The whole pic­ture

Financial Mail - - PATTERN RECOGNITION - Kate Fer­reira

The re­lent­less stream of smart­phone re­leases and up­dates con­tin­ues un­abated. The lat­est Sony flag­ship to ar­rive on our shores is the Xpe­ria XZ Pre­mium. The de­vice was named best new smart­phone at the Mo­bile World Congress 2017. So, what does it of­fer to have earned the ti­tle?

As a phys­i­cal hand­set, it’s in keep­ing with the gen­eral look of the pre­vi­ous Xpe­ria mod­els: bold and large, with squared-off cor­ners. It’s com­fort­able to hold with a one-hand grip, though it’s a bit slip­pery, given its high-gloss, glass fin­ish. As al­ways, we highly rec­om­mend get­ting a cover on the de­vice — this will give you more grip and pro­tect it (some­what) from in­evitable drops.

The de­sign is strik­ing but, ar­guably, di­vi­sive — you’re ei­ther go­ing to love it or loathe it.

The Xpe­ria XZ Pre­mium screen is 5.5 inches, with a 4K res­o­lu­tion (2,160 x 3,840) that makes a strong first im­pres­sion. For Sony, this is brand as­so­ci­a­tion at play — it uses its Bravia TV tech to put an “im­mer­sive 4K [high dy­namic range] ex­pe­ri­ence in the palm of your hand”. Brand-build­ing aside, it re­ally de­liv­ers on clar­ity and depth of colour.

Sur­pris­ingly, given this screen, the bat­tery life is also out­stand­ing. It charges quickly, and holds power well on standby. In typ­i­cal use, it lasted the re­viewer well into the sec­ond day.

The de­vice uses a Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor and 4 GB of RAM that make for a swift and smooth ex­pe­ri­ence, even while gam­ing. It of­fers 64 GB stor­age that can be boosted with a mi­crosd card.

The XZ Pre­mium is a high-spec­i­fi­ca­tion de­vice, sure, but the real talk­ing point is the ca­pa­bil­ity of the cam­era, and specif­i­cally its cat­e­go­rylead­ing 960 frame/sec­ond slow­mo­tion video mode. If this kind of fea­ture ex­cites you, have a look at some of the cre­ative slow-mo­tion videos be­ing cre­ated by XZ Pre­mium users on Youtube.

An­other crowd­pleaser for a younger au­di­ence is the aug­mented re­al­ity app, which lets you “in­sert” di­nosaurs and the like into images and videos.

The retail price for this de­vice starts at a hefty R15,039 — putting it roughly in the range of top-end Sam­sungs, iphones and Huawei de­vices. So even with all its cam­era tricks and bells and whis­tles, the XZ Pre­mium has stiff com­pe­ti­tion to over­come.

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