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Sony selling Xperia Z in U.S.

The global version of the Xperia Z now available for $630 at Sony's American Web site.

The Xperia ZL is the less striking version of the Xperia Z. Sarah Tew/CNET

If you've been wondering when Sony's latest flagship Android handset would hit American shores, speculate no longer. The global and unlocked device is now for sale at Sony's U.S. Web site for $629.99.

Keep in mind that the Xperia Z is not to be confused with the Xperia ZL. While both smartphones boast huge 5-inch full HD screens, have fabulous cameras, run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, along with a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, plus 2GB of RAM, the Xperia Z sports premium design and materials.

Unlike the ZL's plastic chassis, the Xperia Z flaunts a glossy glass backing. The Z also features a dust- and water-resistant design, something the lesser ZL lacks. Of course the unlocked version of the Xperia Z supports GSM cellular networks so you'll only be able to set the phone up on AT&T or perhaps T-Mobile in the U.S. The handset should be able to play well with AT&T 4G LTE and possibly T-Mobile's variant when T-Mobile's LTE network hits your neck of the woods.

Interestingly, both the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL have the same $629.99 sticker price. Sony must not plan on moving a lot of ZLs into U.S. customer hands since I see no reason to grab one over the more capable Xperia Z. To be honest I bet the market for Sony's unlocked phones isn't very large anyway, given their high prices.

Also, If the Xperia Z ever makes it to a big American carrier, which I suspect it will by summer, it will no doubt have a much more palatable, subsidized pricing. Other reports point to Sony's Xperia L device, a lower-cost unit, gaining FCC approval. That means it could pop up on U.S. carrier store shelves before too long, and for much less than the Z.

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