The Good Sony’s Xperia XZ looks good, it won’t die when you spill it, and its bold screen makes mobile games great.
The Bad Its battery life is not impressive, nor is it a camera. A full HD display is not as high resolution as most of its competitors.
The Bottom Line The Sony Xperia XZ is a decent all-round phone, but it doesn’t rival its main rival, the Galaxy S7. Its high price means the XZ is not a handset.
Sony needs to bring it together. I’ve been browsing his phones for several years now – from top to bottom – and hate the decline of the Xperia family. The hard truth is: she just can’t keep up with her competitors. Take, for example, this “flagship” Xperia XZ. It looks good, the screen is gorgeous, and the Xperia line was waterproof before the IP68 became a glimmer in Samsung’s eyes.
But this is not enough to buy it. It costs a lot: £ 687,540 or $ 999. Google’s Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7 Phones have much better cameras and longer battery life for the same price or less. And their fingerprint readers work around the world – for some reason Sony is crazy about turning it off for the US. Despite the fact that there is nothing seriously wrong with the Xperia XZ, not much to catch my attention, and this is a great contrast even from a year ago when Sony was a brand that was just missing out on just waiting for its time in the sun.
The Xperia XZ is a decent Android phone, but you probably feel more connected to Google Pixel, OnePlus 3 ($ 429 at Walmart) or Galaxy S7. This will do the job; it just won’t dazzle you while it does.
- 161 grams (5.67 ounces)
- 146x72x8.1 mm (5.7×2.8×0.3 inches)
- Fingerprint scanner on the right, but not in the US
- Water resistant
- 32GB internal storage
If you saw last year’s Xperia Z5 ($ 623 on Amazon) , you basically saw the XZ. Just rounded edges make the XZ corner easier to hold and also make it less boxy. The back panel is metal, not glass, and although there is a seam at the bottom that separates it from the plastic strip, it is smooth and holds well.
The changes aren’t huge, and it still carries the uniquely monolithic design of Sony, but the XZ looks and looks more sophisticated, luxurious than its predecessor.
The phone is water and dust resistant (IP68 if you are wondering) but that doesn’t mean you can take it in the pool. The protection he has is designed to protect him from accidental spills of drinks or rain, but this is not an underwater camera. A Sony official council said: “Do not put the device completely under water; do not expose it to seawater, salt water, chlorinated water or liquids such as beverages. Abuse and misuse of the device will void the warranty.” Yikes.
On the right is a fingerprint scanner built into the power button. Its position means that the scanner is directly under the thumb when holding it in the right hand, or under the index finger when holding it in the left. I registered my fingerprint quickly and I found it quick and accurate in giving access.
Those of you in the US should note that the fingerprint scanner is disabled in the model for sale there. In America, it’s just a dumb power button. This is an unusual step, and it takes the XZ a step against competitors like the Galaxy S7, which have scanners built in wherever you buy them.
The standard comes with 32GB of internal storage, but you can insert a microSD card to extend it to heart content. The XZ uses the new USB Type-C, so get ready to replace your old Micro-USB cables.
- 5.2 inches
- Full HD (1,920×1,080 pixels resolution)
Colors do appear on this screen, which makes it a good option if you enjoy playing bright games like Candy Crush or watching colorful TV shows like Power Rangers. Although maybe it’s just me.
It is also a bright screen that easily counteracts the current lights at CNET’s London office and is easily readable under the gray autumn clouds of the UK. What the price goes under in the midday summer sun is yet to be seen, but I am comfortable to say that it will be at least as good as most of its main competitors.
It has full resolution (1,920×1,080-pixels), which is enough to make programs and games look crisp, but it’s not as high as one would expect from a top-class flagship. Phones such as Galaxy S7, LG G5 ($ 100 on Amazon) and HTC 10 ($ 190 on Amazon) all ultra-high resolution displays, so the XZ feels like it’s not here for long. It won’t make much difference for everyday use, but if you want to use a phone with a VR headset – where the phone is displayed close to your eyes – a lower resolution will be noticeable.
Android Marshmallow, with add-ons
- Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Software
- Sony User Interface
- Too much preinstalled software
- 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
- 3GB RAM
The phone comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow on board, which is not the absolute latest version – this honor belongs to Android Nougat – but it is the latest version you will find on most phones at the moment. Sony has confirmed that the XZ will receive an update but has not yet set a reliable date.
Sony has put its own user interface at the top, which doesn’t make too many changes to the Android experience you know and love. Android beginners and experts will still not try to cope with this. Even more annoying, but the constant insistence on Sony to boot up the phone with the preinstalled software.
Along with the company’s PlayStation app, the Xperia Lounge app and something called “What’s New,” it all just seems to direct you to curated content – you’ll also find the Amazon Shopping app, the AVG antivirus, and the Kobo eBook. Disappointing applications can only shut down applications and not completely delete them, so although you can hide them from viewing, system files will still take up space on your phone. It is worth spending some time cleaning up all the unwanted software before you start downloading your own.
It runs on a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor backed by 3GB of RAM, making things really clear. Navigating through the interface is audible, applications are fast to download, and editing your photos in Snapseed is a nice thing. Games like Asphalt 8 do a good job too. You can throw it on your phone to slow it down.
Camera is possible, but great software
- 23MP rear camera
- Scene modes
- 13MP front camera
The back of the XZ has a 23-megapixel camera that can take some decent shots. Colors are decent, though not overwhelming, and this gives you good overall exposure when shooting automatically. The high resolution of the sensor means that when zooming in, there is still detail, although the small details – grass, brickwork, etc. – look a bit hazy due to the heavy processing of the images on the camera.
The 13-megapixel front-facing camera has a wide-angle lens that can kill more friends in your photo without using a selfie stick. The images are bright, crisp, and not too much in low light. This is good because it can’t use the screen as flash as it can on an iPhone.
The main issue I have with the camera is the interface. High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode, which is only using the iPhone and Galaxy S7, is only available in manual mode on the XZ, and even then you need to dive into the settings menu to find it. There are a number of scene modes, such as landscape or night scene, but you cannot use them when shooting at full resolution of 23MP.
It’s also tricky to switch between shooting modes, and although it will record video in 480 ultra HD resolution, you can’t do it in standard video mode – you have to find your way to the camera app menu and select the 4K video mode highlighted.
This all needs a lot of adjustments. If you’re accustomed to the simplicity of the iPhone with precision and shooting, expect to be disappointed with the XZ.
- 2,900 mAh battery
- Non-removable battery
Sony has installed a 2900 mAh battery in the phone. You can’t take it out, which is the standard standard for most phones today, so I can’t be too annoyed with it. What does not disappoint me, however, is the battery performance. In our phone passing tests, the phone averaged about 9 hours per charge, well below the 16 hours achieved by the Galaxy S7.
As with all phones, your own battery life will depend on how you use it. This bright screen is the most energy consuming, of course, so reducing the brightness will help and keep difficult tasks, such as games or video streaming, until you get home near the plug. With careful use, you don’t have to struggle too hard to get a day of using your phone, but it is definitely one that you will need to charge every night.
Should I buy it?
Sony Xperia XZ is a good phone. I like its design, it has a power reserve, and the screen is great for colorful games. Waterproof housing will save it from premature watery death, which is soothing given the high cost. This is the best phone Sony has made to date.
But the phone arena has never been more violent, and the Xperia XZ just doesn’t hurt its competitors. Samsung Galaxy S7 ($ 318 on Amazon) The XZ coolly beat with a higher resolution screen, better battery life and a much better camera.
When you can pick up the S7 on Amazon for less than the XZ, the numbers are right for you: it’s still the S7.