Sony unveils the Xperia ZR, a waterproof Android 4.1 smartphone

On Monday, Sony unveiled a new smartphone called the Xperia ZR. The handset shares some of its underpinnings with the company's current flagship, the Xperia Z, but according to the Japanese electronics giant it features "the highest level of water-resistance for capturing photos and Full HD videos underwater".

The Xperia ZR can be used to record 1080p videos and shoot stills in up to 1.5 meters of "fresh water" for up to half an hour. The smartphone is also dust-resistant and meets the IP55 and IP58 protection standards. This means that the Xperia ZR can survive the usual water encounters, including a drop in the toilet (as long as it doesn't crack at impact) and a coffee spill, as well as keep dust away from its insides.

The Xperia ZR packs a 4.6-inch TFT display with a resolution of 720 by 1280 and the Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 technology. Power comes from a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, an Adreno 320 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), 2 GB of RAM and a removable 2,300 mAh battery, similar (bar the battery) to the Xperia Z and flagships from 2012 like the Google Nexus 4 and LG Optimus G. The handset comes with 8 GB of internal storage aided by a microSD card slot.

Like the Xperia Z, the Xperia ZR features a 13 MP back-facing camera capable of recording 1080p video. But, unlike its bigger brother which ships with a 2.1 MP shooter on the front, the handset only sports a 0.3 MP front-facing camera capable of recording video of VGA quality (640 by 840 pixels).

In terms of connectivity, the smartphone features support for 4G LTE and HSPA+ cellular networks; Wi-Fi; HDMI; GPS with Glonass support; DLNA; Bluetooth 4.0; NFC (Near Field Communication); USB 2.0 and comes with the usual array of sensors.

The Xperia ZR comes in at 131.3 x 67.3 x 10.5 mm and weighs 138 grams. The handset ships with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean onboard, backed by Sony's own launcher and suite of branded apps.

The smartphone will be available from Q2 2013 in "various global markets". The price, as usual, will likely depend on the region.

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