Sony Xpe­ria XZ

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An­nounced dur­ing IFA 2016 in Berlin, Sony’s Xpe­ria XZ is the lat­est flag­ship smart­phone to en­ter the 2016 mar­ket, boast­ing im­pres­sive tech, es­pe­cially in the cam­era depart­ment. We’ve spent some time with the de­vice and here’s what we thought of it.


Sony has an­nounced that the flag­ship smart­phone would be avail­able in early Oc­to­ber, al­though an

ex­act re­lease date is still un­known. It’s a sim­i­lar story with the UK pric­ing too, as Sony is stay­ing tight-lipped on the price tag of the Xpe­ria XZ, how­ever we feel that it’ll cost some­where be­tween £500 and £600 SIM-free once it launches.


The Sony Xpe­ria XZ is a nice-look­ing smart­phone, if a lit­tle unin­spired – all Sony smart­phones seem to fol­low a sim­i­lar an­gu­lar de­sign aes­thetic, which is great if you like the de­sign, but bad if you’re not a fan. The XZ houses a 5.2in dis­play en­cased in a metal body which is no­tably curvier than with pre­vi­ous Xpe­ria smart­phones. Sony calls this Loop Sur­face, and is de­signed to make the phone ap­pear seam­less whilst mak­ing it more com­fort­able to hold at the same time, which is some­thing we can at­test to af­ter spend­ing some time with the flag­ship.

The rear of the Xpe­ria XZ is made from a high pu­rity ‘al­ka­leido’ metal, which pro­vides the smart­phone with a rather unique and shiny fin­ish. While the shim­mer is gen­er­ally un­der­stated, when the back catches the light it lights up with a gor­geous hue, and we’re a fan of all three vari­ants – For­est Blue, Min­eral Black and Plat­inum, with For­est Blue win­ning our top pick. It’s nice to see a com­pany veer away from the stan­dard sil­ver, grey and gold vari­ants.

The Xpe­ria XZ is also de­signed to be water re­sis­tant, which we must stress is dif­fer­ent to wa­ter­proof. While the XZ should sur­vive a stint in the rain or a splash of water, it won’t sur­vive be­ing sub­merged like other Xpe­ria smart­phones can.


Sony’s lat­est flag­ship smart­phone fea­tures a 5.2in Full HD (1920x1080) tri­lu­mi­nous dis­play with dy­namic con­trast en­hance­ment for a dis­play that we found to be ex­tremely bright, crisp and vi­brant, al­though we’re yet to put a num­ber on the bright­ness of the dis­play. Colours dis­played were vivid, but due to poor in­ter­net at IFA 2016, we were un­able to stream any YouTube videos to re­ally gauge how it per­forms.

Un­der the hood of the Xpe­ria XZ, users will find a Snap­dragon 820 64-bit quad-core pro­ces­sor cou­pled with 3GB of RAM, which is fairly stan­dard for a 2016 flag­ship smart­phone. We found it to be ex­tremely re­spon­sive, even when tak­ing pho­tos - go­ing from standby to cap­tur­ing a photo on the Xpe­ria XZ took around a sec­ond in our ex­pe­ri­ence, and we’d love to prop­erly time it to see how it per­forms. The pow­er­ful pro­ces­sor is ev­i­dent in all ar­eas of the Xpe­ria XZ which didn’t freeze or lag once dur­ing our time with it.

Along with the 64-bit pro­ces­sor and 3GB of RAM, users will find a base stor­age of 32GB. How­ever, if 32GB isn’t enough for all your mo­bile needs (and to be hon­est, with the XZ cam­era we wouldn’t be sur­prised) you’ll be happy to know that you can ex­tend the stor­age by a whop­ping 256GB via the in­cluded mi­croSD card slot.

The Xpe­ria XZ has a rear-fac­ing 23Mp cam­era with triple im­age sens­ing tech­nol­ogy. This is com­prised of three sen­sors – an imag­ing sen­sor for move­ment, a laser aut­o­fo­cus sen­sor for mea­sur­ing dis­tance and an RGBC-IR sen­sor for ac­cu­rate colour re­pro­duc­tion. These sen­sors help to take ac­cu­rate, in-fo­cus shots ex­tremely quickly, which we can vouch for dur­ing our time with the smart­phone.

The front-fac­ing 13Mp cam­era isn’t to be sniffed at ei­ther, and is im­proved by fea­tur­ing a wide-an­gle lens for more im­pres­sive self­ies.

How­ever, it isn’t with­out its flaws, as we found out. While the cam­era takes pho­tos ex­tremely quickly and these are gen­er­ally crisp, zoom­ing into pho­tos re­veals slightly over-the-top noise re­duc­tion, mak­ing the pho­tos ap­pear slightly soft and blurry. While it’s not the only smart­phone that is guilty of this, we’d ex­pect some­thing a lit­tle more im­pres­sive from a com­pany like Sony.

With all that tech un­der the bon­net, the Xpe­ria XZ needs a de­cent bat­tery to power it – and we think it does. The Xpe­ria XZ fea­tures a 2900mAh bat­tery with Qnovo Adap­tive Charg­ing tech­nol­ogy, which Sony claims will help to ex­tend the bat­tery life of the smart­phone, al­though we can’t com­ment on bat­tery life just yet. The im­pres­sively-sized bat­tery also fea­tures Quick Charg­ing tech to make recharg­ing a speed­ier process, al­though we’re yet to con­firm which type of Quick Charg­ing tech­nol­ogy has been utilised.


In terms of soft­ware, the Sony Xpe­ria XZ runs An­droid 6.0 Marsh­mal­low. While we ex­pect the XZ

to get the lat­est An­droid up­date at some point in the fu­ture, we can’t say for sure.

While An­droid N may be miss­ing-in-ac­tion, the smart­phone does fea­ture Xpe­ria XZ in­tel­li­gence which Sony claims learns your habits and gets smarter as you use it, al­though the com­pany has yet to of­fer an ex­act ex­pla­na­tion on how this will im­prove your smart­phone ex­pe­ri­ence.


Sony’s Xpe­ria XZ is an in­ter­est­ing flag­ship be­cause it has bro­ken away from the norm with re­gards to its de­sign and colour op­tions. In­stead of opt­ing for a curved de­vice, Sony has stuck to its an­gu­lar de­sign and pro­duced some­thing that feels great in the hand, and looks like a premium flag­ship smart­phone with its gor­geous, shim­mer­ing fin­ish. The 23Mp rear-fac­ing cam­era boasts im­pres­sive tech­nol­ogy, but slightly ag­gres­sive noise can­cel­la­tion let’s it down a bit. Lewis Painter

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