​Sony unveils mid-range Xperia M4 smartphone and Z4 tablet

Sony has taken the wraps off its new Xperia M4 mid-range smartphone and a 10.1-inch tablet that's lighter than Apple's iPad Air 2.

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Sony's Xperia M4. Image: Sony

Sony has taken the wraps off a new mid-range smartphone, the five-inch Xperia M4, its successor to last year's Xperia M2.

While Samsung and HTC both unveiled new flagship devices at the MWC show in Barcelona, Sony has used the event to refresh its mid-tier offering with the release of the Xperia M4, which will cost around €299 and will be available from this spring.

Sony says the Xperia M4 is a mid-range handset "with no compromises", and has added the waterproofing that was missing in the M2 but which was in available in its higher-end devices such as the Xperia Z2 and earlier flagships.

While the Xperia M4 hasn't been radically redesigned, Sony has beefed up key specs for its new generation mid-tier device. The main camera is up from eight-megapixels in the M2 to 13 megapixels for the rear camera and five megapixels for the front camera in the M4. Of course, the front-facing camera is also aided by Sony's selfie software, while the new smartphone has a five-inch HD display at 1280 x 720 pixels.

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The M4 is Sony's first device to be powered by a 64-bit Qualcomm 615 octa-core processor, which consists of a quad-core 1.5Ghz processor coupled with a quad-core 1GHz processor. The processor also includes an integrated 4G LTE modem, though Sony notes that LTE support isn't available in all the 80 countries it will launch in.

The M4 will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop and Sony promises a two day battery life with its 2400mAh battery, only slightly up on the M2's 2330mAh battery. For memory and storage, the M4 has 2GB of RAM and comes in 8GB or 16GB configurations with a microSD card that supports up to 32GB of storage.

The device measures 145.5mm long by 72.6mm wide and 7.3mm deep. The M4 will be available in white, black, coral, and silver editions.

Those that want to take advantage of the M4's waterproofing will need to ensure all ports and attached covers are firmly closed before taking it for a dip. Also, the phone shouldn't go deeper than 1.5 metres for longer than 30 minutes and Sony advises against saltwater use.

Sony also took the wraps off the Xperia Z4, a 10.1-inch 2k display (2560 x 1600 pixels) tablet that updates last year's Z2. The tablet is waterproof and runs a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. Other features include an 8.1-megapixel main camera and 5.1-megapixel front-facing camera and 6000mAh battery, while memory and storage specs include 3GB RAM, up to 32 GB flash memory and a microSD slot that supports up to 128 GB additional storage.

The Z4 is also slimmer and lighter than the Z2, which was already very slim at 6.4mm. The Z4 however is 6.1mm deep, on par with the iPad Air 2. Weighing in at 393g, the Z4 is nearly 50g lighter than the Z2 and also lighter than the iPad Air 2.

Sony will launch 4G LTE and wi-fi variants of the Z4 this June.

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