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Sony's 'super mid-range' XA1 and Xperia XZs flesh out its 2017 phone range

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The Xperia XZs has the same camera as the flagship XZ Premium

Vlad Savov

Sony’s just-announced XZ Premium isn’t the company’s only new smartphone debuting here at Mobile World Congress. Along with the Premium, billed as Sony’s “most ground-breaking smartphone to date,” three other phones are also being unveiled today. The first and most interesting is the Xperia XZs, which features the exact same, new 19-megapixel Motion Eye camera system that’s found in the XZ Premium. It can do the 960-frames-per-second slowmo. It’s got the same Predictive Capture feature that’s meant to prevent you from missing fleeting moments. And since it captures larger pixels, Sony says low light performance has improved as well.

Xperia XZs

So the XZs has the same camera as XZ Premium — though we can’t assess Sony’s grand talk until we possess both phones. What the XZs doesn’t have is the flashy 4K HDR display. Instead, it’s got a 5.2-inch 1080p screen (also with 2.5D curved glass running over the top. Instead of glass on both sides, the XZs has a metal back, which a fair number of people might prefer once seeing all the fingerprints and smudges that instantly dominate the XZ Premium.

Sony’s outfitted the XZs with a Snapdragon 820, a few generations removed from the still-new 835 processor it managed to procure for the Premium. But the XZs carries on other Sony signatures like water resistance. The XZs will launch beginning in April, with pricing info coming soon.

Xperia XA1 Ultra

Rounding out the company’s early 2017 phone lineup are the Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra. Sigh. Sony’s really got to rethink this naming strategy. Both are powered by Mediatek Helio P20 processors and feature edge-to-edge displays (albeit with sizable top and bottom bezels). The XA1 has a 5-inch 720p screen, so it’s not going to be a pixels-per-inch champion. The XA1 has a 1080p display, but it’s a much larger 6-inch panel. Both devices have a 23-megapixel f/2 rear camera lens, though they differ when it comes to the selfie cam. The XA1 has an 8-megapixel front camera, while the XA1 increases that to 16-megapixels and adds optical image stabilization for the vloggers in this world.

Xperia XA1

Both phones include “Xperia Actions,” a new software feature that Sony claims can learn user habits and automatically change settings and manage apps according. An example from the company’s press release says: “when you go to bed your Xperia can learn your bedtime routine and automatically adjust the screen brightness and call volume.” The XA1 and XA1 Ultra will be released starting this spring in white, black, pink, and gold. Pricing info will follow soon.