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New phone is low end of the 1080p pack, but still offers some nice features

Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) is finally offering the Xperia ZL for pre-order in the U.S. market.  The bulkier clone of the sleeker Xperia Z, the Sony handset still offers most of the 1080p-related goodies in its Android competitors' stables.  And Sony is kindly pricing it with and without HSPA+, so if you're on T-Mobile USA (HSPA+ only, currently), you can get the smartphone for cheaper.

In terms of competition, the Xperia ZL (and its slimmer twin) go up against Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930Galaxy S IV and HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498HTC One -- both of which are 1080p handsets.  The Sony device also competes with the Apple, Inc. (AAPLiPhone 5, which while trailing the competition in many hardware metrics remains competitive on merits of its strong brand, strong app selection, long battery life, and the preference of some buyers for smaller screens.

Here's how the device stacks up spec-wise versus the competition (click either image to enlarge):
 
                Smartphones wide
Spec comparison

Notice that overall the Xperia ZL offers a pretty nice spec package, and is well priced, but it suffers from a poor body design, slower processor, and lower built-in storage.

The biggest problem is perhaps the Xperia ZL's lack of any major selling features.

Sony is bragging about the Bravia engine, which uses GPU acceleration to offer real-time color correction, improved imaging, and other perks.  But the results, according to early reviews, are less than impressive.  Also onboard is the STAMINA battery technology, which is supposed to detect when the phone is not in use and turn off stuff.  But according to early reviews battery life on the Sony smartphone remains less than great.

And then there's the question of visibility.  Online orders are great, but without strong marketing a phone is unlikely to succeed in the U.S. Samsung and Apple are already marketing juggernauts, while HTC is getting more aggressive in terms of marketing.

Thus don't expect the Xperia ZL -- currently on pre-order -- to make much of a commotion in the U.S., but it's still an interesting option for buyers willing to think outside the box.

Source: Sony





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