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Sony Xperia Z coming to O2, Vodafone, Three, Phones 4U in March

The waterproof, quad-core Sony Xperia Z is coming to Vodafone, O2, Three and Phones 4U on 1 March.

The first smart phone contender of the year has been unveiled, and phone networks are falling over themselves to get it in your pocket. The Sony Xperia Z is coming to Vodafone, O2, Three, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U in March.

Other networks will no doubt follow, but Vodafone, O2 and Three are the first out of the gates for the new phone. Unveiled at tech-stravaganza CES in Las Vegas, the Xperia Z is a giant 5-inch Android behemoth packing Jelly Bean and more.

The Z is no Z-lister, with a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor keeping things ticking. It sports a 13-megapixel camera, and the 5-inch screen pumps out eye-popping 1080p video.

As a bonus, the 7.9mm body is waterproof, making this one of the highest-specced phones that can survive a dunking in your jacuzzi, cocktail or commode. Up until now, the toughness to survive an unscheduled swirlie or any drop greater than the distance from your pocket to an inch below your pocket is a feature only found on mid-range phones. It's good to see manufacturers making more expensive phones more robust -- more of this sort of thing please.

Waterproof Sony Xperia Z dunked in water

The Xperia Z does have 4G, so it could appear on the UK's first 4G network, EE. It's not clear whether it'll support future 4G networks from other companies, as Sony hasn't revealed which bands it's compatible with. EE is formed of a merger between Orange and T-Mobile, who may well still offer the Z on their 3G networks. 

Prices and contracts are yet to be revealed, but Carphone Warehouse says the phone will launch in February, while Phones 4U says it will have the Xperia Z on 1 March. A smaller variant, the Xperia ZL, which has much the same specs but in a more compact chassis, will not be coming to the UK.

Is the Xperia Z the phone to revive Sony's phone fortunes? Can it take on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page, and keep it CNET for the coolest gadgets and most powerful kit unleashed at CES.

Update: A previous version of this story claimed the Xperia Z did not offer 4G at all. This has been corrected in the text above.