Sony Xperia ZL Android phone (preview)

The Xperia ZL lacks the Z's water and dust-resistant capabilities but squeezes a 5in display into a smaller frame

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Sony Xperia ZL
  • Sony Xperia ZL
  • Sony Xperia ZL
  • Sony Xperia ZL
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Pros

  • 5in full HD screen
  • Compact design
  • Built-in IR port

Cons

  • Won't get official Aussie release
  • Not waterproof like Xperia Z

Bottom Line

The Sony Xperia ZL lacks the Xperia Z's water and dust-resistant capabilities but manages to squeeze the same 5in display into a smaller frame. It also includes an IR port to act as a universal remote.

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    TBA (AUD)

Sony appears to be pouring all of its energy into the upcoming Xperia Z but the Xperia ZL is a very similar device that was quietly announced at the same time. It lacks the Z's water and dust-resistant capabilities but manages to squeeze the same 5in display into a smaller frame.

The Xperia ZL is a very similar device to the Xperia Z when it comes to specifications, so the main difference is the design. The ZL is slightly thicker than the Z, but it has a much smaller footprint overall. In fact, Sony has managed to squeeze that large 5in display into a phone that's shorter and narrower than Samsung's Galaxy S III. For those who are concerned about the "bigger is better" trend in the smartphone world, that's going to come as welcome news.

The Xperia ZL manages to achieve this more compact frame thanks to one of the thinnest bezels on the market. It's not exactly edge-to-edge but the screen takes up almost the whole front of the phone. Unfortunately, the Xperia XL is not waterproof like the Z but it does have two other features that the Z doesn't. There's a physical camera button on the right side and also an IR (infra-red) port built-in, so you can use the phone as a universal remote control. Unlike the Xperia Z, the Xperia ZL doesn't have a glass back.

The Xperia ZL is slightly thicker than the Z, but it has a much smaller footprint overall.
The Xperia ZL is slightly thicker than the Z, but it has a much smaller footprint overall.

The Sony Xperia ZL shares many other features with the Z. It has the same 5in screen, a full HD display with a resolution of 1920x1080, the same 13-megapixel camera with Exmor RS sensor and the same powerful internals. There's a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, along with the option to add a microSD card slot for extra storage.

Sony will initially launch the Xperia ZL with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) but the company has promised it will be upgraded to the latest 4.2 version "shortly after launch". A software feature called "Battery Stamina mode" is also borrowed from the Xperia Z. It applications from running when the screen is locked, therefore saving power and apparently improving standby time "by at least four times". Interestingly, the ZL has a slightly larger battery than the Z: 2370mAh compared with 2330mAh.

The Xperia ZL has 5in screen full HD display with a resolution of 1920x1080.
The Xperia ZL has 5in screen full HD display with a resolution of 1920x1080.

Sony has produced multiple variants of the Xperia ZL. The C6503 model variant is compatible with Australia's 1800MHz 4G network band, while the C6506 is not 4G compatible Down Under but will work on 3G networks.

Unfortunately, Sony says it has "no plans to release the ZL in Australia at the moment". That could change in the near future, but its likely the only option for Aussies will be to purchase the phone online as a grey import device.

The Xperia ZL has a 13-megapixel camera with Exmor RS image sensor.
The Xperia ZL has a 13-megapixel camera with Exmor RS image sensor.

A promotional video of the Sony Xperia ZL can be seen below.

Are you disappointed Sony has no plans to release the Xperia ZL in Australia or do you prefer the Xperia Z? Should us Aussies get more of a choice? Let us know in the comments below!

Related articles

Sony to unveil Xperia Z next week
Sony Xperia Z preview
Sony reveals more Xperia Z details
Sony Xperia Z vs. Apple iPhone 5: Head-to-head

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