Sony Xperia XZ Premium review: The Showstopper

Introduction

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium has a gorgeous 4K display. Better yet, a 4K HDR display! The latest Snapdragon 835 chipset is pulling the strings and delivering lightning-fast LTE while the Adreno 540 is firing up millions of pixels in a heartbeat. With or without the mirror finish, this is one of the classiest designs around and waterproof, too.

A brand-new 19MP main camera does stunning slow-mo videos at 960fps. There is a 13MP autofocus selfie camera, true stereo speakers and one of the best skins around, the minimalist but feature-rich Xperia launcher.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium review

All that sounds great but we can’t miss the fact that while others stretched their screens as much as possible – to the point of them literally spilling over the bezel-less sides – Sony chose to cram extra pixels for a 4K display. While others punched extra holes to fit dual-camera setups, Sony was busy adding an extra memory buffer layer in a high-res sensor for striking slow-mo videos. One thing is clear – Sony is on a different roadmap than everybody else but that doesn’t mean their phone is any worse than the rest. Let’s check out the specs.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium key features

  • Body: Aluminum on top and bottom, curved polycarbonate sides, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, IP68 waterproofing
  • Screen: 5.5″ Triluminos display, 4K resolution (2,160 x 3,840px), HDR video support
  • OS: Android OS v7.1.1 Nougat with the Xperia launcher and Sony multimedia apps
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 835 chipset: octa-core Kryo 280 CPU (4×2.46GHz +4×1.9GHz); Adreno 540 GPU; 4GB of RAM
  • Camera: 19MP Sony IMX400 camera, f/2.0 lens, predictive hybrid laser/phase detection/contrast AF, IR sensor for white balance, LED flash, dedicated hardware shutter key;
  • Video recording: 4K video recording @30fps, 1080p @60fps, 720p @960fps, Steady Shot
  • Selfie: 13MP front-facing autofocus camera with 1080p@30fps video
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot
  • SIM: Single and dual-SIM models (DualSIM uses a hybrid slot shared with the microSD card)
  • Connectivity: 1Gbps LTE; Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo, Bluetooth v5.0; NFC, USB-C port with USB 3.1 support, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Audio: Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic; 24-bit/192kHz Hi-Res audio
  • Battery: 3,230mAh non-removable battery, QuickCharge 3.0 support, Qnovo adaptive charging, Battery Care smart charging
  • Misc: Fingerprint sensor (market dependent), stereo speakers

Main shortcomings

  • Fingerprint recognition not available in the US
  • Defaults to FullHD screen resolution for anything other than native 4K content
  • Battery capacity is not stellar

It’s no secret that only native 4K content can put those eight million pixels to good use, but the good news is that more and more of that content is becoming available.

What’s not available, in the US at least, is fingerprint scanning. No, not even the company flagship is getting away with it, and that’s a spot on Sony’s reputation stateside. There is little anybody can do about it, up to Sony to sort it or move on.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium review

A full disclosure is due: we’ve never been big fans of the Premium moniker ever since the Z5 Premium came about. It’s about as creative and meaningful as Deluxe in a phone’s name (we’re looking at you Asus!) Let’s hope the industry doesn’t get to Executive and Superior somewhere down the line. But we digress.

What we can promise is that we won’t be holding the name against the XZ Premium. What we’re really interested in seeing is whether the phone will make good where it counts.

With that said, the look and feel are a big part of what makes or breaks the smartphone user experience and we are ready to get on with the physical. We hope you are too. Let’s go.


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