The Xperia Z is a pretty spiffy flagship phone, and tough as well, thanks to its IP55/IP57 Ingress Protection rating. But now there's a more specialized model coming, the Xperia ZR, designed specifically for waterproof functioning in even wetter environments. The new phone is manufactured to the higher IP55/IP58 standard, meaning that it can be safely submersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

The Xperia ZR roughly follows the Z's design, getting rid of some of the slim lines and premium materials for the sake of its more waterproof chassis. It looks a lot like the slightly down-market ZL, in fact, with a 10.4mm-thick plastic body. The star of the show is the 13MP rear camera, which is specifically designed for underwater photos and videos with an external camera button. (The sensor is the same one found on the Xperia Z.) The smaller 4.6" screen has the "Reality Display" marketing tag, but is unfortunately only a 720p panel. Four body colors were shown: black, white, pink, and mint.

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Other specifications include a 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon Pro processor and 2GB of RAM, and NFC sharing functions were shown in the video. Android 4.1 runs underneath, though the manufacturer skin is the same one Sony has been using for some time. Storage is 8GB in the phone, with MicroSD expanding it up to 32GB. The international GSM model will include LTE bands.

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According to the press release, the Xperia ZR will be available in the second quarter. Sony will also launch the SBH50 Bluetooth headset and FM radio, which will pair with the ZR automatically, along with a charging dock and a smartwatch (MN2) which was not shown. Naturally, price was not mentioned.

Sony Mobile - Xperia ZR

13th May 2013, London – Sony Mobile Communications (“Sony Mobile”) today introduces the new Xperia ZR featuring the highest level of water-resistance for capturing photos and Full HD videos underwater. This Android smartphone offers leading technology and content with a 4.6” HD Reality display, 13 megapixel fast capture camera, Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ S4 Pro quad-core 1.5 GHz processor, and 4G LTE.

“The Xperia ZR pushes the boundaries on where and how consumers can use the full potential of their smartphone. By combining Sony’s leading camera technology with the highest level of water-resistance, you will never miss another moment.” said Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications. “Bringing together the best of Sony’s leading technology, media applications and easy one-touch connectivity with the largest ever range of NFC-enabled accessories, the Xperia ZR delivers the unique smartphone experience that people can expect from Sony.”

The ultimate in durable design

Xperia ZR is precision-crafted to handle whatever life throws at it. With its sleek, yet durable design, the Xperia ZR is your perfect companion in and out of the water. As well as being dust-resistant, this waterproof* phone is IP55 and IP58 compliant, so you can keep it submerged in 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Combined with its dedicated camera key, the waterproof capabilities let you shoot videos in Full HD or snap pictures underwater, capturing the sharpest visuals. The camera key also allows you to shoot even from a locked screen, meaning you’ll never miss a moment again.

Featuring Sony’s “Exmor RS for mobile” image sensor with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for both photos and videos, the Xperia ZR captures perfect pictures and videos, no matter what the conditions. Superior Auto mode combines Scene Recognition with high quality performance image processing technology (HDR and noise reduction) to automatically shoot with the most optimal settings. And when you want to capture action fast, simply turn on burst mode to shoot an unlimited number of images at 15 frames per second.

Xperia ZR also features Battery STAMINA Mode which significantly improves the standby time of your smartphone by four times or more** by automatically shutting down battery-draining apps whenever the screen is off and starting them up again when the screen is back on. The solid yet comfortable styling of the Xperia ZR is matched by a choice of classic and fresh colours - black, white, pink and mint – each allowing you to express your individual style.

Key features for Xperia ZR
• 4.6” HD Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 for sharp and bright viewing experience
• 13MP fast capture camera with “Exmor RS for mobile” and HDR for perfect photos and videos in any conditions
• Waterproof* and dust-resistant (IP55 /IP58) for the ultimate in durable design
• Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro quad-core 1.5 GHz processor with 2GB RAM for fast performance
• Battery STAMINA Mode for outstanding battery life

The Xperia ZR will launch in various global markets from Q2 2013 (availability will vary by market).