Sony Xperia XZ
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Sony Xperia XZ Review
The Xperia lineup of smartphones from Sony never really managed to carve a niche for itself. With the slew of Chinese smartphone makers creating a huge impact, Sony was never able to create a compelling device at a realistic price tag. They are hoping to change things up in 2016 with the release of two new smartphones, the Xperia XZ and the Xperia X Compact. It is natural from the naming scheme that the Xperia XZ is the superior smartphone of the two. In this in-depth review of the Xperia XZ, we’ll be looking at everything that needs to be looked at.
Design and Build Quality
Sony has always maintained a signature design on their Xperia devices, except for the budget range of smartphones. The Xperia XZ carries over the same design, but with a few desirable changes that make it different. It is still a rectangular slab, which will instantly let you know that it is an Xperia. It uses a new ‘Loop Design’, which is basically making use of glass, metal, and plastic while making them all blend seamlessly. The rear side is metal while the front is glass. Since antenna lines cannot be placed on metal, they’ve been moved to the top and bottom, which is plastic.
The design approach is similar to the previous Xperia devices but has some new elements.
The phone is extremely sturdy and the smaller 5.2-inch display makes it easier to handle. It is also IP68 rated, so the occasional splash will not be a problem. The design is really soothing to the eye and the minimalistic approach is just beautiful. The right side of the Xperia XZ might seem a bit cluttered to some, due to the placement of power button, volume rocker, and the dedicated camera button.
Hardware and Performance
The Sony Xperia XZ is a flagship and the specifications are nothing short of what a flagship should have. Under the hood is the critically acclaimed Snapdragon 820 from Qualcomm with the Adreno 530 GPU. The amount of RAM is a tad on the lower side at 3GB, considering most of the other flagships come with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM. There are two variants with 32GB and 64GB of expandable storage.
Handling the phone with one hand is easy thanks to the smaller 5.2-inch display.
Coming to the performance, the Xperia XZ will handle most of the things that you throw at it. Thanks to the optimization, 3GB of RAM was quite sufficient for a lag-free experience. The phone comes with Android Marshmallow out of the box with their custom skin atop it. Overall, the experience is quite close to stock Android and a lot of stuff has been scaled back to keep it smooth. The icons are all new and there is also a brand new theme engine. There seems to be a few extra bloatware that comes preinstalled with the Xperia XZ. This should’ve been avoided to keep the whole UI uncluttered.
Sony is well known for their Bravia range of televisions and the Xperia XZ uses the same engine as on a Bravia TV. The 5.2-inch full HD Triluminous display uses the acclaimed X-Reality engine to give users a very engaging multimedia experience. There are front-facing stereo speakers and a headphone jack that supports hi-res audio. But the speakers lack punch and are not comparable to the ones found on the HTC One phones with BoomSound and the Nexus 6P.
Almost all the smartphones use sensors that are made by Sony for their camera. When it came to using their own sensors for their smartphones, they never found the right combination. But that is not the case with the Xperia XZ. The rear camera on the XZ is a 23-megapixel IMX300 sensor from Sony. It is the same sensor used on the Xperia X Compact as well. It can capture 4K videos at 30 frames per second. The USP of the camera is that it uses a trio of autofocusing methods. It uses contrast autofocus, laser autofocus as well as phase detection autofocus.
The camera uses a 5-axis image stabilization for the perfect shot every time.
This hybrid autofocus system can be extremely helpful and it tracks objects that are moving with considerable speed, with ease. Photos of moving subjects come out with really well too. Another great feature is the inclusion of 5-axis image stabilization. This is purely electronic and it doesn’t have a physical image stabilization system. While shooting videos, only three axes are used for stabilization.
The images shot with the Xperia XZ are good with ample amount of details and natural colors. Images shot in low light are good, but the images tend to be a bit overexposed. This is not a matter of concern for those doing it occasionally. The front facing camera is a 13MP sensor and it is amazing. This phone is a must-have for those selfie-centric people as it captures gorgeous selfies with perfect detail and color.
On paper, the Sony Xperia XZ has a really small battery. While competitors are bumping up their battery capacities to 4,000mAh and more, Sony has decided to go with a 2,900mAh battery. While this is definitely on the lower side, it easily lasts for a day. But don’t expect anything more than one day as that is nearly impossible. The optimization of the UI and the scaled down version of Android makes the Xperia XZ use the battery scarcely. It also has QuickCharge 3.0, which will give you the much-needed juice, if you forget to charge your phone.
Sony has come back with a bang in 2016. Both the Xperia XZ and the Xperia X Compact have been received well. The Xperia XZ is a great smartphone that has all the features that a flagship of 2016 should possess. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the power button, but sadly, the US version doesn’t include this. It would’ve been great to see a larger battery and a bump in the memory, but the optimizations have made it sufficient. The display and the camera are just mesmerizing and they’ve managed to make it count where it matters.
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- The Sony Xperia XZ is manufactured by Sony and was added in September 2016 in the Smartphones section
- This product has a rating of 4.0 out of 5
- The best price of the Sony Xperia XZ in Canada is $699.99 at Amazon Canada
- In Canada this product is available in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa-Gatineau
- You can find this product at Amazon Canada