Sony Xperia XZ Premium is the only flagship handset launched by the company in 2107 and is also the world's first smartphone that comes with 4K HDR screen packed under 5.5-inches. As a “Premium” device, it comes loaded with top of the line specifications. But can a recipe of 4K display, powerful Snapdragon processor and a unique super-slow motion camera and a price tag of Rs 59,990 makes XZ Premium stand out from Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 and Apple iPhone 7. Let’s find out.
Design which is finger magnet
When it comes to aesthetics, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is not very impressive and leaves a void in the design that needs to be filled compared to Apple and LG’s of the world.
While the smartphone comes with Gorilla Glass 5 both on the front and the rear that offers some extra protection, I found the glass to be fingerprint magnet similar to Galaxy S8 and Apple iPhone 7 in Jet Black, thus looks unpleasant.
When you hold the device you will notice that there is a lot of bezels around the 5.5-inch display which makes it taller to hold than Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 – devices that come with large screens than the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Though the bezels provide for an extra space to hold the device securely in landscape position while playing games.
The Xperia XZ Premium is IP68 certified meaning the device can survive rains and a dip in the water – we just don’t recommend it for water sports like deep-sea diving as the IP68 protection best works up to depths of one metre.
The power button is located on the right hand side of the device which doubles up as a fingerprint scanner and also is easy to access via thumb. I found that the device was fast to unlock only occasionally failing at times, requiring a second try. The USB Type C port is located on the bottom of the device and there is also a 3.5mm headphone jack—a delight for consumers at a time when manufacturers like Motorola and Apple have removed it from their phones.
Overall, when compared to its counterparts, Sony Xperia XZ Premium is not that premium, and even devices like the OnePlus 5 and Honor 8 Pro have more finesse.
Eye-catching 4K HDR display
The main USP of the device is its screen which definitely sets it apart from its counterparts. Similar to the Xperia Z5 Premium, the XZ Premium is sports a 4K display supported by the Sony’s proprietary Bravia TV Triluminos display technology. The device has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 with 807 ppi, which renders eye-catching true to life colours on the 5.5-inches display which puts the stunning Infinity display on the Samsung Galaxy S8 having 570ppi, and the LG G6 having 564ppi, a run for their money. The images produced on the screen are sharp.
Having such massive resolution, we feel that the Sony should have incorporated some kind of options in the settings to reduce the resolution of the display so as to save on processing power and battery life. This is where Samsung Galaxy S8 has an edge as it allows you to do that.
But with a great battery life, I did not find a need to have the resolution reduced at any point on the XZ Premium. More on the battery life later.
And while it's always great to have a high-end resolution, the ground reality is that the 4K display of XZ Premium offers a little over excellent QHD displays you get on the Galaxy S8 and LG G6. Also the 4K display is only of much use when you have 4K content for which you either had to subscribe to Netflix or dig deeper on the YouTube to have one of the best visual experiences on a smartphone. As there is still little 4K content available currently, I think at this screen size QHD is more than enough.
Cleaner Android, powerful performance
The device runs on Google’s latest Android 7 Nougat operating system, and for majority of times it delivered a smooth and clean experience.
Sony has also pre-installing some useful apps in the XZ Premium including fitness-tracking Livelog and video-editing Movie Creator. On the other hand Email, Music, Album and Video are just a clone of Google’s Gmail, Play Music, Photos and Play Movies & TV. There is also Sony’s What’s New and Xperia Lounge apps, which pushes content and news, to you.
With Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64 GB internal memory, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium works wonderfully as a multimedia device. There is NFC and a fingerprint scanner on the side for Android Pay contactless payments too.
Dramatise moments with super slow motion camera
The most unique thing about the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is its slo-mo video function. While the Apple iPhone 7 shoots slow-motion at 240 frames per second, the XZ Premium records super slow at with 960 fps.
The main settings allows you to record a 720p video and then to hit the button when you think the super slow would be most effective. You can only take a short burst (five seconds) of super-slow-motion, and it's usually trial-and-error in getting the timing right.
It might be tough to find those slow moments, but when you get the results are wonderful. Even simple things like water displacing from a fountain or pigeon taking flight look dramatising when shot at super slo-mo. Unfortunately, the super slo motion only works better in broad day light.
The 19MP rear camera takes attractive shots in automatic mode, with plenty detail, good colours and a decent exposure balance. The colour of the mud in the image below looks crisp and even different shades of the soil can be easily distinguished without overshadowing each other.
The shades of the green in the below image looks pleasant and true to life.
Low-light shots look good too. The 13MP front-facing camera too captures good selfies and you won’t hesitate a bit to share those on social media.
A full day of battery
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium's 3,230mAh battery is good enough to keep the phone alive most of a day. And while there is no denial in the fact that I had to charge the XZ Premium each night till the time I used, but I never experienced running to charge before the battery dies.
For Sony fans, Xperia XZ Premium is really a worthy upgrade from Xperia XZs, with its 4K display and super slow motion feature you can impress your friends. However for me, Samsung Galaxy S8 is still the best contender and edges out Sony when it comes to display and design.