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Sony Xperia XZ Premium review: $799 of lust ... and disappointment

Sony's march of alphabet soup phone names continues on with the Xperia XZ Premium, and as you'd expect from such a name this one's all-out high-end. It has the specs and features to match the flagship competition released in 2017, plus undeniably unique hardware design and a few extra tricks up its sleeve.

And despite Sony's continued floundering in the U.S. high-end market — relying on its mid-rangers to provide any glimmer of hope in sales growth — the Xperia XZ Premium is launching here with an ever-so-Sony price of $799. With a price tag like that, the Sony has to nail everything if it's going to win over buyers who rarely break the $700 point — particularly for a brand they haven't likely bought a phone from in some time.

See how it all comes together in our complete Sony Xperia XZ Premium review.

About this review

I (Andrew Martonik) have been using a U.S. unlocked Xperia XZ Premium for one week in the greater Seattle, WA area on T-Mobile. The phone arrived on Android 7.1.1 (45.0.A.1.219) with the April 1, 2017 security patch and was not updated during the course of review. The phone was provided to Android Central for review by Sony.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Polarizing

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Hardware

Sony's phones really are something else. It has gone well beyond the several iterative takes on "Omni-Balance" to a fresh design that feels new while clearly still having those deep Sony design roots that make it unmistakably a Sony phone. At 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm it's large considering its 5.5-inch display, and at 195g it's downright heavy. For a sense of scale, it's a couple millimeters larger than the HTC U11, and a hair smaller than the LG V20 — that's big.

You don't need to read the dimensions to know it's a big phone.

You didn't need to read the dimensions to know it's big — just look at a photo or pick it up. Sony's longstanding "don't really care about ergonomics" attitude toward design is still here, and that starts with large bezels on both ends of the display and barely-rounded corners. The sides are comfortably curved and the buttons are in just the right places, but the perfectly flat back mixes with the tall frame and heavy weight to give you a phone that's a literal handful.

It's not rational, but I adore the overall design of the Xperia XZ Premium.

But for all of those illogically large dimensions and hand-unfriendly details, I adore the overall design of the Xperia XZ Premium. It's not rational, I know, but Sony's designs are so iconic, so unique that I am just drawn to them. The blocky corners, the symmetry and balance of the design, and the perfect fit-and-finish all appeal to me. It feels perfectly built ... almost hand-made in a way. The heft and feel of the phone absolutely match the price tag. Yes the Gorilla Glass 5 back is "reflective af," as Daniel Bader originally put it back at MWC 2017 (especially the "chrome" model), but it looks great to me — particularly in this handsome "Deepsea Black" color with hints of blue and green in it.

At the same time, I know Sony's designs are also polarizing: I feel like everyone I show a Sony phone to is either enamored with it or appalled. I'm in the former camp, and Sony's mobile designers are obviously proud of what they do — but this doesn't seem to be a design that appeals to a wide enough audience.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Now, the main attraction: that nice 4K resolution 5.5-inch display. It's Sony's second 4K display, but this time around it also includes HDR support — but in general day-to-day use, the important thing is the screen looks great. It still exhibits some of the generic LCD downsides like increased glare in sunlight and less-than-perfect blacks compared to AMOLED, but that aside I'm super happy with its overall tuning. The resolution makes everything look pristine, and the colors, brightness and viewing angles are great as well.

Audio experience

Sony is one of the last manufacturers offering straight-up dual front-facing speakers in what it calls "S-Force Front Surround." The benefits are simple: the speakers are facing toward you, therefore you get a better sound experience. The speakers do indeed sound good, and there's a far lower chance you'll inadvertently block them like bottom-firing speakers, but they don't get quite as loud as I would like — falling beneath the HTC U11's new BoomSound setup. Thankfully the dual openings haven't compromised its waterproof rating, which stands at IP68.

With Sony's heritage in sound quality there's of course a 3.5 mm headphone jack here, too, which sadly is becoming something I actually have to point out in a review as a positive. Sony talks a lot about its audio tuning on its website, including its high-res output, automatic headphone adjustments and compatibility with its Digital Noise Cancelling headphones. But I'm hardly an audiophile — it all sounds just fine to me with any headphones I've plugged in.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Clean and fast

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Software and experience

I quite enjoy Sony's take on Android, mostly because the company seems to be a good steward of Google's vision for the platform and doesn't want to mess about with its underpinnings. In the past couple of generations Sony's software additions have boiled down to a different lock screen, a few icon changes and some pre-installed apps — everything else is pretty much what you get from Google in Android 7.1 Nougat.

Sony's launcher is effectively a lightly themed stock Android launcher, even going so far as to integrate the Google Now feed on the leftmost pane, though it hasn't quite jumped up to speed with the more modern Pixel-style app drawer or long-press shortcuts for apps — I would expect that to come soon enough. Sony subtly themes many of its own apps — contacts, phone, etc. — and also includes a handful of bloat-ish ones — News, AVG protect, Xperia Lounge, etc. — that you can disable or uninstall. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

The place Sony has most substantially changed the phone is in the settings, where it has peppered in quite a few extra options, tweaks and intelligent controls for things like storage, battery and system management. None of it is in your face or gets in your way, though, and this is nowhere near the piles of settings you'd see on a Galaxy S8. It's all thoughtfully sorted and slots right into the typical Android settings framework.

Performance is great, and consistent as well.

The Xperia XZ Premium gives you industry matching specs, with a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It all adds up to superlative performance, which is extra impressive considering that 4K resolution it's pushing around. Much like its software isn't far removed from stock, its performance isn't far off from a Nexus or Pixel.

Everything I did on the phone absolutely flew without any slowdown or hiccup, with great app performance and consistency. Subtle things like touch response and scrolling speed were also spot-on. That's great to see because coming in I was worried that the 4K display resolution was going to be a drain here — but it doesn't seem to be. Now I'm not entirely sure, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if Sony was doing some sort of scaling down to a lower resolution in some instances to both make things look good and keep fluidity up. But for what it's worth, I could never tell when that was happening.

Battery life

Sony continues to emphasize battery life, and with a 3230mAh battery, a power-efficient Snapdragon 835 processor and some optimization the XZ Premium is a great performer. I wasn't worried about my battery running out a single time on the phone, and ranged from ending lazy weekend days with over 50% battery to more hectic weekdays with still 25% left in the tank. That means I never got anywhere near needing the "stamina" mode to extend it artificially, nor did I ever have anxiety about remaining battery in the evening with outings planned for the night.

Sony continues to make battery life a priority — the XZ Premium lasts a long time.

I think the most impressive part about the XZ Premium's battery performance is just how consistent it was throughout the day. There were no deep drop-offs during heavy use — it pretty consistently drained so matter what I did with it. Sony gives you a bit of a humblebrag meter under the battery icon with the notification quick settings expanded that estimates hours of life remaining — it so frequently estimates over 10 hours left, even when at something like 30% battery, that it seems like it's lying ... but it's actually true.

Clever charging technology inside the phone — branded "Qnovo" for whatever reason — also aims to prolong the life of the battery cell inside by keeping the phone from sitting on a charger at 100% overnight. Instead, it watches when you typically charge your phone and keeps it around 90% charge, only to bring it up to 100% before you normally unplug. Little things like that are really nice to see implemented seamlessly and smartly.

That fingerprint sensor situation

Yup, we know Sony still can't sell a phone in the U.S. with a fingerprint sensor. It has to do with some sort of contractual obligation it made (or backed out on) that legally prevents it from shipping the feature. And yes, the Xperia XZ Premium sold everywhere else in the world has a fingerprint sensor built into that side-mounted home button.

It sucks, really bad, to not have such a standard feature on this $799 phone — particularly when you can get it on a $199 phone — but there's nothing Sony can do right now. It's probably a deal breaker for most of us, and it was surely a pain point in reviewing the XZ Premium — more so for securely accessing my password vault and banking apps than necessarily unlocking the phone. We all hope that this ends soon, but right now we're stuck.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Short of flagship quality

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Camera

In 2017, Sony's actually made the decision to lower its camera sensor resolution to 19MP, which has increased pixel size to 1.22-microns for improved low-light performance; the lens remains a relatively standard f/2.0 aperture. Sony continues to go on about its "5 axis" image stabilization, but this is still all-digital stabilization and not hardware-based stabilization (OIS).

Sony has finally got the camera speed up to a flagship level.

This new camera arrangement does have some tricks up its sleeve including a hybrid auto focus system, predictive photo capture and and anti-distortion shutter. They're all focused on trying to capture photos as quickly as possible, but also give you the shot you wanted rather than the exact frame you captured when the shutter was pressed.

Sony has finally, absolutely, consistently figured out the speed aspect of its camera app. The Xperia XZ Premium camera opens in a flash, focuses quickly and captures immediately every single time. It's finally a camera experience that doesn't feel like it's laboring every time you use it, which is something other companies figured out a couple generations ago. The camera app itself is still fine, though not perfect: it still wants to separate functions out oddly into different modes (like 3 shooting modes for different video types, why?), and lock everything down if you shoot in "superior auto" mode, leaving you to go to Manual to tweak something as small as toggling on HDR.

Sony's insistence that its superior auto mode is The Best Thing Ever™ is unfortunately an incorrect assumption. When shooting in this mode, the software is super aggressive about switching into different scenes and swapping around settings ... that feel like they're incorrect for what you're shooting. Far too often the XZ Premium didn't expose properly or didn't apply HDR, leaving you with a dull and uninteresting shot. The biggest issue, though, was edge detection and sharpening: in superior auto, all fine detail is aggressively over-sharpened and ground down to a mush. Photos so often looked unnaturally smooth to a point where it put me off right away.

Shooting in Manual mode, you can get great photos — but Sony still isn't competing enough.

Things are fortunately much better when shooting in manual mode, where the over-sharpening was dramatically reduced. Even when not needing to tweak any settings, I would 100% recommend shooting in manual mode simply to keep the camera from over-thinking (incorrectly) how it processed shots. I took some really good photos with the XZ Premium in manual mode, but even still it had bouts of inconsistency in the way it metered or was able to properly expose for the scene — even HDR couldn't make up for some scenes that were just too dark. Late at night, the lack of OIS combined with the weak processing to result in just decent photos.

The one thing that truly frustrates me about Sony's camera strategy is that it throws so many brands at you — Motion Eye, Exmor RS, G Lens, BIONZ, SteadyShot and probably more — that you're lulled into thinking this must be the best camera ever. But the proof is in the pudding, and Sony's phones still aren't up to speed with what the flagship competition can do — instead, you get a camera befitting a phone that costs $300 less.

Slow motion video

I don't often do breakouts to talk about the video performance of phones unless it really stands out one way or another. With the Xperia XZ Premium, Sony has a really awesome feature it's touting, 960 fps slow-motion video, that I just had to spend time with.

Super-slow-motion is a neat trick, but still requires far too much compromise.

From the start, it's tough to initially figure out how to use the slow-motion mode. We're so used to "typical" slow-motion video at 120 or 240 fps where we just press record after switching into that mode, and it slows it down. With something as high frame rate as 960 fps, you can only record a very short burst (about 0.15 second) that's then slowed down. You can choose to record that second of 960 fps video in the middle of a regular 30 fps video, or on its own with a single tap. Because it's such a short duration, it really takes some practice to nail the moment when you want to capture slow motion.

Then there's the issue of how far the camera has to crop in on the sensor to record the slow motion. It already crops in tightly to shoot 1080p video at 30 fps, then a bit more for 60 fps, and even more for 4K — but it crops in really far to record 960 fps. In order to capture a full scene as you'd expect, you have to take a few full steps back from where you would normally be to take a photo holding your phone. With the lack of OIS on the camera, cropping in this far introduces lots of motion from hand shake as well — you need to steady yourself or use a tripod for great results. Remember you're also only getting 720p output here, so there isn't any wiggle room.

The results are amazing to see out of a phone. So long as you get the hang of recording in order to capture things that are moving fast enough to actually look good in super-slow-motion, it's something you just don't get anywhere else. The issue is the handful of compromises involved with capturing such slow video that make it more of a novelty in the end rather than a truly differentiating feature.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Lust ... and disappointment

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Bottom line

In many ways, I'm a huge fan of the Xperia XZ Premium. It isn't slick, small, light or ergonomic, but it isn't trying to be — Sony's hardware design is unique, beautiful and stands out from every other smartphone available today, and that's why I love it. Beyond the design, the Xperia XZ Premium gets a lot of the flagship features down: a really nice display, fast and consistent performance, and all of the right internal specs. The battery life, which is always a top feature for today's smartphone buyers, is top-of-the-pack.

The issue, as is so often the case with Sony's phones, is twofold: it's too expensive, and there are a couple of head-scratcher shortcomings.

The Xperia XZ Premium is the absolute top-of-the-line smartphone for the company, and therefore has a retail price of $799. Outside of a Galaxy S8+ or iPhone 7 Plus, people just don't often pay that kind of money for a phone. And they particularly don't pay that much for a phone that in the U.S. doesn't have a fingerprint sensor, and still sports a camera that doesn't get anywhere near the competition.

At a lower price, in a market where it's okay to miss a couple of features but still provide a good value in order to sell, that would be manageable. But at $799, people expect to get just about everything — and even though the Xperia XZ Premium gets so close, it's missing just enough that it's instead an exceptionally tough sell in the U.S.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

101 Comments
  • Yeah I can't see the XZP selling well in the US, but I think it will sell more units everywhere else in the world.
    Is it possible to improve Superior Auto mode with software updates?
  • Yes, it can.
  • Of course it could technically improve with future updates. But it was shipped like this ... so you can't bet on a massive improvement later.
  • I bought mine from the UK and use it here in the US on T-Mobile. So I have the finger print sensor. Sorry but this is the phone to beat in 2017, people should watch some real world reviews in action with this beast. Where other flagships out their don't have half of the bells and whistles as this and costs more than this guy. 4k HDR, HD Bluetooth 5.0(not just regular Bluetooth 5.0, Camera is as good as any other out there, fastest phone out there consistently, doesn't get warm , great battery life, front facing dual stereo speakers, the list goes on.
  • I assume the phone is the exact same as the US version but with the fingerprint sensor enabled. Have you found any negatives to using the UK version? Where did you purchase it from? I think I'm going to do the same if there's no downside to it.
  • I have a X Compact from the UK. Got it through Clove. The only difference is the fingerprint scanner works. Although, there is no warranty when you go this route. Sent from my Sony Xperia X Compact
  • I bought mine from https://www.unlocked-mobiles.com/sim-free-mobile-phones/sony-xperia-xz-p...
    Works great. I keep hearing about no warranty but according to the web site there is the standard 1 year manufacturer's warranty. Now of course this will mean shipping it back to the UK if needed but I am fairly certain there is a warranty. This is a GREAT phone...the one to beat today. On top of that the cost shipped from the UK is less than $700.00 US TOTAL. Not to mention the value of any added toys you may get along with it like I did. That brought my potential cost down to less than $600.00 US. Also, the fingerprint sensor works like a charm. When setting up the phone it asks what language you want to use and English US is a choice, as compared to English UK (if you prefer strange spelling for some words.)
  • can i input a sim card to that specific phone you bought? or does it not have remotely a slot for a sim card to be put in?
  • hmmm, not a bad price. is this a dual SIM version?
  • What sort of SOT are you getting from it? Every review I've watched specifically avoids that. I get the "it'll last you all day" thing but I want a more specific measure on people's usage.
  • Does your phone support T-Mobile WiFi calling?
  • I'm not sure what Sony will say officially about advanced calling support, but my model isn't offering Wi-Fi calling w/ my T-Mobile SIM in it.
  • What you're doing is just lying to yourself to try to mask the fact that you wasted tons of money on a phone that, apart from the 4K screen, can't beat a flagship of 2015 let alone 2017.
  • I don't know. I tried the XZs and will try the XZP later. From my time with the XZs, it's actually not bad. I wouldn't mind using one as a daily driver at all, actually. And this is coming from a guy who has been critical of Sony's strategy since the Z3+.
  • I think you'd eventually end up as frustrated as you were before. The phones continue to maintain all the problems that the Z3 already had. They continue to lag behind in key features and although they update the chipsets, you still face problems like the overheating of the camera. To me that tells me Sony isn't going forward at all.
  • I haven't tried the XZP, so I can't say for sure. I did have a good experience with the XZs though
  • 2015? Forget any credibility your comment could have had before that.
  • Yes, 2015. 'cause both the G4 and S6 had:
    - Better screens (even though at lower resolutions, they were still better. Specially the S6 which sported an AMOLED screen)
    - Far far better cameras (I mean...this is even beyond debate by now)
    - Wireless charging.
  • obvious fanboy is obvious. At least the Sony phones don't experience spontaneous combustion.
  • First of all wireless charging is worthlessly slow. Anyone who prefers the novelty of that compared to getting a 50% charge in 30 minutes through QC deserves a "NO"kia. The screen is subjective. Of course AMOLED has better blacks but the crispness of Sony's 4k is unparalleled. But in all seriousness this guy still considers Nokia to be relevant so I'm just going to drop the mic and let this guy think about his life.
  • This is incorrect. In speed tests it beats the Samsung Note 8. It's also $400 less than the Samsung Note 8.
  • You always do terrific reviews Andrew, but I just can't help wondering why anyone would pay $800 for a phone anymore...
  • Many folks in the US don't pay $800 outright. They get them from a carrier store and split those payments monthly, usually over 1-2 years.
  • That's not going to help Sony any though, since their phones aren't available from carriers.
  • That's Sony's biggest conumdrum in the US. It's not just that their devices are expensive. There are no carriers having the phone and allowing you to split payments over a year or two as a result, not to mention no JUMP-esque upgrade program.
  • Glad you enjoyed the review :)
  • I think you should either offer up a real complaint or change the title of your review.
  • One word, Pixel.
  • I may be biased here, but I actually understand all the Sony camera branding stuff like SteadyShot, G Lens, BIONZ, Superior Auto and others. I do use an a6000 after all. I'd have to say that the over-sharpening in Superior Auto was a typical quirk on Sony cameras. The JPEG processing has been a criticism on their dedicated cameras not too long ago. Recently, however, it seems to have been spruced up on their newer cameras. If Sony Mobile can do the same, I'll give it a second go, but I was happy with performance in Manual mode on the XZs. The fingerprint situation sucks and there is currently no way for Sony to get around it. You can flash an international firmware to gain functionality, though, but I'm not sure if this affects the warranty, even though it is official firmware.
  • Great battery life, smooth software, ideal speaker placement, outstanding headphone sound and iconic design(I'm one of the fan of Sony's hardwares and flat back) yet still considered a disappointment. Aside from the fingerprint issue in the US I have no idea how Sony can please people after even releasing a really great phone. Maybe if they priced this at 699 or 649 maybe people will bite but we know Sony will never do that.
  • Yes, fix the fingerprint in the US and lower the price. Then it'd just come down to your thoughts on the design/size
  • Is it actually outstanding headphone sound though? Is it V20 good? Is it at least better than the Axon 7?
  • I don't think it's a disappointment, but it doesn't have the wow factor of a bezel-less S8. Does it have water proofing? Is Sony doing that anymore? Wireless charging? You get all those things on an S8 and for less money. I like the design of this phone, but it really needs more if they want to charge that price. This phone should be starting at $599.
  • The review says it is water resistant
  • So, from what I can tell, if this phone was $600 for what it is offering then it would be easier to recommend?
  • For $600 it'd be dramatically more competitive. Even still, you'd probably be hard pressed to convince most people to buy a phone for that much that didn't have a fingerprint sensor
  • You might have to convince them to either get an overseas model or to flash an overseas firmware if they want that fingerprint sensor and an XPERIA. I don't have that issue over here, so it's an easier pill to swallow, but that's really up to you to decide.
  • you can already find it for under $700 unlocked outside the U.S., with a warranty and fingerprint enabled. Even at that price it seems more reasonable considering the other hardware that's hovering at that price.
  • I have the XZs and am really happy with it so far. Been playing with the camera ALOT as it was a very important feature to me and i've been very happy with it. I watched and read many many many reviews before purchasing it. I'm glad I did though, I really wanted to try Sony out. I was really tired of Samsung and touch wiz. I think I would buy another Sony again sometime. But not this ,and not for the price. Phone is just too big for me. I am going to wait till late this year and see what they do with the XZ1 and the XZ1 compact, if that's what they end up being called! Maybe they will do some camera tweaks. Also people in the US won't buy it because it's not carried by a carrier. I prefer to pay outright but most people don't. Everyone wants to finance, yes zero percent but it still locks you in. US is full of debt.
  • $799 is just the retail price. It's sold at plenty of international retailers that ship to US for under $680. Im not sure why complaints about the price when "unlocked" flagship phones from HTC, Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG is common $700+ and has been that way for years.
    When carrier customers pay an additional $24.99 for 2 years, do they think they are not paying $700+?? Lol
    Even if you buy International, Sony US still lets you use warranty. I've used. I've owned all of Sony's and Samsung flagship phones in some capacity over the last 10 - 12 yrs. As for the fingerprint scanner, flashing to international firmware is a simple process and can be done in 15 minutes. Flashing firmware does not in any form of fashion voids warranty. People shouldnt make comments that it would if they don't know.
  • Thanks for clarifying the firmware warranty situation. I needed that last bit of info as I wasn't sure.
  • Flashing unofficial ROMs voids it (if you show Sony the phone with it) but flashing official firmware doesn't, yeah. As for the price, if you buy it in Europe it will cost you close to 800 dollars since you have to pay VAT and only once you apply for it to be returned (and pay US import taxes) does that change. Even then you're not paying 600 dollars for this phone. Not for another month or two at least (then the prices start to plummet as people don't buy the phone. The G6 is already suffering that fate in Europe - and deservedly so)
  • $25 for 2 years is $600, it doesn't add up to $700.
  • " When carrier customers pay an additional $24.99 for 2 years, do they think they are not paying $700+?? Lol" Yes, because Americans lack rudimentary math skills.
  • I stopped reading this review and skipped to the comments after reading that an $800 phone didn't have a fingerprint sensor.
  • It does have the fingerprint sensor. Its deactivated without the option to turn it on. Just flash it or buy international. Honestly though, it wouldn't be a deal breaker to me as I never use it. I tested it on my XZs and it works great. However I do not lock my phone. No need. What are you guys keeping on your phone??? I don't stay signed into any banking, I would never keep important documents on it etc. Better places for that. If I go some where I might lock it incase I lose it. Otherwise I don't worry about it! That's just a personal feeling though.
  • TBH, that's not a good ethos. Here's why. Even if you don't store confidential information on your device, you still have your contacts and if you use Google Maps regularly, your house address is also stored.
  • Psh really not a good ethos? Come on, I think that's a bit much. And honestly your address really isn't a secret. Most of that is public record. Everyone is too darn worried these days. . P.S premium one. GO PENS! One more game!!!!!
  • Well, I can't change what you think. But I still think it's good practice.
  • So does my drivers license, but I don't lock my wallet.
    ...the contacts point is valid enough though. Even then, lock screens with trusted locations and such. In the end though, you either like Sony / the phone enough to forgive, you mention the finger print reader because you weren't seriously considering the phone anyways. In my experience, you either love it or hate it. And if your comparing this phone to say, an S8, there are other things that will swing you anyways.
  • Its not about top secret important documents. Its just privacy. Private conversations. Private pictures. And yes I use my phone for work so some proprietary info as well
  • Just as a good example of why you should lock your phone (and avoid naming contacts things like "mom" - A few months ago, there were a group of thieves who were stealing student's cell phones, searching for "mom" , "dad", etc. on the contact list and sending messages such as "Hey, I'm on my way home, but I forgot the unlock code for the alarm! Could you send it to me?" Parents, oblivious that their child's phone was stolen - would of course send the kids the disarm code, which would then be sold on the market to home invaders.
  • Since you gave me so much trouble for not locking my phone ;) I was curious if people used the Protection by my Xperia service? The one that can lock your phone, find it and wipe it clean even?
  • Who gave you trouble? I don't lock my phone either, not with a finger print or a pass code. I don't really care if it's wide open I prefer it that way.
  • What else is new? It has been this way for years with Sony. They just don't get it...
  • Great review, Andrew. Sony is going to get there one of these days. Sent from my Sony Xperia X Compact
  • This is the first Sony phone that has legitimately interested me. Their past offerings since the Z3 have flew past my radar for the wrong reasons, but it seems that they are starting to get their act together. Not there yet, but hopefully, they're close.
  • This one's close.
  • I like this one. It usually seems Sony tries to implement things that the hardware can't handle, but this one does well except for the extreme limitations on slo-mo. Too bad about the camera, and I'm surprised that you can't adjust the auto mode at all. Other companies let you tweak the automatic mode settings and make them default.
  • This is the closest Sony phone to recapture the Z3 spirit IMO. I'm honestly interested in it, something no Sony phone since the aforementioned Z3 has done.
  • Yes, and I like what they did to prolong the physical battery life span as well. I do something similar by charging mine from a power bank which always disconnects power about 15 minutes after 100%, and my phone battery is still healthy after three years of hard use. Never did like leaving it charging for hours.
  • The adaptive charging is actually a really smart move. Keeping the battery on a trickle for hours overnight isn't exactly wise, so having it keep at 90% and then going to 100% just before you unplug it is great.
  • Unless they manage to combine the "bezel-less" phone design trend with their own design language, they won't be able to get to the places they want to get. Also they need to lower the price and fix their camera software. Until then Samsung will continue to rule the Android world.
  • I don't think they are going to go that way very soon. Sony has their own design language and does not seem to care about what other companies are doing. It's good for those that like the design, but people who are not already fans don't like it, and you can't grow sales that way. That being said, there are disadvantages to the odd screen format on the S8 and G6. Movies don't fit, you have big black bars at the sides, and when you go to full screen it's like watching the movie through a mail slot. And despite the almost all-screen face, the screen frontal viewing area on the S8 is the same us the U11. But nobody wants to talk about that, lol.
  • I thought all you had to do was zoom in a bit and the screen is instantly filled with the video?
  • Personally, I love Sony phones. My last phones have been an acro s, Z1 Compact, Nokia Lumia 925 (also very good build quality and great overall), Z3, Z3+, Z3 and currently have a Z5 (and a Z3 Tablet Compact). The Z3+ was the only one with a problem, which was the infamous overheating problem when using the camera and I switched back to another Z3 (other than that, it was better than the Z3). I've also used (but not owned) a lot of M4 Aquas and some M5 Aquas which mostly lacked some power and the more premium feel of the Z line. Previously I had a Google Nexus (the 2nd one, if I remember correctly), an HTC Desire (the original). Before the touch screen time I also had two Sony Ericsson CyberShots (in addition to a couple of Samsung flip phones and Nokias), which also had a very high end feel to them (they were my best "stupid" phones). I do not like HTC and Samsung, mostly because a couple of reasons: shape and software. These also apply to several other brands. I like the premium and in a way, more technical (or indrustial) feel and look of the Xperias. Small and subtle physical details like the visual look and feel of the buttons is something that I like. I like sharper shapes and edges - for me it makes the Z series feel more ergonomic than many (or even most) others like Galaxy S series. They just feel better in my hand. One thing I hate a fingerprint reader that is on the back cover. Also I like the back smooth with no bumps. I'm Finnish so my Z5 has a fingerprint reader, which is in a great place for me, partly because I always use a desk dock and a model specific car dock is also a must have for me (I've had a Brodit dock for every phone since the acro S and Google Nexus). I also like weighty devices much more than the lighter ones - a 100 grams more weight is nothing to me (if anything it gives me more feel, improves usability and I quite often the build quality is also better because of heavier materials). On the software side I like the vanilla Android and Samsung, HTC and Huawei for example have things that I really hate. With Samsung (and HTC) I'm always lost in the settings for a while, because the layout and order is so different than it is in the original Android. And this is not just because I'm not used to it but I also do nog like the grouping a d some other choices there. On Samsung, the UI feels like the hardware looks - smooth edges and useless changes EVERYWHERE. Sony's version has always had very subtle but generally useful additions and customizations, like the physical design choices and details also are. It's a little rough around the edges and I like it. Now, I'm also perfectly capable of rooting my devices and using custom ROMs but nowadays I just don't have much interest to deal with the problems that come with them. Sony has also supported old devices very well in my opinion so there has not been any need to use an unofficial ROM to get the latest​ Android. I still like to customize the look and feel of the UI and I've used Nova Launcher for many years. For some reason I seem to be in the minority with my opinions. I have always, since the age of Sony Ericsson felt that Sony has made great, top of the line products which are very, very underestimated. I also have a Sony 7.2 amplifier and had another before it and they are actually very similar physically when compared with the Pioneer, Onkyo and Yamaha amps I've also had or have used. And their features are also top of the class and very well balanced. I've had great respect for all Sony products since the 90's and I must say that most of what they make is still to this day very good and high tech but underappreciated. ☺️
  • Does anyone know if this will work on Verizon? The LTE bands match but I'm not sure if texting or calls will work. Really intrigued by this phone, I must be one of the few who enjoy the design
  • Still using an Xperia X, UK version, and despite lesser specs it's fly's thru everything, and I couldn't always say that with the high end phones I've had.
  • The flat glass back (i'm guessing oleophobic too) is going to be SLIPPERY. which means you have to get a case. which means who cares how it looks because all you will see is the case.
    Will nobody make a phone that can be used without a case anymore?? I have a fat ugly rubber case on my Galaxy S7 and I hate it.
  • Essential Phone incoming... Sent from my Sony Xperia X Compact
  • I have the xz Premium in chrome... Absolutely gorgeous...
    The screen blew me away... Watching 4k HDR video (amazon Prime) is brilliant and something special I never experienced on a mobile phone. Add the HD Audio noise cancelling Sony headphones and you have a perfect combo.
    AND 807ppi is absolutely amazing... In many reviews I read none mention about using the XZP for mobile VR.... (drone FPV for me). This is a perfect screen for that... Even magnified by the VR glass, the pixeld are tiny, the Screen Door Effect is greatly reduced. I love this phone... Super fast, no bloatware, the fingerprint sensor is perfectly placed and works every time super quick. In the UK (EE - to mobile) Wi-Fi calling needs a firmware installed in the operator specific ROM... Unlocked phone don't have the WiFi calling enabled... Phone bought directly with EE have the WiFi calling enabled but are sim locked to EE only.... I don't mind the bezels, space to put my fingers in landscape and stereo front facing speaker... Yeah! I can't recommend this phone enough... Love it !!
  • "The resolution makes everything look pristine" Yes, that's called Placebo effect. The XZ Premium's display is not actual 4K, it is only called 4K because of interpolation.
    Its actual resolution is more like... 850 x 1 470 pixels. Or 3 840 x 1 470 if you take interpolation into account.
    Here is what it looks like next to the LG G6 (QHD) : http://img1.lesnumeriques.com/news/63/63477/sonyxz-vs-lg-g6-maps.jpg And here is the full article about it in French : http://www.lesnumeriques.com/telephone-portable/xperia-xz-premium-p37953...
  • Not having a fingerprint sensor is a plus for me. It's one of the least secure security systems there is. I would never use it anyway, I prefer a minimum 8 digit access code and Smart Lock when I'm home.
  • It's nice to have the choice, though, personally.
  • These photos are..... meh
  • yup.
  • Square FUGLY brick. Sony has no imagination when it comes to design. Samsung Galaxy S8+ is still the flagship to beat.
  • Well, that's just your opinion. Man.
  • Bought a XZ Premium in Sweden. Here the fingerprint sensor is enabled by default. Yes it was expensive. But in europe you can buy it in carrier stores to. And in some places you got some headphones or a bluetooth speakers included with the deal to. So the situation for Sony smartphones are very different here compared to the US market.
  • I will never purchase a Sony phone until they are allowed to have biometric security in the States. Until then, it's DOA.
  • If you really wanted to buy a Sony phone you would probably forgive the lack of a fingerprint sensor(you can just flash international firmware). I doubt that's the only reason you won't buy it.
  • I loved my Z3V. But if there's no biometric security, it's already DOA for me. Yes, that is one of the reasons why I will not purchase this $800 device. It should be standard for that price.
  • It is standard, just not in the US. Maybe next year Sony can finally get past this.
  • Why do you care so much about the finger print, why does anyone? This phone is over priced for sure but not having that dumb finger print reader isn't a deal breaker. The deal breaker is the price!
  • Plus network compatibility
  • It is a beautiful phone. I wouldnt have a problem with the lack of a fp sensor. I would have a problem with the price. Ouch! I have several friends who are wealthy and they absolutely balk at paying that much for a phone. Probably why they're wealthy. I'll bet it would last for years though. Nice.
  • What does af stand for in "reflective af"
  • Urban Dictionary would have you covered here.
  • Ah, I see. How language has evolved....
  • Everyone's slowly adapting XD
  • "Reflective Auto Focus" /s
  • One thing I didn't see in the review. Does it support wireless charging?
  • One thing I didn't see in the review. Does it support wireless charging?
  • Well, here in the UK, I signed up to a 24 month contract with one of these. I "upgraded" from an HTC M9, which I thought was a bit crappy, having quite a few things I wasn't happy with. I have had nothing but HTC's for the last 6 or 7 years. beforehand, I had always had sony phones, well, since my Nokia - 8310 about 300 years ago...
    I love the xz premium, had it since its first release, but the main thing that annoyes me, and I feel quite disappointed about is the camera. I'm reading tales of how good this camera is, blah - blah - blah.... Nope, to me the camera is very poor. 19mp? feels like 1mp, reminds me of the old k750i's, brilliant pictures, but don't bother enlarging, pictures just become so grainy, and distorted. I took two identical pictures, one with the xz, the other with the old HTC, then zoomed in on them. The old HTC was much clearer, leaving the Sony looking rather 3rd class.
    I'm wishing I had gone for the S8, or even the HTC U11. Now I'm stuck with a boarderline useless camera phone for 2 years, unless there is a good camera app that can rectify it
  • man what a dog, who in their right mind would ever buy a sony phone?
  • Some basic stuff not covered in the review, 1. Does this phone have waterproofing? That was a big selling point for Sony in older devices. 2. Does it have wireless charging? 3. Does it have quickcharge 4.0 plus? Does it have any version of quick charge?
  • 1. Yes, it os IP68 certified which has to have survived more than 3.29 ft (1m) of unchloronated, unsalted water for more than 30 minutes. 2. No, sadly. 3. I don't know. 4. Yes
  • The 4k definition is not always active on the phone! Most of the time it's in 1080p... "But for what it's worth, I could never tell when that was happening" That's the proif thathaving a higher resolution is useless (outside of VR) in a phone
  • What a horse crap title for this review. talks about disappointment and then has like one real complaint. The bias is real. The bezels may not be for everyone but hey at least they allow you to actually touch things on the edge of your screen unlike this obvious fanboy's Galaxy Edge phones. Battery life on Sony's are consistently the best I have ever experienced. I am a moderate to heavy user and I consistently see 48 hours. When I do need to charge it gets about 50% in 30 minutes. Seriously the power management on this phone has pretty much eliminated that stress from my life. It's seriously going to extend my actual lifespan. Props to Sony for another awesome flagship, may the fan boys cry themselves to sleep at night.
  • I rather like this device. I never owned a Sony I may give it a try when I see it live. My current device the LG V20 never owned an LG before this device and to me, it's been the best phone that I have owned.
  • I'm not an Android guy but from what I have experienced this Sony is the fastest phone I've ever used. It's so snappy. Who would have thought they could make Android run that fast. Don't know how long its going to last once junk accumulates but from what I have experienced this is the spec king cellphone