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.

0_1_Xperia_ZR_Front_Black 24_Xperia_ZR 12_1 _Xperia_ZR_Colour_Range

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.

23_Xperia_ZR (1) 7_Xperia_ZR_PowerKey_Black 3_Xperia_ZR_Right_Black

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).

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Justcallmeben

    Yes! I don't want a 5 inch screen and 720p is enough!

    I need more info though, and this ight be my next phone.
    Is there a micro sd slot? Or is there at least a 32gb version that is not overpriced?
    And how big is the battery?
    Is the bootloader locked?
    Also, is the price acceptable? For these specs they shouldn't charge over 400€ I thinks since the s4 pro, though more than sufficient for me, is last gen.

    • Ambroos

      SD slot: yep! (8GB on-board)

      Battery: 2330mAh (= same as Xperia Z, so that should be surprisingly good with the smaller display/lower res)

      Bootloader on Sony's is always unlockable, as long as you get a device without SIM-lock.

    • payaxy

      I'd wait if I were you to have a good view of real life battery endurance on this thing. Xperia T was my first and my last Sony phone for some time. When you're using it, you can see battery ticking down before your eyes, literally. Write SMS - 5 percent battery down :(
      In all other aspects, it's a pretty decent phone, but the battery life is just awful!

    • Haidar Alamir

      i hardly call the s4 pro last gen. the s600 is basically an overclocked version of the s4 pro. if you unlock the bootloader then you can easily install a custom rom that allows you to overclock the cpu, though i don't see a reason since the s4 pro is very fast.
      since the Xperia Sp is priced at around 340€, the ZR should not be over 400€.

    • cs098

      plus the battery is removable :D

  • ranova

    Currently content with my HTC One, but I'm glad there have been big strides in smartphone cameras. Great night time photos, highlight videos, underwater photos, 41mp cameras, etc

    Glad we can capture life as its meant to be.

  • Booker DeWitt

    I find it funny that Sony is flooding the market with Xperia Z variants. Very much like HTC in the past. Don't get me wrong, I have an Xperia Z myself. I just find it weird.

    • Ambroos

      Flood? At introduction you had the Z and ZL. ZL is just a variant that is only sold in some regions. Now you have the ZR, which is a lot smaller. That's it. All targeted at different buyers.

      Take a look at Samsung, they have a gigantic amount of variants.

      • Elizabeth

        Yeah. Samsung. Screw Samsung.

  • Steve Williamson

    Can someone explain to me how something can be able to handle water for 30 minutes but not say 45 or 60 minutes?

    or are they simply putting a number of it for the sake of it.

    • eSche

      I guess during the tests, they had malfunctions with the phone when it was longer than 30min under water. It's because of the warranties that they say it can last up to 30min ("but not longer") because until then it stays 100% intact. Sure, the phone might be able to stay up to 1h under water but some things could break and they don't want to pay for that.

      • Steve Williamson

        but i dont get how it can be water proof for 30minutes not 1hr... surely if the water isn't getting in after 30minutes, it won't get in after 1hr?

        • andy_o

          Surely it's not a precise measurement for every individual phone, but it's the safest bet based on testing. It's likely a conservative estimate. At some point, something's gotta give, especially under pressure. Nothing lasts forever (even cold Nobember rain).

  • TY

    I assume the display, like Xperia Z, is still not IPS... which means quite poor viewing angles. Why can't Sony put a display with premium technology in their top-class phones? Otherwise, the specs, from factor, and features of this phone is really great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/koniczynek Michał Droździewicz
    • Xperia Z owner

      Wifi works fine for me? I own a Xperia z.

      • http://www.facebook.com/koniczynek Michał Droździewicz

        I also own an Xperia Z. First one worked OK, second one has Wi-Fi problems. From what I can see in various threads (even on Sony page) I'm not alone. Could you please confirm that your phone sees network on channels 12 and 13? And sees as many networks as other devices?

  • gumbas

    That might be my next phone :) too bad it will not be even smaller with 4.3in display