Sony Xperia XZ Review
Call quality is fine, but not excellent on the Xperia XZ. Voices through the earpiece sound a bit muffled and lacking in clarity, but not to the point where it’s hard to discern what your caller is saying, and they get sufficiently loud.
The experience on the other end of the line is similar: slightly muffled and lacking in clarity, but again, not terrible.
Will last a full day as most phones these days, but re-charge times are quite slow
The Sony Xperia XZ features a non-removable 2,900 mAh battery. Sony made it clear that it is introducing some clever tricks to keep it healthy in the long run by preventing it from overcharging and damaging its chemistry. However what most users will be really interested in is actual battery life in daily use.
That's why we put it through its paces in our standardized battery test that puts all phones on equal playing ground: we set their screens at 200 nits of brightness, a level comfortable for indoor use, and run a custom script that measures typical phone use with no off-screen time. So how much did the Xperia XZ score?
Don't expect miracles: its 2,900mAh batteries scored a good, but not great 6 hours and 41 minutes, practically on par with the Samsung Galaxy S7 with Snapdragon. While not outstanding, the Xperia XZ battery still lasted longer than the one on the LG G5 and Nexus 5X, but less than the battery of the iPhone 6s.
Another interesting thing we test is charge times: how much does it take to fully recharge the phone from 0 to 100% using the wall charger and cable provided in the box?
In the case of the Xperia XZ, there is a 5V 1.5A (7.5-watt) wall charger and a USB-C cable provided. As you can see, this is no quick charger with such a low power output, so expectations for fast recharging were not high, but it was quite a shock to see such a slow charge.
It took us nearly three hours to fully charge the Xperia XZ! The exact charge time stood at 2 hours and 54 minutes, more than that of all modern phones.
So there you have it, the Sony Xperia XZ scores in the middle of the pack in terms of battery life, and it is annoyingly slow to recharge.
Sony, however, has pointed out that slow charging might come with some benefits. Sony is introducing a new smart charging option in the Xperia XZ. With nightly charges, what happens is that the battery remains plugged in long after it's fully charged and this continuous trickle charge is stressful to a battery cell and makes it degrade faster. Sony's clever trick here is that it learns that you usually wake up at, say, 7am, and it would stop charging the battery at night when it reaches around 90%, and will only resume charging closer to your wake-up time. This way, you still wake up with a fully charged battery, but the damage from excessive charging is avoided.
All of this hopefully should mean that battery health will remain excellent in the long run, but for users looking for the daily charging results, the score is really nothing to write home about.
Frankly, we’re perplexed by the price of the Sony Xperia XZ: it's sold at a whopping $700 in the United States. We expect this price to quickly go down in the coming few months, but right now, it looks less competitive than the Samsung Galaxy S7 that you can get for $100 less, the futuristic Galaxy S7 Edge available at around the same price, and the outstanding iPhone 7 for $50 less.
The Xperia XZ has some things going for it: it has stylish looks and a clean design, it’s conveniently water-proof and features properly positioned dual front-firing speakers. However, there are just so many places where it falls short, especially compared to the strong competition: its display features bluish and not properly balanced colors, it sometimes stutters, it has a fairly scarce 20GB of user-available storage space, its camera is slow and often counter-intuitive, with images and videos that are not on the same level as the ones from iPhones and Galaxies, it lacks quick charging and in the United States it even ships without a fingerprint scanner.
For $50 less, you can get the excellent Apple iPhone 7 that delivers the same waterproofing, but also an exquisite body, an amazing camera and outstanding, smooth performance. For $100 less, you can get the also superior Galaxy S7 with its more compact design and excellent camera.
UPDATE: You can now read our Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review and Sony Xperia XZs Review!