In the market for a top-of-the-line Android phone? You’d best check out what Sony has to offer. The Xperia XZ is one of the firm’s most compelling range-topping phones in recent memory – it’s striking and offers just about everything you want and expect from a phone positioned at the top of the Sony smartphone heap.
Read on to find out more about the Xperia XZ and find out why it’s impressed us!
A ‘best-of’ phone
Sony’s seen fit to distill most of the strong points of its smartphone range over the last couple of years into the Xperia XZ. You could think of it as a compilation of the best of Sony from over the past few years.
First up is the XZ’s design, which is pretty much in line with Sony’s usual design for its smartphones.. That being said, the XZ gets our nod for being relatively space-efficient and compact, making it easy to hold in one hand. Sony also says it’s used a new kind of metal (“ALKALEIDO”) for the rear, which gives the phone an interesting depth and sheen (watch out for fingerprints, however).
The XZ comes with a powerful 23MP camera, which, according to Sony, “comes loaded with the advanced photography technologies you recognize from other Xperia smartphones,” including the Exmor RS image sensor and Predictive Hybrid Autofocus feature. But Sony hasn’t rested on its laurels; the XZ’s also been gifted with a special triple image sensing technology that helps a user analyze, adapt and freeze snapshots and enjoy tack-sharp detail even in low-light situations. (The front-facing camera is a 13MP unit – not exactly chopped liver, at least as far as megapixel count is concerned.)
We also took an in-depth look at the XZ’s screen. It’s a 5.2-inch Full HD unit with curved glass – not exactly as good as some of the competition, especially the likes of Samsung and Apple. This lower resolution might prove problematic for those who want to experience VR on their phones, as competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge have a significantly higher pixel-per-inch count. Still, Sony’s trying its best to make the most out of the screen; see the inclusion of TRILUMINOS color-saturation enhancement and X-Reality image-processing technology, among other features.
The XZ runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 64-bit quad-core processor with 3GB RAM. Sony promises 100% faster CPU and 40% faster frame rates than previous processors could manage.
The phone also incorporates Sony’s PS4 Remote Play function, something that might make PS4 owners, as well as those who might be considering investing in a PS4, sit up and take notice. In a nutshell, this feature allows an XZ user to play PS4 games on his or her phone if both PS4 and phone are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
The XZ is both IP68 dust- and water-resistant – nothing new for Sony, of course, its flagship smartphones have been waterproof for quite some time now, and only recently have companies like Apple caught up with it in this regard. It can be immersed in water up to about a meter deep, but shouldn’t be left submerged for too long. We find this particularly impressive given that the ports at the base of the phone (its 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C slot) are open and not sealed.
Last but not least, Sony is also touting the XZ’s intelligent battery charging feature, which purportedly staves off battery decline through learning users’ charging patterns and adapting to them – which supposedly results in up to twice the battery lifespan. And the phone also supposedly comes with built-in intelligence that enables it to get more personal the longer it’s used; it learns and adapts based on how it’s used in order to give users an excellent smartphone experience.
All this just served to whet our appetite for the XZ and we were very interested in seeing if it would, or could, live up to the expectations it generated.
We were quite happy to find out that the XZ is an indeed an excellent phone well worthy of serving as Sony’s smartphone flagship.
The XZ oozes style and panache, and that gorgeous caseback can turn heads (just make sure to keep it clean and fingerprint-free). It’s by no means a small phone, but thanks to its good design it sits nicely in the hand and you can barely feel its heft. We were also pleased to see that Sony saw fit to evolve the basic design with the XZ – the edges of past Sony phones used to be on the sharp side, but that’s no longer the case with this phone – the edges are rounded and more comfortable. The screen might be a notch or two lower than other flagships’ screens on paper, but believe us when we say that in most applications you won’t know the difference.
The XZ’s powerful processor kept things snappy no matter what we required the phone to do. Even the most demanding games were stutter-free and were a joy to play. And speaking of gaming, the PS4 Remote Play feature works just as advertised, although you might wish you had a device with an even larger display for a more immersive gaming experience.
We found camera performance to be good, if not quite at par with the latest iPhone or Galaxy in this regard. Both snappers are fast and quite powerful and take decent shots even in low light, especially the main unit. We particularly appreciate the fact that the XZ comes with a physical camera button that can be used to snap pictures without needing to touch the screen.
All in all, the XZ turned in a great performance and we feel that Sony’s come up with quite a winner.
The bottom line
If you’re in the market for a premium smartphone but want something a little different from the usual iPhone or Galaxy, make a beeline for your local Sony store or retailer and ask to see the Xperia XZ. It’s a stylish high-end phone that takes great pictures and is a really smooth performer that excels no matter what’s asked of it.