After a few lackluster Xperia devices on the market, we reviewed like the Sony Xperia X, Sony’s latest Xperia XZ Premium is the company’s new flagship device. With a 4K display, one of the best slow motion cameras on the market, and an overall improvement on the device’s design and features, we have to say that the Xperia XZ Premium is the best Xperia phone ever created.
There is much more going on behind the scenes in the Xperia XZ Premium. The smart battery keeps things safe when charging the device at night which causes the battery to stop charging in the middle of the night and start again closer to the time you wake up. This will prolong your battery life with the device over the years. Then we also have the new improved Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU which is the first ever gigabit-per-second chip found in a smartphone. This means that the Xperia XZ Premium can handle every task, stay cool, and perform at its best throughout the day. But will all this power, how does the device stand up to a review?
Unfortunately, there is nothing groundbreaking about the Xperia XZ’s design. Sure it feels like a great device in your hands with its solid finish, glass back and rounded sides, but it is way too familiar for us to praise it for anything new. After a few hours with the Xperia XZ Premium, we began to realise that behind all the shimmer on the device is just a plastic shell. Sony hides this very well with its glass coating and metal edges, but its overall feel leaves a little to be desired when comparing it to other devices on the market.
Its glass back and sleek design makes it very slippery too with it sliding off pillows, the arms of chairs, and often we felt that we did not have enough hold on it in our hands even. Other than that, the Xperia XZ Premium bares the same design appeal as past Xperia devices. The Gorilla Glass stretches to the outer rim of the phone, and the fingerprint sensor is nicely placed in reach of your thumb.
It is 2017 and most phones have fingerprint scanners these days. That is to say that the Xperia XZ’s is fast and makes it easy to unlock the device. The Xperia XZ Premium has also opted for a USB-C port instead of the micro USB. This again is something we will see more of in the coming years. It has an IP68 rating which means it’s water and dust resistant, but don’t go swimming with it as “resistant” is not waterproof.
Last but not least we have the microSD flap which Sony has still not gotten right. This flimsy piece of plastic is a mission to remove in order to change the sim card and requires you to dig a nail into the side of the device to pull it out. We have been facing this issue with Xperia devices for years now and we just can’t wrap our heads around why it is still a thing.
It is not the first time Sony has put a 4K display into their flagship device. The Xperia Z5 Premium was also 4K, but it suffered from a terrible battery life. The XZ Premium uses a 4K Bravia Engine display and it shows. This boasts a 3840×2160 resolution which at 5.46 inches gives you an 807ppi. This sort of clarity and refinement has never been seen before on a mobile device and beats everything that has come before it.
Sony has also changed the way the device handles its 4K. Instead of only using 4K when watching movies which was the case on the Z5 Premium, the XZ Premium is 4K all the time. This means that no matter the game, app or content you are watching, it will be in glorious 4K. The way the Bravia Engine handles the 4K is another fantastic feat. Vibrant colours, crisp lines, and of course the fantastic backlit display pushes it all to you brighter than ever.
With it being a 4K display you would think that it would have issues with the battery. That is not a problem with the XZ Premium, and it took us by surprise. With its powerful display, we got one of the best battery performances from a smart phone in ages. Almost a day and a half with heavy use. The fact that the device has 4GB of RAM also helps by making every task we threw at it run like a dream. Multitasking was a breeze, and the overall UI navigation was simply flawless.
The device features a quick charge system which rapidly charged the phone for a few hours of use with just a few minutes of charge. It was all too impressive. Its 3230mAh battery might not be the biggest on the market, but the way the device’s CPU handles itself has been perfected to have the best battery life for your buck. There are also a handful of great power saving options on the device which are great to use to extend this even further. In general, the performance of the Xperia XZ Premium, coupled with the battery life, went beyond our expectations.
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium has a stunning camera. Its 19MP back camera has all the bells and whistles you will need on a smartphone. HDR, face detection, EIS, laser autofocus and more. It does “normal camera on a smartphone” like nothing before, but its selling point is in its stunning 960fps slo-mo camera. To put it into perspective, the iPhone 7 has a slo-mo camera that goes up to 240fps. The Xperia XZ Premium is four times that. It takes one second of footage and slows it down to 9 seconds.
It is more than just a gimmick, and that is what we loved so much about the device. It is true 960fps slow motion on a smartphone. It is not perfect though. The footage needs some extreme lighting to get the best shot as the camera quality is reduced quite greatly, but overall it is still a fantastic experience.
Apart from the slo-mo, the camera on the Xperia XZ Premium is fantastic and tackles low-lit situations, great selfies, and much more. It is a great camera phone that packs much more than meets the eye.
There is no doubt that the Xperia XZ Premium is one of the best phones Sony has made in years. It feels like Sony finally left the gimmicks and half-hearted 4K attempts at the drawing board. The Xperia XZ Premium is the perfect contender for the best smart phone of the year and we loved our time with it. Considering it is coming into the market at R14 999 is also a great feature compared to other high-end devices in SA.