Sony soft-launched its latest Xperia Z4 in Japan yesterday, skipping the big mobile show launches of previous handsets and favouring an almost apologetic announcement instead.
The new Z4 offers minimal change compared to the Z3, but still moves the Xperia line forward and remains competitive in the Android space. The slightly longer delay between the Z3 and Z4 launches might also be indicative of Sony's stated aim to slow down its rate of change.
New for the Z4 are a better front-facing camera, slightly thinner and lighter body; the new Snapdragon 810 processor (making the Z4 a 64-bit smartphone) and a bump in base memory to 32GB (although this may just be for the Japanese market).
What remains are all the things that made the Z3 the best Android smartphone choice for many users. The great camera, excellent screen, iconic design and weatherproofing. The retention of the weatherproofing means the Z4 is the only flagship phone that is weather resistant, after Samsung ditched this feature for the GS6.
The Trilouminous screen retains its 1080p resolution, forsaking the jump to QHD which others are making. There's a good reason for this I think. Other than the GS6 Edge, where the curves and screen technology of there SAMOLED screen give the impression of a high quality magazine print on the display. QHD hasn't made a compelling argument for its inclusion in high-end handsets. The Z3 matches the GS6 in display clarity and I have no reason to suspect that Sony will have reduced the quality of the display for the Z4. QHD needs more power, more processor and produces more heat. 1080p is just fine in my book.
Whether the Z4 will keep Sony's mobile operation moving forward remains to be seen, its certainly a smartphone that offers plenty to the end user. We'll see how much once Sony takes its new handset worldwide.