixel tally with the Xperia XZ Premium, which had a single 19MP sensor on the back, but we were underwhelmed with the results compared to other devices at the time. Will Sony do better this time around?
Sony going with a dual-camera setup for its phone? Yep, that's very likely. Will they be able to hang with Samsung and Google in terms of quality, though? We'll have to wait and see on that.
Is there anything else I should know about the Sony Xperia XZ Pro?
Yeah, just a couple of things. The leak suggests 128GB of storage within, and we expect that the Pro will keep the microSD support from the Premium, as well.
The battery, meanwhile, is pegged at a size of 3,420mAh – which seems spot-on given the tech in this phone and what other flagships have on offer.
And it's also slated to be IP68-certified water and dust resistant, just like the Premium.
Finally, the XZ Pro might not arrive alone. Sony is reportedly also working on a smaller handset - the XZ2 Compact. Leaks have arrived courtesy of the FCC, the certification process every phone has to go through before it goes on sale in the US. It suggests we're in line to get a phone with smaller dimensions as last year's XA1, but with a similar 5in screen. That's a sure clue Sony is working on 18:9 displays with skinnier screen bezels.
Sony is just about the only Android phone maker still launching small, yet well-specced handsets, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that the XZ2 Compact can deliver.
All sounds like fact to us. No huge surprises in the mix here: the Xperia XZ Pro seems primed to be an enhanced take on the XZ Premium, potentially embracing some recent trends (dual cameras, possibly a taller screen) while bringing in newer tech. We should find out soon whether that's enough to help Sony bounce back in the smartphone world.