First Look at the Xperia XZ

Not an Apple Fan? Afraid of Samsung? The latest Sony debutant is worth a consideration. I had the chance to try out the Xperia XZ today and I was impressed. There’s no big wow factor this time, like the 4K screen on the Xperia Z5, but instead Sony has put together a series of refinement for a damn good phone. Something like what Samsung had achieved with the S7. Is this enough to turn around Sony Mobile chances? It’s their best chance yet.

Design & Specifications

At first glance, the 5.2” glass display and metal back of the Xperia XZ looks similar to previous generations. Differences are subtle but the new refinements are positive. Sony calls it “unified design”. The edge bumpers were dropped, giving off a more unified look. The edges are rounded and sloped, while extending from the front to the rear. Simple yet stylish. The slight curve to the edges and sides make a big difference in how it feels in my palm, no longer block-like of previous generations. So yes, thumbs up to Sony here. The three colours available are Forest Blue, Mineral Black and Platinum. Bezels on the top and bottom chin are rather big, but hides a pair of stereo speaker grilles which is a plus.

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Other things to note are the Xperia XZ is water resistant once more, with an IP65/68 rating to withstand sudden spills or unexpected showers. The NFC location on the Xperia XZ is on the front screen, top left corner of the phone.

The specs are rather standard, but 3 things stand out, the camera – which I will cover in more detail, 64GB of internal storage (that’s double what most people are giving), and a 1080P screen. 1080P should be fine, unless you are a huge proponent of VR.

The XZ Camera

Using Sony’s IMX300 image sensor, there’s two other assisting sensors on the phone to add laser AutoFocus and an RGBC-IR sensor for accurate colour sensing and white balance. For the rear camera, Sony uses a 1/24mm wide-angle lens which gives you that increased depth and generosity in scene coverage.

Optical Image Stabilisation is still missing, but Sony hope to make up for it with their 5-axis video stabilisation for steady shots. I took some shots with the demo unit and walked away impressed with the Xperia XZ camera.

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Software

It runs on Marshmallow (Android 6.0.1) but Nougat shouldn’t be too far away. Sony shared new software features which include a smarter charging algorithm. The phone will learn your charging habits, such as if you leave your phone to charge overnight, it will learn your habits and avoids excess charging by pausing charge at 90% and only completes the charging just before it’s needed (e.g. before your alarm at 7am). The Sony Xperia XZ features a 2,900 mAh battery – which is small by today’s standards. Would be interesting to see if the software optimisation can keep it competitive with other similar Android flagship phones.

Availability and specifications

Xperia XZ will launch in Singapore island-wide at Sony Stores, Sony Centres, local telcos and authorised retailers on 15 October 2016, retailing at recommended retail price of $998. Xperia XZ will be available in 64GB, Hybrid Dual SIM variant.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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