Verizon makes weird smartphones. For a while, the carrier convinced Motorola to churn out the admittedly wonderful Droid line of smartphones and last year recruited a new partner with Sony and the quirky Z3v—a great phone that also looked like an old phone. Now, the Verizon/Sony team up is returning with the new Z4v.
Just looking at this smartphone, you’ll notice at least Sony is doing two things right. First, the Z4v actually looks like Sony’s current flagship smartphone the Z3 (and also the Japan-only Z4 known globally as Z3+). Last year, the Z3v launched after the Z3 but looked eerily similar to the older Z2. Sony and Verizon have finally synced their calendars, I guess.
The second big one here is waterproofing. Sony has always been known for its smartphones being H20-friendly, and now it’s taking some time to also make the Z4v user-friendly. How you ask? By finally getting rid of the small port covers that have long plagued Sony phones. Instead of having a teeny door you have to open and close and open and close every time you want to charge the phone, the Z4v is waterproof (1.5 meters for 30 minutes) without those port covers. Sony still uses one to cover your sim tray and microSD expansion, but removing that teeny door from the charging port also removes one of the Z series’ biggest annoyances.
As for specs, the Z4v marches in-step with everything we’ve heard from the Japan-bound Z4. That means an improved processor (Snapdragon 810) and a few extra software features (like a camera mode for taking food selfies), but the Z4v does have a few tricks of its own—particularly in the display department. The screen gets an upgrade from the 5.2-inch full HD display to quad HD, so you’re getting some more pixels for your money. The Z4v is also getting neat wireless charging, much like the wonderful Samsung Galaxy S6, with both PMA and Qi standards included. This means if you stumble across any wireless charging pad, it’s just going to work.
One of our biggest gripes about the Z3v was that it was a fantastic smartphone trapped in an outdated body (with stupid Verizon branding everywhere, ahem), so the Z4v seems like a step in the right direction. But with the so many great smartphones out there, Sony and Verizon will have a tough time carving out this phone’s particular niche—even if it is a device that does so many things right.
- Network: Verizon
- OS: Android 5.o.2
- CPU: Snapdragon 810 processor
- Screen: 5.2-inch WGHD 2560x1440 IPS (565 PPI)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB + MicroSD up to 128GB
- Camera: 20.7 megapixel rear camera / 5 megapixel front camera
- Battery: 3000 mAh
- Dimensions: 5.68 x 2.85 x 0.34 inches
- Weight: 5.64 ounces
- Price and Availability: This summer in black and white colors. Price unknown.