One impressive part of the latest smartphone wave Sony can claim ownership of is the Sony ZL's camera. It has a 13-megapixel Sony-made sensor that you'll find in other upcoming Android phones. Some even suggest it'll be used in the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The Sony Xperia ZL has a lightly customised camera app, which offers a few new neat features like the live filter browser, letting you see the effects on offer in a flash. Its top new feature, though, is HDR video, which should significantly improve the quality of video in dusky light conditions. HDR combines multiple exposures to increase detail, and the Xperia ZL can do it on the fly.
The Sony Xperia ZL runs a customise version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The look of the UI implemented is classic Sony – all animated whooshing lines and visual tweaks that lean towards stark and classy rather than cartoony and friendly.
However, it doesn't mess with the basic structure of Android, just gives it a distinct feel. It also incorporates Sony's media steaming services.
The Sony Xperia ZL's hardware doesn't quite make the same impression as the Xperia Z, but if it sells for significantly less than its glass-bodied bro, it could prove to be Sony's Android hit of the year. However, as it doesn't do anything remarkable to mark itself out from the new 5-inch smartphone pack, the Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn't have too much to worry about from the Xperia ZL. The phone will go on sale in Q1 2013 - UK release date forthcoming.