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The Vaio Phone Biz: The nicest Windows 10 Mobile phone you can't buy

One of the best things about a big show like Mobile World Congress is that you'll almost always come across something you didn't expect. Which is what happened when we stumbled on the VAIO Phone Biz.

It's due to go on sale in Japan from April for not a lot more than the equivalent of $400. It might not be destined for a U.S. launch, but it's a phone we've been keen to get our hands on.

Recapping the specs first, and the VAIO Phone Biz gives you a 5.5-inch Full HD display wrapped in an aluminum frame with cutouts top and bottom for the cellular anntenae.

Inside there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, which is particularly interesting because the Phone Biz supports Continuum. So far we've only seen Snapdragon 8xx chips provide the necessary horsepower to push Continuum, so we're given a little better look at the lower bar that's needed for it.

Other hardware includes 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage with microSD expansion and a 13MP rear camera. The Phone Biz isn't overly massive but is still quite large, which perhaps makes the 2800mAh battery a little disappointing.

Vaio Phone Biz

But it's an impressive phone. The bezels top and bottom are a little large but the phone doesn't feel unwieldy. It's slim and light with gentle curves on the rear. A trade show isn't the place to really test performance, but the VAIO Phone Biz feels snappy and responsive. The camera focuses and shoots pretty quickly, and processing HDR photos doesn't take any more than a second or so.

It's a shame we won't be seeing much of it in western markets, but VAIOs first Windows 10 Mobile phone is an impressive thing. Solid hardware with a sleek design and that all important Continuum support that increases its appeal multiple times over. If it's a phone you'll be able to buy, definitely give it a look.

Be sure to check out our hands-on video above.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

69 Comments
  • I've yet to find Continium worth much. Everytime I've used it I have found it to be very laggy and sometimes difficult to connect when using wireless. The app selection for it is still very limited. It has a long way to go before it is truly useful.
  • This first attempt at Continuum is likely going to be like Windows RT: not very strong, performance-wise, a paucity of apps, and eventually gets replace, but a necessary first step to get the ball rolling. As the HP Elite X3's phone-laptop-dock plan shows, this is the future of computing: BYOD, plug-and-pllay.
  • And let's hope that unlike RT, the experience isn't so bad initially that it gets dumped on and Microsoft is forced to kill it too early. MS has a habit of releasing great ideas way too early in an unfinished state and then having to cancel it because the experience was so bad.
  • Reminds me back in 1995. Windows 95's Plug and Play.
  • Or maybe.....Plug and.....Pray...!
  • *Groan* +1
  • Intel Inside is when it potentially becomes a game changer.  Until then, meh.
  • According to a HP representative, intel is way behind Qualcom in mobile processors. No intel processor can compete with their qualcomm processors.
  • It's all about ARM :P.
  • or a LEG !!
  • I used the ASUS Zen Phone and Google maps did some weird crap and shut down every time I used it. I don't think Intel has perfected mobile processing yet. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Intel is still years behind Qualcomm and I wouldn't consider an Intel processor for my mobile devices anytime soon, unless it's a budget device. They are great in the PC space, of course, but where efficiency is the number 1 concern, they just can't hold a candle to Qualcomm.
  • The Continuum we got is certainly a Windows RT or worse in terms of environment. At least in Windows RT you can Snap apps and still got a separate real Windows Explorer shell desktop (though not that all useful either because you can't install desktop apps by default). W10M is essentially a Windows RT where you're limited with having all maximized apps but with no Snap. They really needs to have a real desktop environment (it doesn't have to be recompiled Windows Explorer for ARM), with same Snap features like we got now on Windows 10 desktop, a better File Explorer, at at least allow to run non-Universal apps (phone apps) on Continuum as a restricted windowed apps that you can Snap. Lastly we need at least Project Centennial to be done (and hopefully not half-baked), and maybe in near future W10M to able to install and run x86 desktop apps natively for Continuum (at least some for those don't have much legacy dependencies).
  • Do you use it wirelessly? Then it's laggy.
    But using with the display dock is one amazing experience and you are bound to become addicted to it!
  • By the time you need a dock, it looses most of it's reason for being.  The idea that you can connect your phone to any smart TV and have a quicky PC is really nice, but not really important.  Anywhere I have a mouse and keyboard I already have a computer.
  • Isn't that the truth if they all could come to use a standardized cable standard for this like mhl
  • You aren't going to connect it to a smart tv. Those things have their own apps. You'd probably plug it into some dumb old tv.
  • I have no idea what you are talking about. To what else would I connect it without a dock?  And what apps do smart TVs have that I'd want to use Continuum for?  Is there any TV that runs PowerPoint?!?
     
  • You can use airplay or a host of other technologies for presenting. If a company at which you're presenting has a smart TV for presentations well... that's different. But his point remains that the wireless technology is laggy, for presenting it's probably fine if you're just doing slide transitions, but for normal continuum use cases a smart TV doesn't seem like the best option.
  • > his point remains that the wireless technology is laggy My point is that the only use case for continuum is wireless.  Once you need a dock, you're missing the point.  Might as well just use your computer...
  • This is why they need to come with x86 chips and WiGig built in. Intel needs to step up their game.
  • Change the setting, you'll be able to use more apps
  • What do you want to do in continuum? You can use Office, email and browse the web. Not sure what else you would want to do on a desktop.
  • Remote Desktop is one of the big ones that needs to get upgraded to Windows 10. As far as Continuum goes, it's still a brand new environment, so as more Windows 10 apps are released it will grow, the real question is whether people want to use it in the first place.
  • Reminds me of Surface a bit.
  • What ever vaio do , I trust them, plus for sure Microsoft Lumia .
  • inspite of Windows Mobile 10 is not stable yet , is achiving so much success , lots many companies which are not a part of mobile word are making Windows Phone for just Because of Continum , its a game changing feature . But fairly MS is failed to tackle Lumia's hardware . soon they will say good bye to Lumia branding and introduce Surface Mobile ..... the Lumia Phones which are coming to market are intiated by NOKIA and redculasly finsihed by MS .
  • "redculasly finsihed" - is this Finnish?
  • Windows mobile .107 is very stable on my Lumia 1520. No resuming screens, no random reboots, etc.
  • Shame we can't get one. I bet it would have seemed faster.  
  • My Lumia 730 is not detecting the latest windows 10 mobile update.I am on insider fast ring.
  • It's only for Lumia 950XL, 950 and 650.
  • On a ATT 950 and I have to use the Windows Device Recovery Tool each and every time time to revert back to factory to get it to see the update in Windows Insider :(
  • The latest insider fast ring build was for x50's only
  • Crickey, no dissenters, nay Sayers or doom mongers for a change! Maybe they are still 'entertaining' themselves in their rooms. Anyway, nice looking device. I also use continuum via the hd 500 dock, and it is a pleasant experience on the 950xl. Hopefully, sales permitting, this thing may see the light of day in more regions. If OEM's can chuck a half decent device together, why can't MS? Or, was this their plan all along? A few devices to show what 10m can do, and then return to their forte, software....
  • I dissented.  It looks horrible, and it's Sony so you know it will be a fragile piece of trash.  Sony went south in design a LONG time ago, and things are not turning around.  If Sony didn't have the Playstation stuff, I am sure they would have been dead by now.   ** EDIT ** oops, not by Sony, still looks horrid and has the Vaio name, which is associated with being fragile and expensive.  Like the Apple name, only not successful.
  • Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you!
  • It's nice looking just because it's metal? Looks pretty boring tbh
  • All phones look the same. I can't tell iphone 3g apart from a lumia from this new hp and these new samsung ang LG phones.
  • Put your glasses back on!
  • That phone looks like total ass.  I mean it.  Sony went south in design a LONG time ago, and things are not turning around.  If Sony didn't have the Playstation stuff, I am sure they would have been dead by now. ** EDIT ** oops, not by Sony, still looks horrid and has the Vaio name, which is associated with being fragile and expensive.  Like the Apple name, only not successful.
  • Thank God you said this twice in case someone missed it the first time.
  • He has a short-term memory problem. That's why he repeats himself.
  • That phone looks like total ass.  I mean it.  Sony went south in design a LONG time ago, and things are not turning around.  If Sony didn't have the Playstation stuff, I am sure they would have been dead by now. ** EDIT ** oops, not by Sony, still looks horrid and has the Vaio name, which is associated with being fragile and expensive.  Like the Apple name, only not successful.
  • I thought that was the HP Elite x3? Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • With all that bezel at the bottom they could atleast use capacitive buttons.
  • The title says it all for Windows phone
  • I'd buy it for the name alone.
    -"Hey what's that phone?
    -It's the Phone Biz.
    -You trendy b*stard. You did it again.
    -You know it"
    I want that
  • Little large bezel :)
  • It's a good thing they aren't getting it here. People will request it in droves and then dump it the moment it arrives saying no apps etc.. Or some ridiculous feature which has no everyday use.
  • The Hp looks waaay better and convincing!
  • And you can't buy either of them ;) Unless you're buying the HP via a business purchase (apparently)
  • You should actually read the articles you reference. Might save you from being wrong so often.
  • Which bit
  • I've to accept the phone is indeed impressive. I hope I can see it make it's way to the Indian market. :) Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • What about India?? There was something that it was going to available in Indian markets!!
  • How many Lumia over 400$ were sold in India ? Just to compare with US or EU, to see where they should sell their phones first, after Japan.
  • Bezel on the bottom is a really too BIG, it is 1/5 of the phone, what a design error...
  • unless they add a fingerprint reader for windows hello.
  • +1
  • I'm still waiting for the wp10 update for my 640 in the UK I'm not on any insider
  • Nice phone
  • Holy bezels Batman! Could almost fit a whole QWERTY keyboard in that bottom bezel, it's massive!
  • 2800 mAH battery isn't disappointing at all. This is windows OS so yeah, battery lasts longer.
  • So can someone tell me please, because I have no idea of it. If I got this phone since it's sim free, will it work in the states? If so will it be 3G, H+, or 2G
  • Richard, is that an iris scanner at top of the phone or a notification LED?
  • The Biz looks nice, but I don't want it.
  • Looks not quite as impressed as HP Elite X3.......I'll definitely pass.
  • Windows 10 mobile have impressive features, go ahead