Sony only launched its flagship Xperia XZ3 smartphone a few months ago, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be prepared for an imminent Xperia XZ4 launch.
After all, the Japanese company isn't afraid to update its flagship handsets every six months or so, which would mean the Xperia line is due a refresh around the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) tradeshow in Barcelona, which will be held February 25 - 28.
As we wait for the release of Sony's next-generation Xperia XZ smartphone we'll keep this article updated with every whisper, leak or educated guess that we hear about the Xperia XZ4 ahead of its launch.
Sony Xperia XZ4 release date and price
Sony will likely unveil its Xperia XZ4 during the Mobile World Congress tradeshow, which is scheduled to take place in Barcelona from February 25 - 28, 2019.
As for a Sony Xperia XZ4 price, all we can really do for the time being is look to the Xperia XZ3, which launched for £699 ($899) when it hit stores last year. We'd be seriously surprised if the Xperia XZ4 cost any less. In fact, given the upgrades to the camera and larger AMOLED panel on the front, we'd expect the price to increase.
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Sony Xperia XZ4 design and features
Sony Xperia XZ4 will be a thing of sheer beauty, if the latest renders from reliable tipster OnLeaks are to be believed. The prolific tipster teamed up with technology blog MySmartPrice to release a series of slick, high-resolution renders based on leaked CAD models for the as-yet unannounced device.
If these new renders are accurate, Sony looks set to shun the increasingly popular notched display design trend, popularised by the iPhone X last year. This sees manufacturers house the front-facing camera, speaker grill, and various other sensors in a curved cut-out at the top of the display to allow the panel to bleed to the very edge of every corner on the handset.
However, despite the omnipresence of the notch, it looks like Sony is sticking with its tried-and-tested bezels above and below the display. As such, the next-generation Xperia looks likely keep a very similar screen-to-body ratio as the Xperia XZ3.
According to OnLeaks, the Xperia XZ4 will sport a 6.5-inch display with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Sony recently trademarked the brand name "CinemaWide" for use with its smartphones – believed to be further evidence of its plans to adopt a wider 21:9 aspect ratio display on its next-generation flagship. A 6.5-inch AMOLED panel would be a pretty sizeable increase from the 6.0-inch on the Xperia XZ3.
It's worth noting that this will purportedly be a flat screen, not curved.
But it's the back of the new Sony smartphone where things get seriously interesting. Sony looks set to include a triple-camera system – a first for its main Xperia XZ line.
Considering the Xperia XZ3 only had a single camera on the back, it would be a big step-up to see Sony jump to a triple-lens system on its next flagship. However, it might be necessary upgrade given that the Huawei P30 and Samsung Galaxy S10 – due to launch in the coming months, too – are both widely-tipped to launch with similarly endowed cameras.
Of course, this won't be the first time that Sony has dabbled in multiple-camera set-ups. After all, the company included a dual-camera on the Xperia XZ2 Premium, which launched July 2018.
According to a leaked photograph from an internal briefing document shared by sumahoinfo, the new rear-mounted camera will pack some serious grunt. First up, the Xperia XZ4 will seemingly have a 52-megapixel main lens, which would be a much higher than most of its rivals. That lens is also said to have an f/1.6 aperture, which would enable it to let in a lot of light flood in – and make it a competent camera in tough low-light conditions.
Next up is a 16-megapixel telephoto lens, which would allow for optical zoom. This looks set to have an f/2.6 aperture. Huawei P20 Pro offers 3x optical zoom, and rival Oppo has confirmed that it's developing a smartphone camera capable of 10x zoom.
Finally, there's a 0.3-megapixel f/1.4 ToF (Time Of Flight) sensor that's used to judge depth in order to add artificial, adjustable bokeh-style blur behind the subject of the photograph, and augmented reality games and camera features. To do this, it sends out pulses of light and times how long those pulses take to bounce back.
Sony is calling this technology DepthSense and it's just released a video showing how it could be used, which you can watch below.
The new footage shows DepthSense being used to add layers of augmented reality over everyday objects in the home. However, Sony also shows how DepthSense could be used to improve online shopping. For example, a store would be able to photograph an object – a red handbag is used in the video, which DepthSense would then accurately measure the dimensions of – and then a recipient could view that object as an AR overlay (on their coffee table, for example) in their own surroundings, holding up objects against it to see how they look together.
Unfortunately, there's no word on what the front-facing camera will look like, but it's certainly not going to be a step backwards from the 13-megapixel wide angle lens included on the Sony Xperia XZ3.
One notable absentee from the latest Sony Xperia XZ4 renders is the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Earlier rumours suggest the company isn't looking to implement an in-display ultrasonic scanner in its next flagship, either. Instead, sources with knowledge of the company's plans claim Sony will return to a fingerprint sensor embedded inside the side-mounted power button, like it has done in the past with phones such as the Sony Xperia Z5.
Based on these renders, it looks like the company will continue to use the same premium glass finish on the rear that characterised the Xperia XZ3 last year.
Disappointingly, there's no sign of a 3.5mm headphone port. Sony is not doing anything extraordinary by moving away from the 3.5mm audio port in favour of USB-C and Bluetooth connections, but keeping the 3.5mm intact could've been a nice differentiator for the firm.
Sony Xperia XZ4 specs
We haven't had confirmation of the chipset that will be powering the Xperia XZ4, but it's pretty safe to assume that Sony will opt for the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 for its next flagship smartphone.
Qualcomm claims its latest processor boasts a 45% performance bump compared to its predecessor, the Snapdragon 845. That tallies with a previous leaked benchmark score that showed the Xperia XZ4 to be a true powerhouse.
The AnTuTu benchmark score, spotted by GizChina, came in at an impressive 395,721. To put that in perspective the leaked Exynos 9820 powered Samsung Galaxy S10 score topped out at just 325,076.
As for the operating system, the Sony Xperia XZ4 will almost certainly run Android 9 Pie, as this is the latest version of Google's OS.
Ahead of the launch, YouTube designer ConceptCreator has been hard at work building a three-dimensional version of the latest leaks and rumours.
The short clip, which can be viewed below, gives a pretty good glimpse at what the final product could look like ...
Lead Image Credit: ConceptCreator / YouTube