Sony unveils waterproof smartphone with ´ground-breaking´ camera at IFA Berlin

Sony launches a new waterproof Xperia smartphone capable of taking “world-leading photographs” at IFA Berlin

The wait is finally over.

Sony has kicked-off proceedings at IFA Berlin with a new waterproof Xperia smartphone which it says provides a "unique and ground-breaking camera experience".

The tech giant reckons the Xperia Z1 is capable of taking "world-leading photographs" as well as being "beautiful and fully waterproof".

Sony Xperia Z1

(Credit: Sony)

It boasts a 20.7 megapixel camera and a sensor the same size as that found in its Cybershot cameras and Sony says independent tests show it provides the "best overall image quality" of leading smartphones.

The 5inch Android phone was among a smorgasbord of tech unveiled at the firm's IFA show, with a pair of stand-alone clip-on lens-style cameras which transform smartphones into high-end cameras also catching the eye.

The tech press has been rife with gossip about the Xperia Z1 for weeks, but this is the first official announcement from Sony on it - apart from a teaser video last month telling us "something new, something extraordinary" was coming on September 4.

Kazuo Hirari, President and CEO, said Sony had "created a smartphone that is not only beautiful but also fully waterproof".
He said even in lowlight conditions the smartphone will capture "beautiful, sharp and bright images".

Sony has called the Xperia Z1 a "watershed moment", but what else can it do?

Sony Xperia Z1 2

(Credit: Sony)

Everyone's on Facebook these days, so a feature helping make social sharing more seamless will likely get a thumbs-up from many folk.

With SocialLive you'll be able to stream videos from the phone to Facebook and check your friends' comments in real-time. This allows your friends to direct proceedings and offer feedback from a different city or country.

Meanwhile Info-eye will provide knowledge on demand - point the phone at a landmark, book or bottle of wine and snap a photo of it for information on the product. Score a few Brownie points with your better half by finding out what food goes well with a particular wine, for instance.  

The phone also boasts unlimited free cloud storage, so when you capture photos or video footage it will be automatically uploaded to PlayMemoriesOnline2.

Mr Hirari added: "Xperia Z1 is a watershed moment for Sony. It marks the first time we've concentrated so many leading technologies, together with our full suite of entertainment content services, all in a single, beautifully designed mobile product."

But what about these clip-on lenses everyone is talking about?

The new QX10 and QX100 lens-style cameras herald a new product category.  

They're designed to mount on all Android and iOS handsets - not just ones from Sony - and they connect to your smartphone using wi-fi.  

SEL50F18 A BK-1200 Sony Camera Lens

(Credit: Sony)

Sony says the lenses introduce a "brand new concept in digital imaging".

As well as boasting a high-res sensor and optical zoom, they can hook up to other devices with a simple tap thanks to the inclusion of NFC technology. And if you suffer from a shaky hand when trying to take pics with your phone you'll appreciate the SteadyShot image stabilisation technology.

Mr Hirari said the cameras turned smartphones into "premier digital compacts".

Sony launched a number of other products during the IFA show, with Mr Hirari adding "Sony is poised to lead from the front".