Introduction


Sony is on an aggressive schedule: while most other companies are launching their new flagship phones once in a year, Sony is updating its top-line Xperia phones much more often, with a new phone every six months or so.

Last fall, we had the Xperia Z5, then in the beginning of June 2016, Sony released the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance, and now, just a few months after that, we have another new top-shelf phone: the Xperia XZ.

Despite this quick pace of upgrades, little changes in the Xperia line over time: most of the top-shelf Xperia phones evolve very gradually. The new Sony Xperia XZ is probably the biggest update to the series with a brand new ‘loop’ design that changes the appearance of the phone, but even this does not make it a very significant change: yes, it has a slightly larger screen and a slightly larger battery than the X Performance, but the specs and software are nearly identical.

Under the hood, the Sony Xperia XZ features the same top-shelf Snapdragon 820 system chip, with 3GB of RAM on board and the base version of the handset has 32GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD cards. Sony has, however, improved the camera with a 23-megapixel sensor with 5-axis software stabilization and laser auto-focus that speeds up focusing. Let’s see if there are any other improvements and if Sony can pull out a surprise with the XZ.

In the box:
  • Xperia XZ
  • 5V, 1.5A (7.5-watt) wall charger
  • USB-C cable
  • User manual

Design

New and shinier metal back, curved sides, but still on the thick side

Sony has always had a name for a company that makes elegant, stylish devices and the Xperia XZ undeniably looks like one.

While it retains the DNA of a Sony Xperia phone with its sharp corners and somewhat bulky size, it also now comes with edges that are tapered and more comfortable to hold, an approach that Sony calls ‘loop’ design. The back is made out of a special aluminum alloy that Sony calls ‘Alkaleido’. In real life, it’s a shiny metal finish with a very smooth coating that actually makes it feel a bit like glass or glossy plastic. Its slightly colder temperature, however, gives out its true nature. And it looks good when it’s clean, but as all glossy surfaces, it's good at catching fingerprints and getting smudged easily.

Upon closer inspection, however, one can’t help but notice that the sides of the phone are all made of plastic and there is a strap of plastic at the bottom edge of the rear panel for better reception. The physical buttons - all of them are on the right side - are also made of plastic and don’t feel nowhere near as clicky or well made as the ones on Galaxies and iPhones of today. In the international version of the Xperia XZ there is a fingerprint scanner built in the side-positioned power/lock key and it works fast and well, but - quite shockingly for a late 2016 flagship - there is no fingerprint scanner on the U.S. version of the phone. We guess that this has something to do with patents because otherwise this makes absolutely no sense.

Up front, there is a beautifully laminated screen with Gorilla Glass 4 (yet others are already using the tougher Gorilla Glass 5) that uses on-screen Android navigation keys. There are two front-firing speakers, which is a nice addition, while on the bottom of the phone there is a USB-C port for charging, whereas the 3.5mm headset jack is on the top.

The Xperia XZ comes in a choice of three colors: the signature for the model Forest Blue (aka dark blue), as well as a Mineral Black (black) and Platinum (bright gray) versions. We like this good-looking color selection, and as you can see we have the Forest Blue up for review.


Finally, the phone is also conveniently IP68 certified, meaning it is water- and dust-resistant: it can withstand a 30-minute stay in water, up to 3 feet deep, but rather than being made for use in water, it’s mostly meant to survive occurrences like the rain or an accidental drop in the toilet.


Sony Xperia XZ

Sony Xperia XZ

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.83 x 0.32 inches

146 x 72 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.68 oz (161 g)

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Sony Xperia XZ

Sony Xperia XZ

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.83 x 0.32 inches

146 x 72 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.68 oz (161 g)

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

5.2” Full HD LCD display with bluish colors


The Sony Xperia XZ features a 5.2-inch Full HD display (1080 x 1920 pixels) of an IPS LCD kind. “Triluminous”, “X-Reality”, Sony does not shy away from throwing in a bunch of pompous marketing names to convince everyone in the superior qualities of this screen.

But first, sharpness: a 5.2” Full HD display is sharp enough so that most users won’t see pixelization. We find no issue with it, hence, no reason to complain about it not being a Quad HD display. To be perfectly exact, there is one scenario when a Quad HD display would actually be more beneficial: if you mount your phone in a VR headset, you can actually see a real difference in sharpness there. But as far as normal usage is concerned, 1080 x 1920 px is a-OK.

Onto the colors, the Xperia XZ features strongly oversaturated colors and cold temperature that would annoy photographers looking for color accuracy, as well as those who care about true colors. We do, and from that standpoint, we are not happy with the color rendition on the Xperia XZ.

At the same time, if you are not particularly picky about color accuracy, the screen is not terrible: again, colors are unrealistic, but they also ‘pop’ more and the screen gets sufficiently bright to be comfortable to use in various conditions.


FEATURED VIDEO

74 Comments

5. maherk

Posts: 7017; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

7? Lol This should have atleast received a score of 8, but sadly it is made by Sony and not Apple, so that's an automatic 1 point reduction.

38. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I wonder if they review an exact replica of this one, only brandless. it would probably get a 9

41. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

For fair comparition add 1 point to the score of every android phone, 2 in case of Sony.

56. cheee

Posts: 50; Member since: Jul 11, 2016

accept it sony are the worst among android .

58. Mahesh_K

Posts: 14; Member since: May 28, 2016

First use it & then blabber.

57. Mahesh_K

Posts: 14; Member since: May 28, 2016

Phonearena is so obsessed with iPhone 7 that they couldn't think any number other than 7! Sony will have to wait till launch of iPhone 9 to get a 9 pointer. ;-)

8. ryq24

Posts: 876; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I have yet to read a good review of this phone. So disappointed.

9. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

This time I can't blame them, no fingerprint is minus. 5 from Z5 series and of course the display

10. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

The cons are ridiculous: 1- You can use other camera apps. 2- The world is a big place you don't have to be in the U.S. 3- You can change the white balance in the settings. 4- most other OEMs ship with Android 6.0 so why is this a con? PA ratings are questionable.

53. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

You yourself seem to know and understand why they are cons, but want to talk sony's side just to protect their reputation.

59. Mahesh_K

Posts: 14; Member since: May 28, 2016

Those who use Xperia regularly don't find the camera app cumbersome. Get out of iPhone mode please.

11. zarkonj

Posts: 17; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

Again this typical PA unprofessionalism (hopefully I got that right :-)). In the coclusion they wrote: "it lacks quick charging " This is so wrong. The XZ does support QC3.0! Only the included wall charger doesn't. Which is stupid from Sony. But the way PA writes it is very confusing.

14. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

They didn't even try the 5 axis thing stabilization in video mode, they just state it as shaky!! Im impressed

21. johnh3

Posts: 147; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

I did some research here in Sweden. The "basic" small iPhone 7 with 32 GB are actually more expensive than the Sony Xperia XZ. And Sony include some quite expensive headphones if you pre-order it. I dont know how it are in other markets. But I think Sony UK have a similar deal to. Overall I think the Sony basicly are in same level at the other flagships atleast in Europe where the fingerprint sensor working.

23. centino

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 23, 2016

You can adjust Xperia display white balance or temperature as good as iPhone display !!. Learn it.

24. Kumar123 unregistered

This phone is better than a certain low quality low class korean phone maker whose phone is exploding left and right. LOL. The design of XZ is unique although I would like to see a smaller bazel then again it has front facing stereo speaker so i guess that covers it. Still this design with smaller bazel and slimmer body let's say less than 7mm would be stunning. People should buy this phone over some exploding phones. Better safe than sorry. BTW, I like the review. I think 7 is a good score for this phone.

28. Kumar123 unregistered

I wonder when Sony will be serious with their camera. They give the latest sensor tech to their rival whereas they use years old sensor for their own flagship phone. They seriously need to use a new sensor for their flagship phone.

60. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Major OEM's like Samsung & Apple design their own sensors. As Sony has one of the best foundries to manufacture camera sensors in the world, they opt Sony to produce it. Sony cannot sell these sensors to other vendors like LG, Xiaomi etc neither it can use it in its own phones. Other Sensors like IMX298 which is Sony designed, you can see these in many flagships like One+ 3, Mi5 etc. Also sony designed IMX300 for XZ. There is a difference between design & manufacturing and only Manufacturing..

63. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Who told you Apple designs their own sensors? And from what I know sony uses its own sensors in its phones.

25. jellmoo

Posts: 2660; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

7 should be for the international model. The US model should score lower.

27. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

I download full photo check, totally agree with PhoneArena, still can't compare with Samsung, Apple, LG or even HTC. The photos this time is extreme over sharpening, the smudge oil painting issue still there which make details is gone even sharp. The side still blur out like Z5. Really not an improvement and still far behind.

51. centino

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 23, 2016

Just compare it at same resolution dude. Downscale 23Mpx to 16Mpx or 12Mpx and compare it with the other brand. 100% image comparesion is unnecessary because you not use the photo at 100% crop.

29. reza76

Posts: 8; Member since: Jul 15, 2016

Sony never change . I m not surprise about bad results from xz camera. Same camera aprature will be result in same image quality. Noisy and blur images in xperia phone is papular. Why sony men can not undrestand these simple points? 700 $ for this phone???

62. Kino2x

Posts: 16; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Agree! Many marketing with RGB sensors, laser autofocus, bla-bla-bla, and again crappy blurred edges, black shadows, objects distortion, poor low-light performance... I have not see changes with the old Xperia Z1..) The same crap, for 700$ :((

36. syam7863

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 15, 2016

Its ok for iPhone not to have quick charge but its a con for Sony to support quick charge but does not provide the charger? Well, i think PA should change their scoring scheme by having minus marks, esp for the brand that they hate the most, Sony. The should've given -6 score for this phone. Pffftttt. XZ is not a perfect phone. But please PA, be professional and give credit where credit is due.

61. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

+1 Bruhh.. Completely agree with you here.. iPhone 7 - 1900Mah takes 140+ mins to charge its not a Con.. Xperia XZ - 2900Mah takes 170+ mins & its a big Con.. Woww PA Grow up

74. King_bilo

Posts: 115; Member since: May 20, 2015

Same size as iphone 7+ battery which takes even longer to charge!!! So i headed over to the iphone review to see if they said anything about the incredibly long charging time on the IP7+. Not a f**king peep.

42. TrackPhoneUser

Posts: 256; Member since: Oct 21, 2015

Price makes it a 7 really

43. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

We all know that phonearena like to praise certain brands, while making a joke of others. And I know that Xperia phones usually aren't the best out there. I've been able to test out many, many phones in these last 5 years, and thoug Sony isn't my favorite brand I haven't been more comfortable with a phone than with the Xperia Z2, even after buying the S7 edge. I don't need an ultra slim or ultra light phone or a curved screen or a ultra pocketable phone. Need a phone that can get or send files, when I'm in a basement with no cellular signal, a phone where I can watch singing lessons and TV series when I'm on the go, a sturdi phone that doesn't feel like it's gona break just by seeing it. iPhones are good phones, but not the tool I need, Galaxys are regular phones (at best, even with this new premium glass-glass design), and not the quality we deserve.

44. dirky

Posts: 18; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

This site is unquestionably biased. Look at the pros. Expandable storage has been there since sony ericssons'.. Same goes to waterproofing. So many pros of this phone that should have been mentioned. And the cons are ridiculous. Only a blind man wouldn't see that you are a bunch of paid reviewers. I now conclude how afraid the competitions are to sony. They don't compete fairly. This phone is undeniably stunning. This review is CRAP.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Xperia XZ
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2900 mAh(17.5h 3G talk time)

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