Sony Xperia XZ1 Review
The Sony Xperia XZ1 is a high-end phone, but not in the same vein as the iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Although it has top specs, it actually seems a little ordinary next to some of the best from Samsung, LG and even Honor.
There isn’t much wrong with the Sony Xperia XZ1 beyond a few niggles. However, when phones such as the Honor 9 and OnePlus 5 offer similar quality for £200 less, it’s hard to get excited about this handset – particularly when its newest feature is the fun but largely useless 3D face scanning.
Sony Xperia XZ1 – Design
The Sony Xperia XZ1 looks and feels pretty similar to the Xperia XZ. At arm’s length it would be impossible to tell the difference.
However, this is actually a higher-end phone, featuring elements of the even pricier Xperia XZ Premium. The Xperia XZ1’s back and sides are all-metal. The aluminium rear curves around to form the sides, with no seams or splits to be seen. While this might not appear something to boast about in a £600 phone, it’s a step up for the series.
The top and bottom ends of the handset are plastic. It took me a while to work out that they weren’t metal, because the material doesn’t feel like bog-standard plastic; it appears to be more like the glass-fibre reinforced plastic as seen on the Xperia XZ1 Compact.
While the XZ1 doesn’t quite have the wow factor of the shiny Honor 9 or curvy Samsung Galaxy S8, this is definitely a Smart-looking phone. My issue with the design is that, like every other Xperia, it feels rather large for its screen size. Its overall dimensions are pretty similar to those of the OnePlus 5, which has a 5.5-inch screen. The Xperia XZ1 has a 5.2-inch display. It’s thinner than the Xperia XZ at 7.4mm thick, but it remains wide.
Parts to celebrate include Gorilla Glass 5 on top of the screen and IP58 water-resistance, which means it should survive an accidental dunk in the water. You also get 64GB storage and the option of a microSD card – there’s a slot under the pull-out flap on the Xperia XZ1’s side.
Sony Xperia XZ1 – Screen
As already mentioned, the Sony Xperia XZ1 has a 5.2-inch 1080p IPS LCD screen. It isn’t as sharp as the Samsung Galaxy S8, but the only image quality quibble I have is that close-up, there’s appear to be some ultra-fine ‘diagonal line’ patterns visible on blocks of white. This isn’t down to a lack of pixels, but another layer in the display. Perhaps the touch panel.
You also don’t quite get the perfect contrast of an OLED display. However, you’ll only notice if you’re using the XZ1 with the brightness ramped up in a dimly-lit room. Sony’s top LCDs do actually get pretty close to the perceptual benefits of OLED.
This is particularly true of colour saturation. If you like, it’s possible to make the Sony Xperia XZ1 look extremely saturated, with both turbo-charged colour and increased contrast.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 has three display modes: Super-vivid is too rich for my tastes; but both Standard and Professional look great. Professional is a strict sRGB mode. It will look a little undersaturated to most eyes, but is the best one to use to ensure photos look the same on the screen as they do on your laptop. Max brightness, too, is powerful. Outdoors visibility is fairly good.
The Auto Backlight mode is jittery, however. It flickers up and down rather than doing so smoothly. I’ve found it a little distracting when reading an article on the train. Go through a tunnel and the Xperia XZ1 looks like it’s having a breakdown. Let’s hope Sony fixes this with an update.
Like the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the XZ1 also supports HDR content. This is video designed to make use of displays with very high contrast and a wide colour gamut. Using Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you’ll see punchier colour in HDR video.
However, in ‘pitch black’ cinema conditions I’d still prefer to watch a non-HDR OLED than an HDR LCD. The unlikeliness of this is the reason I don’t put great stock in technology such as phone HDR as a top reason to buy.
When I watch a video on a phone for longer than a few minutes, it’s always in an image quality-compromised environment. Stuck on a train for four hours, I’d much rather watch a film on a good 6-inch screen than a great 5.2-inch one.
Sony Xperia XZ1 – Software
The Sony Xperia XZ1 is one of the first phones to launch with Android 8.0. There’s still a Sony interface layered on top, but there are a couple of new features that stand out.
First, there are notification dots. These are little coloured circles that pop-up over app icons when, for example, you receive an email. It makes your homescreen more of a ‘desktop’, providing a quick way to see what’s going on without pulling down the notifications dropdown.
The notifications bar also feels different here. Once there are more than a few notifications, you’ll see small icons at the bottom, indicating that there are others that don’t quite fit on the screen. These pop up properly as you flick up. Android 8.0’s notifications have more fun feel than before.
New Android features aside, the Sony Xperia XZ1’s software looks much like that of other recent Xperia phones. The apps menu is arranged as horizontally scrolling pages rather than a vertical feed, and Sony’s apps sit alongside the Google suite. There are apps for music, watching video and to hook up with Playstation network. Sony has also preinstalled ebook store Kobo and the AVG virus scanner. You can’t delete them, but you can ‘disable’ them.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 also has a ‘recommendations’ section, accessed by swiping left-to-right from the apps menu. This is really just a list of app links to Google Play. Unless you’re a brand-new phone user, it’s unlikely to be of much use.
This part can be switched off, however.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Sony Xperia XZ1 Smartphone Review
Family Matters. The XZ1 is the successor to the Sony XZ, Sony’s initial high-end smartphone. As such, it seems to have inherited the latter’s bias for incorporating some flaws. Nevertheless, the XZ1 is truly a member of the high-end squad.
Inge Schwabe. Daniel Schmidt. ✓ Felicitas Krohn (translated by Martin Jungowski), Published 12/02/2017
For the original German article, see here.
During the IFA 2016 trade show Sony not only unveiled the Xperia Z5 Premium but also the top-tier high-end smartphone Xperia XZ. Our review unit is this particular phone’s successor, the Xperia XZ1. At first glance, we noticed that the camera resolution has dropped from 23 to 19 MP, but in return RAM has received a bump from 3 GB to 4 GB and the storage space has even doubled. Quite a few upgrades to begin with. In addition, like the Xperia XZ Premium the XZ1 is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 (8998) SoC, and even though we have only had the single SIM model in review a dual SIM version is also available. Competitors include other XZ-series phones as well as other non-XZ high-end smartphones, like for example the OnePlus 5.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998) Qualcomm Adreno 540
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5.20 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 424 PPI, capacitive 10-point multitouch display, IPS, HDR, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 256 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: fingerprint reader (on the side), accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, barometer, compass, color spectrum
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900), HSPA (800, 850, 900, 1,700, 1,900, 2,100), LTE (700, 800, 850, 900, 1,500, 1,700, 1,800, 1,900, 2,100, 2,300, 2,500, 2,600) CAT16, LTE, GPS
Primary Camera: 19 MPix 1/2.3″ sensor, EIS (gyro), LED, [email protected], [email protected]/60fps, [email protected]Secondary Camera: 13 MPix f/2.0, 22 mm, 1/3″ sensor, 1080p
Speakers: front-facing stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual, Sony Xperia UI, 24 Months Warranty, dust and water-resistant (IP65/68), USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0, OTG, Miracast, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, SAR: 0.8 W/kg, fanless
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.
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Notwithstanding the fact that ever since the Xperia Z1, Xperia smartphones have slowly but surely transformed from modern to dull over the years their design is still undeniably unique. The entire case apart from the top and bottom panels is made of aluminum. The two exceptions are made of matching plastic, and we were unable to tell the plastic parts apart from the aluminum parts thanks to the very neat and smooth transition. Our review unit was clad in Silver, but the XZ1 is also available in Black, a rather softish Pink and an equally pale Blue. Gone is the circular power button, a characteristic Xperia symbol for many years, and in its stead we find the more common elongated power button with integrated fingerprint reader embedded into the aluminum case.
Unlike the protruding volume rocker, the power button is slightly recessed into the case and therefore very easy to distinguish from the former. In the bottom right corner (make that top right in landscape mode) we find a dedicated camera button that opens the camera app and acts as a shutter-release button once the app has been launched.
Although all controls are located on the sides, the bezels below and above the display are still fairly wide: 16 mm (~0.63 in) each. The stereo speakers located in these bezels are but a lame alibi.
Ensuring water and dust resistance are long-standing Sony traditions when it comes to smartphones, and IP65/68 certified XZ1 is no different. This means that it offers the highest currently possible resistance to dust particles and water, and can thus be washed under running water provided that all ports and covers are firmly closed.
All things considered the case is well-made and well-thought-out. Only the wide bezels above and below the display make it seem kind of dated and quaint.
Apple iPhone 8 Plus Sony Xperia XZ Premium OnePlus 5 Samsung Galaxy S8 LG G6 Sony Xperia XZ1 Honor 9 Sony Xperia XZ Huawei P10 Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact DIN A6 ❌
NFC and a notification LED are included as well. Changing the SIM card requires a phone restart. However, the phone features separate trays for the SIM and microSD card hidden behind the same cover to avoid a phone reboot every time one changes the microSD card. Only the microSD tray slides out by default, the SIM card tray requires a separate SIM tool or long finger nails. Arduous for sure, but not a big deal given that SIM cards are rarely ever swapped. 51 GB of the internal storage’s 64 GB is available out of the box, and that is the least we except from a high-end 599 smartphone equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (up to 2.45 GHz).
The octa-core processor, first introduced in March of 2017, is characterized among other things by its connectivity features like Bluetooth 5 and LTE Cat. 16 (downloads with up to 1 GB/s). The Xperia XZ1’s USB 3.1 Type-C port supports USB-OTG and, at least in theory, HDMI capabilities. However, the XZ1 does not make use of this particular feature. After connecting the phone to a computer and installing the Xperia Companion software suite data between the phone and the PC can be exchanged directly via cable transfer instead of Bluetooth or Cloud storage.
Additionally, the XZ1 also supports screen mirroring via Miracast. a feature that almost all Android smartphones are capable of these days. as well as media file exchange with DLNA-capable media servers and receivers.
The phone comes with Android 8.0 Oreo preinstalled, and the Xperia UI differs only moderately from Google’s default user interface save for the custom icons. Possible customizations include special Xperia designs as well as three different grid patterns for home screen icon organization (3×4, 4×4, 5×5).
The phone’s preloaded software is a mixed bag. On the one hand apps like a custom calculator, a news suite, or special interest software such as the Playstation app are not preinstalled by default and have to be downloaded and installed from the store if necessary. On the other hand, Sony’s video app requires downloading the “Video TV SideView” app on first launch. an app, whose set of features has been drastically diminished over time. And while it might still be useful to some users, for example for detecting and connecting to media servers and receivers, we find it odd that it is a mandatory download even if one simply wants to watch a video saved on the smartphone’s internal storage on the smartphone’s internal screen. Thankfully, Google’s default apps for photos, videos, and music can be found in a separate Google folder in the app drawer.
The included file manager supports Google Drive and OneDrive integration in case the corresponding apps are installed, but lacks support for Box and DropBox. We have not tested any other Cloud services.
The following screenshots show the full selection of apps available on the XZ1 out of the box.
Communication and GPS
The European model reviewed by us (G8341) supports all frequencies used by mobile operators in Europe and Germany in particular. Additionally, up to 22 extra LTE bands are supported as well. The phone is thus ideally suited for all those who travel abroad frequently. The North American variant seems to feature a very similar set of supported frequencies. The phone connects to both Wi-Fi spectra, 2.4 and 5 GHz, and also supports the fast ac standard. Connected to a FritzBox 7490 router the phone kept going strong even at a distance where most mid-range smartphones had already lost signal.
Transfer speeds recorded against our Linksys EA8500 reference router were at around 500 MBit/s both sending and receiving. And while all three Xperia smartphones excel in these tests and leave most of their competitors trailing far behind they are unable to keep up with the new iPhones and their potentially record breaking Wi-Fi capabilities.
Outdoor location lock is obtained with an accuracy of 3 m (10 ft). However, we were astounded by the surprisingly low number of satellites the phone connected to. Indoors the GPS module lost track fairly quickly, and only managed to receive four rather weak separate signals when tested in a one-story building.
On our bicycle tour together with the Garmin Edge 500, where we record and compare the track on both devices, the XZ1 did fairly well overall. Smartphones tend to cut corners in this test quite regularly and claim to have moved diagonally through buildings and walls, and the XZ1 was no different. In the first section of the test it cut the hairpin bends and located us next to the actual road in a later segment. All things considered the discrepancies were fairly low and the difference in recorded track length between the XZ1 and the Edge 500 was only 70 m (230 ft).
Telephony and Call Quality
Sony resorts to the default Google interface for phone calls. Both conversational partners had no trouble understanding each other using the handset itself while on speakerphone, both sides were slightly distorted and not as clear anymore. The included headset is only mediocre at best when it comes to call quality due to its very effective passive ambient noise cancelation: the in-ear buds block both ear canals very effectively thereby rendering the sound of one’s own voice rather strange and unnatural. A crosscheck with Huawei’s active noise-cancelling headphones failed due to XZ1’s lack of support for the otherwise problem-free ANC headset.
Compared to its predecessor, the XZ1’s main camera’s resolution has decreased from 23 MP to 19 MP. On the other hand, aperture has increased from f/2.3 to f/2.0, which is still pretty poor for a high-end smartphone camera. In poor lighting conditions, photos taken with the XZ1 showed a much higher amount of noise when compared to the OnePlus 5 or the Galaxy Note 8. In none of our camera tests was the XZ1 able to keep up with these two. Its depth of field effect was much worse when compared to the OnePlus 5, but in return it offered a higher level of detail. The sensor includes a dedicated buffer memory that among other things is used for the impressive 960 FPS slow-motion feature or 3D scans.
Using the camera is very straightforward. For one, the Xperia XZ1 features a dedicated camera button that can be used for launching the camera app and taking photos. Switching between the main and the front-facing camera within the app can be achieved by swipe gestures. The same is true for activating the so-called ‘intelligent auto-mode’ or manual mode within the settings. Using manual FOCUS, one can achieve a minor bokeh effect even without the second lens, as can be seen on the leftmost photo.
The front-facing 22 mm wide angle camera features an aperture of f/2.0 and a comparatively high resolution of 13 MP and just like the main camera it has a few tricks up its sleeves. For one, it is capable of manual brightness and color balance adjustments even before taking a photo, as can be seen on the other three photos below. Only the one in the middle has been taken in full auto mode without manual adjustments. In poor lighting conditions the screen lights up and acts as a front-facing flash.
Additional software filters that some might find entertaining are included in Sony’s software as well, such as for example a filter that decorates selfies with stickers, enhances photos with sound recordings, or 3D scans that can be uploaded directly from within the app to various service providers.
Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.
Color accuracy is determined in a controlled environment under normalized conditions. The test chart to the right shows the reference color in the lower half of each square, and we can see that Yellows are quite accurate whereas Blues, Greens, and Reds are oversaturated. This also affects Whites that turn out rather Grayish instead.
At least the photos are very sharp, and details are not only quite distinguishable in the middle but also along the edges of the photo. Usually, this is where photos tend to lean towards the blurry side.
Accessories and Warranty
Devices sold and purchased in the United States come with a limited 1-year warranty. Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.
The included charger is specified at 5 V 1.5 A, and in addition to the charger the box also contains a 3.5-mm headset with interchangeable caps in various sizes. The headset is nothing to write home about, and the plug itself protrudes from the headphone jack when fully inserted.
Documentation includes the mandatory paperwork as well as a quick start guide.
Optional accessories include cover stands in matching colors for around 40.
Input Devices and Handling
Despite its relatively large 16 mm (~0.63 in) bezel at the bottom, there are no controls located in that area whatsoever. This means that the usual Android buttons are on-screen at the very bottom and thus tend to get covered by apps in full-screen mode.
Instead of Google’s default GBoard keyboard, the XZ1 comes with SwiftKey preinstalled. It offers various customizations, such as height depending on whether one prefers larger keys or more usable space above the keyboard, or a row of numbers above the alphanumeric keys. The keyboard can also be moved towards the bottom right or bottom left corner for easier one-handed operation, and can be split in half in landscape mode to be more usable when using the thumbs to type. A free-floating placement anywhere on the screen is supported as well.
By default, the keys are labeled with their respective multiple assignments, but the special characters can be removed by selecting a different keyboard layout. Swipe gestures worked reliably and well on the display’s smooth surface.
The fingerprint reader is integrated into the power button on the side, which does have certain advantages. For one, if you take your phone into your hands the thumb is going to be resting on top of the power button in most cases anyway. Unlike rear-facing fingerprint readers, this one is also always accessible even with the phone placed face-up on the table. Pressing the power button triggers the fingerprint reader, and it worked very well and fast in our tests.
The display’s resolution of 1920×1080 is adequate for a 5.2-inch display, and the resulting pixel density is 424 PPI.
Display brightness seemed very high at first glance, and we were able to determine an acceptable range between 586 and 620 nits depending on point of measurement. The resulting average of 610 nits is significantly higher than the XZ’s, and also trumps the Xperia Compact and even the Xperia XZ Premium flagship phone. Unfortunately, the XZ1’s black level is comparatively high, and the contrast ratio of 785:1 relatively low.
The ambient light sensor responsible for automatic brightness adjustment cannot be disabled from the quick settings in the notification area. Instead, one has to navigate all the way to the display settings.
Brightness regulation is implemented via PWM at 2358 Hz, and thus at a frequency sufficiently high for most users. Only the most sensitive might suffer from eye strain.
Maximum: 633 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 610.4 cd/m² Minimum: 7.05 cd/m²Brightness Distribution: 93 % Center on Battery: 620 cd/m² Contrast: 785:1 (Black: 0.79 cd/m²)ΔE Color 4.2 | 0.55-29.43 Ø5.2ΔE Greyscale 3.9 | 0.57-98 Ø5.4Gamma: 2.02
Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)
To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in Rapid succession. a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
The display backlight flickers at 2358 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 24 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.
The frequency of 2358 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.
In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 18889 (minimum: 5. maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.
Subjectively speaking the XZ1’s display is crisp and vivid, and by default geared towards the in-house TRILUMINOS color space, which is larger than the default sRGB color space.
Sony offers two presets for the screen, a super vivid and a professional mode. In super vivid mode, colors cover almost the entire DCI-P3 color space. However, they are visibly oversaturated, particularly noticeable when looking at Cyan and Magenta. For the professional mode, Sony promises an authentic color representation based on the sRGB color space. Our spectrophotometer and the CalMAN software have confirmed this by and large, but have also detected visible deviations for all colors with large quantities of Cyan.
Display Response Times
Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
The display is highly reflective in the sun, it remains usable however thanks to its high 610 nits display brightness. With no direct sunlight the display is easily readable outdoors, as can be seen in the third photo.
Colors do not distort when viewed at an angle. Instead, the upper part of the display did get noticeably darker when viewed at an angle regardless of orientation. This area is simply darker than the rest of the screen.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 is certainly one of the most powerful smartphone processors currently available, and many high-end phones are based around this SoC (Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1 Compact, HTC U11, LG V30,Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL.). All these phones are equipped with 4 GB of RAM, and while overall performance is quite similar between all of these, with Sony’s phones rarely ever taking the lead, the Xiaomi Mi 6 and OnePlus 5 are faster particularly in the graphics benchmarks thanks to more RAM (6 GB). The Exynos 8895 octa-core based Samsung Galaxy S8 was also faster, even though it was equipped with only 4 GB of RAM as well. That said, Apple’s A11 Bionic based iPhone 8 and iPhone X are way out of the Snapdragon 835’s league despite having access to only 2 GB and 3 GB of RAM, respectively. Apple benefits from having full control over the entire hardware.
The XZ1 looks rather slow when compared to other similarly equipped high-end smartphones but in real-life situations these differences were negligible. Websites loaded very quickly and switching between tabs was instantaneous.
51 GB of the internal 64 GB UFS memory that the XZ1 is equipped with are available out of the box, and overall storage performance was adequate. External storage media access benchmarked with our 64 GB Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC UHS-II reference card was moderately faster than the XZ Premium but still comparatively slow. According to Sony, the maximum microSD capacity supported is 256 GB.
Bright display, vivid colors, and accurate motion detection when gaming. what else does one need? The Adreno 540 GPU that comes with the Snapdragon 835 mastered all games that we threw at it easily, and “Dead Trigger 2” was running very smoothly at 60 FPS.
“Asphalt 8” was a lot of fun on this miniature gaming console. When playing games in landscape mode the otherwise disadvantageous bezels turn into a big plus all of a sudden, and improve leeway for both thumbs enormously.
The Xperia XZ1 connects to Playstation 4 DualShock controllers via Bluetooth, which can then be used for gaming. Manual acceleration in “Asphalt 8” worked much better with the controller connected to the phone and the thumb on the trigger than having the thumb go back and forth between the various gestures.
Finally! Sony has managed to get the temperature issues that plagued previous Xperia smartphones to the point where they were rendered unusable under control. The XZ1 stayed below 40 °C (~104 °F) at all times while the XZ Premium crossed that threshold around the earphone. Sony has finally addressed the issue, resulting in a mostly Blue-colored temperature map even under load.
Using GFXBench’s battery test we determine processor performance under load, and we are pleased to report that the XZ1 did not throttle.
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.6 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 32.6 °C / 91 F for the devices in the class Smartphone. The maximum temperature on the upper side is 38.3 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 34.9 °C / 95 F, ranging from 21.9 to 52.9 °C for the class Smartphone. The bottom heats up to a maximum of 32.1 °C / 90 F, compared to the average of 33.7 °C / 93 F In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.5 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 32.6 °C / 91 F.
Two speakers are still a rarity in smartphones these days. While streaming video we were satisfied with the overall stereo effects in terms of soundscape and noise. However, when listening to music. which one tends to enjoy at increased volume more often than not. the XZ1 quickly ran out of oomph. It lacked volume and fullness, which Apple’s Plus models tend to excel at.
The included headset is decent and sufficient, but it is nothing to brag about. The included caps cancel out ambient noise sufficiently, assuming that one of the sizes provided fits.
Sony Xperia XZ1 audio analysis
(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.9 dB)Bass 100. 315 Hz (-) | nearly no bass. on average 31.2% lower than median (±) | linearity of bass is average (11.6% delta to prev. frequency)Mids 400. 2000 Hz | balanced mids. only 4.4% away from median | mids are linear (6.8% delta to prev. frequency)Highs 2. 16 kHz | balanced highs. only 2.8% away from median | highs are linear (4.4% delta to prev. frequency)Overall 100. 16.000 Hz (±) | linearity of overall sound is average (23.1% difference to median)Compared to same class» 51% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 36% worse» The best had a delta of 11%, average was 23%, worst was 65%Compared to all devices tested» 71% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 22% worse» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%
Samsung Galaxy S8 audio analysis
| speakers can play relatively loud (82.4 dB)Bass 100. 315 Hz (-) | nearly no bass. on average 22.1% lower than median (±) | linearity of bass is average (11.7% delta to prev. frequency)Mids 400. 2000 Hz (±) | higher mids. on average 5% higher than median | mids are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)Highs 2. 16 kHz | balanced highs. only 3.7% away from median | highs are linear (6.7% delta to prev. frequency)Overall 100. 16.000 Hz (±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.3% difference to median)Compared to same class» 36% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 52% worse» The best had a delta of 11%, average was 23%, worst was 65%Compared to all devices tested» 60% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 32% worse» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%
LG G6 audio analysis
(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.3 dB)Bass 100. 315 Hz (-) | nearly no bass. on average 17.1% lower than median (±) | linearity of bass is average (14.7% delta to prev. frequency)Mids 400. 2000 Hz | balanced mids. only 4.8% away from median | mids are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)Highs 2. 16 kHz (±) | higher highs. on average 6.6% higher than median | highs are linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)Overall 100. 16.000 Hz (±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.8% difference to median)Compared to same class» 41% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 49% worse» The best had a delta of 11%, average was 23%, worst was 65%Compared to all devices tested» 64% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 29% worse» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%
Frequency diagram (checkboxes selectable/deselectable!)
The XZ1 is certainly not the most efficient phone. Apart from the low power consumption in standby (which marks only the highest positive deviation) the phone consumed more energy than every single one of its competitors, particularly under load.
Charging from near empty to 100% takes around 2.5 hours, and the battery reads 36% after 30 minutes of charging.
Key: min:. med:. max: Metrahit EnergyCurrently we use the Metrahit Energy, a professional single phase power quality and energy measurement digital multimeter, for our measurements. Find out more about it here. All of our test methods can be found here.
Considering the phone’s high power consumption it did not come as a surprise that battery life was, shall we say, not the best, and the fairly low battery capacity of no more than 2700 mAh did very little to solve the problem. Constant load at high display brightness has the potential to drain the battery completely in less than three hours. unacceptable for a high-end smartphone. Like most manufacturers Sony has implemented a battery saver feature, which either disables or significantly reduces background activities. It can be enabled either manually at any given time or automatically once the charge level drops to 15%.
Xperia smartphones are still easily distinguishable by their unique design, and the XZ1 fits right in. Unfortunately, the wide bezels below and above the display are kind of a downer and should have been a thing of the past by now. On the plus side, the choice of material and manufacturing quality are as high as one would expect from Sony, and the XZ1’s high level of dust and water resistance is not as common in modern smartphones as we would hope for. From a technical point of view there are still a few glitches here and there, such as poor GPS availability indoors or the rather embarrassing stamina under load. Accordingly, we cannot recommend this device to anyone who uses their phone a lot when out and about. It does, however, look like the perfect phone for frequent travelers abroad due to its wide array of supported 3G und 4G/LTE bands. That said, the Dual SIM model has now been made available by Sony and it should fit the bill even better.
Modern on the inside more so than on the outside. On the plus side, the Xperia XZ1 comes with an up-to-date operating system, a fast processor, stereo speakers, and a good camera. The case is dust and water resistant but its old-fashioned bezels above and below the display make it seem outdated and everything but trendy.
Features such as the fingerprint reader are expected at the XZ1’s price point of around 600, but the phone’s internal storage seems almost too small in comparison. Stereo speakers have always been rare in smartphones and support for DLNA has become increasingly rare and can be a big plus for those who have corresponding media servers and receivers at home, particularly for the cineastes among our readers. Too bad the speakers are not particularly good.
The camera is sophisticated and decent, and the fairly versatile camera app is not going to disappoint its users. However, if the camera is one or even the most important factor in a smartphone for you, we suggest taking a closer look at the alternatives made by Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and OnePlus.
What ultimately turned this thing around are the XZ1’s bright and vivid display and its high performance, both of which are major considerations for gamers. The unique Playstation 4 controller compatibility is worth mentioning again at this point. It might not be new or the most important selling point since pretty much every smartphone can be used in combination with a third-party controller, but it is certainly an advantage if you already happen to own a PlayStation 4 controller.
Sony Xperia XZ1. 2017-11-28 11/28/2017 v6 (old) Inge Schwabe
Sony Xperia XZ2 vs Sony Xperia XZ1: What’s the difference?
Sony Mobile has announced two new devices at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in the form of the Xperia XZ2 and the Xperia XZ2 Compact.
The two devices continue the Xperia XZ line, which started with the Xperia XZ in September 2016, followed by the Xperia XZ Premium in February 2017 and the more recent Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact in September 2017.
There’s just under six months between them, but the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ1 are significantly different devices, with Sony Mobile finally changing things up in terms of design. Here is how the two flagships compare.
Sony Xperia XZ2 vs Sony Xperia XZ1: Design
- Xperia XZ2 new curved rear
- Xperia XZ2 larger and heavier
- Both devices IP65/68 water and dust resistant
- No headphone jack for Xperia XZ2
The Sony Xperia XZ2 might take the XZ name, but it takes on a completely different look to its predecessor. The XZ2 moves away from the flat-slabbed OmniBalance design Xperia fans have come to expect and switches to a curved rear like the HTC U11, whilst also reducing the bezels surrounding the display on the front.
Measuring 153 x 72 x 11.1mm and weighing 198g, it is larger, thicker and heavier than the Xperia XZ1 that measures 148 x 73 x 7.4mm and weighs 156g, but the Xperia XZ2 takes on the 18:9 aspect ratio display meaning you get an extra 13 per cent of screen in the new flagship.
Both feature an aluminium core sandwiched between glass panels, though Sony has said the Xperia XZ2 is the strongest device it has made. Sony has also repositioned the fingerprint sensor from the signature side position to the rear in the new device, whilst also centralising the camera lens and flash module on the back.
Both the Xperia XZ1 and XZ2 are IP65 and IP68 water and dust resistant and they both feature USB Type-C charging. The Xperia XZ2 ditches the headphone jack in its new and improved design though.
Sony Xperia XZ2 vs Sony Xperia XZ1: Display
- Xperia XZ2 has a larger display
- Xperia XZ2 has 18:9 aspect ratio
- Xperia XZ2 has HDR-upscaling capability
The Sony Xperia XZ2 has a 5.7-inch display, which features a Full HD resolution at 2160 x 1080 pixels for a pixel density of 424ppi. As we mentioned previously, it has an 18:9 aspect ratio, following the trend set last year by the likes of Samsung, LG and Apple.
Like the Xperia XZ1, the XZ2 has an LCD display but it doesn’t just support HDR content, it will also upscale content to HDR-like quality using the X-Reality technology. The Xperia XZ1 only offers support for HDR content but it doesn’t have the upscaling feature.
The Xperia XZ1 also has a smaller 5.2-inch display with a Full HD resolution that results in the same pixel density as the Xperia XZ2. It offers a 16:9 aspect ratio over the 18:9 aspect ratio however, meaning the new device will offer more screen within a similar-sized footprint compared to last year’s device.
Sony Xperia XZ2 vs Sony Xperia XZ1: Hardware
- Xperia XZ2 has SD845, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
- Xperia XZ1 has SD835, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
- Larger battery capacity in Xperia XZ2
- 20 per cent louder audio on Xperia XZ2
The Sony Xperia XZ2 features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform under its hood, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It’s worth mentioning here that Sony has developed and image signal processor with Qualcomm that is also on board the XZ2, designed specifically for the camera.
There is a microSD slot for storage expansion and the new flagship runs with a 3120mAh battery capacity which is charged via the USB Type-C port or a compatible Qi wireless charger.
The Xperia XZ1 meanwhile, has the slightly older but still excellent Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform, supported by the same 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. MicroSD is on board again, but the battery capacity is a little smaller than the new device at 2700mAh.
In terms of audio, Sony claims the XZ2 offers 20 per cent louder speakers compared to the XZ1, as well as clearer and it has also introduced something called Dynamic Vibration System. This system is capable of adding vibration to anything you’re watching or playing which is designed to make you feel more involved so theoretically, the XZ2 should be better for entertainment.
The Xperia XZ1 packs plenty of power and the latest version of Android, but this phone’s bulky design, small battery and lack of a fingerprint sensor make it feel decidedly dated.
Tom’s Guide Verdict
The Xperia XZ1 packs plenty of power and the latest version of Android, but this phone’s bulky design, small battery and lack of a fingerprint sensor make it feel decidedly dated.
- Powerful processor
- Headphone jack
- Already offers Android 8.0 Oreo
- 3D Creator is fun
- – No fingerprint sensor in U.S. model
- – Dated design
- – Middling battery life compared to leading flagships
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Editors’ Note: We updated this review on Nov. 20 to note that Sony has since come out with Xperia XZ2 and XZ3 phones. If you’re looking for a more compact phone with a screen about the same size as the Xperia XZ1’s 5.2-inch display, look at our guide to the best small phones currently available.
You hear the sentiment often these days that most smartphones look too similar. But you’d never mistake Sony’s newest range-topping Xperia XZ1 for anything else on the market. Sony has picked up right where it left off with 2016’s Xperia XZ family, eschewing modern design trends and features for an unapologetically sharp, flat slab of a flagship that keeps the bells and whistles to a minimum.
The XZ1’s price has fallen since we originally posted this review earlier this year, as Sony has come out with newer flagships, including one — the Xperia XZ2 Compact — that we actually prefer to the XZ1, thanks to its more modern design and above-average battery life.
Design: Time to switch it up
While many new smartphones have opted for wider and nearly bezel-free screens, Sony’s Xperia XZ1 defies this shift with its striking rectangular form and generous bezels above and below the display. The result is a handset that resembles a shrunken version of the old Xperia Z4 tablet from way back in 2015, as well as generations of bygone Sony flagships.
The Venus Pink Xperia XZ1 we tested measures 5.8 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches, features a durable exterior made from anodized aluminum and is rated IP68 water resistant. A sheet of Gorilla Glass 5 protects the screen but falls away slightly at the perimeter to mesh with the device’s curved sides. Along the phone’s right side, you’ll find a recessed power button — a hallmark of Sony’s flagships — as well as a volume rocker that is simply too short and small to help you discern up from down. At least the top edge of the phone bears a headphone jack, something disappearing from flagships these days.
One not-so-little thing about that power button: In markets outside the United States, that key doubles as a fingerprint sensor. Sony has once again disabled that layer of security for U.S. customers. Whatever the reason, it was an inexcusable omission in last year’s Xperia XZ line that sadly hasn’t changed.
The Xperia XZ1 is also available in Moonlit Blue, Warm Silver and black. Interestingly, Sony colored the glass to match the hue of the aluminum on all three nonblack models. We wish we saw this more often from companies like Apple and Google, as it gives the front of the device some added personality.
The XZ1 is wider than the Galaxy S8 (5.9 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches) by 0.2 inches, so getting a comfortable hold is difficult if you have small hands. The S8 has a bigger screen than the XZ1 but a different aspect ratio, so it winds up being narrower than Sony’s phone.
If you can manage to fit the XZ1 in your pants. you may feel a jab from one of the phone’s sharp edges, but that ultimately depends on how tight your pants are. (No judgement!) The looser s you’ll find on sweaters or jackets do perfectly fine in containing this imposing handset.
Surprisingly, the Xperia’s long frame is fairly lightweight, coming in at only 5.4 ounces. That’s 1.4 ounces lighter than Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium (6.8 ounces) and a hair lighter than the Galaxy S8 (5.5 ounces).
Display: Pretty and pretty dated
The 5.2-inch, 1080p LCD display inside the Xperia XZ1 may sound unremarkable on paper, but it’s a nice enough panel for a high-end handset. Just don’t expect it to blow you away like the OLED screens featured on some of its competitors.
It’s a bit strange for Sony to remain committed to LCD displays in smartphones considering it gave the world its very first OLED television exactly a decade ago and continues to produce them today. The XZ1’s HDR-enabled screen is colorful and crisp, and like with its predecessors, you can customize this phone’s display mode to get more- or less-saturated hues. But the XZ1 can’t deliver the broad contrast ratio and perfect blacks that dazzle Galaxy Note 8 users or get quite as bright as the iPhone X.
Camera: Solid, but not stunning
While other phone makers have taken to giving their devices two lenses, Sony has stuck with a single camera on the back of the Xperia XZ1. It’s a 19-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and electronic image stabilization only — no optical here. For selfies, there’s a 13-MP, front-facing shooter at your disposal.
The Xperia XZ1’s camera app isn’t loaded with a bevy of shooting modes and special features, which is actually a relief after experiencing the overly cluttered interfaces of competing flagships. We also appreciate that Sony continues to include a dedicated hardware key for the shutter, for those who prefer the precision and tactile feedback of a physical button. However, some users might lament the lack of a Portrait Mode as found on many of the latest premium phones.
Taking our unit outdoors along with the 12-MP Galaxy S8 for some comparison shots, we saw that the two phones excelled in different respects. In this first shot, inside a window-lit coffee shop on a brisk but sunny afternoon, the XZ1 had a hard time reining in the intense light falling in from the storefront. However, the phone handled the rest of the frame better than the Samsung device, with its dim exposure and grainy, fuzzy details. The Xperia’s white balance also appeared more neutral.
Turning around for a close-up on some items for sale, I found that the XZ1 claimed the dimmer, noisier shot, failing to compensate for the poorly lit conditions. The Galaxy S8 bore slightly warmer colors and better exposed the entirety of the scene. And its narrower field-of-view didn’t distort the edges of the frame quite as significantly.
Stepping outside the cafe, I encountered this late afternoon scene, which was challenging for both phones, mostly because of the sunlight breaking from behind the house at the left. The XZ1 maintained its cooler tint, and those extra megapixels definitely helped the phone pull out more detail down toward the horizon. But a heavy glare also clouded much of the final result. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S8’s shot proved to be a bit darker overall, especially in the shadows, as seen in the porch of the blue house and the potted plant on the street corner.
Finally, the Xperia’s wide-angle selfie cam delivered a clear portrait that delicately painted the sky’s blue gradient in a way the Galaxy S8’s 8-megapixel shooter simply couldn’t, although the Sony’s photo could have been a tinge brighter.
Videographers may appreciate a feature that Sony brought over from the Xperia XZ Premium. Like that phone, the XZ1 can film super-slow-motion video at 960 frames per second and 720p resolution, far smoother than the 240-fps mode in the iPhone 8 and X.
Capturing video at this speed is effortless: Simply tap a button while recording video to hone in on a specific moment. Just make sure you’re shooting outdoors or in well-lit surroundings, as this mode really turns down the brightness out of the camera feed. It’s a beneficial feature, but useful only in scenes with a great deal of movement.
Performance: One of Android’s fastest
The Xperia XZ1 features Qualcomm’s high-performing Snapdragon 835 processor to compete with other current Android flagships. The XZ1 showed no hints of lag when we put that powerful chip to use browsing the web, streaming video and playing our favorite games.
In the Geekbench 4 test for overall system performance, the XZ1 scored a whopping 6,506, outperforming the Galaxy S8 (6,295), Google Pixel 2 (6,282) and Xperia XZ Premium (6,206). The OnePlus 5T earned a slightly higher mark of 6,674, though our OnePlus review unit pulled in that score with 8GB of RAM. It’s pretty impressive that the XZ1 was able to rank a close second with just half the memory.
Still, Sony’s latest phone dominated in our video-editing test, transcoding a 2-minute 4K video clip to 1080p using the Adobe Premiere Clip app. The XZ1 processed the file in 2 minutes and 55 seconds, which is actually dead even with the Pixel 2.
In terms of graphics, the XZ1 scored 38,730 in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, proving that this phone can handle simpler games, like Episode and Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow as well as more-demanding titles, like Modern Combat 5.
Battery: Look elsewhere for longevity
The Xperia XZ1 sports a 2,700-mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, good for users who don’t want to wait long for their phone to re-juice. The Xperia’s battery also features Qnovo Adaptive Charging technology to extend the device’s lifespan (unlike Apple’s iPhones) and Smart Stamina, which disables nonessential apps when the battery runs down to 15 percent or lower.
Despite all that, the phone lasted 9 hours and 45 minutes in the Tom’s Guide battery test, which consists of continuous web surfing over T-Mobile’s LTE network. While that showing is in line with the average result for smartphones, it doesn’t compare to the times from other flagship Android phones, like the Galaxy S8 (10:39), Google Pixel 2 (11:07) and OnePlus 5T (11:22), all of which carry bigger batteries. Still, the XZ1’s time improved on that of its pricier older sibling, the Xperia XZ Premium, by 23 minutes (9:22).
Software: Oreo, with some tweaks
It might seem like table stakes to launch a phone with the latest version of Android on board, but it happens less often than you’d hope. For that reason, we have to hand it to Sony for releasing the Xperia XZ1 with Android 8.0 Oreo, rather than promising an update at an undetermined future date as the overwhelming majority of phone makers have done.
Mind you, it’s not quite Oreo in its stock form. Sony has included its own launcher, which allows you to expand the grid of apps on the home screen, change the transition animations that appear between pages and even modify icon size. The XZ1 also includes Sony’s stock apps, like Album, Music, Video, Sketch and Xperia Lounge, the latter of which functions as a Sony-curated collection of games, media, themes and so on. Even the Settings menu is just subtly different.
It’s certainly not as much of a departure from Google’s OS as you’ll find in LG’s or Huawei’s heavily customized interfaces. But it still feels like change for the sake of change, not to mention that the interface looks quite dated, too. Much like its exterior aesthetic, the Xperia’s UI has remained pretty much the same over the past three years.
However, one special feature you won’t find anywhere else is Sony’s 3D Creator.
This app uses the XZ1’s rear camera to scan faces, food and objects, which can then be placed in photos and videos as AR models, or even 3D printed if you have the appropriate hardware or access to a 3D printing service.
In practice, 3D Creator is hit or miss. Slowly panning a camera around a stationary object to model it is much, much harder than it sounds, especially when the object in question is extremely large or small and space is tight. But when it works, the effect is hilarious and almost magical. The app will direct you to scan a person’s head first, which I quickly found was the easiest thing to scan; stuffed animals and model cars proved considerably more difficult. You’ll quickly run out of things to do with a textured polygonal bust of your best friend, but it’ll be a blast the first time you mess around with it.
There’s no Android flagship quite like Sony’s latest, but in this case, that’s not a particularly good thing. You must acknowledge the Xperia’s processing prowess and Oreo support, but aside from that, the competition simply offers more.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 manages a larger OLED screen and a form that’s easier to use with one hand. The Google Pixel 2 XL is every bit as fast as the XZ1, but it sports class-leading battery life and arguably the best camera in any smartphone today (at least, any phone that doesn’t come from Cupertino). The OnePlus 5T promises more RAM, a second lens and other noteworthy benefits for hundreds of dollars less. And, of course, all three of those handsets have fingerprint sensors.
over, the strides Sony has made aren’t relevant to the average user. Slow-motion video recording and 3D Creator are fun and technologically exciting, but they’re novelties at heart. Where it counts, the Xperia XZ1 is simply outmatched.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom’s Guide