Back at the beginning of September, Sony unveiled two additions to its range of handsets: the flagship-class Xperia XZ, and the high-end Xperia X Compact.
The XZ is Sony's range-topper, with a 5.2-inch Full HD display and Snapdragon 820 chipset, while the X Compact has a 4.6-inch 720p display with a Snapdragon 650; both feature a 23-megapixel rear camera, which includes five-axis stabilization, a hybrid autofocus system, and an advanced RGB sensor, promising "blur-free images, day or night". They also come with a fingerprint sensor, which is disabled for the United States, but it can be enabled with a workaround.
XDA-developers user 'drrobo' posted a topic on the forum stating that he had successfully flashed his US bought X Compact with UK firmware, which enabled the fingerprint sensor and the Xperia Blog went to work confirming it on an XZ.
Out of the box, the US Xperia XZ has firmware customization number 1304-9026 (left image). Once flashed with UK firmware, the US Xperia XZ has firmware customization number 1305-2216, which enables the fingerprint sensor (below images).
However, your XZ or Z Compact will have to be 'rooted' in order to flash it with different firmware, and it's no small undertaking, so you will have to feel comfortable following the steps below, put together with the help of the XDA community in the same topic:
- Download Xperifirm and flashtool
- In Xperifirm find and download the UK customized version of the X compact firmware. This downloads a folder full of files that will need to be converted into a single .ftf file using flashtool in order to flash it to your phone, also with flashtool.
- Delete the fwinfo.xml file from the folder before you convert into .ftf
- Open flashtool, go to tools>create> select the folder you downloaded. Select the device (F5321), write in the branding (Customized UK) and version (number with periods). Select all the files on the left and click the arrow to move them to the right.
- Click create to make the .ftf file in c:/users/YOURUSERNAME/.flashtool/firmwares (or something like that). If it asks you to use the default.fsc select no.
- Open flashtool. With your phone turned off, hold down volume down and plug in your phone into the PC. Flashtool should say its detected in flashmode. Click the lightning bolt icon, select flashmode, and choose the .ftf file you just made. Hit flash, and again if it asks for default.fsc select no. It might take a while to prepare files for flashing, just leave it. After it starts flashing it will take less than 5 mins.
- Unplug your new fingerprint enabled phone.
Even so, it goes to show that the disabling of the fingerprint sensor in both devices for sale in the United States is only limited by the software and not the hardware, and it can be enabled with a bit of work.
If you own a US bought XZ or X Compact and have tried this workaround, let us know in the comments.