Earlier this year, Sony took the wraps off the Xperia Z, a high-end smart phone powered by a quad-core processor and equipped with a 13.1-megapixel camera and a 5-inch display. Pundits called it "stunning" – a device, to quote TechCrunch, that might "deliver the scalps of high-end rival devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and Apple’s iPhone 5."
This week, Sony announced it would release a pair of new Xperia devices: The Xperia SP and Xperia L.
The SP is a toned-down, mid-range version of the flagship Xperia Z, designed to appeal to users who might not need all the power of the Z. The SP gets a 4.6-inch screen, a dual core processor – as opposed to the quad-core on the Z – and an 8-megapixel camera. The aluminum frame resembles that of the Z, but the phone is a bit smaller and a little easier to stuff in the pocket.
The Xperia L, meanwhile, is a camera-centric device with a 4.3-inch display. (Sony is calling it the "perfect camera smartphone experience.") The devices gets a dedicated camera button, HDR (high dynamic range) functionality, and something called "Exmor RS for mobile" – a sensor that Sony says will optimize color and help increase the quality of images shot in less-than-optimal conditions.
No word yet on pricing, although Sony says both the Xperia SP and the Xperia L will be available in the second quarter of this year.
So how do the devices stack up to current smart phone offerings? Well, over at Engadget, Mat Smith took a test spin on the Xperia SP, which will come equipped with the Android 4.1.2 operating system. And he liked what he saw.
"The standout feature for us was the return of the notification light, which can now do a little bit more in this new aluminum frame," he wrote. "When you're playing music content, not only will the lighting (roughly) match the album artwork, but it'll pulse in time to the music, like an off-screen equalizer graphic. On the Xperia SP, you can also program different notifications for different callers, red alert for the boss, gentler hues for the family, etc, and as the notification light is now contained within that transparent bar, you'll get a good idea of that caller without the need to check the screen."
Unlike the iPhone 5 and the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, which are available in only two color schemes, the Xperia SP gets three options: white, red, and black.
Looking forward to the new Xperia models? Drop us a line in the comments section. And for more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.