Sony may have the first 4K smartphone on its hands. The Japanese electronics company’s next handsets will come in three versions, the largest of which will have a 4K display, equivalent to the highest-definition televisions on the market, according to a leaked video from French blog Clubic.
The largest version, the Xperia Z5 Premium, will pack a 5.5-inch display at 3840x2160 pixel resolution -- a pixel count commonly referred to as 4k.
In terms of physical space, that would place the Xperia Z5 Premium display around the same size as Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. That means the Xperia Z5 Premium will be able to pack about four-times as many pixels as the iPhone’s 1080p display.
But it begs the question: does anybody really need a 4K smartphone just yet?
On one hand consumers would be able to see the photos they take at the full-resolution they were shot in. But on all other fronts, the move to 4K could be problematic. Take content for instance. While the television manufacturing industry has peddled 4K four a couple years now, content has remained sparse compared to the vast library of 1080p video and movies available on the web.
Netflix, Amazon, Samsung and Sony are aiming to fix that this year but for now, 4K content is limited at best. If the slow upgrade to 4K televisions is any indicator, convincing consumers to trade-in their 1080p or 2K smartphone display for more pixels may be a challenge.
The other issue is at that resolution and that size of a display, battery life may take another hit because the phone has to drive nearly four-times as many pixels. Video games could also stretch the phone's graphics processor to the limit since it will have to render higher-resolution content.
Sony hasn't provided specifics on the battery included in the Xperia Z5 Premium, but without a major advance in battery capacity you can expect this smartphone to have very poor battery life. To make battery life tenable for a phone like this Sony will have to vastly increase the size or use software tricks to make this phone last a day on one charge.
Beyond a 4K display, Sony’s Android smartphones are expected to come with a number of features, including a 23-megapixel camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip and fingerprint sensors. Sony is expected to officially unveil the trio of smartphones later this week during the IFA Berlin trade show which kicks off on Sept. 4