Sony replaced its strong Xperia XZ2 flagship with the even-better Xperia XZ3 after just six months on the market… and it might do the same thing again with the Xperia XZ4.
Leaks and rumours are starting to swirl around Sony's next main handset, which we could see early in the year. Nothing's official at this point and it's early still, but it sounds like Sony may continue this recent trend of rolling out speedy replacements to keep up with changing trends.
Eager to hear what's coming? Here's what we know so far.
When will the Sony Xperia XZ4 be out?
Sony launched the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact at Mobile World Congress last February before rolling out the XZ3 this autumn. Rumours suggest another MWC debut in 2019.
Both the Xperia XZ4 and XZ4 Compact are rumoured to roll out the next time around, and if true, we may see them at MWC 2019 in February. If so, we could see a proper release in March or April.
It's just speculation at this point, but it's fair speculation. We can see it happening.
How much will the Sony Xperia XZ4 cost?
The Xperia XZ3 kept the price tag of its predecessor. We don't think that will happen again this time.
Given the constant upward trend in flagship pricing and the rumoured enhancements in tow for the Xperia XZ4, we suspect a price bump. MySmartPrice suggests a price of 64,999 INR in India. We could see it reach a bit higher, though.
It might be as small as £50, but we do expect a solid price increase for the XZ4.
What will the Sony Xperia XZ4 look like?
We saw modest design enhancement between the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ3, given the short time span between the two. How about the Xperia XZ4, then?
Noted leaker IceUniverse has shared a purported image of the back and sides along with a case (up top), and it shows what looks like a flatter backing than the last two phones. It's also very tall, which suggests a potential 21:9 aspect ratio for the screen. The backing doesn't seem to have quite as extreme of a mirror finish to it as before, but it has a nicely understated quality.
The speculative render at the top of this story, also from IceUniverse, shows what that purported 21:9 aspect ratio might look like. Again, super tall.
Meanwhile, MySmartPrice and OnLeaks have shared renders based on purported CAD data, matching the IceUniverse leaks on the backing and showing less bezel than the Xperia XZ3 on the front.
As for the Xperia XZ4 Compact, speculative renders based on supposedly leaked CAD data shows a similar back and sides, but still a pretty big chunk of top and bottom bezel on the front.
However, it's possible that the XZ4 Compact won't even release: Don Mesa, Sony Mobile's vice president of marketing, told Digital Trends in January 2019 that they believe buyers are more interested in larger handsets these days.
"We stuck with Compact for a very long time, because of the ease of use," he said. "There's always room for different sizes, but people want a lot more surface area for their content now."
This looks like a nice evolution of the Xperia XZ3's design, and hopefully the speculation about slimmer bezels on the front proves correct.
What about the Sony Xperia XZ4's screen?
The Xperia XZ3 made a big leap in screen quality over the XZ2, bringing in an OLED panel while bumping the resolution to Quad HD. It's one of the best screens around.
And honestly, we're not expecting a huge difference again. It'll probably use the same tech as the Xperia XZ3's brilliant panel, but MySmartPrice suggests a 6.5in panel for the purportedly taller screen – larger than the 6in screen from the XZ3.
What you're seeing above is purportedly a look at the tempered film cover of the Xperia XZ4 compared to the size of the Apple iPhone XS Max, alongside the film from two other handsets. It comes from leaker IceUniverse and gives a sense of the dimensions of the handset given the supposedly super-tall 21:9 display.
Sounds right to us – and sounds great too.
How much power will the Sony Xperia XZ4 pack?
Sony's flagships have reliably used Qualcomm's top-end processor tech, and that should be true again in 2019. We expect to see the Snapdragon 855 chip within.
Building from the foundation of this year's Snapdragon 845 seen in both the Xperia XZ2 and XZ3, the Snapdragon 855 promises up to a 3x performance boost for A.I. applications, along with computer vision capabilities for cameras to recognize people and items. And the smaller 7nm production process can pack in more overall power, too.
MySmartPrice suggests that the Xperia XZ4 will pack 6GB RAM, but believes that an 8GB variant is also possible.
This seems almost certain. Whether the Snapdragon 855 rules the flagship world in benchmark testing remains to be seen, but we're sure it'll be plenty fast.
What kind of cameras will the Sony Xperia XZ4 have?
While other flagship phones packed in extra cameras, the XZ3 stuck with one on the back. But that could significantly change for the next version.
The aforementioned leaked render shows three back cameras, joining the likes of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro in that department, and the CAD-based speculative renders match that concept. We haven't heard any hard details on the specs of those cameras, but hopefully we get a stronger shooter experience than the pretty-good XZ3.
The image above comes from case maker Olixar via Mobile Fun, and shows another look at what they believe the Xperia XZ4 and its triple-camera setup will look like.
Meanwhile, the XZ4 Compact leak shows just one back camera, which makes sense for a smaller, lower-priced handset.
We could certainly see three cameras on the back of the Xperia XZ3, but it's sure to bump up the price as well.
Is there anything else I should know about the Sony Xperia XZ4?
The Snapdragon 855 is built to support 5G networks, but as of now there's no indication that the Xperia XZ4 will go that route. Maybe it'll be a pricier special edition… or maybe Sony will just hold out until the XZ5.
Rumours also suggest that Sony will put the fingerprint sensor into the right-side power button, rather than on the back – or in the display, as some recent flagships have done. Anything's better than the too-low back placement of the XZ3.
Express cites a rumour that the Xperia XZ4 will have a 3,900mAh battery pack. That's 300mAh less than the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but still a pretty sizable pack that should handily power this large phone for more than a solid day.
These all seem like pretty sound enhancements that should result in an even more appealing Sony flagship, but we'll have to see what the price tag ends up being.