Today, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sony announced the new Xperia M4 Aqua and the Xperia Z4 Tablet. The Xperia M Aqua is Sony's first octa-core 64-bit smartphone, while the Xperia Z4 Tablet is the world's lightest and slimmest tablet, according to Sony.
“Xperia M4 Aqua represents our renewed mid-range focus - with no compromises," said Dennis van Schie, Senior Vice President, Head of Sales and Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications. "Offering the most popular standout features made famous by our Xperia Z Series; camera capability, two-day battery life and waterproofing - Xperia M4 Aqua brings a proposition and price, products in this section of the market simply cannot match."
The Xperia M4 Aqua is powered by a Cortex-A53-based Snapdragon 615, one of Qualcomm's mid-range chips for the first half of 2015 (before they get replaced by the Snapdragon 618 and 620). The chip comes with an Adreno 405 GPU and supports HEVC decoding, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and QuickCharge 2.0 (3A output).
One of the most interesting aspects about the device is its 13 MP camera, which is quite high-resolution for a mid-range phone. It uses a Sony Exmor RS sensor with a large f2.0 aperture and supports up to 3200 ISO. Sony is one of the few smartphone companies that has started advertising its camera's ISO capabilities. If more companies follow its lead, we may see a fiercer competition in low-light performance.
Sony's "Superior Auto" mode also automatically recognizes what kind of "scene" the user is trying to capture and optimizes the picture to look best in that environment.
There's a 5 MP selfie camera in the front as well, which is also a relatively high-end feature for a mid-range phone.
The device also comes with Android 5.0 out of the box, which shouldn't be a surprise at this point, but some low-end phones such as the Xperia E4g will still arrive with Android 4.4, so this is a welcome feature.
Sony has been heavily promoting the ability of its phones to survive under water, and the Xperia M4 Aqua goes even further with an IP65/8 rating, which means it can be kept under water indefinitely up to 3 meters. This is compared to the Xperia M2 Aqua, which could only be kept 30 minutes under water and could be submersed up to only 1.5 meters.
The Xperia Z4 Tablet (Wi-Fi version) weighs only 389g, making it the world's lightest 10.1" tablet. The device is also only 6.1 mm thick, but it purportedly can last for up to 17 hours of video playback.
"Building on the success of its predecessor, we wanted to take all of the qualities that consumers loved most in Xperia Z2 Tablet and enhance them for Z4 Tablet," said Dennis van Schie, SVP of Sales & Marketing at Sony Mobile. "Consumers appreciate innovation most when it can bring real value to their lives, so we have carefully crafted and considered every aspect of [the] Z4 Tablet to meet even the most demanding lifestyle. Sleek and lightweight, yet incredibly powerful, with standout entertainment and smart productivity features, Xperia Z4 Tablet is an extraordinary tablet that fits perfectly into your day-to-day life."
The Xperia Z4 Tablet comes with an ARMv8-based Snapdragon 810 (Cortex-A57 and Cortex A-53 CPUs), an Adreno 430 GPU, a 2560 x 1440 resolution display (which according to Sony works great in direct sunlight), high-quality sound, digital noise-cancellation, an 8MP Sony camera, a 5.1 MP wide-angle selfie and video-chat camera, 32 GB of storage, and a 6,000 mAh battery. There's also an LTE model for those who want to be always-connected when on the go.
The Xperia Z4 Tablet, just like the Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone, is also waterproof (IP68 rating) despite having a "capless" USB port in order to make the tablet more hassle-free for users.
Sony will sell an optional Bluetooth keyboard dock for the Xperia Z4 Tablet, as well.
The Xperia M4 Aqua will launch this spring in more than 80 countries on more than 100 carriers and will cost around 300 euro. The Xperia Z4 Tablet will launch starting this June. Sony hasn't given any pricing details for the tablet.