Updated: Sony Xperia Z6 release date, news and rumors

Sony Xperia Z6 release date, news and rumors

Update: The dust has now settled after another hectic MWC in Barcelona, and the Sony Xperia Z6 is no where in sight – and we’re now hearing it may never arrive.

Sony turned it all around with the Xperia Z5, making up for the lacklustre Sony Xperia Z3+ with a far more stable phone. It also benefited from one of the best fingerprint scanners we’ve seen on a phone and a camera upgrade that made for much clearer photos.

Yet we can’t help but feel that Sony could have done even more. There are still missing features and undercooked specs and there’s only so many times the company can wheel out essentially the same design, even if it has been increasingly polished.

But it’s a tough market right now. If Sony wants to sway people away from the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 – and the upcoming HTC One M10 and iPhone 7 – it needs to make the very best phone it can.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Sony’s next flagship
  • When is it out? Possibly June, or we may already have it
  • What will it cost? It’ll be expensive, it’s a flagship afterall

Sony Xperia Z6 or Xperia X?

The Xperia Z6 is a confusing situation. Sony took to the stage at Mobile World Congress 2016 to announce three new phones; the Xperia X, Xperia XA and Xperia X Performance. The eagled eyed among you will note none of that trio bears the Z6 moniker.

The phones feature premium spec, with the Xperia X boasting a fingerprint scanner and a 23MP rear facing camera much like the Xperia Z5 – but the assumption is they will slide in below the flagship Z line. Or so we thought.

Sony didn’t confirm whether these are its new flagship devices – thus killing off the Xperia Z6 and the Z line – and since the launch it’s not exactly made the situation any clearer.

Over MWC the question was put to a variety of spokespeople from the company and the message was somewhat confusing.

Sony Xperia X

Jun Makino Senior Product Marketing Manager at Sony Mobile told uSwitch “I can’t comment on the future, but we will not be releasing a Z6.” He said that Sony is “turning to the next stage, with the Xperia X series”.

But soon after, Sony denied this was the case. In a statement to techradar, a Sony spokesperson said “Although we can never confirm about the future possibilities of our product line-up, we can share with you that we have no plan to launch Xperia Z6 at this stage.”

Emphasis on the “at this stage” part, suggesting that Sony does plan to announce the Xperia Z6 in the future. That was then followed by a statement to AndroidPIT from Sony Mobile US which said, “”The Z series is not going away. We want to make it clear.”

At the moment it’s all very confusing and we are pressing hard at Sony to get clarification on whether we will see an Xperia Z6. What is certain is we won’t see an Xperia Z6 for quite some time.

Here’s our look at the Xperia X and what it means for the Xperia Z6.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjOf1rYhdXU

Sony Xperia Z6 release date

Sony released the Xperia X range at MWC 2016 in February, and the handsets will go on sale sometime this summer.

Usually we see an Xperia launch at both MWC and IFA in September, so it may be that Sony has chosen to give the Xperia Z6 a miss in Barcelona and just go for an IFA launch this year. Fingers crossed for Berlin then.

Sony Xperia Z6 news and rumors

So far little is known about the Sony Xperia Z6, but early rumblings are promising.

For one thing it could apparently have a completely new design, with metal playing a big role. The Sony Xperia Z5 and most other Sony flagships have a metal frame with a glass back, so perhaps Sony will be ditching the glass and going all-metal.

Xperia Z5

Other early rumors include a Snapdragon 820 chip, which is exactly what we’d expect to see given that it’s likely to be the main flagship processor of 2016.

The Xperia Z6 is also said to have a 5.2-inch screen, just like the Xperia Z5. There’s no real news on what the resolution will be, but what it apparently won’t be is 4K, despite Sony introducing that resolution on the Xperia Z5 Premium.

So in all likelihood we’re looking at either a 1080p or QHD screen which may benefit from 3D Touch-like technology if rumors are to be believed.

There are also a few things we can take a good guess at, like that the Xperia Z6 will probably have a 23MP camera, given that Sony only just upgraded the sensor for the Z5, and that it will once again have a fingerprint scanner.

We’d wager it will be dust and water resistant as usual too, though if Sony does change the design it’s possible that it won’t be.

Sony Xperia Z6: what we want to see

1. A new design

Xperia Z5

Sony has been using essentially the same design on all of its flagships and most of its other phones for years. They have a very rectangular look and in the case of the flagships a metal frame with a glass back.

It looks pretty nice, and back when Samsung was still churning out plastic flagships it could even be considered one of the better designs. However, it’s never been mentioned in the same breath as recent Apple or HTC designs and with each year it gets a little staler.

So we’d really like to see a completely new look for the Sony Xperia Z6. If early rumors are to be believed our wish might be granted, as Sony is apparently going to use a new metal-heavy design for it.

2. An improved UI

There was a time when Sony’s interface was pretty good compared to the competition, but while stock Android and rival UI’s have evolved Sony’s has stayed much the same.

It has a slightly dated look, a cramped keyboard and often comes bloated with apps. It’s in real need of an improvement and hopefully will get one soon. The closer to stock Android it gets the better as far as we’re concerned with Sony – unless it can come up with something really revolutionary.

3. A better screen

Xperia Z5

The Sony Xperia Z5 doesn’t have a bad screen at all, but at 1080p it’s been dwarfed in resolution by rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4.

Pushing the resolution on the Xperia Z6 up to QHD could be the answer, but only if it makes a real difference and doesn’t harm the battery life too much – and surely Sony can manage it, given it’s stuffed 4K into a smartphone?

Failing that perhaps Sony could improve the screen in other ways – making it stronger like the Moto X Force or more vibrant like Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays for example. Anything to give it an edge.

4. Three-day battery life

Sony’s flagship phones tend to have good battery life, often boasting up to two days of life. But that doesn’t pan out if you’re using the phone heavily.

At a minimum we’d love to see two-day battery life when you’re actually taking advantage of all the features a smartphone has to offer, but better yet we’d love to see three days of life. With most 2015 flagships struggling to last a single day Sony could have a huge advantage if the Z6 can stretch to three.

5. Plenty of power

Xperia Z5

The Sony Xperia Z5 uses a Snapdragon 810 chip, which, overheating issues aside, is a powerful processor. But the Xperia Z3+ used the same chip and had the same amount of RAM, so the Xperia Z6 is in need of a substantial upgrade.

Fortunately, an upgrade is just what we’re likely to get. The smart money is on the Z6 packing a Snapdragon 820 chip, which should be significantly more powerful than the 810. Hopefully it will also get a RAM boost too to tip it over the 4GB mark.

6. Wireless charging and USB Type-C

Sony packed a lot of features into the Xperia Z5, but it lacked both wireless charging and USB Type-C support, which are two things we’d really like to see in the Sony Xperia Z6.

If we don’t see them then the company risks getting left behind by rivals – although metal bodies make wireless charging a real hassle.

7. Better speakers

Sony clearly wants its Xperia range to be media marvels, given the Hi-Res audio support and front-facing speakers. But those speakers aren’t quite up to scratch, especially compared to the BoomSound ones on the HTC One M9.

So there’s work to do here. While smartphone speakers will never come close to even a decent set of portable ones it would be great if the Sony Xperia Z6 has good enough ones to use in a pinch.

8. 3D Touch

Xperia Z5

One of the early Sony Xperia Z6 rumors is that it will have pressure sensitive screen tech along the lines of the 3D Touch feature found in the iPhone 6S.

It’s not completely unbelievable given Apple and Huawei already do it and it could be the next big thing. It could also be a good direction for Sony to go in helping the Z6’s screen stand out if it doesn’t want to up the resolution, so it’s something we’d like to see.

9. Better waterproofing

Water and dust resistance is one of the main selling points of Sony’s flagships. But despite Sony often taking its phones into pools and lakes when marketing them, the Xperia Z5 should apparently not be completely submerged or exposed to sea water, salt water, chlorinated water or liquids such as drinks.

So in other words while you can use it in the rain most other water-based activities risk voiding your warranty. That’s a shame and we’d love to see a fully waterproof Xperia Z6. One which can be submerged indefinitely and even taken into the sea would be great.

10. A big new feature

More and better, that’s the minimum that we expect from any new flagship. But for the Sony Xperia Z6 to really impress and really compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC One M10 it could do with a killer new feature.

One that we’ve perhaps not seen before or at least not seen much of. It could be 3D Touch, as mentioned above. Or perhaps an iris scanner that’s faster than a fingerprint.

Maybe Sony will go mad and give us a foldable phone with a holographic screen. Probably not that last one, but hopefully something awesome.

Or, if not, then at least maybe charge a little less for the Sony Xperia Z6. The Xperia Z5 was meant to launch at £599 (about US$920, AU$1,249), but even after a pre-release price drop to £549 (about US$843, AU$1,144) it was still one of the most expensive phones around.

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