Sony Xperia XZ | Review
Sony followed a slightly different strategy in 2016 than in previous years, and it seems like they will follow the same strategy in 2017 as well. In the second half of 2016, the company introduced the Xperia XZ, which is based on Android phones that are released around the mid-segment, where the first half of the year is headed by the Xperia X. This Android phone, which the company started to sell in the end of the last year, seems to be under the level of the flagship phones of its competitors such as LG and Samsung in terms of technical features, but it is able to make the upper class feel more like an Android phone.
It can be said that the Xperia XZ is a device that the design lines of the recently created Xperia Z and the newly created Xperia X meet. The first members of the Z series were rectangular-shaped, looking very stylish, but when handled, they felt a little big and thick. Later on, the Xperia Z3, Z5, and more appealing phones have been designed with a slightly softened design. With the Xperia XZ, steps are being taken towards elegance and softness. This time the back of the phone is made entirely of metal, the sides are covered with plastic and the front is covered with a 2.5D curved glass. These three materials meet very smoothly and seamlessly, which gives the phone a sense of solidity.
On the Xperia Z3 and Z5, the back of the phones was covered with glass just as the front panel. This, in turn, increased the risk of loss when holding it. The use of metal makes design a little more practical, making the phone a little easier to use. In addition, the sides of the phone are also slightly curved, making the grip of the phone more comfortable.
The thickness of the frame surrounding the long sides of the 5.2-inch screen on the front of the Xperia XZ is quite low. Add this factor so that the screen size is relatively low. As a result, the ergonomic coefficient of the phone is increasing. There are also front-facing stereo speakers at the top and bottom of the screen. In the upper section we see a 13 Megapixel camera. At the lower edge is a USB-C port and microphone. When we look at the right-hand side, we see the keypad sequence that we have used to from Sony’s earlier phones, which is not very practical. When we line up from the bottom, there are camera, audio and power buttons. Fingerprint reader integrated into the power button. The fingerprint reader works very fast and it is very practical to use the phone while holding it. Nevertheless, we must say that the fingerprint reader does not provide the convenience of a phone such as the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7.
On the right side of the phone is a tray that houses both nanoSIM and microSD card slots. It is nice that there is no need for a pointed tool to remove this tray from its place. However, when you make a SIM or memory card change, you should make sure that you close the cover tightly as they are fully seated in the tray. Because the Sony Xperia XZ is also a phone that is durable and succulent. The phone’s strength is documented with IP68 certification. So this phone can work for half an hour in the water at a depth of 1 meter. The Xperia XZ looks ideal for taking pictures of pools or underwater or videos. You can, however, use it under heavy rain and continue to use it without worrying about the pouring fluid. If you do not place the SIM card tray well, it may be the case that the phone is getting water.
When we look at the back of the Xperia XZ, we see a 23 megapixel camera in the upper left corner and an LED flash, laser auto focus sensor and RGB sensor just below it. We will discuss these in more detail in the camera section. The Xperia logo is another noteworthy feature. Meanwhile, the back of the phone was made of metal, so it carried the Sony NFC receiver in front of the phone, to the left of the handset speaker. The battery is also fixed because the phone has no parts to take out.
Sony is very experienced in producing LCD screens with vibrant colors and this experience is also on the Xperia XZ. The phone’s screen shows both the user interface items and the captured photos and videos as well as the viewing videos from apps like YouTube or Netflix in a vibrant and sharp manner. Moreover, thanks to the X-Reality Engine technology that Sony offers, it also contributes to making photos and videos look more vivid and realistic. With the color and white balance settings available within the display settings, you can capture the most appropriate display setting for your visual pleasure.
Apart from a vibrant, bright and clear display, Sony has thought that a very large, high-resolution display is not required for the Xperia XZ. The screen, which is 5.2 inches in size, suffices with 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution instead of Quad HD. When we consider the size of the screen, we can easily say that 1080p is enough. The viewing angle of the screen is also quite good.
The Sony Xperia XZ has a Snapdragon 820 processor. Qualcomm was doing well in 2016 in general, which we can characterize as dedicated to special Android phones. Despite being quad-core, Kyro cores do their job well in terms of both power and efficiency. Two of the cores have 2.15 GHz, others have core frequencies of 1.6 GHz. Some high-performance jobs, others low-density, optimized for daily work.
The Xperia XZ generally offers good performance. It offers smooth navigation in the user interface, fast and effortless web browsing, and high-resolution video playback without plug-ins. Even in high-profile gaming, the Xperia XZ provides exceptionally smooth and high-quality performance. Sometimes we observe that the back of the phone warms up quickly in the area where the processor is, but we have not had any complaints about warming up. 3 GB of RAM is more than enough for this phone, and it ensures optimal monitoring of multitasking performance. 32 GB of internal memory also meets the needs in general.
We can say that the 2900 mAh battery in the Sony Xperia XZ is enough for a phone in these sizes. Sony has a working life of up to 2 days and is available within this phone, and it is possible to get close to this with average intensity usage in general. In a usage scenario where you have more intense work, such as playing games or watching videos on YouTube, browsing the Internet, taking photos or video, the morning will be a day away with ease.
Sony’s Stamina and Ultra Stamina modes are still available. When the battery is low, you can use one of these two modes to use the remaining battery more sparingly. In particular, Ultra Stamina mode allows the phone to access basic functions such as phone, music player, camera and to some settings such as turning off the mobile data and Wi-Fi completely and turn it into an ordinary mobile phone.
The Xperia XZ is charged via USB-C port. Despite Snapdragon 820 processor hosting, Qualcomm does not have Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging technology. However, there is intelligent charging technology that is named by Sony’s Qnovo. In this case, the battery is protected during charging, which means that a healthy battery can provide for a longer time to fill and use at a higher capacity.
We also see the similarity of the Xperia X front-facing dual-speaker housing in the Xperia XZ. This way the layout makes the stereo effect more felt when using the phone. The sound quality of the speakers is also not bad. There is a volume above the smartphone standards. It should be noted, however, that the volume is not on the same level as other dual-speaker phones like the iPhone 7.
The Sony Xperia XZ was installed with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. However, in December, Android 7.0 was released. As a result, Xperia XZ owners have had the opportunity to meet the latest innovations on Android. In fact, even with Marshmallow loaded, the Xperia XZ provided a very smooth and useful experience. Simplified yet known from Xperia X, the Xperia interface makes it easy to use a customized user interface device that has not lost its roots. The Xperia XZ also includes custom wallpapers for Xperia, themes for using different color groups, custom application icons and a custom application search screen for quick access to loaded applications.
With the advent of Nougat, innovations such as using two applications in split windows, blocking notifications and getting messages through direct notifications, and taking quick action through notifications can also be experienced by Xperia XZ owners. Exiting applications from the multitasking screen is also more practical with the Nougat update. Also, as a Nougat innovation, it is possible to toggle between the last two applications by double clicking on the square strike multiple times.
Apart from that, Lifelog, Movie Creator, Drawing, Xperia Lounge and AVG Protection, which Sony has installed in previous phones, also come installed in Xperia XZ. Include applications like Google’s Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and so on. Moreover, thanks to the application advice added to the application search screen mentioned above, you can easily find different applications and games that you can download to Xperia XZ. Those apps are not bad, but honestly, most of the people will not use them, so we don’t necessarily happy to have many applications from Sony on the phone.
The Sony Xperia XZ also has a 23 megapixel rear camera. However, Sony underlines that this is a brand new camera. With 24 mm, f / 2.0 lens, this camera is rich in features and aims to produce a different result from the Sony flagship phone camera, which is somewhat disappointing when it comes to real life performance.
The Xperia XZ also gets support from some helpers for this. The laser focus that we saw for the first time with this phone is added to the hybrid automatic focusing system we have seen before. Thus, Xperia XZ is detecting a bit faster than its predecessors. In addition to this, there is also a prediction-based retention system. This allows the moving objects to be photographed more clearly. The RGB sensor allows the ambient color to be detected and the white balance to be adjusted accordingly. As a result, with the Xperia XZ, the images have really accurate color.
Already the main point of the Xperia XZ’s rear camera makes a difference. The photos taken with XZ are exceedingly pleasing in terms of color fidelity and accuracy. Whether you’re looking at the phone’s vibrant color screen or looking at your TV or computer screen, the vibrancy of your photos will impress you. We can also say that in night shots, the image quality is slightly improved and the noise effect is reduced.
Other than that, shoot at night or daytime, when you zoom in on photos taken with XZ, you will notice a decrease in detail. Sony is playing too much on software with photos to get sharp pictures. This causes the loss of details of the photographs. A photo you take with the phone can be quite sharp in normal view, but as you zoom in you will notice that the boundaries of the objects are quite blurry and the details are lost.
The rear camera of the XZ does not have an optical image stabilizer. However, with the software-based technology SteadyShot, Sony is moving to reduce vibration. It can not be said that this has failed, but it is also necessary to admit that the results lie behind OIS-featured cameras.
The camera application is the standard one we’ve seen on Sony Xperia phones, which has been around for over a year. On the right is the photo and video capture buttons, while on the left side there is a mode change button we find difficult to use. With Super auto mode, where all settings are automatically made according to ambient conditions, you can get 16: 9 photos at 8 megapixel resolution. You must switch to Manual mode for full resolution and different aspect ratios. From here you can also adjust the settings like white balance, exposure compensation. Camera apps are still available and you have access to tools that will help you enjoy fun things.
There is also a 4K video between these camera applications. Sony continues to offer this feature as a standalone feature. Can not focus or capture still image during 4K capture. Video mode defaults to a maximum of 1080p. Optionally you can use 30 fps or 60 fps. The video footage is generally good, and the electronic image stabilization system does a good job of balancing. The sound of the environment is also good, but when shooting in a windy environment, the sound of humming sounds a lot.
At the front is a self-image camera with a resolution of 13 megapixels. In this respect, it succeeds in being a rival to the phones that Chinese telephone manufacturers export. The front camera does its job well, allowing selfie photographs to be taken with very high detail, bright and vibrant colors. There is also a hand-held shooting mode. In this way, you can have your hand triggered the shutter from a distance after fixing the phone once. Full HD video shooting can also be done with the front camera.
The Sony Xperia XZ is a surprising move when considering the Japanese company’s smartphone strategy last year. Sony prefers to focus on qualifications rather than competing on a quantity basis with competitors. We can easily say that the Xperia XZ is satisfactory in terms of design, material quality, display, software, performance, battery, and so on. On the camera side, however, it is important to note that important steps have been taken compared to earlier Sony Xperia phones. If we consider that today’s photos are mostly shared in media such as Facebook, Twitter, or stored in cloud storage areas, and if they are often viewed in full view and not zoomed in, there is not much that matters in the Camera section. We can say that cameras will satisfy Xperia XZ owners as well.
In terms of price, the Xperia XZ is not far behind the flagships of Samsung, LG and HTC. But for those who do not want to spend unnecessary time and who want a top-of-the-line Android phone, the Xperia XZ can be a reasonable choice.
Score | 9.2
- 5.2 inch TRILUMINOS Display
- 1920 × 1080 pixels
- 424 ppi
- Android 6.0
- 64 bit, Snapdragon 820
- 3 GB RAM
- 32 GB internal storage
- microSD card (up to 256 GB)
- 23 MP, Triple image detection technology
- 13 MP front camera
- 4K video recording
- Bluetooth 4.2
- USB Type C
- Wi-Fi Direct
- DLNA Certified
- 2.900 mAh
Dimensions / Weight
- 146 x 72 x 8.1 mm
- 161 g
- $ 699.99
Why & why not?
Why: Elegant design, smart battery use, precise fingerprint reader
Why not: Camera could be better