All posts by XB

Sony updates Software update app with an ‘Update history’ (3.1.1.A.0.4)

Sony Software update 3.1.1.A.0.4_2Sony has updated its “Software update” application to include an update history of past installations. The latest version will bring you to build number 3.1.1.A.0.4 and it is a mandatory install – you will not be able to upgrade your firmware or apps (via What’s New) until the Software Update application is upgraded to the latest build. The Update history button sits within the settings menu, but right now you can’t access it. We would expect as future updates hit your handset it will start to detail your history.

DOWNLOAD: Sony Software update (3.1.1.A.0.4)

Sony Software update 3.1.1.A.0.4_1 Sony Software update 3.1.1.A.0.4_2

Sony Software update 3.1.1.A.0.4_3

Thanks Himath & Rudy!

Xperia Z5 Premium availability widens across Europe

Xperia Z5 Premium EuropeThe Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is now on sale in the UK, as we reported yesterday. It is available across a number of retailers including Carphone Warehouse, Clove and Unlocked Mobiles. Some carriers are also stocking the handset too, O2 has exclusivity on the gold version for example, at least for a few weeks.

The Sony Mobile Store also is now offering the handset across Europe. In the UK, the Sony Mobile Store has it priced at £629, whilst in mainland Europe it is priced around the €799 mark. Are you planning to buy the handset or is it priced too high? Let us hear your views below.

Xperia Z5 Premium Europe

Thanks Sergio!

NTT docomo launches the Xperia Z5 Compact into Japan

Xperia Z5 Compact JapanJapanese carrier NTT docomo has today released the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact (SO-02H). NTT docomo is the only Japanese carrier to stock the Xperia Z5 Compact, it will also be the sole carrier of the Xperia Z5 Premium when it launches in a few weeks. NTT docomo has all four colours available (Coral, Graphite Black, White and Yellow) and will be selling it for 84,888 yen (£455, €644 ,$688) inclusive of tax.

Latest Marshmallow Concept firmware (MDB08M.Z1.2134) rolling

Xperia Z3_MDB08M.Z1.2134_1Sony Mobile is pushing out its latest Xperia Marshmallow Concept firmware for the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact. Android 6.0 firmware build MDB08M.Z1.2134-somc includes the latest Android build from Google, NFC updates, start-up fixes and a new Album app (7.3.A.6.1) with fixes for SD card folders and background images. For those in the beta, the update should be rolling OTA right now.



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Thanks Fabi, Michael and Timo!

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium now available in the UK

Xperia Z5 Premium CPWThe Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has gone on sale in the UK, with mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse showing the handset in stock. CPW has an exclusive on the Chrome colour and it is also selling the Black version too.

CPW is offering the handset SIM free for £599.99 or on a pay monthly contract for £36 per month and an upfront cost of £50. If you buy the phone on contract you can also get £200 cashback if you buy a Sony 4K TV. For more details click here.

Xperia Z5 Premium CPW

Android Wear adds LTE cellular support

Android Wear LTE CellularGoogle has announced that the latest version of Android Wear will add additional connectivity in terms of cellular support. Some Android Wear devices already support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but the addition of cellular support means that you will be able to stay connected even when you’re not tethered to your phone.

As soon as you are out of range of your phone, Android Wear will automatically connect you to a cellular connection. This means even being able to take calls on a watch, via speaker or Bluetooth headset. Obviously, no Sony SmartWear devices support this functionality at present, but we could see this in an upcoming SmartWatch 4 or other Sony device.

These type of LTE smartwatches will share phone numbers with your phone, although a flip side of this technology is likely to be higher battery drain. The first Android Wear watch to support cellular is the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, which will be available to US customers through AT&T and Verizon. Google says it will be available internationally in the coming months.

Movie Creator (3.4.A.0.3) improves quality of auto-creation engine; can now choose content through Album app

Movie Creator 3.4.A.0.3_2Sony Mobile has updated its Movie Creator application, moving it to build number 3.4.A.0.3. Sony has focused on optimising content creation in this latest update. First of all, it has improved the contents selection when you create a new Highlight Movie. Secondly, Sony has improved the quality of auto-creation engine – so hopefully less random pictures should ruin those nice family/friends montages.

The other addition is that you can now choose the content to create your Highlight Movie through the Sony Album app. Simply select the content for your movie in Album and then share to Movie Creator. The update is live right now in the Google Play Store.

DOWNLOAD APK: Movie Creator (3.4.A.0.3)

Movie Creator 3.4.A.0.3_1 Movie Creator 3.4.A.0.3_2

How well does Xperia Z5 Premium upscale to 4K? Check out a comparison against iPhone 6s Plus

4K-Logo jpgThe Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is the first smartphone to be released that incorporates a 4K resolution display. It has a resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels giving an insane 806 PPI pixel density. To preserve battery life, the Xperia Z5 Premium does not display the OS or apps at native 4K resolution. The native 4K resolution is only used for 4K video that you can stream (e.g. YouTube) or captured yourself.

As most content is displayed in FHD 1080p, Sony uses an automatic upscaling feature so that it can be enjoyed using the full 4K display. The question then becomes: If most of the content I view will be FHD, what benefit will I see from the 4K display? Well to help answer that question, ePrice decided to test the Xperia Z5 Premium against the Apple iPhone 6s Plus.

They took some lower resolution content and then compared the upscaled output on the 4K display of the Xperia Z5 Premium against the FHD display of the iPhone 6s Plus. We have included some of the comparison below (click the source link for the full suite of images), but we think the results speak for themselves.

The comparisons shown below show a 720p video, News app video and a 2MP photo compared on both devices. A crop is included to the right of each image to give a sense of difference between both devices. Even without clicking on the images below, you should be able to tell the difference quite clearly. Sony appears to do a great job with its upscaling processing to give a more defined picture on the Xperia Z5 Premium. It shows that even with low-resolution standard definition content, the Xperia Z5 Premium should do a sterling job of making it look good.

720p Video: iPhone 6 Plus (Top) vs. Xperia Z5 Premium (Bottom)

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News App: iPhone 6 Plus (Top) vs. Xperia Z5 Premium (Bottom)

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2MP Photo: iPhone 6 Plus (Top) vs. Xperia Z5 Premium (Bottom)

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Via ePrice.

Sony SBH54 Headset now in stock through Sony Mobile Store

Sony Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH54 now availableSony has widened the availability of its Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH54 across Europe as it is now in stock via the Sony Mobile Store. The SBH54 Stereo Bluetooth Headset is available for £79.99 in the UK and €99.90 across mainland Europe.

The pricey headset is crafted from “premium metal” and includes a FM radio, NFC, Bluetooth 3.0 and a splash-proof design. The SBH54 headset will last for five hours in terms of talk time and takes an hour to charge. The headphones also feature echo, wind and noise cancellation.

Sony Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH54 now available

Clove knocks £100 off the price of the Xperia C4

Xperia C4 Black CloveWe were surprised to see the Sony Xperia C4 (E5303) recently launch into the United Kingdom. Sony’s PROSelfie smartphone’s point of differentiation is the inclusion of a front-facing camera. Amazon.co.uk is selling the handset for a reasonable £174.99 delivered, but Clove has managed to trump the price.

It is currently offering £100 off the price of the Xperia C4, which brings its price down to £146 delivered. This is £30 lower than Amazon and offers great value for money considering the handset sports a 5.5-inch (1080 x 1920 pixel) IPS display, 13MP Exmor RS rear camera, 5MP front camera, Mediatek MT6752 chipset, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD memory card support and a 2600mAh battery.

If you are interested, head over to Clove and use voucher code “SNYC40611DIS”. The voucher is valid until 30 November and only the black version of the Xperia C4 is currently in stock.

Xperia Z5 Premium video unboxing

Xperia Z5 Premium video unboxingWe have already shown off some unboxing pictures of the Xperia Z5 Premium, that so far has only launched into Taiwan, but is expected to hit other regions next week. Now, we are sharing an Xperia Z5 Premium unboxing video. You will notice whilst the box contents are nicely compartmentalised there is still very few extras – for example no quick charger, nor any type of headset. There is a brief comparison with the Xperia Z5 too, check out the video below.

Thanks Steen!

Sony promotes Xperia Z5 Premium through BMX pro video ‘Kaleidoscope’

Kriss Kyle KaleidoscopeSony Mobile has partnered with Red Bull to produce a BMX video with pro biker Kriss Kyle. The video called ‘Kaleidoscope’ shows Kriss Kyle navigating a complex moving indoor set. Sony has also produced four short behind the scenes videos that were made with the help of the Xperia Z5 Premium.

The handset was used to highlight some of its best features such as the 0.03 second autofocus, Steadyshot, shooting 4K video and 5x Clear Zoom. Of course, using the Xperia Z5 Premium’s 4K screen to watch back the footage is also touted. You can check out the main video below, including four behind-the-scenes vids below.

Kriss Kyle: Kaleidoscope

Kriss Kyle comment: “It was an absolutely incredible experience, one that I would do over and over again if I had the chance. To be able to take BMX out of the confines of an existing skate park and to let your imagination lead the way was unreal. Filming my performance on the Xperia Z5 Premium was cool, because the clarity of the 4k display helped me to see each split-second so clearly when I played the footage back, helping me see ways to improve and innovate and make some of my dream lines a reality.”

Warren Saunders, Sony Mobile UK & Ireland comment: “Some of the challenges involved in this video are absolutely mind-blowing, especially the moments involving trampolines and the spiral. I’m glad we have these extra clips that show the thinking behind some of the best tricks. Using the Xperia Z5 Premium, we were able to capture the crazy angles that larger cameras can’t shoot and develop a film that brings the colour and optical illusions from the set to life.”

Behind the scenes: ‘The spiral’ shot in 4K

Behind the scenes: ‘The falling L’ featuring steadyshot

Behind the scenes: ‘The curved wall’ featuring 0.03s autofocus

Behind the scenes: ‘The rollercoaster rail’ featuring 5 x zoom

New Marshmallow Concept build (MRA58K.Z1.2123) adds new boot animation

Xperia Z3_MRA58K.Z1.2123-somc_2aSony Mobile has today pushed a new firmware update OTA for its Android 6.0 Marshmallow Concept firmware for the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact. New firmware build number MRA58K.Z1.2123-somc adds a new boot animation as well a battery percentage on the icon. The build also includes a new version of the Sony Album app (7.3.A.6.0) and Text Input (7.0.A.0.14). For those that are on the program, you should find an OTA update available through the settings menu.



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Firefox OS Nightly Images now available for Xperia Z1 and Z1 Compact

FirefoxOSBack in September, we reported that the FreeXperia team of developers were providing nightly releases of Firefox OS for select devices. Five devices were supported (Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, Z2, T2 Ultra and Xperia E3), but now another two have been added to the list – the Xperia Z1 (Honami ) and Xperia Z1 Compact (Amami).

Firefox OS will appeal to those that perhaps want to try something new – as the operating system is fast and lightweight it should work very efficiently on current hardware. If you want to get started hit this link, where you can download the nightly releases.

Google Maps makes offline navigation official

Google Maps Offline Navigation_1Google has today announced that the Android version of Google Maps will now support offline navigation. Of course, you could download a particular region if you wanted to view the map offline previously, however the update adds this offline functionality to turn-by-turn navigation, search and key info such as contact details. HERE Maps has seen a lot of success due to free offline navigation, but it was always a matter of time before Google hit back.

Google will allow you to download a region of the world onto your phone by searching for a city, county or country and tapping “Download”. Once a map is downloaded, Google Maps will automatically go into offline mode if you have no mobile reception.

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Xperia Z5 disassembly guide

Xperia Z5 Disassembly GuideThe folks over at iFixit have provided a handy teardown guide for the Sony Xperia Z5. To be clear, the guide is a member-contributed one, rather than from iFixit staff but it very clearly shows the step-by-step process involved in taking apart your Xperia Z5. If you have seen previous disassembly guides for the Xperia Z series, then you will know that removing the back cover involves heating the rear to soften the glue and using a suction cup to prise open the cover.

The teardown confirms the dual heat pipes used in the Xperia Z5. There is also an accompanying video that goes through screen replacement as well as how to fix the charging port and replace battery. Check the full guide at the source link below.

Xperia Z5 Disassembly Guide

Via iFixit.

Xperia Z5 owners – What do you think of the camera?

Xperia Z5 cameraThe Xperia Z5 series is the first to feature Sony’s new 23MP camera sensor with hybrid autofocus. When the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact were launched there was plenty of hope from fans that Sony had a killer camera smartphone in its midst. The new sensor marked the first new camera sensor since the Xperia Z1 was announced. Gaining a top rank in DxoMark is no mean feat, but that is exactly what the Xperia Z5 has achieved.

There is no doubt that Sony has a very competent performer when it comes to the imaging side with the Xperia Z5. However, you just have to casually browse XDA or Sony Mobile Talk forums to see people sharing their experience – some good, some bad.

There has been long threads in each forum with owners complaining about a ‘blurry edge’ on the left side of photos. There have been close to 200 replies in the Sony Mobile Talk forums with plenty of examples of this problem. A number of users have had various replacements with the issue being replicated, leading to some speculating that this is a hardware rather than software issue – perhaps something to do with the type of lens used.

We wanted to pass the question to the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact owners out there. How have you found the camera performance? Do you suffer from the ‘blurry edge’? If you owned a previous Xperia device, how does the Xperia Z5 series compare – is it a marked improvement? We’d love to hear your impressions below.

Sony’s Socialife News app adds weather forecast (4.2.13.30.2)

Socialife 4.2.13.30.2_2Sony has updated its Socialife News application to include weather forecasts for your location. If you have location settings enabled, then the top of screen will now show you a summary forecast. Tapping into this will bring an extended forecast powered by AccuWeather. A new ‘Weather’ option in the Settings menu will allow you to get the current location or enter a location of your choice. This latest build number 4.2.13.30.2 is live on the Google Play Store or you can download the APK below.
DOWNLOAD APK: Socialife (4.2.13.30.2) Socialife 4.2.13.30.2_1 Socialife 4.2.13.30.2_2 Socialife 4.2.13.30.2_3 Socialife 4.2.13.30.2_4 Socialife 4.2.13.30.2_5 Socialife 4.2.13.30.2_6

Xperia C4 now on sale in the UK

Xperia C4 ImageSony Mobile has begun to officially sell the Xperia C4 (E5303) smartphone in the United Kingdom. The handset was initially launched into parts of Asia, but didn’t see a wide launch in Europe. The Xperia C4 was expected to hit the UK soon as it appeared on the Sony Mobile UK site. It is now available across a number of UK retailers including Amazon.co.uk who are selling it for £174.99.

The Xperia C4 has a front-facing PROselfie flash with its 5MP Exmor R front camera. In terms of other specs, the Xperia C4 has a 5.5-inch (1080 x 1920 pixel) IPS display, 13MP Exmor RS rear camera, Mediatek MT6752 chipset, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD memory card support and a 2600mAh battery.

Xperia C4 Amazon UK

Thanks Bob!

Noreve Xperia Z4 Tablet and Keyboard leather case review

Noreve Z4 Tab-KB_18The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is a productivity workhorse when combined with the Sony BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard. They keyboard itself is reasonably expensive when purchased alone, but several regions bundled the BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard free of charge with the tablet. The tablet slots into the BKB50 keyboard’s hinge, transforming it into a quasi-laptop. Once docked, the tablet also reveals a special quick access launcher including a list of recent apps.

There’s no denying that both devices work well together, but given the price of the Xperia Z4 Tablet, there has not been an easy way to protect your investment from bumps and scrapes. Yes, you could stick the tablet + keyboard combo into a larger laptop sleeve, but the tablet is still exposed when actually using the device. Step forward the Noreve Xperia Z4 Tablet and Keyboard leather case – this is the first case we have come across that accommodates both the Xperia Z4 Tablet and official BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard for day-to-day use. Click through for our full impressions.

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The Noreve Xperia Z4 Tablet and Keyboard leather case comes in a swanky box and drawstring bag, as befits a premium accessory. We have a Black case for review, although Noreve has various colours to choose from. This includes a wide choice on the type of leather to be used.

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This particular case is to be used with the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard combined. The tablet fits to the right shell, whilst the BKB50 keyboard sits on the left side.

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The Noreve case uses a soft interior with embossed ‘Noreve’ logo. This ensures that the tablet and keyboard does not get scratched.

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The picture below shows the case with tablet and keyboard installed. The case has been designed to accommodate both devices very well, with a perfect fit.

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The case includes a perfect cut-out for the camera lens. It is nice to see a case that covers pretty much all sides of the tablet and most of the keyboard.

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The only exposed parts of the tablet + keyboard combo is the keyboard hinge, which the tablet docks into. The left and right sides of this hinge are left exposed by the case.

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What’s really impressive about the case is how lightweight it is and the fact it adds very little heft to both devices when docked.

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The headphone port and microSD memory card flap are left exposed by the case.

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The left side of the case has the power button and volume rocker exposed.

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The right side of the case has the micro USB port open for easy charging.

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The Xperia Z4 Tablet and BKB0 Bluetooth Keyboard is shown open inside the case. As you can see, the case has a very minimal profile and you hardly notice it when working on the tablet.

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The joining piece of the tablet and keyboard gives enough flex to allow the hinge to fully extend the tablet.

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The tablet is held in place by the use of clips along the top and side. Once clicked into place, the tablet is very secure with little chance of falling out.

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The BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard is held into place by two clips on each side of the keyboard.

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The case covers the corners of the tablet just in case you suffer a small knock.

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The front edge of the keyboard remains exposed, but there is easy access to the power button and Bluetooth pairing button on the side.

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Overall thoughts

The Noreve Xperia Z4 Tablet and Keyboard case works surprisingly well in our usage. It gave us great confidence in using our tablet/keyboard combination outdoors, it meant we didn’t have to worry about sticking it into a rucksack or it suffering from small knocks. Noreve is a premium mobile accessory manufacturer, so the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and Keyboard leather case is not cheap (€100.00 with free worldwide shipping). However, given the high price of the Xperia Z4 Tablet, we think the price of the case is justified for some extra peace of mind, especially if you use the tablet a lot on the road.

Positives
– Keeps a very slim profile despite covering both tablet and keyboard
– Gives peace of mind to owner against small bumps and knocks
– High quality leather used in handcrafted construction
– A solid case with the tablet and keyboard held securely
– Free access to all ports on both the tablet and keyboard
– Case does not restrict BKB50 hinge; allows tablet to be used at all angles
– One of the very few cases on the market that protects Xperia Z4 Tablet and BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard together

Negatives
– The case is not cheap, although we’d argue it’s worth the money given the protection it provides

Noreve Z4 Tab-KB_18

Thanks to Noreve for sending us the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and Keyboard leather case to review!

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium unboxing pics

Xperia Z5 Premium Unboxing_2Now that the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has been released, albeit in only one region, it was a matter of time before the unboxing pictures appeared. We have a whole host of pictures to feast your eyes on below – including a set of unboxing pictures for both the Gold and mirrored Chrome version. Check them out below.

Gold Xperia Z5 Premium unboxing

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Chrome Xperia Z5 Premium unboxing

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Via PCPop.com and Digi-wo.

Thanks Ben!

Ronaldo Xperia Theme released by Sony

Ronaldo Xperia Theme_1_resultSony Mobile has released a new Xperia Theme based on football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. The theme has been launched to celebrate the movie “Ronaldo” which hits theatres next week. The movie was filmed over a 14-month period with full access to arguably the best soccer player in the world right now. You can check out a trailer for the film below and download the Xperia Theme from the Google Play Store.

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Xperia Z5 Premium now available in Taiwan; receives first firmware update (32.0.A.6.170)

Xperia Z5 Premium Taiwan releasedThe Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is now available to buy in Taiwan, earlier than initially expected. The Xperia Z5 Premium E6853 variant has seen a limited launch in the region, with those that pre-booked already picking up their handsets. The models with the greater ‘mirror’ affect, such as the Chrome version, appear to be most in demand.

Interestingly, for that did manage to pick up the Xperia Z5 Premium, Sony has a day-one firmware update available via PC Companion. The update moves the firmware build number from 32.0.A.6.115 to version 32.0.A.6.170 and brings largely performance enhancements. The Xperia Z5 Premium should see a wider launch globally from the middle of this month.

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Xperia Z5 Premium update

Via ePrice and Marco Kao Blog.

Thanks Ben!

New update (14.6.A.1.216) now rolling to Xperia Z1, Z Ultra and Z1 Compact

Xperia Z1 CompactSony Mobile has begun to rollout a new firmware update for the Xperia Z1, Z1 Compact and Z Ultra with build number 14.6.A.1.216. The update is increasingly available to a number of markets across all variants of the handset. So far, we have seen little reaction as to the changes over the older update (14.6.A.0.368), but if you have downloaded the update do post your impressions below.

Thanks Mirhawk, Mukul, Saurabh and Sebaa!