Sony Xperia Z1s rumor round-up: specs, release date, price and features
Update: Sony has now officially unveiled the 'mini' we have earlier been referring to as Z1 mini, Honami mini, and Z1s. The actual name of the device is the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, and it matches all the rumors below. The only thing it does not match is the name - the most rumored Z1S turned out to be a T-Mobile exclusive version of the Xperia Z1 (both being 5-inch smartphones).
The Sony Xperia Z1 mini is an elusive handset - rumored to be the first Android ‘mini’ phone with a top-shelf performance, we’ve been hearing about it for a long time and now it seems that expectations are that it will launch in the first quarter of 2014. CES 2014 might be a perfect occasion, and with all the smoke from rumors, there must be fire. Keep in mind, though, that we don't really know whether such a device will really appear - take it all with a grain of salt for the moment.
The story: from Honami mini, to Xperia Z1s and ‘Amami’
The Xperia Z1s story is quite the thriller. We started hearing rumors about it in the summer as people in the know unveiled this mysterious phone as the Honami mini, a companion to the Xperia Z1, the original Honami. Both devices appeared only in rumors until the Xperia Z1 was eventually official confirmed and later released, while its miniature brother remained under cover.
Then, quietly, Sony officially unveiled the Xperia Z1 f, a Japan-only device that is about to launch very soon on NTT DoCoMo. This was the rumored Honami mini, but limited to just a single market. In the following months, an international Sony Z1 ‘mini’ finally started to take shape and now we have a clearer understanding of what it looks like and a likely Q1 release date.
First, the name. The Honami mini quickly transformed into Xperia Z1s, a name that seemed nearly official as it even surfaced on Sony’s website. It was quickly pulled and after a few silent weeks, the Z1s finally reappeared under a new model name - the D5503 with a bunch of 4G LTE bands suggesting it might finally be heading to global markets and Europe in particular. For good or worse, it seems that Sony is not heavily focused on expanding its US presence, and this leaked D5503 fit that trend. Now, the device has cleared FCC certification and is one step closer to release. We also have a new codename - the Sony Xperia ‘Amami’. Here’s what it’s all about.
The bread and butter of the expected Xperia ‘Amami’ are its specs. All leaks agree - this will be a downsized Xperia Z1 mostly in size, but the performance and camera prowess will remain. Yes, this means the ‘Amami’ is said to feature the top-notch Snapdragon 800 system chip and the impressive 20.7-megapixel camera of its bigger brother.
The Sony Xperia ‘Amami’ is expected to come with a 4.3” display that will be much easier to use single-handedly and resolution is said to be 720 x 1280 pixels. This is a step down from the 1080p Xperia Z1, but we would not say it’s a huge downgrade - the smaller screen means pixel density would still be very high at around 341ppi. What’s more impressive, though, is to think about the huge performance gains coming from the fact that the Snapdragon 800 will drive much less pixels. We expect games to simply fly on it. Needless to say, there’s no other ‘mini’ on the market offering even half the expected performance of the ‘Amami’.
Designwise, the ‘Amami’ will keep the gorgeous OmniBalance glass style of the Z1, just shrink it down in size. It is also expected to be water and dust resistance with IP55/58 rating.
It will also keep the impressive 20.7-megapixel camera. We’ve already seen the first leaked camera sample showing a fast and wide-aperture (f/2.0) shooter. Most importantly, Sony seems to have managed to keep the much larger than usual camera sensor, a crucial part of the Z1 camera magic in the ‘mini’.
One last seemingly ‘downgrade’ is the expected 2300mAh battery on the ‘Amami’, lower than the 3000mAh juicer on the Xperia Z1. It’s hard to say though that this will indeed translate into lower battery longevity. Instead, come to think about it, this upcoming Sony ‘mini’ has the largest battery we’ve ever seen on a 4.3” phone, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it outlasts the Z1 juicer.
Finally, software. The Xperia ‘Amami’ has leaked out featuring Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. If Sony indeed sticks to the rumored Q1 2014 release date, though, we hope it finds the time to bump this up to the latest 4.4 KitKat.
The only piece of the puzzle left unsolved is the actual price of the this upcoming Xperia Z1 mini. Given the later than expected release, we can only hope it’s lower than that of the flagship Z1. Are you still looking forward to the first high-performing mini Android handset?