Sony Xperia XZ
£TBC • sony.co.uk
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