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Sony Xperia Z1 confirmed at glitzy IFA unveiling

Sony today confirmed the launch of its brand new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z1, in a heaving press conference here at IFA 2013 in Berlin.

The consumer tech extravaganza doesn't officially kick off until Friday, but intent on stealing some early limelight, Sony called an event for Wednesday afternoon where the Xperia Z1 finally broke cover after weeks of speculation surrounding the device.

Sony means business here too. Aimed right at the top end of the intensely competitive smartphone market, the Xperia Z1 sports a 5in Full HD display, is powered by Qualcomm's meaty Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, boasts 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage, and runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, with a few Sony UI modifications.

Yet the real headline specification comes in the photographic department with an impressive 20.7-megapixel camera adorning the rear of the handset, with the G2 lens incorporating much of the company's famed digital imaging technology. This sees the Xperia Z1 to square up to Nokia's latest flagship, the photography-focused Lumia 1020, which shook up the smartphone arena by packing a whopping 40-megapixel camera.

The timing of the launch will likely see early comprisons drawn with Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, however. Both handsets are being given the full press conference launch treatment, and despite their differing form-factor, the pair care expected to go head-to-head in a battle to become the headline product of IFA 2013.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai (below), who led the launch event on stage, was in a bullish mood. Among his claims was that "the Xperia Z1 is a watershed moment in Sony's history," and with so many features and high-end specs packed into the device, you couldn't say this was purely hyperbole.

Stay with us for a hands-on with the Xperia Z1 and and to see what Samsung are cooking up in response - we're at the Galaxy Note 3/Galaxy Gear smartwatch launch this evening. Of course, don't forget our live rolling coverage if IFA 2013 as a whole, too.