Sony Brings Unlocked Xperia XZ, X Compact to the US

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Sony is bringing an unlocked version of its flagship Xperia XZ smartphone to the US. It will retail for $700 when it goes on sale Oct. 2.

Unveiled at IFA in Berlin earlier this month, the XZ is a sleek metal slab that disregards the increasing trend towards curved screens and back panels. It's a midsize phone, slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy S7.

A $700 price tag suggests powerful components, and the XZ mostly delivers. It runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, and has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. That can be supplemented by slipping in an SD card up to 256GB. The OS is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Sony's lightweight UI layer on top, and the company has promised an update to Android 7.0 Nougat in the future.

But one glaring omission is a fingerprint reader. It's an absence that's becoming increasingly hard to swallow in a market where even budget phones like the ZTE Zmax Pro comes equipped with finger-scanning technology.

An unlocked Xperia X Compact will also be available to US consumers starting this Sunday for $500. It's a 4.6-inch version of the Xperia X midrange phone, which PCMag analyst Ajay Kumar found to have solid performance but too high a price tag at $549. At only $50 cheaper, the X Compact doesn't deliver much more value for the money.

Since the XZ and X compact are unlocked, they'll work with with GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as the numerous smaller carriers that piggyback on their networks.

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