Sony launched its latest entrant in the Xperia X series, the XZ, at IFA 2016. One look at the design, build quality, specs and price range, and you will realise it’s meant to be positioned at higher end of the spectrum. The Xperia XZ is the company’s new flagship smartphone and it features Sony’s new Triple Image Sensing technology that, the company claims, helps capture blur-free photos even with subjects in motion.
The phone also features SteadyShot, which lets you shoot smoother videos, even when walking or capturing extreme close-ups, through its 5-Axis video stabilization feature. Having said all of that, it’s a no-brainer that Sony’s focus on the Xperia XZ is positioning the device as an imaging device, first and foremost. The XZ packs in hardware that is largely similar to the X Performance, with some small design tweaks.
As soon as you remove the device out of its packaging, Sony’s design language is immediately apparent. Covered in sleek metal (available in blue, black, and platinum), the Xperia XZ is a traditional rectangular slab that disregards the increasing trend towards curved screens and back panels. That said, the edges of the phone are slightly rounded on the left and right. They conform to your hand and make it easy to grip. The phone measures 5.7-by-2.8-by-0.3 inches (HWD) and weighs in at 161-gms.
The Xperia XZ features a 5.2-inch display that offers a total resolution of 1920-by-1080 pixels. The quality of the display is bright and crisp with great viewing angles and accurate colours. On top of the display, you will find a 13-megapixel front facing camera that features a sensitivity of ISO6400 and a 22mm/90-degree wide angle lens.
On the right edge you’ll find a power button, a volume rocker, and a camera shutter button. On the left edge, you will find the SIM / microSD card clot that can either take in two SIM cards or one SIM card and a micro SD card. According to Sony, the Xperia XZ can take microSD cards up to 256GB. On the top edge, you will find a 3.5mm audio jack, while at the bottom edge you will find a USB-C charging port.
Under the hood, the Sony Xperia XZ runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, comes with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The XZ is also IP68 waterproof, allowing it to withstand submersion in up to six feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
In terms of software, the Xperia XZ runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system with Sony’s lightweight UI layer on top. The company has also promised that the XZ will receive an update for Android 7.0 Nougat in the future.
The Xeperia XZ also comes with a 2900mAh battery under the hood, with features like Stamina mode and Qnovo battery management built-in. Stamina mode tamps down screen brightness and background processes, while Qnovo manages charge cycles and monitors battery health. The phone also supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 to allow for faster charging. In our tests, we were able to clock a little more than a day’s worth of juice on a single charge.
As mentioned earlier, Sony has placed a serious focus on improving picture quality, especially when it comes to low light and motion. To that end, the rear-facing camera is a 23-megapixel sensor, bolstered by “triple image sensing technology.” This means the camera has laser autofocus and a RGB colour sensor, along with Predictive Hybrid autofocus.
These features should help the XZ find focus faster in low-light settings, and better handle video of moving objects. It also supports 5-axis image stabilization to prevent the blur that comes from shaky hands or motion. The front camera has been given a boost as well, as mentioned earlier, boasting a 13-megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens.
The camera app is quick to launch – it includes manual controls, letting you adjust white balance, ISO sensitivity up to ISO 12800, focus, and other settings. Video recording in 4K is supported, but oddly it’s not accessible through the camera app. You have to launch a separate 4K video app to use it.
The quality of images and videos shot using the Sony Xperia XZ were brilliant. While indoor and outdoor shots under good lighting conditions were good, the Xperix XZ’s strength is night shots. We got really good results even without having to use the flash.
The Sony SteadyShot feature came in handy when running around a 3-year old, just to shoot a picture of him riding a cycle. We shot a handful of 4K videos, which looked awesome. Packing in brilliant design and build quality, good amount of features, a fantastic camera, and a price tag of AED 2299, it looks like Sony’s got a winner in its hands with the Xperia XZ.