Sony Announces Xperia Z1 Smartphone, New Vaio Tablets and PCs

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Sony had a busy showing at its annual IFA presentation this year, headlined by the announcement of its newest flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z1. Sony’s follow-up to the Xperia Z sports decidedly premium specs–it packs a 5-inch, 1080p display, a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and a 3,000mAh battery.

\"SonySony’s paying particular attention to the Xperia Z1’s cameras this time out, as the handset will feature a 20.7-megapixel rear-facing shooter with an “Exmor RS CMOS for mobile” sensor, an f/2.0 aperture, and the BIONZ imaging and G Lens tech found in Sony’s more traditional cameras. In English, Sony claims it’ll take better photos than your current phone does.

A range of software features are being packed into the shooter as well. The Xperia Z1 runs Android 4.2.2 under Sony’s skin, which now includes a “Social live” app for livecasting video from your phone to Facebook; an “Info-eye” program that provides search info for certain objects you photograph; an AR overlay mode that adds augmented reality images to your shots; and a “Timeshift burst” mode that takes 61 images in the 2 seconds before and after you hit the shutter button.

Physically, the Xperia Z1 is reminiscent to its predecessor, and it’s similarly dust- and water-resistant. We don’t know how much it’ll cost or what carriers it’ll come to yet (the Xperia Z is a T-Mobile exclusive in the US), but Sony says it’ll arrive sometime this month. To sweeten the pot, Sony will throw in 60 free days of its Music Unlimited streaming music service, 10 free PlayStation Mobile games and six free Sony Pictures movies with your purchase.

\"SonyBeyond the new flagship phone, Sony also unveiled a handful of new products in its Vaio family of tablets and PCs. Perhaps chief among these is the company’s first Windows 8 tablet, the Vaio Tap 11. It’s got an 11-inch, 1080p display, a Haswell chip up to a Core i7, 128 or 512GB of SSD storage, an 8-megapixel camera with an Exmor RS sensor, an IR blaster, WiDi tech, and the usual assortment of USB 3.0, micro-HDMI and microSD ports.

The Vaio Tap 11 isn’t shying away from its stance as a competitor to Microsoft’s Surface Pro either, as it’ll come with magnetic keyboard/screen cover that attaches to the front of the slate, as well as an N-trig digitizer pen. Sony is also touting the device’s relatively slim frame, as it’s 0.39 inches at its thinnest point. The company hasn’t given any word on the tablet’s price or when it’ll be available just yet.

\"SonyAlso new to the Tap line is Sony’s newest tabletop PC, the Vaio Tap 21. Like its Vaio Tap 20 predecessor, it’s a mobile all-in-one PC with a particular focus on family use. This time, though, the Vaio Tap 21’s 21-inch display has been bumped up to a 1080p resolution, and comes with either a Core i5 or Core i7 Haswell processor. It can have either SSD or hybrid storage too. Again, no word on pricing or availability details for this Tap 21 for now.

Finally, Sony’s making a play at convertible PCs like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga with its new Vaio Flip PC. That laptop comes with either a 13-, 14- or 15-inch 1080p display, a Haswell processor, either SSD or hybrid storage, and optional Nvidia graphics. The 13-inch model of the aluminum Ultrabook weighs 2.6 pounds, while the larger two weigh 4.2 and 4.6 pounds, respectively.

\"SonyThe Vaio Flip PC’s main quirk, though, is its adjustable display, which can set the notebook into a standard, tablet or viewer mode based on how it’s positioned. This has been seen in various convertibles before, but Sony is hoping that the Flip PC will make such transitions more comfortable than past Windows 8 machines have. The company hasn’t divulged pricing or availability details for the Flip PC just yet.



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