Tech Android Review: Sony Xperia ZX Premium smartphone but is it...

Review: Sony Xperia ZX Premium smartphone but is it any good?

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A few months ago Sony announced the new Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the review unit was kindly sent into review from Vodafone.co.uk, many thanks. Phones generally concentrate on one or two areas where they shine, and Sony has always been about the camera, which to tell you the truth, is pretty awesome on the new Xperia XZ Premium.

 

There are two colours to choose from, which are of a deepsea black, luminous chrome. We were sent the deepsea black coloured phone, and it’s incredibly shiny and sensitive to fingerprints. The XZ is covered in glass, giving the phone a premium finish. The top and bottom parts of the handset are strangely made from plastic, which does ruin the aesthetic somewhat.

Back off the Sony Xperia ZX Premium

There is Gorilla Glass 5 present to give the phone some protection as well. I have no doubt that you would want to get this into some kind of case as quickly as possible. Fingerprints alone will quickly turn this handset into a greasy nightmare. The bezel that surrounds the screen is quite thick too, which I feel is a little unforgiving in this day and age, considering Samsung and Apple are coming out with sleeker looking handsets.

The XZ is covered in glass, giving the phone a premium finish. The top and bottom parts of the handset are strangely made from plastic, which does ruin the aesthetic somewhat. There is Gorilla Glass 5 present to give the phone some protection as well. I have no doubt that you would want to get this into some kind of case as quickly as possible. Fingerprints alone will quickly turn this handset into a greasy nightmare. The bezel that surrounds the screen is quite thick too, which I feel is a little unforgiving in this day and age, considering Samsung and Apple are coming out with sleeker looking handsets.

Holding the device I had not a problem, the square shape isn’t enough to put me off. The only problem is the physical size of the handset. There’s no way that even someone with the largest of hands is going to be able to reach to the top of the screen while using the handset with one hand.

The lock/unlock button on the right-hand side of the handset doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which does give the phone a sleek look as there are no physical buttons present. It’s easy to reach too and reacts pretty quickly to your thumb.

The volume rocker is just above and again, looks sleek.

The jack plug for headphones is placed on top, which I love. It means wired headphones can lead away from your pocket nicely if stored upright. The USB-C port has been placed on the bottom in a standard fashion. The whole device has an IP68 rating, which means it’ll survive a dunk in the bath if you’re like me and knock your phone off of the side on a regular basis.

The screen is a selling point too. Coming in at 5.5 inches, with a 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160. However, most of the time you’re going to be seeing a 1080p downscaled version. 4K resolutions only activate once 4K resolutions have been detected in the media you are watching. So this means anything streamed from Amazon Prime, or now Youtube HDR or even something recorded from your video camera.

The reason Sony has opted to do this is that running a 4K resolution on a mobile will destroy battery life very quickly. Downscaling the resolution ensures the battery life will continue to be spent over the course of a day rather than a few hours.

Even still, because of the Triluminos screen and 807ppi, colours still looked pretty amazing.

The specifications are pretty standard for a flagship handset. Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, paired with 4GB RAM. There’s even 64GB storage that’s available as standard, no other sizes though. It’s a decent size but this phone advertises its 4K screen pretty heavily. If you’re going to be storing a lot of 4K content, then be prepared to have to invest in an extra microSD card. It supports cards up to 256GB.

After running a Geekbench 4 session we can give it a final score of 1918 on a single-core processor and 6470 on a multi-core processor.

The performance was as expected. Launching graphically heavy apps were a smooth quick process and didn’t give any issues in things like dropped frames or even stutter.

The Android 7.1 version that comes with the handset is only littered with minimal Sony bloatware and didn’t really get in the way of my overall experience.

Camera

The Xperia XZ Premium’s rear camera is excellent. with a 19-megapixel snapper with an aperture of f/2.0, “predictive” phase detect and laser autofocus for quick lock-on in both well-lit and low-light conditions. The sensor is 1/2.3in in size, too, so the same as all its major rivals. As for the front-facing camera, that’s a 13-megapixel, f/2.0 camera with a 1/3in sensor.

The main feature that Sony seems to be used to draw people in is its slow-motion capture. One notable change is the increase in frames per second during the slow-motion action shots.

Usually, phones increase their rate to 240-frames per second, but Sony gives you a seriously impressive 920-frames per second. That means this phone is able to capture so much more detail and quality in its slow-motion shots. Pair this with the colourisation and impressive sharpness, and you’ve got yourself a blinding shot.

However, the way you capture a slow-motion shot is extremely fiddly and could be enough to put some people off. To activate slow motion you first have to be recording a standard video. From here you need to click the dedicated slow motion button to activate the feature.

The Good
  • Specification matches top tier mobiles
  • Graphically heavy and demanding apps launch with ease
The Bad
  • The design looks a little dated now
  • Slow motion camera mode is fiddly to capture a good shot

The Sony XZ Premium is a very solid phone. My only issues with the device issue are the design. There’s nothing really wrong with the handset’s specification at all and definitely sits on par with other flagship devices in terms of speed, camera quality and even screen resolutions. It just looks very dull compared to other handsets on the market. But for those wanting a phone that looks very business ready, then this is the handset for you. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is available through Vodafone for as little as £46 a month.

Review sample sent in by Vodafone.co.uk

Chris Hare
A True Tech Geek at Heart, I Started my life of being a Tech Geek at the age of 5 with the BBC Micro. Went on through most of Nintendo stuff and now a Xbox and PlayStation fan. I also leaked the information about the leaked Hotmail passwords story from October 2009 that went World Wide. I Started writing tech articles at the beginning of 2011, most of my articles are about Android phones and Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and other gaming news. When Chris has free time its with the family.

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