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Sony Xperia Z SO-02E

NTT DoCoMo Zony Zperia Z (SO-02E)

Pedometer: No *1
Veil View: No *1
NFC: Yes*2
Felica/Osaifu Keitai: Yes 
1Seg: Yes (Requires external Antenna) (No for all overseas models)
Area Mail: Yes*3
FM Radio: Yes (No for some overseas models)
IR: Yes 
Boot Unlockable: No (Yes for some overseas models)
SIM Unlockable: Yes
Flash Memory: 16MB
MicroSD: Up to 64GB
LTE: Yes (No for some overseas models)
Camera Resolution: 11.52MP (12.98 for all overseas models)
Codename: Yuga
Colors: Black, White, Purple
GPS: Yes, w/Glasnoss support

*1: Standard feature in Japan, but not for Sony.
*2: Overseas version of Felica, requires certain SIM cards.
*3: Used mainly for earthquake warnings

There is a fair amoung of information on web about the Xperia Z, but most of the information in English is about the overseas models.  Our goal is to provide details about the differences between the overseas models and the Japanese model, along with information about the DoCoMo service plans/conditions, etc.

First of all, it will come as no surprise to anyone that although a pedometer and veil view are standard features in the Japanese market, they are ones Sony hasn't embraced, so unfortunately, the Z doesn't have them either.  

They have included other Japanese market hardware features, including Felica/Osaifu Keitai, 1seg, and IR transfer.  FM Radio that works locally is also included, and Area Mail (DoCoMo speak for SMS broadcast messages), which is primarily used to warn or earthquakes, is also supported.

NFC vs. Felica
If you've ever taken a ride on Japan rail, or any of the subway systems in Japan, you are familiar with Felica.  Felica is a wireless contact technology developed by Sony, and it is used for almost all public transport systems in Japan, including Suica, Passmo, Ikoka, and more.  It can also be used to ride many busses, and for the bullet train reservation service.  Felica is used in ID badges for many buildings, for electronic money like EDY, for Docomo's iD credit card service, and more.  Felica is also used outside of Japan for public transit systems in other countries, etc.  In short, Felica one of the most widely deployed wireless IC card systems in the world, and by far the most widely deployed system in Japan.  With Felica support in your phone (which DoCoMo calls "Osaifu keitai"), you can replace a large number of point cards, credit cards, and train passes with a single... phone.  You can charge the balance for Suica from a credit card or bank account, and when used it is instant.  (Well under 1 second, much faster than a credit card).  You can use your Suica balance on trains, at convenience stores, etc.  EDY works in a similar way.  We won't get further into the details here, but suffice to day that Mobile Felica is a convenient service in high demand by the Japanese public.  Sharp started supporting Felica on Android smart phones a while back, and the most of the other domestic other manufacturers have followed suit. (Even foreign makers like Samsung have added Felica support to their Japanese market models).  

On the other hand, even though such features have been available on mobile phones in Japan for over 10 years now, it seems that our overseas friends have recently discovered the idea, and dubbed it "NFC".  Google is basing their "Google Wallet" on this specification.  Although NFC deployment is very light, even in the US, it would be nice if we had this feature, just in case it catches on later.  Most overseas phones support it now, although many carriers do not.

Felica was technically included as a specific type of NFC in the specification, but in practice, they are two different standards.  The NFC hardware in the Sony Z (at least the Japanese version) supports both "Overseas" NFC and Felica.  More to the point, the software interface to NFC and Felica is also very different.  The Japanese Xperia Z supports the same APIs that are used on non-NFC capable phones with Felica (Like the SH003), and also Google's more recent NFC APIs.  As a result, you can run all of the Japanese elica enabled applications like Mobila Suica and Edy.  NFC applications, while less useful, also work.  The NFC API allows you to read cards from the phone, which means that with the right application, you can check the balance of your Suica Pass or EDY card.  

Felica support is very convenient in Japan, while NFC is more of a curiosity at this point.  If NFC becomes more heavily deployed in the future, it may become useful as a method of payment when visiting other countries. (For example, Visa touch uses NFC outside of Japan).

The boot loader of the DoCoMo version of this handset is not officially unlockable, so if that's important to you, you should go for an international model.  Then again, if that's important to you, you should probably go for a Nexus model. (Perhaps there will be an Xperia Nexis some day).  

About 1Seg:  OneSeg digital TV is supported by the Z, while the newer NOTTV is not.  More interstingly, though most Japanese market Xperia phones have an extendable antenna, the Z does not.  Instead, the Japanese version uses the same case as the overseas versions, and there is a short antenna cable that 

For the Japanese version, a charging dock Included, but charger is sold separately.  (This is the opposite of the overseas models from reports we have heard).  DoCoMo claims that this is with the expectation that most people are upgrading from a previous model.  

Power Management: The overseas version supports "Stamina mode", where the network and other wake-up events are blocked when the screen is off, and important applications can be white-listed for continuous addess.  The Japanese version does not currently have this option - instead, a normal low power use mode is available, along with two special modes: Low Battery Mode, and Timer Mode.  

WiFi: Some overseas versions include a location specific WiFi feature.  This is not currently included in the Japanese version, however there are 3rd party applications that implement this functionality.

Both of these features are almost certainly implemented entirely in software, so it is likely that they will appear in a future update.

Battery Size:  The official speciification for both Japanese and overseas models is 2330mAh, however most of the Japanese models we checked read an actual capacity over 2500mAh in service mode.

SIM Unlocking: DoCoMo will remove the SIM lock upon request for around 3000 yen.  Softbank is reported to work for at least Voice and SMS.  (3G and LTE depend upon frequencies).  Unfortunately, eMobile does not work, due to using different frequencies.  (Though this may change due to Softbank's buy-out of eMobile).  B-Mobile and other NTT DoCoMo MNVOs should work without problem, however the biggest advantage to SIM unlocking would be to be able to use local SIM cards when traveling overseas.