Sony has struggled in recent years to stand out in an ever-crowded smartphone market. During a keynote yesterday that saw Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai say that the “best is yet to come” for the Japanese technology company, we got to see a slew of much-anticipated Android-powered Xperia Z5 smartphones. We did not, however, learn what the prices would be. Now it seems we have, and they’re not cheap…
First spotted by Engadget, Sony Mobile has updated its Xperia sales page in Europe with listings for the new Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium. The high-end Z5 Premium, the world’s first smartphone rocking a 4K resolution display, comes in unlocked at £699, or approximately $1,070 in US dollars. If you’re fine with the Full HD displays in most smartphones today, the flagship Xperia Z5 will put you back £699, or roughly $915 US. The small-screened Z5 Compact is £549, or about $838 US.
While it’s not difficult to see why the Z5 Premium is priced the way it is, having an uncommonly small display for its incredibly high resolution that probably hasn’t been manufactured in bulk yet, the other two are definitely hard to swallow. Comparable flagships from the bigger players, namely Apple and Samsung, aren’t this bloated in their prices — the iPhone 6 is $649 or $749 for the 6 Plus, while the Galaxy S6 is $579 or, maxing out at the very high-end, $814 for the Galaxy S6 Edge+. Neither two flagships from those competitors are as expensive as the bottom two Z5’s.
Hirai noted during the imagery portion of his keynote speech that “many images” around the web and in the world would not be possible without Sony’s digital sensors. That’s somewhat true — many popular phones including the iPhone use Sony sensors in their camera units. But for various reasons, particularly that Sony’s mobile products don’t have strong awareness in many influential global markets and people don’t know what “no optical low-pass filter” means, it probably won’t help them compete against scrappy players like OnePlus and Motorola.
Even if the photos it produces are great — and I say this knowing much camera improvement can be squeezed out of software — the high-end doesn’t know Sony and the low-end now can’t afford them. Competitors will have these sensors soon enough anyway.