A number of hard specs leaked for the Sony D6503, codenamed Sirius earlier today. A number of Android 4.3 screenshots also emerged from the device, however we mentioned that the handset will launch on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Now we can exclusively reveal a number of key features within the new Xperia KitKat UI and Sirius.
All of those that were earlier talking about Sirius being not much of an upgrade only needs to take a quick scroll below to realise that Sony’s KitKat update is mammoth in scale. There are so many new features that it has taken us hours to digest and articulate into this post. We are talking about 4K recording, Timeshift video, Smart backlight control, two home launchers, USB DAC support and more. One thing is for sure, Sony’s Sirius handset will be very much worth the wait. Check out a sneak peek of what will be on offer below.
Android 4.4.2 KitKat relates to firmware build 17.1.A.X.XXX
4K video recording and Timeshift video confirmed
The Sony D6503 ‘Sirius’ will support 4K video recording, a feature that was much rumoured for the Xperia Z1 ‘Honami’ last summer. This time it is included as can be seen in the camera app below.
Another great new feature is “Timeshift video” that will allow you to record in a high frame rate which you can then apply slow motion effects to. We imagine this is something similar to slow motion video on the iPhone 5S, which captures video at 120 frames per second in 720p, with slow-mo effects added after.
New Display options: Glove mode, White balance and Smart backlight control
The Sony D6503 ‘Sirius’ will come with ‘Glove mode’ and the White balance app. We have, of course, seen glove mode on older handsets such as the Xperia sola, but it will be great to see it here. We expect White balance to be added to an upcoming Android 4.3 build for the Xperia Z1. More on Smart backlight control below.
Smart backlight control
Smart backlight control is a really neat feature that keeps the screen awake as long as you are looking at it. If you look away the screen will turn off. This is similar to Samsung’s Smart stay feature it has in some of its Galaxy range.
Smart call handling
Another great new feature is motion control for handling calls. Enabling “Smart call handling” allows you to answer or reject calls using motion gestures. To answer a call, you simply need to bring it towards your face. To reject calls you can shake the device. If you want to turn the ringer off, then simply place the phone face down.
Double tap to wake screen is included
One of our favourite features of the Xperia Tablet Z is the ability to wake the screen with a double tap. Looks like this is also headed to the Sony D6503 Sirius.
New Dialler options
The Dialler includes a built-in answering machine
Sony plans to integrate an answering machine into the handset. There will be options to enable it after a certain period of time and the ability to choose a greeting. Who needs voicemail?
Two ‘Home’ launchers now available
Under the settings you will notice a new option for ‘Home’. Sony is including two home launchers to use with your device.
There are options for a “Simple Home” or the standard “Xperia Home” that we all know.
The Simple Home is likely catered to those who have difficulty reading screens, such as the elderly. It has larger font and icon sizes.
Sound menu has options for “Audio accessories” and “Hi-res Audio via USB”
We are not entirely sure whether this “Audio accessories” function relates to pairing the devices or something else. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.
Music enthusiasts will be glad to hear that Sony is introducing USB DAC support into the Sirius.
New Personalisation options for notifications and status bar icons
The “Theme” option has now changed to “Xperia themes”, emphasising the ability to download new themes from Sony Select.
There are also a number of options to manage notifications, you can choose exactly which apps you want to receive notifications from. Another option allows you to clear notifications fro the status bar when the notification panel is opened. You can also select which icons to include in the status bar.
The pre-installed themes use the new Android 4.4 KitKat wallpaper and come in various colours.
Default SMS app can be changed
You can now change the default SMS app to whatever you prefer to use.
The Sony D6503 Sirius will come with 16GB internal storage plus micro SD memory card
The picture below doesn’t confirm this, but we understand the above to be true.
Power management is now broken into “Device” and “Accessory”
We’re not sure how power management will relate to accessories, but we’re eager to find out.
“Location Services” now known as “Location”
Looks like there is a mode for “High accuracy” and “Low accuracy”.
A “Printing” option is included too
A printing option is now included in the System Settings. We don’t know whether this can tap into third party apps such as Cloud Print from Google.
Sony will include a shortcut to “What’s New”
It looks like Sony will introduce a “What’s New” feature that will be an additional pop up, when you swipe up. As can be seen below, there are options for What’s New and Google Now when you swipe up.
We don’t know exactly what is “What’s New”, but it could be a lifestyle feature or Sony’s answer to Google Now.
Native KitKat features includes transparent status bar
The new background will come in various colours.
You can switch between Notifications and Quick Settings from the drop down menu
Quick Settings can also be edited to change order.
The Xperia Home launcher is unchanged from Android 4.3
The tray app background is now transparent. You can see a number of pre-installed apps in KitKat below.
“Close all” option included in Recent apps menu
We recently saw a mode to do exactly this, but it looks like Sony will include a “Close all” option in the Recent apps menu in its KitKat UI.
Touch block Small app included – Sirius is water resistant
We didn’t notice any new Small apps included apart from “Touch block”. When enabled the screen will not automatically turn on when exposed to water. Therefore, you can assume that Sirius is water resistant.
No changes for the Movies app, although Sony normally changes these media apps independently of Android version
Latest Calendar app included
Garmin Navigon – Xperia Edition
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST
S-Force and stereo speakers
Our sources strongly hint that the Sony D6503 Sirius will have stereo speakers and the S-Force engine. At this stage we do not know if that is hardware or software based.
Another couple of pics showing the top and bottom speakers on the Sirius.
This post would not have been possible without the superb help from DooMloRD and iRimas – thank you very much!