Between all the “X” and “Z” phones released in the past year or so, we all got a little confused. Sony‘s strategy, in particular, seemed everything but clear in regards to its devices’ hierarchy. However, using Barcelona’s MWC as a platform, the Japanese firm announced what it explicitly labels as its “flagship”: the Xperia XZ Premium.
More info after the jump…
Last year we had the Xperia X Performance, the Xperia Z5 Premium and ultimately the Xperia XZ. None seemed to represent the “one true top line” device for Sony. Now, while the “Z” series seems all but gone, the “X” is being somewhat streamlined by borrowing a few ideas from its predecessors, resulting in the “XZ Premium” name — which, again, is Sony’s sole diamond point.
It has all the flagship features you’d expect, of course — and, perhaps, a little more. Let’s start with the display: yes, it is a needlessly overkill 4K panel with HDR technology. It’ll be hard to tell the difference between that and a more standard QHD screen, but I guess that the move is — and will be — inevitable.
The battery comes in at a reasonable 3230mAh, which frankly worries me a little, but hopefully Sony’s Smart Stamina mode will come in handy as all those pixels keep demanding juice. Speaking of: unlike LG, which couldn’t get a deal with Qualcomm over their latest chip for the G6, the XZ Premium will carry the longed-for Snapdragon 835.
There’s an Adreno 540 GPU to back it up, as well as 4GB of RAM. But all this processing power isn’t there just for the display: Sony is also boosting its new camera big time. It’s a 19MP shooter, which despite its relatively low f/2.0 aperture, has a big, 1/2.3″ sensor, which should help with low-light performance (despite the lack of OIS).
The tech, says Sony, is borrowed from its α and CyberShot cameras, and is branded on the new flagship as “Motion Eye”. Among its key features is super slow motion, which lets you take clips at an astonishing 960 frames per second. There’s also “Predictive Capture”, which smartly begins to capture images as soon as the sensor detects movement, and takes four pictures every time you press the shutter button; in this way, a shot you may have lost could be brought back to life in an instant.
The XZ Premium, which falls in line with previous Xperia devices in terms of design, uses a continuous loop structure that curves the Gorilla Glass 5 glass all around it, while two straps of aluminum cover the top and bottom, which hide a 3.5mm headphone jack. The right side hosts the fingerprint reader-housing home button, the volume rocker, and a dedicated camera shutter.
It looks classy, but the top and bottom bezels are still far too big for a 2017 flagship. There are few other good things though: the phone supports SD cards to expand its 64GB of internal storage, and the shell is rated IP68 for water and dust resistance. We can’t assure that it will come out of a drop on concrete soil gracefully, but sand and liquids won’t leave a mark.
The phone will start selling globally as an unlocked GSM model in “late Spring” for a yet-unknown price (we bet it won’t be cheap though) in both Luminous Chrome and Deepsea Black colorations.