The Sony Xperia XZ is…well, yet another flagship smartphone. While it has respectable hardware for a flagship device, it’s not exactly the most well-equipped smartphone either. Instead of packing a high resolution display – as was the case with the Xperia Z5 Premium – or a generous amount of RAM on the Xperia XZ, Sony is betting it all on one particular hardware: camera. Can this alone make the Xperia XZ a compelling smartphone?
Sony’s well-loved OmniBalance design language translates well on the Xperia XZ; it simply feels really, really nice to hold. Despite having a plastic frame, the XZ does not feel like a cheap smartphone at all; it’s actually quite the contrary. Of course, the square design of the Xperia XZ may not appeal to every consumer, but it sure feels like a solidly built smartphone. Its side fingerprint sensor is also very fast and accurate.
Packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, the Xperia XZ definitely felt speedy and responsive, which isn’t all that surprising. Its display, on the other hand, is only a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS display. While this doesn’t sound quite as impressive on paper, it does look really good. Plus, having a lower resolution display should help with the overall battery life of the Xperia XZ, and it needs all the help it can get; this smartphone is only packing a 2,900mAh battery.
Evidently, the display and battery capacity of the Xperia XZ aren’t very impressive, but its camera certainly is. Not only is the XZ’s 23MP rear camera equipped with a five-axis image stabilisation system – said to be a world’s first – it is also packing an RGBC-IR white balance sensor, which will supposedly improve colour accuracy. The XZ also has a 13MP front-facing shooter.
In my testing, the Xperia XZ’s 23MP camera only seems…good. It’s not bad, that’s for sure, but it’s not exactly extraordinary either. The camera doesn’t lock in focus as quickly as I would’ve hoped – it does focus fast with a half-press of the shutter button, however – and there seems to be a slight stuttering in between shots. It’s very reminiscent of the issue I faced with the Sony Xperia X. That being said, some shots I took with the device does look rather impressive, but it still remains to be seen how the camera would perform in real life usage.
The Sony Xperia XZ is perhaps the Japanese company’s best efffort yet; it feels really good to hold, it’s well-designed, and its camera does show some promise, although there are a few minor issues here and there. However, we still don’t know about one very important information of the Xperia XZ: its retail price.
If the Xperia XZ continues the price trend set by the trio of Xperia X smartphones launched in Malaysia a few months ago, the XZ will face some tough competition. After all, there are many great flagship smartphones already in the market, and most of them exceed the value to performance ratio of the Xperia X, which carries a flagship-level price tag for mid-range hardware. For the Xperia XZ to be a compelling smartphone, Sony has to price it right.