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Sony Xperia XZs Review

Sony Xperia XZs

Posted: , by Damian M.

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Camera

An impressive back camera, courtesy of Sony, but only in good light conditions.

Sony Xperia XZs Review

The major upgrade from the Sony Xperia XZ is the main camera. Sony makes use of its latest smartphone sensor that comes with 1 GBit of its own DRAM. This allows the camera to shoot video at 960 fps for a short burst of super-slow motion, which looks stunning if you film the right scene.

There are two super slow-motion modes – regular and one-shot. The first allows you to shoot normal video, and click an extra button for a burst of slow-motion footage in the middle of the clip; the second records a short video at 960 fps when you click the capture button, and stops recording right after.

The hard part with shooting these clips is touching the button in just the right moment. The super slow-motion feature is meant to be used for those “blink-and-you'll-miss-it” moments, which also means that you will struggle with timing the shot. We found that the feature works best when used to film something planned in advance, so you can properly prepare to click that on-screen button in just the right moment.

Unfortunately, the camera app that comes with the phone is just as cumbersome as we remember it from previous years. Taking a photo shouldn't be a chore, but with all Sony phones from the past few years, it certainly feels like one. The Xperia XZs is no exception. The app is slow to load and react to input, and the UI is somewhat counter-intuitive.


If you can live with the clunky camera interface, though, you will be rewarded with some pretty pleasing photos. The rear-facing camera of the Sony Xperia XZs provides plenty of detail and returns very little noise. This holds true both indoors and outdoors if you have some good light.

When it comes to low-light shots, however, the Xperia XZs lags behind most flagships of the past year. If you use the auto settings, HDR fails to kick in at times, resulting in some over-exposed areas, while others are way too dark. Also, HDR or not, a lot of detail is lost in low-light indoor shots.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Sony Xperia XZs 1.6
1.9
No data
No data
Sony Xperia XZ 1.7
2
No data
No data
OnePlus 3T 2
2.1
574
558
Huawei P10 2
2.1
812
497
View all
Image size:
Use our samples comparison tool to see photos from more phones

The selfie snapper doesn't fall far behind either, providing plenty of detail under regular lighting conditions. Both outdoor and indoor shots look pretty good. However, the so-called “soft skin effect” does very little to hide skin imperfections.

When it comes to video recording, the Xperia XZs is capable of shooting 1080p clips at 60 frames per second, and they do look pretty decent. The continuous auto-focus does its job, but it does struggle a bit, compared to other devices in the same range. As for the 8x digital zoom, it's no surprise that it makes the shot look rather unclear. Still, most people won't zoom in eight times when shooting a video in a regular situation, and the lower zoom-in levels do look pretty decent.


Multimedia


The Xperia XZs, similar to its predecessor, comes with two front-facing speakers. They're sufficiently loud without sacrificing too much quality. Of course, you can't expect a smartphone to produce sound with the same quality as a pair of PC speakers, but with the Xperia XZs, you won't hear too much distortions even in more complex songs with lots of instruments.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XZs 0.37
Sony Xperia XZ 0.35
OnePlus 3T 0.84
Huawei P10 0.29
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XZs 68
Sony Xperia XZ 68
OnePlus 3T 74
Huawei P10 74
View all


32 Comments
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posted on 04 May 2017, 09:44

1. zeeBomb (Posts: 2304; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)


Another Sony flagship, the same story of the camera...

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:50 3

11. sgodsell (Posts: 5057; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


This is not Sony's flagship for this year. If it came out last year it would be close. However Sony's flagship device this year is their Xperia XZ premium which is using the SD 835. Not to belittle the SD 820, which is a great chip as well. Especially since we that same chip in last years flagships, like the Galaxy S7, LG G5, or others.

posted on 10 May 2017, 11:58 1

31. shamrock_sean (Posts: 31; Member since: 27 Apr 2017)


And what is exactly wrong with the camera?? Images look great

posted on 04 May 2017, 09:51 4

2. Djz89 (Posts: 370; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)


Been using it for a couple of days, loving it. Went from z5 and it's a substantial upgrade. Wish the battery was bigger. But other than that it's a great phone, and in Norway it was cheaper than the p10 when released so i went for it.

posted on 04 May 2017, 09:57 1

3. Ray.S (Posts: 391; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


Seems like a great choice to me!

posted on 04 May 2017, 10:30 6

4. Xperia14 (Posts: 935; Member since: 01 Sep 2015)


And yet it only got a 7.5 while it has a better camera and probably better performance than the G6.

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:13 2

7. Settings (Posts: 2411; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)


Scores are negligible when in PA. Its not that accurate. Plus, the bias in non Apple and non Samsung reviews are always cringy though it was lessen in recent reviews.

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:38 3

10. Lumberjack (Posts: 258; Member since: 04 May 2017)


Youtube videos.... So far XZs is the fastest phone now.. It has defeated S8+, OP3T, G6, i7+, U Ultra and Pixel.

I have never seen a phone that fast while browsing

posted on 04 May 2017, 12:03 1

14. josephnero (Posts: 598; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


exactky

posted on 19 Aug 2017, 03:18

32. SvenHKCN (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Aug 2017)


What is the use of flagship, premium, fancy specs and performance if recent Xperia phones seem to have some (once affected) serious issues with their metal frames. minimum deviations in frame fitting literally caused my XZs falling into parts. forget about IP68. Once you take a closer look at those phones with bended frames they look like a piece of rubbish in comparison to their peers. this seems to be an issue for various generations of Xperia phones and I have no explanation why Sony is playing so hard on this issue with its warranty policy explicitly excluding frame issues. So my Xperia XZs purchase turned into a big disappointment.

posted on 04 May 2017, 13:36 1

17. Djz89 (Posts: 370; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)


Yeah, i am actually enjoying it quite a bit. If they had putt a 3500mah battery combined with the low launch price(in Norway at least) it would have been near perfect imo :)

posted on 04 May 2017, 19:07

22. Remmy (Posts: 151; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


Wow! Here in PH, the XZs is priced at $800+, Huawei meanwhile launched the P10 at $580. My Z5 will be turning 2 years this December, I want to consider the XZs since I'm only after the new camera and I rarely play graphic intensive games.

posted on 04 May 2017, 10:54 2

5. GreenMan (Posts: 1884; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


Is that Sony's flagship...?

Wait a moment, gents...

(Cleans the glasses)

Wha...?

So as I was saying: IS THAT A BLOODY FLAGSHIP...???

Trust me when I tell you that when I saw this phone on Twitter, I thought its just another lower mid-range phone that's supposed to compete with the likes of Galaxy J Series and Huawei's X series... I swear...

But...

What year it is again...?

(Glances at the calendar)...

Nope, its 2017... Not 2008, as I was expecting...

Bloody hell, this phone make me feel like I'm loosing my marbles...

What in the world was Sony thinking when they designed this so called 'flagship' phone...?

Just to make it slip under the radar of thieves and pocket-pickers...? I mean, anyone would mistake it for a $200 phone...!

Ah! Look at those acres of bezels... So feisty, eh?

Sony has MORE COURAGE than Apple... WAY MORE... Or so it seems... They've got guts to push such a 'thing' in the market as 'flagship'... REAL GUTS...

Oh well, eh?

G'Day!

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:11 6

6. Rocastle (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Mar 2017)


What are yo smoking!?

posted on 04 May 2017, 12:04

15. josephnero (Posts: 598; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


cheap weed he found when peeing in slums

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:35 5

8. Settings (Posts: 2411; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)


It's not the flagship, that would be the XZ Premium.

Again, bezel haters attack again and again. Function over form.
Those bezels houses stereo speakers, REAL stereo speakers not just faux holes that gives the illusion of having stereo speakers. It can also serve as a thumb rest when playing at landscape mode.

Those bezels houses 3.5mm jack which have the most superior DACs in the mobile phone market which other OEMs havein their phones too especially Google wants LDAC on their Android O iteration. I'm sure you won't find those features on a 2008 phone.

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:58 1

13. cocoy (Posts: 73; Member since: 30 Oct 2015)


Yeah but at least it has dual stereo speakers and headphone jack unlike Iphone 7/7 plus

posted on 04 May 2017, 12:48

16. Xperia14 (Posts: 935; Member since: 01 Sep 2015)


It's not even their flagship. Oh, it's actually way cheaper than the S8 and the G6. And for that price you'll get an AWESOME camera (Only Xperia's use Sony's best IMX400), top-notch performance and fast Android updates. Did I mention Hi-res audio, IP68 and front facing stereo speakers?

Go troll somewhere else.

posted on 04 May 2017, 16:06 1

21. letosaw (Posts: 131; Member since: 05 Aug 2014)


As I've always said PA's "reviews" are just plain rubbish and shouldn't be taken seriously. I just read tech news here, that's all.

posted on 04 May 2017, 19:11

23. Remmy (Posts: 151; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


Unfortunately, it's not the same case for all markets. IMO, the XZs will be hard sell here in our country, at 800 USD, it's priced along the S8, and priced even higher than the G6 and P10.

posted on 04 May 2017, 21:20 1

24. buccob (Posts: 2769; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


Yes, that is completely true... In the US the XZs has dropped to $650 which is not bad at all.. but I do feel it should cost $600 even...

But pricing will vary strongly from country to country and Sony will be expensive in some places (and I wouldn't recommended there) but it is a lot more affordable than iPhones and Samsungs in other places...

In fact one of the pro/cons of them is that the value goes down very quickly and many people take that as a negative... but I tend to buy more devices than what I sell... so for me, buying cheap 6 month old Sony is better than getting a 2 years old iPhone for the same price....

For example:

An iPhone 6s 64GB is selling in Amazon (us) for 450$ REFURBISHED
The Xperia XZ 64GB is selling for 475$ brand new.

posted on 05 May 2017, 05:08

25. Remmy (Posts: 151; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


In a country where majority of buyers are price sensitive, almost every article from local tech blogs are flooded with "overpriced" comments.

Actually, I got the Sony a6000 mirrorless camera here in the PH for roughly $600 with some sellers going even less than that including 3 year-Sony warranty. A few bucks cheaper than overseas markets I think, only their mobile phones are ridiculously priced.

As much as I want to get the XZs, I don't like the fact that I'll be paying $800 for a phone with last year's hardware (it's still fast and more than capable, I know) and another XZ successor will be launched a few months later (September). Not to mention limited availability on the two major carriers which a lot of people would miss.

posted on 05 May 2017, 11:16

26. buccob (Posts: 2769; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


You are correct, and that is why I agreed with you... I wouldn't pay more than 600$ for that particular model.... But it doesn't take away the fact that it is a good choice for people who find it at that price...

Now 800$ is way overpriced... I was hesitant about paying 470 for the original XZ... but hey, I truly don't like other offerings out there, bezel-less, dual-camera, whatever... The XZ still suits me better at the moment

posted on 04 May 2017, 13:37

18. Djz89 (Posts: 370; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)


WTF, hehe.

posted on 04 May 2017, 14:03 1

19. buccob (Posts: 2769; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


Designs are very subjective... I just happened to buy the original XZ which has dropped to sub $500 bucks... and I think it is a good deal, since it still remains a great performer with one of the best displays, camera and overall package...

I personally dislike the curve display of recent Samsung flagships, its extremely gimmicky and it distorts the light at the edges, so it really distracts when using them...

I like having bezels for usability, and the stereo speakers while not loud, the positioning is way better than any other configuration.

The camera is extremely good in daylight... and for low light, you just need to learn its manual mode (which PhoneArena dont even bother to try)...

And the software is IMO a better experience than what others currently offer.

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:35 1

9. Lumberjack (Posts: 258; Member since: 04 May 2017)


Even Android Authority that is always making critics on Sony has given 8.6 to XZs. Also said low light shots are impressive.
I have watched many youtube videos, everytime antutu is run XZs scores morethan 153.000 ...

Same cam of XZ Premium. I have seen shots of XZP and it is way better than iphone 7 plus...

When colors are lighter than the real ones, it means exposion issues.. Exactly what S7 shows..

posted on 04 May 2017, 11:54 1

12. cocoy (Posts: 73; Member since: 30 Oct 2015)


I have never seen a review of sony phone in this site that got at least 8.9 or 9. I don't know why but it seems to me that this site is not that objective when it comes to other brands. I'm not a sony fan but there are things that I've seen from sony phones which other OEM's don't offer on their flagship. Sony's music and video player is second to none, web browsing is faster compared to any Android so far for now. But I don't like the huge bezel of their phones, although it has a dual stereo speakers and headphone jack which Iphone 7/7 plus don't have.

posted on 04 May 2017, 14:16

20. Lumberjack (Posts: 258; Member since: 04 May 2017)


I bet XZ Premium can achieve 89 or 90 dxomark.
PA will say iphone 7s+ is better, even if its is 87 or 88 ...

You bet.....

posted on 08 May 2017, 15:19

27. Lita9 (Posts: 8; Member since: 07 May 2017)


PA can sukk sammy a s s

posted on 08 May 2017, 22:16

28. sunnyfpy (Posts: 136; Member since: 12 May 2013)


Over priced for dated phone spec's that under perform,,,poor battery life!

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PhoneArena rating:
7.5Good
Display5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera19 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz, Kryo processor
4 GB RAM
Size5.75 x 2.83 x 0.32 inches
(146 x 72 x 8.1 mm)
5.68 oz  (161 g)

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