While Sony is very focused on its ultra-high def video tech, the company also spent about 15 minutes beyond its scheduled press event time at the huge 2014 International CES trade show today to talk up its new Xperia Z1s smartphone.
The new Xperia Z1s is the premium model in a fresh line of Xperia phones. The Android-based smartphone is waterproof and maintains its 5-inch screen but is a bit taller than older Xperia handsets. The Xperia Z1s also features a new PlayStation app that turns it into a second screen device when viewing something on the company’s game consoles.
The biggest glaring detail here is that it’s exclusive to “uncarrier” T-Mobile. If you can deal with that, the second big thing to note is the device’s camera functionality. Sony decided to offer all camera-related apps within the native camera app itself.
Some of those apps include PopCam, Horror Camera, and Evernote, as well as a “Background Defocus” app that’s exclusive to the Xperia Z1s. I had a chance to play with the phone’s app briefly after the press event, and it’s definitely something I could see people loving over other smartphone cameras.
Sony is also well aware that it is well behind in the smartphone wars, so it is basically throwing in everything but the kitchen sink to get you to buy the Z1s. When you buy the phone, you’ll get a 1-month free trial to Sony Music Unlimited, the company’s streaming music service. You’ll also gain six premium movies from Sony, including “Captain Phillips”. And finally, you’ll get a $100 gift card that you can use anywhere — meaning you don’t just have to buy Sony products or digital media through its online stores.
The Xperia Z1s is available to pre-order as of today and will be available at T-Mobile retail stores Jan. 22 for $528 upfront or $22 per month.
And if you’re not crazy about T-Mobile, Sony also debuted a new Xperia Z1 compact that seems to share the same strategy as Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c.
The Z1 compact will be available on all four carriers in four different colors (gray, black, yellow, and pink). The phone’s storage size is 16GB compared to the 32GB that’s standard on the Z1s. It’s also a bit smaller, but that’s to be expected since it’s just a sleeker version of the original Xperia Z1.