Friday, 26 February 2016 17:01

Reports of my death have not been exaggerated - vale Sony Xperia Z

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Reports have begun surfacing that Sony has killed off its Xperia Z series smartphones – once retail stocks are sold that is the end of the orphaned line.

"The Xperia Z line has reached its culmination - Xperia X series represents a new chapter and evolution of our product strategy. While the Xperia Z series was all about bringing the best of Sony's advanced technologies to smartphones, Xperia X series is based on bringing smart, adaptive Sony user experiences across camera, battery performance and hardware/software design," the company said in an official statement.

It is not that the Z series was in any way inferior. iTWire’s review of the Qualcomm 810 Snapdragon-based, 5.2” Z5 was reasonably good although it suffered from some early firmware issues. The 5.7” Z5 Premium showed none of these issues. In all these were worthy flagship smartphones but regrettably not able to offer the same experience as the Samsung S6/Edge or even the LG G4.

iTWire even avoided commenting on Sony Mobile’s ailing fortunes over the past few years – it is about the tech, not necessarily the business. Which makes this reviewer a bit perplexed – the Z series had a lot of life left in it and killing it off only a few months after release smacks of desperation.

Perhaps Sony is so stoked with the new X series that it is willing to take both the flack and a bath on the Z series. My guess is that there are warehouses of Z series and/or lots of people wanting to return them – which under Australian Consumer Law may be an option (seek your own advice).

The Xperia X series was launched at the Mobile World Congress on 22 February. Perhaps prophetically the article was titled ‘the evolution of the smartphone called Xperia X’ but it could have been the burial of the still-born Z.

The new range covers Xperia XA (budget), Xperia X (standard), and Xperia X Performance smartphones.

That is a good, better, and best scenario although IT media are already decrying the XA series with its lowly HD screen and MediaTekHelio P10 chip as a second-rate smartphone. The flagship X series has a Snapdragon 650 (seriously?), and the X Performance will have a Snapdragon 820.

Sony fans will have to get over the premature death of the Z and wrestle with the X series spanning three markets. Not sure that is a good idea, but Sony should know what it is doing. We must also assume the end of its M5, M4 Aqua, C5, and E4 series as well as the older Z2, 3 and 4 series that are still on sale.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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