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article imageSony confirms it is bringing its smartphones back to the U.S.

By James Walker     Jan 14, 2016 in Technology
Sony has confirmed it will be launching its Xperia Z5 flagship, with its Z5 Compact sibling, in the U.S. in February. Sony has been absent from the market for over a year as it opted to stop selling phones to the U.S. after the Xperia Z3.
The Xperia Z5 range, the company's latest flagship series, was unveiled in September 2015. The phone, branded as the Xperia Z5, has a 5.2-inch Full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
In an unusual move in the current smartphone market, the Z5 Compact's smaller 4.6-inch form factor does not also lead to loss of other specifications. It has the same processor, memory and storage as its larger sibling, ending the trend of "Compact" devices also having compact performance.
Other features of the two phones include a 23-megapixel rear camera and side-mounted fingerprint sensor. They differ in battery capacity though with the Z5 getting a 2,900mAh unit and the Z5 Compact a relatively modest 2,700mAh.
Sony will be launching both devices in the U.S. on February 7, selling them unlocked and ready to run with any GSM SIM card. The Verge reports that the Xperia Z5 will cost $599.99 and the Xperia Z5 Compact $499.99. Sony is clearly asking a lot from people who choose to partake in its U.S. relaunch.
Conspicuously absent from the line-up is the 5.5-inch Xperia Z5 Premium, the true range-topper for the family. It is the world's first smartphone to have a 4K display, a feat that so far hasn't been matched.
Aside from the screen, the Z5 Premium offers very little extra over the smaller members of the range. It also uses the Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM and the same storage and camera. It is currently unclear whether the phablet may see a U.S. launch in the future if the Z5 and Z5 Compact successfully find an audience.
Historically, that has been a problem for the manufacturer. Sony has consistently failed to find its feet in the U.S., an issue that ultimately led to it withdrawing entirely throughout 2015. The Z5 will be the first device to make it to the United States since 2014's Xperia Z3.
U.S. networks have shown themselves to be reluctant to carry Sony's devices on contracts which is why the Z5 will only be available to buy outright without a SIM card. Earlier this year, Verizon came very close to carrying the Xperia Z4 but then cancelled the launch right before release. It remains to be seen whether an unlocked Xperia Z5 will do anything to change Sony's sales in the U.S.
Sony is known for its exceptionally frequent smartphone release cadence, launching new devices no later than nine months after its last range refresh. The company is thought to be planning to unveil the Xperia Z6 family at some point in the first half of 2016 with an upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor underneath.
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