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Sony D6503 'Sirius' rumor roundup: specs, release date, price and all we know so far

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Sony D6503 'Sirius' rumor roundup: specs, release date, price and all we know so far
In case you were worried Sony won't have a flagship to counter the Samsung Galaxy S5 or LG G3 with this season, you need to stop fretting, as the Sony D6503, codenamed "Sirius", already made quite the splash in the rumor mill. The company's current flagship, however, the Xperia Z1, has barely been on the market for a few months now, so Sirius might simply be a refresh of sorts, rather than the speculated Xperia Z2 successor.

This theory is backed up by the leaked specs, features and interface screenshots - there isn't anything that is drastically different than the Z1 - not to mention that the design language seems to have been kept very similar. Moreover, another Sony handset, coded D6603, appeared in benchmarks, so Sony might be doing this season what it did with the Xperia Z and ZL combo. Let's recap what we know so far about the "Sirius" handset.


Design


Photos, allegedly showing the Sony D6503, reveal a device that is similar in appearance to the Sony Xperia Z1, but with thinner side bezel. This leads to the possibility that the phone sports a larger, 5.2 inch screen, just as outed already. The bottom of the device has three large holes instead of the mesh speaker grille found on the Xperia Z1. The microUSB and SIM ports are on the left side and the microSD slot is on the right side. The lanyard is now also on the left side instead of the right side as on the Xperia Z1. In fact, a few photos popped up, that show the Sirius lying next to an Xperia Z1, so you can judge on the visual differences yourself.



Dual speakers


In the latest leaked photos of the handset, two thin slits are visible top and bottom at the front, covered with protective mesh that looks like a speaker grill. One is above the LED notification light at the top, and the other is at the bottom, right above what looks like a complex noise-canceling mic setup. Let's not forget that the back panel features a small mic opening at the top, so we might be in for a three-mic placement, like on the iPhone 5s, or the Lumia 1020. Those eventual two front speakers are perhaps stereo, too, like on the HTC One and One mini. The new USB amp support option in the settings should also be a hint that Sony has some plans for the Sirius to be an audio-oriented handset, not only a cameraphone.


Display


Last we heard, the screen is supposed to be 5.2 inches, and that's where the biggest difference with the Z1 lies - speculation was also that Sony will equip Sirius with a 1440x2560 pixels QHD display panel. On the other hand, leaked system info files show a Full HD display, and the QHD claims sound like a wishful thinking. 

Sony will be losing a bit if everyone comes out with a QHD phone, while Sirius is still on 1080p, but if this one is meant as a Z1 refresh, a sheer use of IPS screen panel, instead of the poor TN ones, would make enough of a difference, as the viewing angles on the Z and Z1 are inexcusable on a modern flagship. Not that the actual resolution maters when we are choosing between 1080p and QHD, as mobile screen resolution is more than enough at Full HD even at this point.


Specs


One and the same specs list is a recurring theme in all leaks. The phone will eventually be powered by Qualcomm's MSM8974AB SoC, which is a faster variant of the Snapdragon 800, offering higher clock speeds and other extras. 

The handset will allegedly join the 3 GB RAM club, as that's what's shown on the system info list, and regurgitated in rumors. We can only hope for 32 GB of internal memory, too, but if there's a microSD slot, like on the Xperia Z1, we'll likely get 16 GB. 

In fact, that's exactly the case in the leaked screenshots from the D6503, which are claimed to show 16 gigs of storage.

Meanwhile, а few screenshots, claimed to be from the upcoming Sirius, appeared over at the dedicated XDA-Devs threads. These show the battery life reports from the phone, which is said to carry a generous 3300 mAh capacity unit. That's 10% more battery capacity than the Z1, so even if we do have a Quad HD panel on the D6503, the juicer that backs it up, will be enough for the eventual increased consumption.

Judging from the battery screens, endurance is on the average side, yet these are arguably taken from a preproduction unit, so we wouldn't read too much into them, and we will wait for the official endurance numbers from Sony, and our own battery tests with the retail unit.


Camera 


The staple feature of an Xperia flagship is, naturally, the camera, ever since Sony outed the Z1 with a 20 MP shooter on the back. That same camera is supposedly making its way into the Sirius phone, and rightfully so, as everything less would be a disappointment already. Judging from the leaked photos, the LED flash placement, and the sensor spot itself, seem to be similar to the Z1, so hopefully Sony adds some extra features and improved algorithms as well, especially for nighttime footage, which on the Z1 is a rather weak point. 

At the very least we see that the 20 MP camera will be capable of 4K video recording, in line with Sony's recent trend to do everything centered around the next video resolution craze. More screenshots have appeared from an engineering unit of the device, and they show some new camera modes are in place, too.

First off, the 1080p video recording will have the option to be captured with 60 frames per second, in addition to the usual 30fps mode. Moreover, there will be a new camera resolution setting. With the Z1, you can only go from 20 MP in 4:3 aspect ratio, to 8 MP in the same ratio, with widescreen 16:9 format also done in 8 MP. Well, with Sony D6503 "Sirius" you will have the option of a more "resolute" 16:9 aspect, shot with 15.5 MP. Here are some leaked camera app screenshots and photos, claimed to be from the Sirius, compared with shots from the Z1.


Software


A treasure trove of screenshots was unearthed from a Sony D6503 Sirius, showing its Timescape interface, sitting on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The screens reveal that new features are in store with Sony's upcoming flagship refresh - 4K video recording gets confirmed, as well as a Glove mode for the screen, meaning you can operate it out on the ski lift, like any self-respecting Lumia these days. There are numerous other tweaks like an extra homescreen for the visually impaired, smart backlight control, notification tabs in the status bar, as well as a whole lot of themes, transparencies and full-screen wallpapers, brought along by KitKat, which you can see in the slideshow below, plus a video of the interface in action just underneath.



Release date


Numerous pointers show that the new Xperia "Sirius" will be announced around the MWC expo, which starts at the end of February, with release date following next month, in March, for a typical flagship price north of 600 USD or EUR without a contract. That would mean a roughly six-month refresh cycle from the Z1 to the Sirius upgrade, and it would be worth it for the new screen and dual speakers alone, not to mention the features that Android KitKat and the new camera app will bring along with the handset. What do you think?

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