MWC: Sony unveils longer than usual smartphones

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The new Sony Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus.
The new Sony Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus.

Japanese electronics manufacturer Sony hopes its new smartphones will stand head and shoulders above the crowds - and they literally will because they are about five centimetres longer than some of the largest smartphones currently available.

The Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus were unveiled at the annual Mobile World Congress, which is currently taking place in Barcelona, Spain.

The Sony Xperia 10 Plus only has a 6.5-inch display, but the 21:9 aspect ratio of the screen gives it dimensions of 167mm x 72mm, making it longer and skinnier than its large rivals the Samsung Note 9 (161.9 x 76.4 mm) and the Apple iPhone XS Max (157.5 x 77.4mm).

The Sony Xperia 10 similarly only has a 6-inch display but the dimension of its screen is 155.7mm x 68mm, whereas the iPhone XS has 143.6mm x 70.9mm and the Samsung S10 is 149.9mm x 70.4mm.

In 2017, LG released the G5 with an aspect ratio of 18:9, a size used in cinematography, because it says its customers wanted a bigger screen but not a bigger phone.

Sony says the long display is meant to enhance entertainment and productivity.

"Our super mid-range line introduces our premium Sony innovations in a most accessible way possible," says Mitsuya Kishida, president at Sony Mobile Communications. "Our new 21:9 wide display offers edge-to-edge entertainment in a sleek and slender hand-fit design."

The edge-to-edge display has an intuitive multi-window user interface which allows users to open more than one app at a time and work on them simultaneously. For example, a user could watch a video on YouTube, while messaging a friend on WhatsApp, without having to switch screens.

Both smartphones have a dual camera set-up: the Xperia 10 with a 13MP and a 5MP lens, while the Xperia 10 Plus has 12MP and 8MP lenses. The two cameras are used together to create one photograph and give a 'bokeh' effect which separates the subject from the background in video and still images - an effect normally found on high-end DSLR cameras.

The cameras also capture video in 4K and allow users to record in the same aspect ratio used by film-makers.

The phones also feature advanced audio technology with Sony's High-Resolution Audio and LDAC technology. Sony says this means users can hear music in its purest and truest form. The phones also come with Sony's Digital Sound Enhancement Engine which automatically upscales compressed sound files to near high-resolution sound quality.

Other features of the Xperia 10 include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform chipset and a 2870mAh battery. The Xperia 10 Plus has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform chipset and a 3000mAh battery.

Both smartphones will run Android Pie.

The devices should arrive in SA mid-year but there has been no official announcement of pricing yet.

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