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Xperia Z1C ThumbA quick heads up to let you know that the diminutive Xperia Z1 Compact has gone on sale in Hong Kong from today for a suggested retail price of HK$4,298 (£330, €400, $554). All four colours will be available including lime, pink, black and white. The handset will be preloaded with Android 4.4.2 KitKat. [read more…]

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Xperia Z2 vs GS5 and HTC One M8_12It is interesting to look at the latest Android flagships from Sony, Samsung and HTC side-by-side. Each company has adopted a design language that it is happy with, which shows how each handset looks very similar to the last. A very quick glance at the pictures below and you could be mistaken in thinking you are looking at the Xperia Z1 against the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One M7.

What we do have is the Xperia Z2 stacked against the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8. All very capable Android flagships, each one attracting different users. It is interesting to contrast the monolithic, square Xperia Z2 against the curvier One M8 and Galaxy S5. As with the Xperia Z1, one of the early criticisms of the Xperia Z2 is how comfortable it is to hold the device. However, one cannot argue against the very sleek and elegant look of the Xperia Z2, which at least gives the phone a premium look to match the price tag. Have a gander at the comparison pictures below, courtesy of The Verge. [read more…]

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Xperia Keyboard Play StoreSony continues to separately publish some of its core apps away from its stock ROMs. This time round it has pushed the “Xperia Keyboard” into the Google Play Store. This is the default keyboard that is installed on all new Xperia phones and includes all languages except Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The keyboard offers a swiping experience as well as the traditional tapping method.

The build offered through the Play Store is version number 6.4.A.0.6. This is a newer version compared to what is installed on current KitKat Xperia builds, with version number 6.3.A.0.18. We found that the new build can only be installed on Sony Xperia devices running Android 4.4.2 KitKat. So you may well find that you are unable to install the latest update even if you have a Sony Xperia device. Sony says new features for this build includes backup and sync using your Sony Entertainment Network account and a new improved layout for the Thai language. [read more…]

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Xperia Z2 featuresSony has created a couple of videos detailing most of the new features that can be found within the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update in the Xperia Z2. The videos highlight, in particular, the extra functionality that Sony has added compared to vanilla Android software.

Sony covers a number of features in these videos including live wallpaper, media apps, ICE (In case of Emergency) contact information, new camera modes, local answering machine, Xperia Themes, Sketch and new Calendar/Email functionality. Sony also confirms that many of the features will also arrive on other Xperia handsets running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which we have already seen in the Xperia Z1, Z Ultra and Z1 Compact. [read more…]

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Sony Z Ultra Gpe Android 4.4.3The Bluetooth SIG has certified the Android 4.4.3 KitKat firmware update for the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition. The certificate below shows the “Togari GPE” (Togari is the Z Ultra’s codename) certified with software version KTU72.S1.3013. The KTU72 part of the build is widely believed to a reference to Android 4.4.3 KitKat. Obviously there’s no timeline for release, but given the certification it shows the update will roll very soon after it hits Nexus devices. [read more…]

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Google Camera Xperia_11Google has taken its stock camera app and launched it separately onto the Play Store. The Google Camera application will run on any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.4 KitKat. Obviously Sony devices have a great stock camera app, but you may want to give Google’s new app a try if you’ve ever wanted to try Photo Spheres (for immersive 360º views), which was never ported to Sony models.

A new feature introduced in the app is Lens Blur mode which adds a bokeh depth-of-field effect to pictures, much like Sony’s Background Defocus mode. Other features include Panorama mode with high resolution and a 100% viewfinder. We tested the app on a Xperia Z1 Compact and was pleasantly surprised about the Lens Blur mode which created results with less trial-and-error than Sony’s solution. If you have upgraded your Sony Xperia to KitKat, then you can download the app here. [read more…]

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Xperia KitKat May 2014A month ago Sony confirmed that the older Xperia Z devices would be updated to Android 4.4.2 KitKat during the middle of Q2 i.e. May 2014. Well to show that there has been no change to that schedule so far, Sony has updated its product pages for the Xperia Z, ZL, ZR and Xperia Tablet Z. It pegs the release date explicitly as May 2014 for these handsets, meaning that we could start to see KitKat rolling in a months’ time (being naturally conservative, we assume the release will take place towards the end, rather than the beginning of the month). We’ll bring you any further news as we have it. [read more…]

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Xperia Z_10.4.C.0.808The North American Xperia Z (C6606, C6616) has seen a bunch of firmware builds certified recently, without release. We first had 10.4.C.0.793, then 10.4.C.0.797 and now a couple of new firmware builds have been certified including builds 10.4.C.0.800 and 10.4.C.0.808. Given the change in version number, each appears to be incremental updates over its predecessor, so perhaps Sony is finessing the firmware before release. We’ll let you know if/when the update lands. [read more…]

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Xperia Z1s_C6916_14.3.D.0.183T-Mobile US Xperia Z1s customers are still awaiting the Android 4.4.2 KitKat firmware update, despite the fact that the global Xperia Z1 has already received the update. Well judging by the latest PTCRB certification for the C6916 model number, it looks like it may roll in a matter of weeks. Firmware build 14.3.D.0.183 has been certified, which follows on from the last certified version with build 14.2.C.0.159 i.e. a move from 14.2.C.0.XXX to 14.3.D.0.XXX. If this new update does start to roll, we’ll keep you posted. [read more…]

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Sony Xperia SP flickering screenSince the update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, some Sony Xperia SP owners have been reporting on a flickering backlight display problem with their handsets. We have attached some videos highlighting the issue, which shows light flickering of the backlight, which we imagine can prove to be quite distracting when trying to read content or view media on your phone.

This appears to be an Android 4.3 bug, as the users did not notice it whilst on the previous Android 4.1.2 firmware. We have only seen reports on this with users on firmware builds 12.1.A.0.266 and 12.1.A.1.201 only. The problem could be related to the kernel as some users on different custom ROMs also report the same issue. Let us know if this is something you have noticed on your Xperia SP since updating to the latest firmware builds. [read more…]

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Sony D6603 model numberA new screenshot which supposedly shows the ‘About’ screen of the Sony D6603 has leaked. The build and kernel information has been masked, but the screenshot does show the D6603 model number and Android version 4.4.2 KitKat.

Previous benchmark leaks pointed to the Sony D6603 offering very similar specifications to the Xperia Z2 (D650X). This includes the Qualcomm MSM8974AB chipset with 2.3GHz quad-core processor and Adreno 330 graphics, a 1080p display, 20.7MP rear camera, 16GB internal storage and 2GB RAM. [read more…]

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OnePlus One teases specs on par with Xperia Z2 for half the price

April 15, 2014

OnePlus is a new start-up company formed late last year by Pete Lau (who used to run Oppo’s Blu-ray division). Lau’s mantra is to shake up the mobile industry: “Looking at the smartphone market right now, I see a lot of wannabes but few truly outstanding products fit for the demanding consumer. That’s what I […]

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Xperia Z2 not using stereo speakers for incoming calls

April 14, 2014

One of the common complaints we are hearing from early adopters of the Xperia Z2 is that the ringtone volume for incoming calls is very low. However, there is perhaps a simple reason for this – Sony has only activated the bottom speaker for incoming ringtones rather than using the top speaker too according to […]

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Sony QX10/QX100 version 3.00 firmware released; brings “Half-Press” to focus and quicker NFC connection times

April 14, 2014

A new firmware update for Sony’s QX10/QX100 Lens-Style cameras has been released moving it from version 2.00 to 3.00. Improvements include the ability to half-press the shutter to focus and a reduction in NFC one-touch connection times. Another change is the ability to use your Sony Xperia’s camera key for the shutter release. Download instructions […]

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Xperia T2 Ultra heading to Australia

April 14, 2014

The 6-inch Sony Xperia T2 Ultra will shortly be coming to Australia according to Cnet. The handset will be available from Sony Centres, Sony Kiosks and online for AU$499, although we couldn’t see the phone listed on the official website just yet. Cnet says that you’ll be able to buy it from third-party stores (no […]

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