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Sony Xperia Z6 release date, rumours, news, specs and price

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Sony Xperia Z6 5

Everything you need to know about the Sony Xperia Z6

Looking for all the latest on the Sony Xperia Z6? Here's what we know about the expected Xperia Z6 release date, new Xperia Z6 features, and the latest Xperia Z6 specs info.

Update (April 7 2017): The Sony Z6 looks pretty much dead in the water, as Sony appears to have moved on in terms of naming conventions for its smartphones. Its latest efforts were unveiled at MWC 2017, headlined by the Xperia XZ Premium.

You've found this page, which means you're probably looking for for information about the Sony Xperia Z6. Well we've got bad news: it appears Sony has no plans to launch a new Xperia Z-series device. Boo!

Everybody – us included – was under the impression that Sony would finally lift the lid on the Xperia Z6 in 2016, but instead the company launched a brand new range of handsets under fresh name – X-series.

Here are our reviews and first impressions of Sony's latest Xperia devices:

Should you fancy a new Xperia phone, here are some of the best deals currently going for the Xperia XZ – now that it's been supplanted by the XZ Premium, there are plenty of tasty offers floating about.

If you'd like to reminisce about times gone by, or you're just a big fan of the Xperia Z phones, you'll find the original rumour roundup piece below, but note that information will now be out of date.

Related: New Sony Xperia phones 2017

Original Article:

The Sony Xperia Z6 is already in our sights and, despite the very recent launch of the Sony Xperia Z5, there's a good chance the handset will arrive during today's Mobile World Congress press conference.

What's more, Sony operates a supersonic launch cycle that sees new flagship smartphones released every six months.

As such, it’s expected that the Xperia Z6 will launch in the first half of 2016 – and probably this weekend – so we’ve rounded-up the latest Xperia Z6 news, rumours, and leaks – plus a bit of educated guesswork.

The most recent rumours are that the Xperia Z6 display will be pressure-sensitive, just like the iPhone 6S, and run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It's also tipped that there will be five different Xperia Z6 variants.

The next opportunity for a smartphone launch is MWC 2016, one of the year's biggest technology tradeshows, assured to host a number of high-profile product launches. But will the Sony Xperia Z6 launch at MWC? It's hard to say right now, but the rumour mill is heavily favouring an imminent release.

Here’s the latest:

In Brief

When is the Xperia Z6 coming out? Feb-April 2016, maybe MWC

What’s new about the Xperia Z6? Snapdragon 820, Marshmallow

How much will the Xperia Z6 cost? £500-550

Check out our Android Marshmallow video guide below:

Related: Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update: When will my phone get it?

Sony Xperia Z6 Release Date UK & US – When does the Xperia Z6 come out?

Sony isn’t one for surprises when it comes to release dates; it’s adhered to a clear pattern for core Xperia Z releases.

What’s notable about Sony however, it that it runs on a 6-month release cycle, which is why we’re already looking towards the Xperia Z6 so soon after the launch of the Xperia Z5.

In the past, Sony has launched smartphones around March and September – the former in line with Mobile World Congress, and the latter in line with Berlin’s IFA tradeshow.

It looks set to be no different this year, with Sony widely tipped to show off its next flagship at Barcelona’s MWC in February.

The convention will run from February 22 to February 25, although handsets are often unveiled on February 21, one day before proceedings really kick off.

But if the Sony Xperia Z6 skips MWC, we’d still expect to see the handset launch in the surrounding weeks. And the company is running out of time, as the Z6-free Sony CES 2016 press conference is now well behind us.

At the very least, it's likely that a Sony smartphone will arrive in the first half of the year. That's supported by a recent leak from T-Mobile Poland that pointed to two new Sony Xperia smartphones coming in the second quarter of 2016.

Sony Xperia Z6 3

Xperia Z6 Features – What’s new about the Xperia Z6?

The previous generation of Sony Xperia smartphones were the first to come in three core size variants – Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium. We’ve still had no word on whether this trend will continue with the Xperia Z6.

While most things will remain the same – design, screen resolution, storage – we are expecting a few changes.

Firstly, there’s Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 820 chip, which is poised to offer significant performance improvements over previous models. It’s widely expected that the 820 will feature on the Xperia Z6.

We’ve also heard talk of a pressure-sensitive display appearing on the Sony Xperia Z6, following Apple’s suit with the iPhone’s 3D Touch panel.

Unfortunately, we won’t really know what Sony is plotting until the official launch, so stay tuned.

Should I wait for the Sony Xperia Z6?

Sony Xperia smartphones are easy to predict, and launch frequently. That makes it easy to work out whether you’ll want to wait for the next one.

If you’ve just bought the Sony Xperia Z5, skip the Xperia Z6; there won’t be enough of an upgrade. Older models like the Xperia Z3 could be worth a trade-up, however.

Sony Xperia Z6 15

Related: Snapdragon 820 vs Snapdragon 810

You also have to weigh up which rival handsets will be available at launch. The first half of 2016 is likely to see the release of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5, both of which may be formidable handsets.

However, Apple probably won’t have unveiled a new iPhone by the time the Xperia Z6 lands, so you’ve got plenty of time to work out whether the iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus are for you.

To help with that, check out our iOS 9 vs Android 6.0 Marshmallow guide.

If you want a phone sooner than 2016 though, then our smartphone buyer's video guide could be perfect for you:

Latest Xperia Z6 News – Pressure-sensitive display, five variants

In-Depth: Xperia Z6 Specs & Features Explained

Xperia Z6 variants

Sony has never been shy about releasing several versions of the same handset, but it could be about to take a leaf out of prolific rival Samsung's book.

The Sony Xperia Z6 will be available in five – yes, five – different variants, according to a new report from China-based social media site Weibo.

The models will allegedly arrive in the following formats:

  • Sony Xperia Z6 Mini – 4-inch
  • Sony Xperia Z6 Compact – 4.7-inch
  • Sony Xperia Z6 – 5.2-inch
  • Sony Xperia Z6 Plus – 5.8-inch
  • Sony Xperia Z6 Ultra – 6.4-inch

Sony Mobile has been struggling to turn a profit in recent years, and it's not clear exactly how fragmenting its flagship series even further will help.

Fortunately, there's no hard evidence that this product roadmap is real, so take this report with a pinch of salt.

Xperia Z6 display

The debate is still raging over whether the Sony Xperia Z6 will use a Full HD (1080p), QHD, or UHD display. Similarly, will we see 4.7-inch, 5.2-inch, or 5.5-inch panels?

The company has struggled to settle on an optimal screen resolution in recent years, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see several different variants of the Xperia Z6, each with different displays.

Perhaps the panel we’re least excited for is 4K, because it’s presence was notably underwhelming on the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.

The most likely scenario is either a Full HD or QHD display; they’re big enough for a smartphone form factor, and don’t cause too sizable a drain on battery life. And similarly, we'll probably see a 5.2-inch or 5.5-inch screen.

Xperia Z6 design

When it comes to Sony Xperia devices, there are generally very few design surprises.

That’s because Sony maintains its OmniBalance aesthetic across its entire Xperia smartphone and tablet line-up.

Here’s how Sony describes OmniBalance, which first debuted on the Xperia Z:

“Omni means ‘all’ or ‘everywhere’ – it represents the omnipresence and the multitude of smartphone uses. This principle of OmniBalance is embodied in the design execution – a minimalistic form where only the essentials remain, with balance and symmetry throughout. It is essentially a plate of glass that has the edges and corners softened and strengthened in an encasing frame.”

Sony Xperia Z6 9

As such, we’re expecting to see the usual flat, rectangular shape, plenty of glass, and the chic minimalism Sony is used to.

While reception to OmniBalance has largely been positive, some argue that the design of Xperia phones is beginning to grow tired.

With Sony's history in mind, you're probably also wondering: will the Xperia Z6 be waterproof? The truth is that we're not sure, but it seems likely.

However, do note that Sony has recently shied away from the "waterproof" branding, seemingly due to the customer service difficulties that arise from marketing a phone as such.

Nevertheless, it still seems probable that the phone will boast an IP67 certification, even if Sony isn't so blatant about the Xperia Z6's aquatic credentials.

Related: Sony Xperia Z5: Camera features explored

Xperia Z6 camera

Sony Xperia smartphones have always shipped with good cameras, and with good reason: Sony is one of the biggest smartphone image sensor manufacturers in the world.

The company may have announced a splitting-off for the image sensor business earlier this year, but it’s likely that Sony Mobile will still hold a good relationship with the brand.

Recent flagship Sony Xperia handsets have shipped with either a 21.7-megapixel sensor, or a 23-megapixel sensor. Both are more than large enough for smartphone photography.

Upgrades to smartphone cameras are slow however, so we’d expect to see a similar imaging module appear on the Xperia Z6.

Sony Xperia Z6 7

Xperia Z6 specs

  • Processor
Since we have a good idea about when the Sony Xperia Z6 will launch, we can also take a solid guess at the processor we’ll see featured too.

The likeliest candidate to appear is the Snapdragon 820, Qualcomm’s latest mobile system-on-a-chip.

The Snapdragon 820 was unveiled earlier this year, and is already sampling with a number of manufacturers – Qualcomm claims it already has 60+ design wins.

The Sony Xperia Z5 used the ill-fated Snapdragon 810, plagued by rumours of overheating. Qualcomm reckons any such issues with the Snapdragon 820 are non-existent.

So what’s new with the Snapdragon 820? First up, it uses Qualcomm’s first custom-designed 64-bit quad-core CPU – the Kryo.

According to Qualcomm, the Kryo processor is twice as fast as the Krait; that’s the processor used in both the Snapdragon 801 and Snapdragon 805.

Snapdragon 820

Related: What is Google Fit?

The Snapdragon 820 also uses a new GPU, dubbed the Adreno 530. It’s tipped to be 40% faster – and 40% less power-hungry – than the old Adreno 430.

Qualcomm’s X12 LTE modem also features, which supports seriously nippy Cat.12 LTE speeds. That provides theoretical speeds of up to 600Mbps downlink, and 150Mbps uplink.

There’s a chance Sony could still use the Snapdragon 810 in the Xperia Z6, but it seems unlikely given the chip’s age and reputation.

It’s also possible that Sony may switch vendors, and use an alternative chip manufacturer like MediaTek. However, the company’s smartphone history suggests such a move isn’t likely.

  • RAM, Storage, and microSD
The Sony Xperia Z5 shipped with 3GB of RAM on board, so it’s entirely feasible that the Xperia Z6 would follow suit.

However, recent rumours suggest Sony may be eyeing an upgrade to 4GB of RAM, particularly as the Snapdragon 820 supports that amount of memory.

Unfortunately, manufacturers can be fickle when it comes to storage, which means it’s a tough metric to guess.

The Sony Xperia Z5 boasted 32GB of storage, which is hardly generous. While we’d like to see 64GB – or even 128GB – ship as standard, our money is a repeat of the 32GB.

Fortunately, it’s rumoured that Sony will once again attempt to soften the blow by including a microSD card slot.

Sony Xperia Z6 11

Related: Best Android Smartphones 2015

Xperia Z6 software

The most recent batch of Sony Xperia smartphones all ran on Android 5.0 Lollipop – but that OS is old news now.

It looks far more likely that the Sony Xperia Z6 will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google’s latest mobile operating system.

That looks even more likely now that Sony Mobile has revealed a host of existing Xperia devices will receive the Android 6.0 Marshmallow in March. As such, it would seem odd for a brand new Sony handset to launch with a comparatively outdated OS.

But what’s changed with the new OS? In terms of actual design, not a lot – most of the sweeping aesthetic changes launched with Lollipop’s introduction of ‘material design’.

The real changes are in the back-end; there’s a new memory manager, a battery-saving ‘Doze’ mode, fingerprint scanner support, improvements to app permissions, and USB-C support.

Google has also overhauled its Google Now digital assistant to make it smarter and better at handling contextual requests.

Of course, there’s a lot more to Marshmallow, so check out our Android 6.0 features guide for a full view of the new OS.

Sony Xperia Z6

Xperia Z6 features

  • Pressure-sensitive screen
The Sony Xperia Z6 will feature a pressure-sensitive display, as reported by Mobipicker.

The article suggests the handset will incorporate “its own version” of Apple’s 3D Touch technology, as featured on the iPhone 6S. Similar technology also appeared on the 12-inch Apple MacBook and the Apple Watch.

A pressure-sensitive display allows users to tap harder on a screen to effect new gestures.

The source of the rumour is alleged to be “closely associated with the distribution network of Sony Mobile Communications”.

A similar report emerged back in October claimed that Samsung would also use such a screen on its next flagship.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is expected to make use of Synaptics’ ClearForce technology, a 3D Touch alternative.

ClearForce is already available for manufacture sampling, and will give Android OEMs a chance to catch up with Apple on pressure-sensitive displays.

Sony Xperia Z6 13

Related: Best Android Apps 2015

  • USB-C
Google’s Android Marshmallow reveal created lots of hype about USB Type C.

USB-C is a burgeoning USB standard that looks set to feature of many upcoming smartphone releases, and is supported as standard in Android 6.0.

It’s a growing alternative to Micro USB that can offer faster data transfer. It also features a reversible tip a la Apple’s Lightning cable.

There’s been no rumours about USB-C on the Sony Xperia Z6 as yet, but the Xperia Z5 was hotly tipped to feature the technology.

What’s more, the Xperia Z6 is expected to run on Android 6.0, so the software infrastructure for USB-C will already exist on the phone.

Sony Xperia Z6 17

Related: Android 6.0 Marshmallow tips and tricks

Xperia Z6 price

There have been zero rumours on Sony Xperia Z6 price in the UK and US.

As such, we’ll have to look at previous product launches to gauge possible cost.

The price reduced progressively from last year’s Xperia Z2, but then rose again with the Xperia Z5.

We’d be surprised if Sony topped the Xperia Z2’s hefty pricing with the Xperia Z6 however, so our best guess would be an R.R.P of between £500 and 550.

Share your thoughts on what you’d like to see included on the Sony Xperia Z6 in the comments below.

MattMe

December 2, 2015, 12:58 pm

What a weird article to write...

Also, excluding the Z4 which was never released properly, the Z3 to the Z5 was a 12 month cylce, not 6.

iFrank

December 2, 2015, 3:54 pm

The more exciting rumour for me is that in March they will announce an Xperia Z5 Ultra with 6:4 inch 4k screen.

Sony won't confirm or deny.
The uncertainty is a killer!

Sean Keach

December 2, 2015, 7:16 pm

But the Xperia Z3+ filled that gap here in the UK, the Z3v in the US, and the Z4 in Japan. It was a flagship launched six months after the Z3, and six months before the Z5. So just because the naming conventions are a little iffy doesn't mean the cycle doesn't check out. And the Z2 and Z follow the cycle too.

sonisoe

December 6, 2015, 10:20 am

i dont have a sony smartphone, but the z line-up from the first to z5 have got mixed reviews, as far as i know, i think sony needs to take its time, step back a bit and come up with a killer product...

archimedes

December 7, 2015, 11:37 am

The Compact size is the most exciting for me - all the goodness of a larger phone, in a size you can comfortably fit in a trouser pocket.

Compact also has the advantage of being operable with one hand, and is the perfect size for - you know - actually making phone calls.

I'm not really sure why Sony Zx phones get such a hard time with reviewers. They are perfect Android phones, great screens (colour balance is 'just right' to my eyes), good battery life, good cameras and a nice sleek design. They're also water resistant and they have a MicroSD slot.

Software is almost vanilla Android (once you remove the Sony Store apps), but with a better keyboard which has a full stop and comma on the main abc keyboard, very useful.

I also think that the black Sony phones look professional and masculine, I'm very happy to bring my phone out if I need to look something up in a meeting, wouldn't feel so comfortable doing that with a gold iPhone.

I find it a bit sad that professional reviewers (TrustedReviews is no exception) don't really cover what phones are actually like to use, in the situations in which most normal people will be using them. I couldn't really care less if my phone has a Snapdragon 810 or 820. How about future reviews cover aspects like:
- do you feel like a plonker making a phonecall with this on the train?
- how easy is it to clean if your 4-year old puts jam all over it?
- what happens if you drop it on the bathroom floor?
- how does the phone look after spending 6 months in an average pocket / bag?
- is it easy to operate the camera when you've had a couple of drinks?

godafoss

December 15, 2015, 4:25 am

"How about future reviews cover aspects like:
- do you feel like a plonker making a phonecall with this on the train?
- how easy is it to clean if your 4-year old puts jam all over it?
- what happens if you drop it on the bathroom floor?
- how does the phone look after spending 6 months in an average pocket / bag?
- is it easy to operate the camera when you've had a couple of drinks?"

How about they not cater to the careless yob drunk. Hell if you can't look after a phone, I pity your 4 year old.

charles moore

January 22, 2016, 1:15 am

Would love to have the Z6 plus 5.8

Chris

January 27, 2016, 1:25 pm

I like that attitude. Yes: take care of your god-sent goods! Fucking get a case, polish the phone every evening, use it in controlled situations and environments as described in the manual. Don´t forget to wash it every Sunday before praying to it!

James Stephen Edge

January 27, 2016, 4:19 pm

Hopefully Sony will bring back the wireless charging, I haven't upgraded from the Z3 to the Z5 because it's not worth losing the functionality for a bit of speed.

Anthony

January 30, 2016, 11:09 am

I am still staying with the Z3 Compact as well, due to the lack of magnetic/wireless charging on the newer models. I have the Sony desk charger and it's excellent, with the Z5 and presumably the Z6 having 'wired' charging in the base/bottom who wants to buy yet another charger AND watch films/tv etc in 'portrait' mode

PeterL

February 19, 2016, 2:48 pm

What I would like to see from SONY is a less large smartphone. Their flagships are almost 15cm tall! This is too much. If they will be capable to reduce the height, I will appreciate it. As for the screen, they must use the top IPS screen on the market, no doubt. It feels that SONY cannot make up its mind after the Sony+Ericsson times, when they put terrible screens on their smartphones (remember Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc?) in comparison to the competitors. Now, they use IPS, but the colours and view angles are terrible.
Other than these two features, I would also wanted to see the Sony Xperia Z smartphone again. I mean, an equally sized phone. To me, the perfect diagonal of a smartphone screen is 5 inches. I have the Sony Xperia SP, which is gigantic for a smartphone with a 4.6'' display. If they will cram a 5" display in the same body (or even smaller), I will be more than happy.

garlinp

February 24, 2016, 4:53 pm

"IF" they keep the FM radio and the water resistance, go to USB-C and follow their charted course for the performance specs; I will gladly drop my intention of getting the Samsung Galaxy S7 when it becomes available March 11, 2016. Bu I'll only wait if I know if it's coming . They have just under 3 weeks to make an announcement . And please keep a version small enough to fit in a pocket.

zzzxtreme

May 9, 2016, 7:02 am

current phone is z1 compact.
would probably get z5 compact if my z1 spoils

what I would love from z6 :

1) wireless charging
2) dual micro-sd slot (not hopeful)
3) dual sim support as standard feature
4) the size would probably be same as all z compacts, but I do wish it's 10% smaller. The Xperia Neo is bloody nice to hold.
5) louder speakers
6) maybe sony could tweak android to support usb bluray players or write to DVDs/CDs. It does support my usb floppy drive (don't ask me why)
7) infrared trasmitter would be nice

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