NTT DoCoMo announces Xperia Z (SO-02E); launches on 9 February

by XB on 22nd January 2013

in Videos, Xperia - Japan Models, Xperia Z and Xperia ZL

NTT DoCoMo held its 2013 Spring Collection showcase in Japan earlier today. As expected, the company announced the Sony Xperia Z (SO-02E) and Sony Xperia Tablet Z (SO-03E) – more on the tablet in a later post. NTT DoCoMo confirmed that pre-orders for the Xperia Z will start tomorrow i.e. Wednesday 23 January, with sales scheduled to commence on Saturday 9 February 2013.

This means it looks like Japanese consumers will be the first in the world to get hands-on with the Xperia Z. It is expected to launch in Europe and Asia towards the end of February/early March. All three colours of the handset will launch in Japan (black, purple and white). The product page can be found here.

The NTT DoCoMo version of the Xperia Z includes specific-Japanese features such as a One Seg tuner, FeliCa NFC and infrared sensor (located next to the rear camera lens). It also features the POBox Touch 5.4 Japanese conversion text input system, meant to make typing in Japanese or English quicker and easier.

Other specifications are the same as the global release. The Xperia Z (SO-02E) will come with a 5-inch 1080p OptiContrast Display (443 PPI) with Bravia Engine 2, 1.5GHz quad-core chipset (APQ8064 + MDM9215M) with Adreno 320 graphics, 2GB RAM, 13.1MP Exmor RS rear camera, 2.2MP Exmor R front-facing camera, 2330mAh embedded battery, NFC, MHL, Xi LTE, 16GB internal storage, microSDXC memory card slot and a water and dust resistant ((IP55 and IP57) chassis. It has the same size (139 x 71 x 7.9 mm) and weight (146 grams) as the global version.

The handset (along with the Xperia Tablet Z) will be available to play with at the Docomo Smartphone Lounges from tomorrow. There is also a special exhibition planned for the products taking place this week in select locations, with a number of special guests attending. See more details here.

Xperia Z (SO-02E) Promo Videos

Xperia Z (SO-02E) Press Pictures

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Xperia Z (SO-02E) About Screen

Xperia Z DoCoMo

Via Sony Mobile Japan (1 & 2).

Thanks dereknobuyuki!

  • Coollead

    Very important to note that the microSD support here is up to 64GB with microSDXC, compared to 32GB microSDHC support in the global version.

    Wish I could get one…gonna go play with it tomorrow at the Smartphone lounge!

  • Jealous, you stay in Japan?

  • Coollead

    Yup. Teaching English! I’m using the Xperia GX now!

  • sony is ruining the Xperia Z by not launching it earlier.

  • ????????

    txtvv support exfat and microsdxc work fine, but sony doesn’t speak about it.
    Tell please what price of xperia sx without the contract in Japan?

  • Branding, ughhhhhhhhh

  • dereknobuyuki

    The SX is long dead; They stopped selling it a long time ago.
    I’m thinking about picking one up used but used phones are kind of a risky proposition.
    The SX was not available for very long at all though; I’d guess they pulled it off the website some time around mid-late-autumn.

    I think the price for a used one completely off contract but not guaranteed to be unlocked, last time I looked was still pretty expensive 20-30,000 yen, used.

  • dereknobuyuki

    Incidentally, when Horikita Maki and Watanabe Ken were showing off their devices of “choice” from the new Spring line-up (although not sure if they actually had a choice), Horikita Maki showcased the Xperia Z commented on how stylish and exquisite it was. She also commented along the lines of it also being a good smartphone for women [ despite it being from the NEXT series largely marketed to men rather than the WITH series largely marketed to women ]

  • Evita

    Aeh,,, anyone have info about LTE band support for SO-02E, suppose to have same with global unit?

  • ????????

    >The SX is long dead; They stopped selling it a long time ago.
    it’s really bad news for me, desu. I dreamed to buy sx for replace my little xperia ray
    >I think the price for a used one completely off contract but not guaranteed to be unlocked, last time I looked was still pretty expensive 20-30,000 yen, used.
    You will prompt sites on which I can buy it? I want to pay with visa, sending the abroad isn’t obligatory(i can use mail-forvarder)
    My english is bad, sorry

  • Wolf0491

    The purple is growing on me. Really want to see them in person.

  • Faizal Mohd

    Suddenly I found the urge to buy the same phone as maki horikita. Eventhough. I swear not to fall for a Sony again. But then again the nexus 4 here in Malaysia is about us$550. I’m guessing the ZL should cost as much

  • Coollead

    I’ve had good luck with used phones… just gotta buy them from the right place. The SX is still a powerful phone, so they’re still expensive used. A lot of stores still have them, they’re not entirely gone, just not produced anymore.

  • mountain

    Wait, there is a IR blaster on the japanese version! Why will they put it on the ZL but not the Z?

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  • NorthWood

    GSM(850/900/1800/1900MHz),WCDMA 800(Band 6,19)/850(Band 5)/2100MHz(Band 1),LTE 800(Band 19)/1500(Band 21)/2100(Band 1)

    No Band 3,5,7,8,20 which is supported in global unit.

  • dereknobuyuki

    Bic Camera in Namba had an SX and 2 GXes for sale used; While Bic is a reputable-enough, used devices are highly suspect.

    Has the device been unlocked? Odds are it hasn’t.
    Has the device been blacklisted or used for criminal activities in the past? Bic would definitely not have that information available for a prospective buyer.

    Is the device one of these shady black label devices? Who knows.

  • dereknobuyuki

    You can purchase them from vendors on Amazon Japan and probably Rakuten
    Go to Amazon Japan, search for “Xperia SX”, filter the results in the left column and choose the first group Brand ???? and click Sony ???

    I see a black SX for 64,900, pink 35,000, orange 59,900, white 49,000

    The cheapest one on there is 39,000 for a pink one but keep in mind that there are marketplace vendors and not purchasing from Amazon itself.

  • dereknobuyuki

    I would guess the Xperia Z here would be around $900 or $200 amortized with the carrier services. The white, purple, and black ones all look pretty good; Maybe Horikita Maki is a good spokesperson or maybe the Xperia Z is just a really nice device.

    The docomo version of the Xperia Z has the 1seg TV tuner and the waterproofing in addition to support for a lot of carrier services. Makes it quite tempting except I already have the GX.

  • MTB

    That’s great info, thank you.

    Are the Xperia SX on Amazon Japan also locked to Docomo or not? There is no info.

  • dereknobuyuki

    It’s probably sim-locked and different vendors may or may not ship overseas. You would need to get an unlock code from docomo or somewhere if it is locked.

  • How was your experience playing with Z? :D

  • MTB

    Thanks. Packet forwarding won’t be a problem.

    I can’t find a way to unlock it, someone would have to do that in Japan. Any tips? I’d be glad to offer a reasonable fee for the favor.

  • Evita

    thanks :)

  • dereknobuyuki

    Sorry, can’t help you there.
    Basically, you may have to pay a higher price from a shop that specializes in selling japanese phones to other countries. If you are in HK, Singapore, etc., you can find those locally… otherwise it’d be the Internet.

    I live in Japan so I’ve never had to use those shops so I don’t know where there are. Best of luck finding a solution that will work well for you and I hope they charge you too much for unlocking. The carrier will unlock phones for somewhere between 1500-3000 yen, I think.

  • dereknobuyuki

    Infrared Communications port for transfering contact information as well as photos & other files (but really they mean contact information and photos) has been a standard feature on nearly all phones in Japan for ever decade.

    Despite phones having Sony FeliCa NFC for at least 6-7 years, providing an alternative to using infrared, the culture of infrared beaming contacts is pervasive. Lack of this function has been met with enough unhappy resisitance that nearly all feature phones and smartphones have it.

    In some markets where the ZL will be sold, there is a culture of beaming contacts that can’t easily be remedied with the other existing solutions out there (namely NFC or plain simple email). So, I don’t think they felt as “required” to have infrared communications on the ZL. Plus, whenever you had a feature that requires hardware, they tend to remove some other feature in order to balance out the cost of the device.

  • dereknobuyuki

    My impressions hands on with the Xperia Z for Docomo

    (plus a few photos along side the Xperia GX: )

    I have only a few “complaints” about the Xperia GX but Xperia Z covers all of them and more.

    1.) Battery

    The Xperia GX battery is too small. They have great industrial design but the thinness of the great-looking ARC design means a little less space for the battery thus a slightly smaller battery. The Xperia Z doesn’t have an ARC design and can have a much nicer sized battery.

    2.) Power Button

    When not looking at the phone, it is difficult to distinguish the camera button from the power button (because they are in the same position when the orientation of the phone is unknown). Sony Mobile has said in an interview at CES that the new power button is their new signature accent. To be honest, it makes it really easy to find the power button in the dark or when your eyes are focused elsewhere. Plus, it’s far easier to push the button due to the button design and position over the Xperia GX.

    3.) Waterproof* (*I mean IPX5/7… not scuba diving “proof”)

    In the Japanese market, this is a deal breaker. At first it was just the different manufacturers always scrambling to find unique features to market their products over rivals like when we used to have solar panels built into phones, etc. However, waterproofing became more than just some unique value proposition, but rather became a required features of any feature phone or smartphone (or tablets to a lesser degree although there are several waterproof tablets)

    The Xperia GX is not waterproof. For me in the end, going with a beautifully designed Xperia GX was more important than the waterproofing but with the Xperia Z you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a beautifully designed device AND have it waterproof. You can essentially have your cake and eat it too.

    4.) The Dock, docking.

    The Xperia GX has a beautiful dock for both charging and for connecting via MHL+HDMI to a TV or monitor. I use it on a daily basis. The dock is beautifully designed, premium build quality, and works really well (works FAR better than my Samsung MHL connector). There’s only one drawback and that is that you have to plug your phone into the device.

    The dock cradle has a plug sticking out that you plug into the always-exposed usb/mhl connector on your Xperia GX. For at least 7 years, nearly all feature phones in Japan have had charging cradles and none of them ever required a “plug” type connection. Instead, they have special metal contact points that touch contacts on the dock cradle. With the advent of and ubiquity of waterproof phones, this further cemented with type of standard into the de facto standard in Japan. Lucky, the Xperia Z follows that great trend. It’s very easy to dock and undock the Xperia Z using those metal contact points. Waterproof devices are a lot of trouble to open up flaps but with the Xperia Z, you don’t have to. It docks beautifully with the dock, with speakers, etc…

    5.) Accessories

    There were not so many accessories available for my Xperia GX. I got the beautiful dock, but there were almost no other accessories available. The Xperia Z is quite the opposite! There are so many different accessories available for it (See my photos for the VR helmet display, new skins for your device, a myriad of cases (although why hide the device in a case that would hide it’s great industrial design especially when high-end Sony smartphone these days use high-quality glass technology even if they won’t tell us the specific brand but it’s sitll that same quality level), bluetooth keyboards, and a variety of NFC-enabled bluetooth speakers.

    Other.) Other impressions of the Xperia Z

    This is a great device. In terms of industrial design, it’s the best looking and well-designed device since the hayabusa Xperia GX. Glass on both side gives it a premium feel and the purple looks great; It also, however, is a fingerprint magnet. The device has a 5 inch, 1280×1080 full HD 443 ppi display that looks really good. BraviaEngine 2 bring dynamic contrast control (even for 1080p video up to 30 frame per second). Some nice improvements over the GX in the display and a larger display at that yet the device itself is not that much bigger than the GX. It’s fairly large in one’s hand but not uncomfortable. (Some of those NEC phones are really uncomfortable). The weight is about the same as the GX but unlike the GX while firmly holding the phone with your hand, your thumb may not be able to reach all corners of the device without loosening your grip (ie: one handed use while standing on the train, for example, may be a little bit difficult if you often need to touch the corners of the device)

    Performance-wise with a Qualcom S4 Pro SoC under the hood with 2GB of RAM, I would not expect performance to be anything but good. There are also some major improvements to the digitizer/touchscreen technology. These points together bring your smoother operations, smoother touch input, and smoother scrolling. In actual practice, it is noticeably smoother but not dramatic.

    The device was not running final software but the performance was quite good. The Xperia GX’s non-final software builds were all far poorer performance than the final build. Perhaps, the Xperia Z will have more performance tweaking but the performance as it is now is ready for launch.

    All around this is a great device. It looks great and performs great.
    It’s not enough to make me move from an Xperia GX to the Xperia Z but anything older than that, and it would extremely enticing to buy. Instead, I should encourage a family member to buy one instead =P

    The overall design is solid and premium but doesn’t scream uniqueness. The uniqueness comes, however, through the smaller accents such as the power button. There is NO CAMERA BUTTON, but SMC PR says the main reason for this is because of waterproofing. The more buttons you have, the more difficult and/or expensive waterproofing essentially becomes.

    Is that camera button a deal breaker for you? or can you live with the intelligent on screen camera button?

    (PS: Tablet Z was mind-blowing… but I’ll post that on that page)

  • dereknobuyuki

    In person, the purple looks pretty great.
    White and black look fine and as much as white and black phones are my favourite colours for phones, I think Purple looks the best. Since it’s all glossy glass white/black, it reminds me a bit like the iPhone and that makes it stand out less. The purple, on the other hand, looks great and stands out.

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