Sony gets real about selfies, makes a smartphone for them

We’ve already seen Huawei and HTC both embrace the self-portrait inspired smartphone, and now it’s time for Sony to make that a big front-facing camera a key feature, as its Xperia range gets updated for the self-portraiture fanatics.

If you think you need more than just the one or two megapixels for your selfie shots, you might want to consider a new product on the way from Sony. Called the C3, it’s the first model for the brand that includes what it calls a “PROselfie cam,” and no, we’re not making that up.

For Sony, a professional self-portrait camera appears to be one rated at 5 megapixels, because that is precisely what’s on display here, with a wide angle (25mm) 5 megapixel 720p capable front-facing shooter, complete with a flash, so you won’t have to get those selfies at night with just the light of the world around you, as well as an auto mode for the front camera relying on Sony’s “Superior Auto” mode, just like its rear shooter.

The rear camera isn’t as high-end as what appears on Sony’s other smartphones, with the 20 megapixel module from the Xperia Z2 missing in action on the C3, replaced instead with an 8 megapixel camera.

Sony’s camera smarts aren’t all that makes up the C3, however, as the handset is also a phablet, packing in a 5.5 inch HD 720p screen, 1GB RAM, quad-core processor, 8GB storage, and a microSD slot for expanding that considerably.

Google’s Android 4.4 “KitKat” also runs natively here with Sony’s overlay included, and some useful connectivity features, such as Near-Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Category 4 LTE rated for downloads of up to 150Mbps dependent on your network.

“Xperia C3 is a unique new smartphone from Sony, created to offer the ultimate social sharing experience with a new powerful ‘PROselfie cam,’” said Peter McKeon, Sony Mobile’s Managing Director for our region, adding that “it also presents a combination of the best of Sony, with leading digital imaging technology and brilliant specs and performance all for a mid-range price.

“The rise of selfies shows no signs of abating: its usage has increased by 17,000% since 2012 with the word officially being added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. We’re excited to offer Sony’s first ‘PROselfie smartphone’ and play a part in this global phenomenon.”

While it may well be a “unique new smartphone” for Sony, comparing the handset to what else is out there shows that the Xperia C3 may have a kindred with a product from HTC.

Spec-wise, the C3 is very similar to HTC’s recently reviewed Desire 816, packing in similar quad-core Snapdragon 400 processors (the HTC runs faster at 1.6GHz compared to the Sony at 1.2GHz), similar RAM (1.5GB for the HTC, 1GB for the Sony), 8GB storage (identical), microSD expansion (identical), a 5.5 inch 720p screen (identical), Bluetooth 4.0 (identical), and the front-facing 5 megapixel camera (identical spec, but likely different modules).

That said, HTC’s Desire 816 didn’t totally win us over, thanks to a weaker design and mediocre performance, so it’s possible Sony could prove it has a better product on its hands.

Availability for the Sony Xperia C3 is currently unknown, as is a price, but we’ll tell you more when Sony lets us know. Stay tuned.