Until now, Sony's Xperia line of smart phones might have been described as middling. But the new Xperia Z and ZL phones shown at CES today have graduated to top tier.
Both Android (Jellybean) phones have 5-inch 1080P displays, 13-megapixel cameras, 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processors, and 2GB of RAM. Their cameras boast a chip that enables the phones to shoot video using high dynamic range (HDR) technology, which neutralizes the extreme exposure levels when your subjects are in the shadows or when the light is coming from behind them. And Sony says its proprietary technology enables these phones to have an extra-long battery life in standby mode.
The Xperia Z, which measures just 5.5x2.8x0.31 inches, has a plastic coating that helps it survive a drop in the water for up to 30 minutes, says Sony; and the touch screen works even when wet. The plastic coating also helps minimize fingerprints.
The ZL, whose display reaches to the very edge of the phone, measures 5.2x2.8x0.4 inches and has a curved back, which makes it comfortable to hold. This model, though not waterproof, adds an IR port, which allows the phone to act as a universal remote.
Both phones come with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, which can be expanded by 32GB via a microSD card slot. Both are world phones. They will be available worldwide in Q1 of 2013, but there's no information yet on pricing or carriers.
Check out the rest of our CES 2013 coverage.