Review | Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone

The deck of flagship mobile phones has been getting less crowded nowadays with brands concentrating on the entry-level and mid-range market more. When Sony introduced the newest Xperia series last summer, they clearly had other things in mind.

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The Xperia XZ Premium headlines the roster of Sony’s new faces in the handset category bearing superior specifications in tow. As much as we’d love to perform a grandiose introduction to warm you up, we’re leaving the in-depth review to generate the awe.

Unboxing and Design

XZ Premium’s box houses a USB Type-C cable and its charging adapter, a SIM pin, and manuals. There’s no fancy gimmicks (even earpieces) present in the box until you see the device itself.

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Of course, “fancy” may be too informal to describe the XZ Premium. “Flashy” works better.

The XZ Premium stands at 6.14-inch height and projects 5.46-inch screen on it. Driving away from the bezel-less trend, Sony appoints the spaces above and below the screen to the loudspeakers. And as we mentioned before, we praise phones that plop the speakers in front instead of putting it on foot just because we are not fond of bouncing the sounds off our hands to hear them.

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Using Corning Gorilla Glass 5 to coat the front and back, the XZ Premium obviously intends to provide users a luxurious look and feel with cornered pillars guarding its body. Again, this handset chose not to join the wagon of curved smartphones populating the market. And due to its glass nature, the XZ Premium tends to slip most of the time when laid even in a slightly sloped surface. Its 195-gram weight adds to that factor, too.

Apart from the slippery tendencies, the XZ Premium also attracts fingerprint all the time, requiring you to wipe it off from time to time.

The left cheek of this handset features the sockets for your primary nano-SIM and another that is shared by the microSD and your second SIM card. Although it runs the latest Android version, the XZ Premium resets the phone whenever the SIM card gets ejected unlike its other batchmates that can manage to stay awake when changing SIM cards.

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The other cheek has the volume keys, camera shutter, and the power/lock key that also serves as the fingerprint sensor to unlock the device. Since there are no alternative ways to view the lock screen (such as the Always-On Display for Samsung and screen tapping for some devices), there will be times that you accidentally unlock the screen when you press the fingerprint button.

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At the bottom of this majestic structure is the USB Type-C port, while the 3.5mm jack lives on the roof.

Performance

We’re pretty sure that the first thing you’ll notice about this phone is the screen quality.

According to Sony officials, they borrowed Bravia’s 4K technology for a top-notch display hitting the 3840 x 2160 resolution mark in the XZ Premium. Watching 4K videos in this well-sized smartphone can be addicting. Unfortunately, the front speakers can’t handle the loudness of sound very well that we had to use our Sony Extra Bass earphones.

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Speaking of playing media files on earphones, the XZ Premium has DSEE HX and ClearAudio+ features that improves the quality of your music and sounds coming from your video. Based on our own experience, we have songs that distorts when clipping and the XZ Premium cleans those tracks to play a more compact and high-res audio quality.

Internal storage ushers in 64GB worth of memory and is backed up by 4GB RAM. Powered by Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835, Adreno 540, and Octa-core CPU (4×2.45 GHz Kryo and 4×1.9 GHz Kryo), the XZ Premium dropped the following scores in our benchmarking software:

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To smartphone enthusiasts who expect something new from Sony’s software and in-phone features, we hate to burst your bubble but there are not much to expect from the XZ Premium. It has the same pre-installed apps (AR effect, Sketch, Lounge, etc.) and does not offer new functions at all. Unless you live in the ecosystem of Sony’s consumer electronics, you might enjoy the convenience of connecting the PlayStation 4 to the XZ Premium.

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With its hefty frame and speedy performance, XZ Premium’s 3230mAh battery seems a little bit short. But thanks to its Quick-Charging feature, refilling back to 100% won’t eat much time.

Not to mention, this handset also has water- and dust-resistant equipment.

Camera

One of the most interesting features of the XZ Premium is its 960 frames-per-second slow motion capability. Aside from 19-megapixel, f2.0 aperture and 1/2.3-inch sensor size, we love how this handset stabilized our videos when we shot a few clips along the road. To give you a better vision of what we’re talking about, check out the photos below:

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Overall

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium deserves to be called as the one of the most stable smartphones today. Without the fanciness and gimmicks, it firmly places itself at the top business smartphones around that can shoot photos and videos at the same time. Priced at P49,450, it comes in Deep Sea Black, Bronze Pink, and Luminous Chrome colors.

The Good:

  • 4K Display
  • Hi-res audio in headphone/earphones
  • Sleek-looking body
  • 960 frames per second video

The Bad:

  • Heavy and slippery
  • Fingerprint magnet

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