Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact hands-on

We’re here in Berlin for the slew of IFA announcements, and today we have a big one from Sony. Introducing the successors to their Xperia XZ and X compact, the XZ1 and XZ1 compact. No, Sony isn’t much for nomenclature, but these phones are pretty nice. Focusing on their strengths, the team at Sony has built two flagship contenders with all the modern-day trimmings, and a side of great camera – at least on paper. Let’s take a closer look.




Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact hands-on
The IP68-rated XZ1, is constructed from an all-aluminum body – which Sony says they’ve leveraged for better antenna function – with a 5.2-inch IPS LCD screen nestled within. The sides of the phone are curved, while the top and bottom are flat, following pretty much exactly in the aesthetic of its predecessor. Sony has yet to add a fingerprint sensor, but a secondary speaker exists where you would normally find such biometrics. Around back lies the 19-megapixel sensor, which protrudes slightly, as well as flash and NFC. Colors for the XZ1 will include Black, Warm Silver, Moonlit Blue, and Venus Pink.


Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact hands-on
The XZ1 compact will also come in some fun and good-looking colors. This will include Black, White Silver, Blue, and Twilight Pink. The Compact is obviously a more compact device, sporting a 4.6-inch display but also carrying IP68 waterproofing. Adding what looks like nearly double the thickness compared to the XZ1, the Compact has a slightly different design language, but also looks a lot like its predecessor. Opting for the glass fiber backing used in the Z5 Compact, the XZ1 Compact has a metal top and bottom, and Gorilla Glass 5 up front, though the unit we saw was metal all the way around. Perhaps this may vary by locale.




Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact hands-on
Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact hands-on
The XZ1’s 5.2-inch IPS LCD will have a resolution of 1080 x 1920, but it also has a trick up its sleeve. Taking a page out of their TV lineup, Sony’s added HDR capability on the XZ1 so that it may display a wider CMYK gamut and deliver excellent brightness. The company has been working with streaming sites like Netflix and YouTube to make sure that HDR content is delivered automatically when available. The XZ1 Compact however will not support HDR on its 4.6-inch 720p display.


Interface and Performance


In the tradition of Sony’s up-to-date stock software approach, we’ll be seeing stock Android Oreo out of the box when these two devices ship. This means no legacy software vestiges and hopefully a very quick and sleek interface. Both the XZ1 and XZ1 compact run on the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, with 4 gigabytes of RAM, and a 2700-mAh battery, so we anticipate nothing but flagship-level speed and fluidity, as well as all day battery life. While the XZ1 comes with 64 gigabytes of storage, though, the Compact will only have 32. Other than this, we’re pretty pleased with the specification overlap here, a theme which thankfully continues with the camera.




Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact hands-on
Building on the rock-solid foundation of the XZ premium, Sony’s two latest devices both carry Steady Shot electronic stabilization, and the capable Sony G lens, allowing for higher sensitivity and faster processing. The XZ1 and XZ1 Compact will also be borrowing Motion Eye technology from the XZ Premium, allowing users to shoot slo-mo in up to 960 frames-per-second. Sony really has played to their strengths here, and decided to add some goodies on top of that.


3D scanning will allow you to capture a high-resolution 3D image in less than 60 seconds. Once captured, you’ll be able to enlarge, shrink, and manipulate the rendering in a number of ways, directly on the phone. This feature will have four distinct modes: Face Scan, Head Scan, Food Scan, and Free Form. Each one is meant for the easy scanning, sharing, and printing of 3D models. Outside of this, Sony’s hoping to build on their current use cases, which include wallpapers, AR effects, and social media. The company has been working closely with video game middleware in hopes to enable Xperia owners to output their 3D models directly to popular games like NBA 2K, FIFA, and Grand Theft Auto – all in the near future.


Sony’s second addition to the camera may have a more clearly defined function and purpose. Predictive Capture takes photos two seconds prior to the actual photo being snapped so that you never miss the moment you took your Sony camera out for in the first place. Again, made possible by the camera sensors lightning quick processing, XZ1 and XZ1 compact users will also be able to take burst photographs with autofocus applied to each individual picture. This mode is capable of shooting 10 frames per second at 19 megapixels. Now, you won’t just capture every moment, but you’ll capture them clearly too.




In addition to the XZ1’s HDR capability, both the XZ1 and XZ1 Compact have dual speakers with 50% more sound pressure over their predecessors. Of course, Sony had to make sure its customers had access to high resolution audio, as well as their best proprietary audio software to boot. This includes; LDAC, Sony’s format for carrying high-res audio over Bluetooth, which the company actually contributed for Google to implement into Android Oreo; DCHX, which optimizes compressed audio; and of course, surround sound capability.


Looks like Sony’s back for another round of flagship level competition. If Sony’s Snapdragon-toting XZ premium is any indication of what these phones are made of – and it seems that it clearly is – then we can’t wait to get down to business with these new flagships.

Related phones

Xperia XZ1
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 19 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2700 mAh(20.17h 3G talk time)
Xperia XZ1 Compact
  • Display 4.6" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 19 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2700 mAh(20.33h 3G talk time)



1. haydenb

Posts: 123; Member since: Nov 24, 2011

I wonder what happened to the bezel less phone by sony that was supposedly to be announced at IFA

2. middleup

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

So much disappointed now. Was hoping XZ1 to look something like Note 8(With standard screen ratio), but maybe I was expecting too much...

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