Hoping to grow its share of the of smartphone market, Sony is now taking pre-orders for its Xperia XL handset. Dubbed the “world’s most compact smartphone with a 5″ display,” the Xperia ZL ships on or around April 8. And on paper, it’s arguably the best smartphone Sony has created yet. But without a carrier partner in the U.S. to subsidize the cost, consumers will pay Sony outright for the phone, to the tune of $719.99.
What do you get for that kind of cash? In terms of hardware, the Xperia ZL rivals the flagship phones from any other handset maker these days. Sony’s Reality Display offers 5-inches of full high-definition resolution and uses the company’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, bringing Sony’s television technology to the small screen. Even with the large display, Sony kept the phone dimensions relatively small at 5.18 x 2.7 x 0.39 inches.
Sony includes 2 GB of memory to run Google Android 4.1 — not Android 4.2, sadly — on Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset. Internal storage tops out at 16 GB, but can be expanded by up to another 32 GB through removable storage. At this price, the handset only supports HSPA+ networks on down. An Xperia ZL model with LTE support is available for $759.99.
While the phone may be worth the price, I wouldn’t expect Sony to sell too many units here. The U.S. is only now just flirting with full price phones as consumers have been addicted to hardware subsidies for years. T-Mobile is the first of the big four to be making any headway towards a BYOD model, and as the smallest of the four, won’t have big traction to help Sony move the Xperia ZL.