Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review
A solid all-around camera, but low-light photos could have been better.
Every year we hope for the same thing when Sony phones come out – better-optimized camera app. Unfortunately, we have yet to see it, as the XZ Premium comes with the familiar clunky camera interface, which is surprising considering the rest of the software is optimized pretty well. The app is slow to respond to input and awkward to use, due to the placement of some of its essential elements, but at least it hasn't gotten any worse than before.
The emphasis of all marketing materials about the Xperia XZ Premium is placed on the main camera, and for a good reason. The shooter is quite impressive when it comes to medium and good lighting conditions. It takes pleasing photos with plenty of detail.
Also, thanks to Sony's new Motion Eye tech, taking photos of fast-moving objects no longer results in any distortion. Shooting a speeding car for example, will capture it just as well as if it was parked on the side of the road.
Of course, we can't talk about the XZ Premium without talking about slow-motion videos. The new Sony smartphone is capable of shooting clips at 960 fps, which is four times the speed of what we had available on smartphones up until now. This means that when you play the video with regular speed, it will be four times slower than the slow-motion you can capture with the Google Pixel, for example.
These prove trickier to make than Sony is making it look, though. Pressing the shutter button in just the right moment could prove to be nearly impossible. Even staged scenes take a few attempts to time right, and since the actual slow-motion video captures about 0.15 of a second, the action might happen right before or immediately after what you shot in 960 fps.
The selfie snapper is nothing to write home about, but it's not bad either. We would classify it as dully average. Our issue with it is the so-called “soft skin” effect, which does little to hide skin imperfections. In fact, selfies look better with it disabled, since it tends to give both your skin, and any spots that might be on it, a wax-like look.
When it comes to video recording, the Xperia XZ Premium is doing more than well. Both the 1080p and 4K clips look pretty crisp and pleasant. This persists at regular zoom levels too, with very little loss of detail when you zoom up to three times. Of course, the zoom is digital, so going above that, up to the maximum of eight times, will result in some reduced quality.
A TV set in your pocket.
When it comes to multimedia experience, the XZ Premium is about as good as it gets. The 4K HDR display provides the best viewing experience for just about any video content you might imagine, and when paired with the solid stereo speakers, it almost feels as if you have a pocket-sized TV.
In case you're a Sony user who also happens to own a PlayStation 4, the XZ Premium could become your best friend. The PS4 Remote Play app has never looked better. Just make sure that you have a stable Internet connection on both the console and the phone, otherwise you will be plagued by the constant buffering and graphical glitches.