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Hands-On With The Sony Xperia XZ

In September 2016 Sony released the Xperia XZ, a 5.2″ Full HD smartphone equipped with its highest end 23 Megapixel camera, setting its price point at the flagship end of devices.

The Smartphone

On first glance the Sony Xperia XZ feels like a flagship device, made from high end plastics and metals, covered in a thick layer of Gorilla glass. The entire device is sturdy and has absolutely no flexing what so ever when in use, it’s also practically entirely sealed which helps give it the IP68 rating – dust/water proof over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes. The right side of the device features a satisfyingly large metallic power button, as well as volume rocker and dedicated camera shutter button. The display may be slightly lower resolution than its competitors at only 1080×1920 but with over 400 pixels per inch it’s more than acceptable considering the additional performance and battery life given due to the lower resolution. In terms of battery life, the Sony Xperia features a smallish non removable 2900 mAh battery, keeping the device running for a full day of light use or around 3/4 of a day with a power user. As much as the device may not run a full day with heavy use, it’s become an expectation on modern devices, and the included USB-C type connection at the bottom features Quick Charge 3.0 technology, place your device on a charger for less than an hour and you’ll be back up to 100% battery.

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Performance

The Sony Xperia XZ is one of the fastest devices on the market thanks to its Quad Core Snapdragon 820 Processor and 3GB Ram. This is the same processor found in the LG G5. Single Threaded as well as Multi Threaded performance on the device is top notch and navigating through Android Nougat was butter smooth. Every task from Gaming, Texting, Navigation to Word Processing ran flawlessly with not a single stutter in the entire two weeks I’ve had my hands on it.
The Full Specifications of the Sony Xperia XZ can be seen below

Specifications taken from GSM Arena (http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_xperia_xz-8313.php)
Specifications taken from GSM Arena (http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_xperia_xz-8313.php)

Camera

The XZ features a front facing 13 MP f/2.0 22mm camera for wide angled selfies in low lighting conditions. The Primary Camera on the back is where Sony placed all their efforts into. It’s a 23 Megapixel f/2.0 with Gyro enabled Image Stabilization, Phase Detection and Laser Auto-focus. It’s arguably one of the best cameras on the market and even outperforms entry-level DSLRs as well as most lower end point and shoot cameras. Both front and back facing cameras feature HDR and Sony’s “Superior Auto” mode, which does colour correction and reduces noise as well as blemishes on human skin. It’s a great feature and works really well in practice. I took a photo of some Lego at a recent Lego Worlds event and the primary camera was able to focus in record time, taking a decent shot with really accurate colour representation. There’s a bit less sharpness to this photo in some areas due to the post processing but no noise can be seen.

Photo taken in Superior Auto mode with the 23 MP camera
Photo taken in Superior Auto mode with the 23 MP camera

Video wise, the front facing secondary camera features Full-HD recording, enough for a casual Vlog or Skype session with a friend. The primary camera is capable of shooting video in UHD (3840×2160) at 30 frames per second with image stabilization. This is mainly due to the really large resolution the camera is able to crop from. It’s worth noting that the “4K/UHD” option for the device is an additional free download and isn’t included in the camera settings at first launch, I have no idea why Sony doesn’t just include it but nevertheless it’s easy to just download it.

The Sony Xperia XZ running Android 7.0 Nougat
The Sony Xperia XZ running Android 7.0 Nougat

Verdict

The Sony Xperia XZ is a well rounded flagship device, it features best in class Device and Video Performance housed in a premium water-resistant body. The only drawback to it is the smaller than average capacity battery. It’s a great device for anyone looking for a smaller alternative to an entry level DSLR.

The Sony Xperia XZ currently retails for R10999 at selected stores.

Post Author: Byron Trent

Geek / Gamer / Gadget Enthusiast. Been playing games since the age of 3. Currently CEO of Game Arena (Pty) Ltd. I write bad reviews.