Sony Xperia Z4v hands-on


Sony quietly announced the Xperia Z4v only a few days ago, but we managed to get some quick hands-on time with the upcoming smartphone. When the Xperia Z4 was announced, some folks were quick to point out that it lacked a couple of the necessary qualities to make it a stand out in today's market – in the face of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4. Thankfully, though, the Verizon exclusive in the Xperia Z4v addresses those concerns, as it fashions a Quad-HD screen into a phone design we’ve all come to know and love.

Design


Some people were quick to point out the Xperia Z4v’s dated design, seeing that it’s both thicker and heavier than the Z3 before it. We, on the other hand, don’t mind the design at all because it continues to sport one of the most under-appreciated designs out there. For one, it’s one of the few high-end smartphones to combine a premium finish with a water proof construction. Sure, the glass surfaces makes the phone feel a little fragile and a fingerprint magnet, but the overall design language follows in tradition to past Xperias – so that means uniformly flush front and back surfaces. There’s no hump around the camera, nor is there any sort of hump on its body.

Improving its water proof aspect, there’s now no more concern about covering the microUSB port, seeing that it’s been treated for water resistance – though, the SIM and microSD slots still need to be firmly fastened to ensure its water proof protection. Even with the added thickness, Sony is able to stuff a larger capacity battery with built-in wireless charging in tow as well!

Display


Finally, Sony does justice by gracing the Z4v with a 5.2-inch 1440 x 2560 Quad-HD TRILUMINOS display, making it the sharpest display Sony has ever put in a phone. Needless to say, the jump to Quad-HD resolution gives the screen incredible sharpness and detail – while Sony’s X-Reality engine complements things by adding color fidelity to the screen. It looks good and now quells some of the concerns people were having with the Z3+ and Z4, but there’s just one thing that stood out in our hands-on time.

It’s the display’s brightness output, which seems to be subdued even at the highest setting, which can make it tough to view outdoors with the sun present. Of course, being a pre-production model and all, there’s always opportunities to improve before it’s officially launched.

Interface


In standard fashion, this pre-production model of the Xperia Z4v is running the predictable Xperia UI on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Who knows if there are any enhancements in this experience that we haven’t seen previously, but nonetheless, it’s complemented by the usual staple of slick looking animations. Functionally, it should be familiar as well, boasting the usual essentials, but who knows if it’s finally upped the ante with its multi-tasking experience to run full apps side-by-side to one another.

Processor and Memory


Keeping up with the times, the Xperia Z4v is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset with a generous 3GB of RAM in tow. The hardware, much like the other phones we’ve seen running the same processor, looks well equipped in handling the most demanding of things. And in our quick run through the phone, the snappy response is evident right from the onset, as apps open instantly and scrolling through the interface is buttery smooth.

Endowed with 32GB of internal storage, there’s a microSD card slot on hand to give folks some much needed elbow room for storing additional content. That’s fantastic and all considering it’s boasting a water proof, premium construction – unlike the Galaxy S6.

Camera


Thus far, Sony’s cameras haven’t lived up to expectations. With the Z4v, it’s packing a long a monster sized 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor, which can achieve a very high ISO – making it handy for those low light situations. On the video side, you have the usual options of shooting in either 4K or 1080p resolutions, so there’s plenty of flexibility here. While the numbers point to a beastly camera gear in tow with the Z4v, it’s ultimately going to be its real-world quality that will propel Sony’s reputation out of the pitfall it’s been with stuck in. We’re hopeful about it, really!

Expectations


Verizon customers surely have something sweet on the horizon with the Sony Xperia Z4v, more so when Sony’s presence in the US is still a work in progress. Whereas the Xperia Z4 and Z3+ were regarded as subtle upgrades to the Z3 previously, the Z4v undoubtedly cements its reputation of being a juggernaut thanks to the addition of a Quad-HD display, up-to-date Snapdragon 810 processor, and a beefier sized battery – all of this, in a still premium feeling, water proof phone. Not many phones can say they carry all of those qualities.

Those eagerly waiting for this one will need to keep in mind pricing, which has yet to be announced. However, it’d be a good idea for them to price it similar to the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6. Who’s looking to snag this one?



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