Hands-on review: Sony Xperia XZ

The debate over whether the Sony Xperia X, which launched in February this year, was a flagship phone or not, has finally been settled – it wasn’t, but the Xperia XZ is.

This brand new flagship is the highest spec device in the growing Sony Xperia X range and it offers a lot of what we’ve seen before, but in brilliant new packaging.

  • Want to see a video of how good this phone is in action? We’ve got you covered:

Sony has been refining its iconic boxy phone design for seven generations now, ever since the Xperia Z back in 2013, and that process has led to the XZ, which whether you opt for it in deep blue, black or silver is by far one of the best looking phones the Japanese company has ever produced.

The sharp edges of the Xperia Z range have disappeared, replaced here by more rounded ones in a conscious change to help the Xperia XZ sit better in the hand.

It’s a reasonably minor change, but it makes the experience of holding an Xperia phone much more comfortable. This is a problem Sony should have solved long ago and is a big improvement for the company’s latest handset.

Sony Xperia XZ

Not only is the look refined, but also the feel, as the back of the Xperia XZ is made of a new metal material from Sony called ALKALEIDO, which doesn’t feel slippery in the hand. It gives the phone a premium finish and is a big step up from the glass-backed Sony Xperia Z5, although the new material does still pick up fingerprints quite easily.

The top and bottom edges of the Xperia XZ are completely flat, which is another design change and allows you to stand the phone up on its end. The flat design is reminiscent of the top edge of the Obi MV1, but executed much better.

Sony Xperia XZ

There’s a fingerprint sensor hidden away in the power key on the side of the phone. This positioning makes the sensor easy to hit when the XZ is in your hand, but the button can be a bit of a pain to reach when the phone is sat on a flat surface.

Sony Xperia XZ

Perhaps the biggest design change is the inclusion of IP68 waterproofing – that’s the same rating given to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Sony Xperia Z5. This means you can dunk your Sony phone once again without having to worry about it breaking – a feature many missed in the original members of the Xperia X series.

Screen and camera

You may be disappointed to learn Sony has stuck with a Full HD display for the Xperia XZ, especially as this is the firm’s most premium handset – but it’s still a great screen. Some were expecting the Xperia XZ to come with a 4K display like the Xperia Z5 Premium did, but that was mostly a gimmick and your battery will thank you for sticking to 1080p.

Sony Xperia XZ

The screen is 5.2 inches and 424 pixels per inch, and, while sharp, doesn’t touch the likes of the QHD Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or HTC 10, so while 4K would have been unnecessary a 2K resolution would have been nice to see.

Sony Xperia XZ

On paper the Xperia XZ’s main camera looks quite similar to previous iterations, but minor improvements should make the XZ’s snapper much more enjoyable to use.

The camera uses the same 23MP Sony sensor as the Xperia X, with all the tech you’ve seen in the past, but it now includes a laser autofocus.

Working alongside the predictive hybrid autofocus technology this should make it even easier for the phone camera to focus your shots – though how well it works remains to be seen.

The 23MP sensor also comes with new white balance technology to help enhance the color of your photographs and improve fine detail (a common problem with Sony’s sensors). In a smartphone first the XZ also uses 5-axis stabilization tech to ensure your video doesn’t come out blurry.

Sony Xperia XZ

Flip around to the front and you’ll be greeted by a 13MP sensor, allowing for detailed selfies. It looks to be the same camera as the selfie shooter on the Xperia X, which worked well.

Performance and battery

Under the hood the Xperia XZ sounds suspiciously like the Xperia X Performance. The XZ boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor along with 3GB of RAM, and in our hands on time the phone felt as speedy as you’d expect a flagship to be. If you’re looking to run Pokémon Go or any other mobile game, you’ll be able to with this phone.

Storage-wise you have 32GB of internal space and 256GB microSD storage to play with. There’s no word on microSD support yet, but Sony usually includes a card slot, so we’d expect to see one in the XZ.

On the battery front there’s still no sign of wireless charging – but Sony has improved the juice pack in other ways, as the 2900mAh cell will recharge at different speeds depending on your charging habits.

If you often take your phone to bed at midnight and unplug it at 7am, the Xperia XZ will charge to 90% as quickly as possible but then pause the charge until just before you wake up.

The idea here is that leaving your phone on charge can damage the battery over time – so by predicting when you’ll need the XZ charged up, Sony should be able to preserve your battery for longer.

Sony Xperia XZ

Since there’s no wireless charging you’ll be using the USB-C port on the bottom edge of the phone. This is the first time Sony has embraced USB-C, and although the change may mean updating a few of your accessories USB-C is a lot more convenient, as you can plug your charger in either way around.

This charging tech is sure to become the industry standard soon, so it’s great to see Sony preparing for that, rather than getting left behind.

Sadly, the Xperia XZ runs Android 6 Marshmallow, but a Sony representative assured TechRadar that the company would be working hard to bring Android Nougat to the phone as soon as possible.

Early verdict

The Sony Xperia XZ feels a little lost in the mix, with a very similar spec list to the Xperia X Performance and Xperia Z5 series, but the design tweaks have made a major difference to the appearance of the phone, making the Xperia XZ one of the best looking handsets of 2016.

Sony Xperia XZ

New camera technology shows the company is trying to improve its 23MP sensor too, while extra innovations such as the USB-C tech feel like a step forward, but a small step and not a reason to buy a brand new Sony phone.

If you own a Sony handset from the last year there’s no key reason to update to the Xperia XZ, but if you’re after a top of the line device and like the look of the XZ’s refined design, this is going to be a great choice for you.

Source: techradar.com

#Amazon #Android #Apple #Asus #camera #Galaxy #Google #Games #iPad #iPhone #Lenovo #Lumia #Laptop #Microsoft #Moto #Motorola #news #Nexus #Note #OnePlus #phone #Plus #Releases #review #Samsung #smartphone #Sony #Watch #Windows #Xiaomi #Xperia

Top Brands

  1. Reply Elfrieda Moore September 16, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Shocking journalism. Littered with errors about specs on this device and previous X series models. At least listen to the presentation or read the press release properly, then your readers can receive accurate information.

  2. Reply Kelli Turner September 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Why?does Sony waste too much of the screens on there phones,just look at the bottom,everything should be smaller so the consumers gets the Full use of the Screen,adding a small home button might cut down taking away that much of the screen,and Why does every Sony phone look the same as the previous models

  3. Reply Trever Rolfson Sr. September 16, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    new design, improved camera and lens, new battery tec, and still you find it to be a small upgrade? IMO, from z5 this is a major upgrade

  4. Reply Ms. Margarita Schimmel III September 16, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Aslong as the marketing idiots dictate an annual release of new gadget, the engineers need to sweat blood to come up with new "features". As long as the USB-C connector is a new feature, so I have to dump all my cables, chargers and accessories to keep up with these marketing idiots, I am not buying a new phone. I am fine with my Z3C. It will serve me well in the upcoming 1,5-2 years, as no other brands will lcome up with "new" tech. You should also keep your phone, and wait, till the engineers come up with something really new and useful.

  5. Reply Ms. Geraldine O'Keefe September 16, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Also had a Z1 (went swimming without the charge flap closed DEAD) and Z3c (battery started to run down real quick) after 2 years, took it to the phone repairer they broke the screen and a internal cable while trying to replace the battery. they have ordered me a new z3c (although im not sure were they got this) at no charge.
    Anyway if i wasnt getting a new z3c, i think i would consider the above. The usb c could be a problem with all our tablets being samsung and running standard micro usb. Wait for a hands on 1st

  6. Reply Yolanda Ankunding September 16, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    nice …but yet again no xperia z ultra successor! since the z ultra there was only the c5 ultra with a screen closest to the z ultra 6 inch vs 6.4 inch. i must say the z ultra is still a nice phone, best screen so far as for sensitivity goes is lacking on the c5 ultra and a lot its very annoying( fix please if its software related). what bothers me 2nd is that it won't tilt on landscape mode like my old z does.
    i hope there will be a real successor to the old z ultra and please 6.4 inch screen is ideal for people like me that do more productive activities than others on smaller screens. o and please add stereo speakers so watching a video or movie more comfortable. 6.4 is a perfect fit between tablet and phone.

  7. Reply Lola Durgan September 17, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Don't see why having 'only' a 1080p display is a bad thing. The difference between 1080p and QHD at that size is almost negligible. Plus it's not like Sony hasn't improved their display technology in the past few years. Sure, AMOLED is gorgeous and has incredible blacks, therefore having unholy contrast ratios, but the colour accuracy is still pretty off even now at times, especially with the occasional oversaturation of colours and dodgy-looking whites. One of the few major positives in the X series, aside from a massively improved camera software, is that the displays are incredibly colour-accurate, blacks look better than a majority of LCD panels, including Apple's, and also incredibly vibrant. Oh, and speaking of 'only' 1080p, the 7 plus is also only '1080p', yet it's not a negative in the hands-on review, and no complaint of looking the same, yet you are putting it down as a negative for the XZ. Biased much, Techradar?

  8. Reply Solon Kris September 17, 2016 at 3:31 am

    I have had 2 Sony Xperias in the last 4 years (the Z1 and Z3C), both were excellent phones. The z1 bringing waterproofing and stamina mode to the party. Overall my sony experience has been very positive. However, Sony has gone the way of apple and Samsung in rationing their tech, no waterproofing except in their most expensive sets and stamina mode gone. Without these and any further advancement, there is very little Sony now offers over rivals. So with sadness I will move on to another brand.

  9. Reply Raheem Ondricka September 17, 2016 at 5:57 am

    So they should only improve on simple usb port when you are ready to dump your cables and chargers.


  10. Reply Mr. Jeffry Crooks September 17, 2016 at 7:21 am

    The top/bottom bezels are no worse than, say a Galaxy S6. the power button is small and on the side and now incorporates finger print unlock, or you can double tap the screen to wake. The Sony Xperias have front facing speakers too – they have to fit somewhere. I like the xperia 'design language' – especially the fact that there's no camera bulge. Wireless charging is a 'meh' from me, but I might invest in a dock for this one, now the charger port is back on the bottom. Fortuantely, the xperias do NOT look like a samsung/apple product – especially without the power button on the front. sensible use of screen resolution here, with bravia display technologies, as really HD resolution would be wasted at this size.
    Oh, this handset will also support HD audio with the correct downloads and headphone/speaker accessories.

  11. Reply Keeley Donnelly September 17, 2016 at 8:28 am

    The 820 is much more powerful than the 810, and lacks the overheating issue the 810 was infamous for. Also, the camera looks like it'll top this years DXOMARK, maybe just behind the 7 Plus' dual camera and a further enhancement to Sony's already-masterful battery optimisation technology is pretty massive. So yes, it's a huge jump from the Z5, and it's true successor, unlike the X Performance.

  12. Reply Ms. Clara Crooks I September 17, 2016 at 8:55 am

    or samsung, or htc, or moto…

  13. Reply Carmel Tremblay Sr. September 17, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Why does every iPhone look the same?

Leave a reply