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Sony Xperia XZ Premium First Impressions: A flagship by all means
The first half of the year 2017 has been quite an eventful time for smartphone enthusiasts in the Indian market. The consumers witnessed the launch of LG's 2017 flagship handset- the LG G6, Samsung's gorgeous Galaxy S8/S8+ bezel-less handsets and the compact Sony Xperia XZs, which is the world's first smartphone that captures super slow motion videos at 960 fps.
However, it's no more the only handset to give such slow motion results as Sony has now announced the Xperia XZ Premium in the Indian market at a whopping price tag of Rs. 59,990.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium features the same 19MP Motion Eye camera and brings the world's first 4K HDR display on a mobile phone. The smartphone also offers the best of hardware and software to take on the LG, Samsung and Apple's flagship smartphones.
We were present at the launch event and got a chance to test the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Here's what we think of the Sony's most advanced smartphone till date.
Design: Premium, durable but highly reflective
As the name suggest, Sony Xperia XZ Premium is by far the most premium looking handset from the house of Sony. While it carries forward the design philosophy of previous Xperia handsets, the overall feel in hands is much more premium and at the same time a nightmare for users who love their mobile devices to be free of fingerprints and smudges.
This is due to the fact that the Xperia XZ Premium is entirely made out of high-grade and highly reflective metal and glass.The mirror finish, especially on the Luminous Chrome color variant is just impossible to keep clean. However, it looks amazing and will surely turn heads as soon as you take the phone out from your pocket.
Unlike the latest flagships from LG and Samsung, Sony Xperia XZ Premium feels a bit bulky and has noticeable bezels on top and bottom of the screen, which are even visible on the Chrome variant.
The smartphone has rounded aluminium frame, and has two stereo speakers at front. The fingerprint sensor, the dedicated camera button and volume rockers are placed on the right side. The SIM card tray is on the left.
The smartphone is IP65/68 certified making it water resistant and dust proof. Moreover you also get Gorilla Glass 5 protection on front and back of the smartphone.
Display: Sony's Bravia powered 4K HDR technology in a 5.5-inch form factor
Sony Xperia XZ Premium flaunts a 4K HDR screen which is the first for a mobile phone. Technically, this is not the first 4K and HDR display; however the combination of 4K resolution and HDR capability makes it the first of its kind. We have seen the 4K panel on Sony's Xperia Z5 Premium and it is the HDR technology that makes the Xperia XZ Premium quite interesting.
As the display uses Sony's Bravia TV technology, it results in better rendering of highlights and shadows. Moreover, the colors pops out better and you get to see more of dynamic range on a mobile device. I found the display amazingly crisp and detailed. The pictures and videos look amazingly sharp and vibrant making Xperia XZ Premium one of the best handset for multimedia playback.
For compatible HDR content, you would need Amazon Prime or Netflix subscription. It is worth mentioning that LG G6 also supports HDR content, and has an edge over Sony Xperia XZ Premium as it also lets you experience Dolby Vision content on a mobile phone.
Camera: The 19M Motion Eye camera that can record Super Slow motion videos
Sony Xperia XZ Premium gets the same 19MP Motion Eye camera that we have previously tested on Xperia XZs. The camera has an Exmor RS mobile memory stacked sensor which has its own set of memory to capture and scan imaging data.
This gives the 19MP camera an ability to read the image resolution with 5x faster speed than the other smartphones to minimize distortion while capturing moving objects. Besides, the stacked memory also allows the camera to save images at a faster rate.
The camera also has Triple image sensing technology, Predective Hybrid Autofocus and can record Super Slow motion videos at 960 fps.
The camera captures a wide frame (wider than the Galaxy S8+'s camera) as it is equipped with a 25 mm wide angle G lens by Sony with aperture value of F2.0. The camera offers 8x digital zoom and also comes equipped with 5-axis stablization and can also record videos in 4K format.
The super slow motion videos are recorded in 720p resolution and run in standard fps until you press the toggle button to start recording in 960fps. You can check our first impression video of Xperia XZ Premium on GIZBOT YouTube channel to see the video sample recorded in 960 fps.
The still images look highly detailed and the colors also look quite natural. You can check the below samples to better understand the image output from the 19MP rear camera. The 13MP front camera that works on a 22 mm wide angle lens and F2.0 aperture is also a decent shooter.
Hardware: Flagship hardware for a flagship smartphone
There's nothing much to complain about the hardware powering the Xperia XZ Premium. The smartphone is backed by the latest and fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. There is 4GB of RAM to take care of multitasking and 64GB built-in storage, which can be expanded further by 256GB via microSD card.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium is a dual SIM handset and also makes sure you get the best of audio performance on a mobile device. The handset supports high-resolution audio and has digital noise cancelling, stereo speakers with stereo recording. You also get Sony's proprietary DSEE HX, which transforms the audio quality of compressed files to near Hi-Res audio. Basically it restores high-range sound and theoretically works only for wired headphones.
Software: Android 7.0 Nougat with Xperia UI
To complement the flagship hardware, Sony Xperia XZ Premium runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Sony's Xperia UI on top of it. Likewise Xperia XZs, the user interface on Xperia XZ Premium comes with Xperia Actions, which is basically the next gen version of Xperia tips to provide weather, place and time based suggestions to simplify daily life scenarios.
Besides, you will also get Sony's signature apps such as Sony Lounge, Movie maker, Sony Liv, etc. In my last 24-hr usage, the Android Nougat ran quite smoothly and I did not notice any lags or performance issues.
Battery and Connectivity
Sony Xperia XZ Premium is powered by a 3,230 mAh battery unit that also gets Quick Charge 3.0. Once again the battery's firepower seems to be on a lower side as it has to support a 4K HDR panel; however Sony claims that the built-in optimized power management mode make sure you get a long-lasting battery life.
It keeps a close eye on your smartphone usage and charging patterns to make the most out of battery backup on a single charge. We will test the battery backup to come out with a definite answer. It is worth mentioning that the package also comes with a UCH-12 Quick Charger unit.
As far as connectivity is concerned, Sony Xperia XZ Premium comes with VoLTE, A-GNSS (GPS+GLONASS), WiFi Miracast, Bluetooth 5.0, DLNA, Google Cast, NFC and USB 3.1 Type C.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium is by all means a flagship smartphone and can be a real threat to Samsung and LG 2017 flagships. It might not look as attractive as the Galaxy S8 and S8+ but it ticks all the right boxes of being an ultra premium flagship mobile phone.
The price tag of Rs. 60k seems a bit heavy but the payback in the form of world's first 4K HDR display, the Motion Eye camera, a premium and durable design and top notch hardware/software is much appreciated. We will evaluate the smartphone complete in our comprehensive review to give our final stand on the real-life performance of Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Stay tuned on GIZBOT.