The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is one of those phones that could change things for its manufacturer. It's beefier than all other Xperias to date, and it easily outpowers all phones from 2016, at least on paper. Then again, Sony's phones are known for looking great when it comes to specs sheets, but lagging behind in reality. So, could the XZ Premium make a splash, or will it just drown in the over-saturated ocean that is the smartphones market? We'll have to wait and see. For the time being, let's take a look at the XZ Premium and how it fares on paper.
The Xperia XZ Premium is a big phone. The handset measures at 6.14 x 3.03 x 0.31 inches (156 x 77 x 7.9 mm), and it weighs 6.87 oz (195 g). That's one pretty thick phone, but it's still just a tad thinner than Sony's 2016 flagship – the Xperia XZ.
The whole design screams Xperia. It's quite flat, with sharp curves, staying true to Sony's trademark looks. And while everyone strives to trim down the bezels of their smartphones, the Japanese tech giant seems to go the opposite way, as the XZ Premium's frames are anything but slim.
Just like previous Xperias, the fingerprint scanner is awkwardly placed on the right side, on the power button, so you can forget using it if you have a case. It's also unavailable for the US models, just like before. The volume rockers and the camera shutter button are on the same side, while the SIM and MicroSD tray sits on the left.
The design is not a major leap from the XZ. In fact, the two can barely be distinguished on the outside, unless you have a sufficient experience with smartphones.
The display on the Xperia XZ Premium measures at 5.5 inches, making the device fall into phablet category. However, with its 4K resolution it will be more than sharp, easily going over 800 ppi. The panel itself is using Sony's in-house “Triluminos” technology for IPS LCD displays. It appears this will not be the year for Sony to thread into OLED territory, but we can't really complain as their screens so far have been okay. Not great, but not bad either.
Here's the big one – Sony is one of the first companies to employ the Snapdragon 835. A chipset that we're all pretty excited about. Qualcomm promised us the best Snapdragon ever made, with “lifelike VR and AR experiences” that will be further boosted by the 4K display.
The eight Kryo cores on the 64-bit chipset should provide enough power for even the heaviest apps and games, and then some. And we expect the Adreno 540 GPU to be an upgrade to the previous one.
But Sony didn't tap into the chipset's full potential. The Snapdragon 835 comes with Quick Charge 4 support, yet Sony announced the XZ Premium with Quick Charge 3.0. Considering that the fourth version is brand new, though, that's not much of a surprise.
The Xperia XZ Premium comes with 4 GB of RAM on board, which should be plenty for both regular daily usage and heavy apps alike. Additionally, the phone has 64 GB of storage which could have been a problem for some users. Thankfully, the device has a MicroSD slot for cards with up to 256 GB of capacity.
The power pack inside the Xperia XZ Premium clocks at 3,230 mAh, which is not great, but it would be sufficient for other phones of the same size. However, we can't predict whether or not it will provide enough juice for this particular handset. It's highly likely that the 4K LCD display will prove to be a battery hog, but the more power-efficient Snapdragon 835 could balance it out. We'll just have to wait and see for ourselves.
The 19MP rear camera's sensor is more on the big side, measuring at 1/2.3”, so in theory it should produce better low-light images. But considering Sony's history with camera software, we're not too keen on making any predictions. What's interesting here is that the new sensor is capable of recording 960 fps video, for some super slow-motion shots that could make your videos far more thrilling.
The selfie camera uses a smaller 13MP 1/3.06” sensor, with f/2.0 aperture, and 22mm wide angle lens. This is pretty much the standard for Sony, and we already saw it in the Xperia XZ from last year. So, don't expect any miracles there.
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is nothing fancy, but it has the potential to be very good. Its pros are the 4K resolution, super slow-motion video capabilities and the new Snapdragon chipset. We can't know how the advantages on paper will play out in the field, though. Considering we've seen some disappointing software from Sony before, we'd rather not make any assumptions before we test the device ourselves.