Sony’s ultimate PS4 accessory isn’t a brightly colored controller, or even a PlayStation-branded external hard drive to load your games to. Instead, the ultimate PS4 add-on is the Sony Xperia Z3v, a newly announced Sony smartphone coming to Verizon Wireless on October 23rd with Remote Play support and entertainment extras in tow.
Verizon announced the Xperia Z3v, or what many on Verizon are likely going to begin calling the PlayStation Phone, at an event yesterday. Inside the Xperia Z3v are all the features you’d expect from a modern high-end smartphone. A rear-facing 20.7 megapixel camera captures pictures and video. A 5.2-inch high-definition touchscreen display with Sony’s Triluminos display technology is how users interact with the Xperia Z3v. There’s also a 2.5Ghz quad-core processor.
Those specifications alone would be enough for the $199 Xperia Z3v to take a place next to other high-end Android smartphones like the Moto X 2014 or the Samsung Galaxy S5, but Sony and Verizon are hoping that PS4 owners and longtime users of Sony’s network of entertainment services will find the Xperia Z3v edges out other devices thanks to some software extras.
The Xperia Z3v is one of the first flagship smartphones to support what Sony calls PS4 Remote Play. When paired with a controller, Remote Play allows Xperia Z3v users to play games streaming from their console in real-time. There are no wires running from the console to the smartphone itself, instead both devices communicate with each other over a Wi-Fi network. Xperia Z3v buyers are less likely to get headshot kills using Remote Play rather than sitting in front of their actual PS4, but it’s an excellent way to enjoy a casual game or two when someone else is using the television the PS4 is attached to or you are more comfortable in another room. Remote Play can even be used outside of a home wireless network to play games on the PS4 – both internet connections have to be pretty fast though.
Sony is also bundling some other PS4 and PS3 related extras with the Xperia Z3v. Each Xperia Z3v buyer on Verizon will get a month of Sony’s Music Unlimited streaming music service and six movies to download free of charge through Video Unlimited. Those are the same services that Sony makes available to owners of its PS Vita, PS3 and PS4 consoles. They’ll also feature heavily in the PlayStation TV, Sony’s upcoming set-top box that’ll feature Remote Play functionality too.
Even without the entertainment angle there’s a lot to like about the Xperia Z3v. Flanking that 5.2-inch high-definition display are what Sony calls “Force Front Surround” speakers. That sounds a lot like the BoomSound speakers that HTC puts on many of its smartphones like the HTC Desire Eye and HTC One M8. The Xperia Z3v’s rear-facing camera captures 4K video too, though users won’t be able to view it in its full fidelity unless they have a 4K display. There’s a front-facing camera on the Xperia Z3v.
In the last few years we’ve seen three hardware features adopted by most high-end smartphones. The first was the aforementioned front-facing speakers, which the Xperia Z3v offers. The others are better durability and wireless charging. The Xperia Z3v is another one of Sony’s waterproof smartphones. Sony says that it can take less than five feet of fresh water for 30 minutes when its port covers are closed. That’s key because there aren’t that many flagship smartphones offering water-proofing in their mainstream smartphones. Wireless charging is something we’re seeing more of all fronts. Essentially, users can place the Xperia Z3v on a charging bad instead of having to fiddle around with a USB port and wireless charging plate. That’s key because the port covers on the Xperia Z3v need to be closed securely every time to give the phone protection from the elements.
Verizon says users can expect to pay $199 with a two-year service agreement when the Xperia Z3v arrives on its store shelves on October 23rd. Sony and Verizon are giving out $200 vouchers for buyers of the Xperia Z3v who also purchase the company’s Xperia Z2 tablet.