Sony Xperia Z1S (‘Mini’) leaks with T-Mobile branding, expected to debut shortly

6 January 2014, 10:05 am EST By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

The much-rumored Sony Xperia Z1 Mini, dubbed the Xperia Z1S, has leaked in a new image showing the T-Mobile version, suggesting an imminent U.S. launch.

Sony has yet to make an official announcement or confirm whether the much-touted Mini version of its popular Xperia Z1 will make its debut outside Japan. If this new leak is to be believed, however, we might see the Xperia Z1S launch in the U.S. very soon.

The newly-leaked image comes from well-known and trusted tipster @evleaks, who posted it on Twitter on Monday, Jan. 6. The same tipster also posted the purported core specifications of the smartphone in another tweet, also on Jan. 6.

"Sony XPERIA Z1^s: MSM8974 2.2GHz x 4, 4.3" 720p, 2GB/16GB, 20.7MP/2MP, 2300mAh, JB MR2," reads the tweet listing the device's main specifications.

The International CES 2014 is set to officially kick off on Tuesday, Jan. 7, and run through Friday, Jan. 10. Sony has already scheduled a press event for Monday, Jan. 6, at 5PM PST. While nothing is official just yet, the company is expected to take the wraps off its smaller Xperia Z1S at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, where CES takes place.

As the phablet trend gained momentum and more companies started to launch high-end smartphones with super-sized displays, another trend became very popular: offering a "Mini" version of the large flagship. Such Mini versions are in fact not so Mini at all, but they are smaller than the flagships. At the same time, the smaller versions of high-end flagships come at lower prices, but sacrifice some specs and features in favor of affordability and a more compact form factor.

Unlike Mini versions of flagship smartphones from other companies such as Samsung and HTC, Sony does not seem willing to compromise when it comes to its Xperia Z1 Mini. Instead of offering a watered-down version of its flagship and packing lower specifications, Sony wants its smaller Xperia Z1S to be just as powerful, albeit more compact.

The smartphone will feature most of the top-notch specifications of the flagship Xperia Z1, packed in a smaller device with a 4.3-inch display. The Mini smartphone packs the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 900 processor clocked at 2.2GHz, as well as the same high-end 20.7-megapixel G Lens rear camera. The 720p display may seem like a trade-off, but its pixel density of 323 pixels per inch (ppi) should make it more than decent.

If @evleaks proves to be accurate, the smartphone will launch in the U.S. shortly, on at least one carrier. T-Mobile is an established Sony partner in the U.S. and it carried both the Xperia Z and the Xperia Z1 last year, so it would make sense for Sony to team up with T-Mobile again and launch its Xperia Z1S.

Things are already starting to heat up ahead of CES 2014, and we'll keep an eye on everything to provide you with the latest news. Stay tuned for more information as soon as it becomes official.

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