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Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review

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A few months back, Sony showcased the Xperia XZs which tackles the current flagships with its renowned camera. This year, Sony’s latest smartphone Xperia XZ Premium is loaded with features even more than the Xperia XZs. To take out the competition, Sony has offered a 4K HDR display, a camera that captures super slow motion, and a high-end Snapdragon 835 CPU. Being a top-of-the-line segment phone, it can pretty much squeeze the flagship competition with its unique features.

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is the successor to the Xperia Z5 Premium and competes directly with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Apple iPhone 7. Do the 4K screen and its slow motion camera really justify the ₹60,000 price? That’s what we’ll find out in this review.

What’s in the Box

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
  • USB Cable (Type-C)
  • Charger
  • Sony Stereo Earphones
  • User Manuals and Warranty Information

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Specifications

  • Display: 5.5-inch 4K HDR IPS display (3840 x 2160 pixels | 807 ppi), TRILUMINOS Display and X-Reality for mobile, Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, sRGB 138% spectrum compared to Standard videos (SDR)
  • Protection: Water Resistant IP65/68 certified, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on front and back
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, side mounted on the Power button
  • Software: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • CPU: Up to 2.45 GHz octa-core Kyro 280 processor, 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 64-bit
  • DSP Processor: Qualcomm Hexagon 682 DSP
  • GPU: Adreno 540
  • Memory: 4 GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB UFS internal storage (48.4 GB usable), MicroSD up to 256 GB
  • Main Camera: 19 MP f/2.0 Motion Eye camera, 25 mm wide Sony G Lens, BIONZ image processor, Triple image sensing technology, Hybrid Autofocus, 960 fps super slow motion, 0.5 sec quick capture, anti-distortion shutter (ISO12800), 8x Digital Zoom, EIS support (5-axis stabilization), 4K video @30 fps, 1080p video @60 fps
  • Front Camera: 13 MP f/2.0, 22 mm wide angle lens, ISO 6400, SteadyShot, 1080p video @30fps
  • Connectivity: USB 3.1 (Type-C), 3.5 mm port, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS
  • Others: Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, Smart Stamina, Qnovo Adaptive Charging, Battery Care, STAMINA Mode, Clear Audio+, Stereo speaker with S-Force Front Surround, Stereo Recording, PS4 Remote Play
  • Cellular: 4G network Cat. 16 Gigabit LTE, VoLTE-enabled, 2x nano SIM (GSM), MicroSD on SIM2
  • Battery: 3,230 mAh (non-removable)
  • Dimensions: 156 mm x 77 mm x 7.9 mm
  • Weight: 191 grams
  • Color: Luminous Chrome, Deep Sea Black
  • Price: ₹59,990

Design, Build, & Ergonomics

Sony Xperia XZ Premium holds the premium tag due to its unique and flashy design. We got the Luminous Chrome color for a review and you will easily be convinced by its mirror-finished body. The Xperia XZ Premium still uses the same of flat looks and angular design. There are fans who still love the design, but this apparently isn’t everyone’s taste.

Not just that, the design is a tad bulky, it weighs 191 grams. The top and bottom are made of metal with sharp edges and the sides are plastic. There’s Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides, and due to the glass layer on the back, the fingerprints are highly visible especially with the Luminous Chrome model but can be easily wiped off with a cloth.

On the camera side, Sony has put a 19 MP Motion Eye camera on the rear side while selfies are taken care by a 13 MP wide-angle front camera. With the new camera sensor, Xperia XZ Premium can achieve 960 frames per second slow motion videos.

The fact that Sony flagships use waterproof design, it’s one of the strong areas where Sony can do good. The Xperia XZ Premium holds the IP65/68 certification that means it is dust-proof and water resistant and immersed into the water with a depth of up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. Sony is also known for its display technology and beautiful audio experience. The Xperia XZ Premium comes with 4K HDR display and stereo speakers on the front side.

You can see the fingerprint scanner on the right mounted on the power key and there’s a dedicated camera trigger for taking photos. It also has the new USB type-C port and a 3.5 mm port. It comes with Bluetooth version 5.0 and Gigabit LTE for faster data transfers. The SIM tray, however, lets me disappoint. When you open the tray, you will find another separate small tray for SIM1 and yes the phone restarts when the tray is open.

Display

Sony is known for its quality display. The Xperia XZ Premium is enriched by Sony’s native technologies i.e. BRAVIA Engine, TRILUMINOS Display, and X-Reality for mobile. Sony continues using the 4K panel in its premium lineup, but this time an HDR display. An HDR display ensures that the smartphone is futureproofed for the upcoming HDR content.

Unlike AMOLEDs, it has the IPS display with a resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels (807 ppi). A 4K resolution isn’t noticeable in everyday situations especially on a screen size of 5.5-inch. The display is extremely bright for outdoor situations, colors are vivid and details are very sharp. Everything about the display is perfect, it takes on the 2K displays of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6.

In terms of features, the Display settings offer you Color gamut and contrast mode, White balance, and Video image enhancement. Its Smart backlight control automatically detects if you are holding the device in your hand and keeps the screen turned on until you leave the phone somewhere or on a desk.

A higher resolution display needs more power to give each pixel light, so as the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Its 3,230 mAh battery sounds average for its 4K display. Generally, the capacity of the battery is good for a full HD display. Move on to the battery section to know about the battery life.

Software & User Interface

The Xperia XZ Premium comes with the ongoing latest version of Android i.e. Nougat 7.1.1 with Xperia UI on top. The Xperia UI is pretty much same as the stock interface with a few Sony apps and bloatware that you can easily get rid off it. With the new version of Android, it takes on the Nougat features including the direct reply, multiwindow, quick switch and more.

The software on the Xperia XZ Premium is a lot similar to the Xperia XZs. Sony is good at keeping the interface clean. With Xperia UI, Android fans will feel home. While there’s no significant change in the software, a few things such as the icon pack is new. There are built-in apps from Sony such as Xperia Lounge, PlayStation App, SonyLiv, and Video & TV SideView.

Themes

To learn more about the software, visit our previous reviews of the Sony Xperia series.

Fingerprint Scanner

The Indian variant of the Xperia XZ Premium has a fingerprint scanner side mounted on the power button. The scanner doesn’t work under water as well as with wet fingers despite being a water-resistant device. You need to wipe the phone and your finger to unlock with the fingerprint. It scans quite fast but works only after you press the power button unlike where most smartphones unlock just by putting the finger.

Hardware, Performance & Gaming

The Xperia XZ Premium gives you top-class specs, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU, 4 GB LPDDR4X RAM and a fast 64 GB UFS storage. It all adds up to highest performance possible, plus a 4K display completes the ultimate rig. So, everything is all backed up by the latest hardware and it can pretty much stack up against the flagship rivals.

Sony Xperia XZ Key Specs

  • Display: 5.5-inch 4K HDR IPS display (3840 x 2160 pixels | 807 ppi)
  • Software: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • CPU: Up to 2.45 GHz octa-core Kyro 280 processor, 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 64-bit
  • DSP Processor: Qualcomm Hexagon 682 DSP
  • GPU: Adreno 540
  • Memory: 4 GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB UFS
  • Battery: 3,230 mAh (non-removable)

As you can see the CPU-Z shows Xperia XZ Premium equips the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU having a total of 8 Kyro 280 cores clocked up to 2.45 GHz.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks

According to the popular benchmarks, the Xperia XZ Premium is almost at par with the OnePlus 3T which was launched in the December 2016. AnTuTu scored 158,221 points, Geekbench 4 scored 1,776 points on single-core CPU, 4,605 points on multi-core CPU and 7,831 points on Adreno 540 GPU. The 3D Mark gave us a score of 3,036 points while the Quadrant scored 37,824 points. The rival Samsung Galaxy S8 wins in almost all benchmarks.

AnTuTu Benchmark

  • 158,221 points

Geekbench 4

  • 1,776 points (single-core CPU)
  • 4,605 points (multi-core CPU)
  • 7,831 points (GPU)

3DMark – The Gamer’s Benchmark

  • 3,036 points

Quadrant Standard Edition

  • 37,824 points
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks
AnTuTu Benchmark
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks
Geekbench 4 (CPU)

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks
Geekbench 4 (GPU)
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks
3D Mark – Sling Shot Extreme
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks
Quadrant Standard Edition

The best thing yet comes when you do gaming. Adreno 540 is powerful much good at rendering and gaming. You won’t be disappointed with the gaming performance of this device. One thing to note, the games are rendered in 4K due to its 4K display. Adreno 540 runs most demanding games fluently without any issues. We ran graphics intensive games like N.O.V.A Legacy and Injustice 2 on Xperia XZ Premium. We didn’t find heating issues on the phone, though it gets a little warm.

Games Tested On Sony Xperia XZ Premium

  • Transformers
  • N.O.V.A Legacy
  • Injustice 2
  • Modern Combat 5
  • Midnight Pool
  • Asphalt Nitro

Storage Performance

Sony Xperia XZ Premium sports a fast 64 GB UFS storage much faster than the standard eMMC storage. It turns out that Xperia XZ Premium has now a better storage than all the other Xperia out there. It now offers SSD-like read-write speeds surpassing the Sony Xperia XZs in the storage department and also the OnePlus 3T. The performance of the storage is about the Samsung Galaxy S8 level.

A1 SD Bench

  • 535.57 MB/s (Read)
  • 203.69 MB/s (Write)

AndroBench

  • 702.46 MB/s (Sequential Read)
  • 193.64 MB/s (Sequential Write)
  • 61.48 MB/s (Random Read)
  • 17.30 MB/s (Random Write)

PC Mark Storage Benchmark (Internal) – 5,076 Points

  • 532.69 MB/s (Sequential Read)
  • 157.08 MB/s (Sequential Write)
  • 18.56 MB/s (Random Read)
  • 4.08 MB/s (Random Write)
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks
A1 SD Bench (Left), AndroBench (Right)
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Benchmarks
PC Mark (Storage Benchmark)

Cameras

Sony is popular for its Exmor RS camera sensors, several phones equip the Sony sensors in their camera already. Sony has revamped the camera to 19 MP and Sony calls it as Motion Eye camera featuring super slow motion videos records at 960 frames per second. Sony Xperia XZ Premium is backed up by a 19 MP f/2.0 Motion Eye camera (IMX400) with 25 mm wide Sony G Lens and single LED flash. It features SteadyShot video stabilization, supports 4K video recording at 30fps as well as 720p video recording at 960fps. Aside from the rear camera, it is backed up with a 13 MP f/2.0 wide-angle selfie camera.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Camera Specifications

  • Camera: 19 MP f/2.0 Motion Eye camera
  • Image Processor: BIONZ
  • Sensor: Sony IMX400 Exmor RS
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): N/A
  • Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS): Yes, 5-axis stabilization
  • Other: Triple Image Sensing Technology, Motion Eye camera
  • Rear Flash: Single LED
  • Features: Geo-tagging, Tap to Focus, HDR, Manual Mode, Panorama, 4K Video, Slow Motion (960fps), Burst Shot, AR Effects, Creative Effects, Sound Photo
  • Video Recording: Up to 4K @30 FPS, 1080p @60FPS, Slow Motion 720p @960 FPS
  • Front Camera: 13 MP f/2.0, 22 mm wide angle lens, ISO 6400, SteadyShot
  • Video Recording: Up to 1080p video @30FPS
  • Front Flash: N/A

Highlighting the camera’s unique features, it has the Sony’s Motion Eye technology and super slow motion feature. Unlike its competition’s top-end models that offer slow motion videos at 240 frames per second, the camera on the Xperia XZ Premium can achieve 960 frames per second videos equivalent to four times the competition. While Sony’s camera is also familiar with the AR effect (Augmented Reality) as well as great experience in the low light photography.

We took some camera samples and in many situations, the quality of the images is very good capturing the smallest details. The Superior Auto mode automatically detects the scenes whether it’s a low light scene or macro shot or any other. In the night, it takes images with less noise and captures as much details.

The new RAM buffer allows you to capture the moments before you take the picture, it’s called Predictive Capture. When the camera detects fast-paced motion, it takes a few shots prior capturing (maximum 4 shots). Once you hit the shutter button, the camera suggests you alternatives to choose from.

Concluding it, Sony Xperia XZ Premium promises an unparalleled experience thanks to its revolutionary camera tech, it has one of the best smartphone cameras with unique features like the super slow motion. The ability to capture the shots before you even hit the camera shutter is just amazing. You don’t want to ruin the video just because you missed to capture the perfect moment in slow motion while recording, and that’s the last thing you want to do, right?

The downside? The Sony Xperia XZ Premium lacks an optical image stabilization. OIS is one of the key components in the camera, not having an optical image stabilization even after spending 60 grand on a premium smartphone is a tad disappointment hearing that its competition is ahead in the game. Nevertheless, it is a powerful camera phone with 4K HDR display and should not be overlooked.

Here are some camera samples to check out.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Super Slow Motion 960FPS Video

Battery Runtime

In terms of battery life, Sony has put a 3,230 mAh battery knowing that the phone holds a 4K display and a powerful camera and CPU. The battery is backed up with its STAMINA modes which act as a power saving traits to last the battery longer.

The Xperia XZ Premium is a flagship and its battery will perform like one, unlike the cheap smartphones that tend to last longer due to its low-end hardware. So far the Sony has a good advantage of its STAMINA modes. Considering that there’s a powerful Snapdragon 835 inside, packed with a 4K HDR display and a professional camera on the back, it’s going to squeeze as much power from the 3,230 mAh battery.

We got about a day and a half battery with below moderate usage which includes Wi-Fi and 4G data always On. On moderate usage using the phone occasionally at some intervals with Wi-Fi and 4G data always On, it lasts about a day only. This is not bad, some flagships can’t even touch the end of the day. With the STAMINA modes, you can achieve more battery life.

High Usage
14 Hours Battery Runtime On High Usage
Moderate Usage
5.5 Hours SOT | Lasts More Than A Day

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Battery Test Results

Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
4K Video4%20 minutesMaxOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
YouTube (1080p)3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi, 4G Data)
YouTube (4K)4%20 minutesMaxOn (Wi-Fi, 4G Data)
N.O.V.A Legacy4%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi, 4G Data)
Transformers9%20 minutes50%On (4G Data)
Injustice 25%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi, 4G Data)
Music (Offline)1%60 minutesScreen OffOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music Streaming - SoundCloud1%30 minutesScreen OffOn (Wi-Fi)
Facebook2%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Instagram4%20 minutesAutoOn (4G Data)

Verdict

Sony has done a great job in the performance segment. If not all, it will leave some of the hottest flagships behind in terms of performance. For Sony fans, it is definitely a right pick if you are familiar with Sony Xperia devices. Apparently, Sony Xperia XZ Premium may not sound the best bang for the money spend as competitors are ahead in the game.

Competitors

  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Apple iPhone 7
  • LG G6

Strength

  • Eye-Candy Design (Luminous Chrome)
  • High-Quality 4K HDR Screen | Bright Display
  • Reliable Camera | Good Low-Light Photography
  • Captures 960 Frames Per Second
  • Fast Performer, Lag-Free Experience
  • USB 3.1 | Bluetooth 5.0 | Gigabit LTE (1 Gbps download)
  • Waterproof Design (IP65/68 Certified)

Weakness

  • No Optical Image Stabilization
  • Super Slow Motion is limited to one second
  • Bulky (191g)

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VISHAL GAJANAN GIRI
VISHAL GAJANAN GIRI

a premium phone with premium features and even more premium review from MOBIGYAAN, great job team!!

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