After a less than stellar opening last year with the Sony Xperia XZ, Sony is planning to embrace the winds of change this year and bring in some new innovation. This time around, they come in the form of two different handsets – the Xperia XZ Premium and the Xperia XZs, announced at the MWC this year. Here is what makes each of these handsets unique.
The XZ Premium body is shiny all over and the size is significantly big, compared to the smaller XZs. The XZs is more fingerprint friendly, having a matt-finish body. Both of the phones however, speak the same design language, with Sony calling it the Loop design, where the edges of the phones are rounded from front to back, providing a flat top and bottom, so that the phones can stand of straight. Compared to earlier Xperia smartphones, the design is barely different at best, following deeply into the slab form that the brand is known for. The XZ’s body is made of a metal frame that is put between two Corning Gorilla Glass 5 panels.
It is easy to distinguish between the two, the XZs is smaller and has a vertical orientation of its rear camera sensor, while the XZ Premium has a horizontal arrangement of its rear camera sensor and is much bigger in footprint. Everything is put in the same place in both the phones, with the headphone jack, USB and power buttons all in the same parts, save for the volume rockers. In the XZs, it is placed below the power button, while in the XZ Premium, it is placed above it. The problem with these phones is that they are large than they should be in their respective dimensions, owing to their thick top and bottom bezels. In 2017, if it’s not near-bezel-less, it’s not flagship.
The Xperia XZ Premium will have the distinguished honour of carrying with it, the Snapdragon 835 chipset from Qualcomm. It will also feature 4GB of RAM and much better water resistance than before. Over the XZs, it will be the preferred choice for those looking to get the most out of their Xperia devices. The XZs however, will feature the Snapdragon 820. Why they would not use at least the 821 chipset has not been answered yet, but the phone will feature 4GB of RAM and water resistance as well. Of course, these phones will come packed with Nougat on launch, with Sony’s elegant, yet light UI atop it.
The XZ Premium pulls out all the stops, starting from the build to the specs. The phone carries a 5.5-inch panel that is 4K in resolution. There is HDR in there too. Whether that makes a difference is quality at that size, it is yet to be seen. Sony did make a 4K resolution before as well, with the Xperia Z5 Premium. But that feature was only active in selected situations. Whatever the case is with the XZ Premium, the screen will suck in a lot of battery.
The XZs has as modest 1080p screen at 5.2-inches. No other notable features here that will make it stand out in the crowd. Sony’s proprietary display technology, the Triluminos display.
The best part about these two phones is that they share the same Motion Eye camera. That’s the 19MP sensor with an f/2.0 lens. It also has Predictive and Laser autofocus, plus RGBC-IR sensor for a more natural colour gamut. There is 4K video recording available as well, and has a unique stabilization feature called the 5-axis SteadyShot. Of course, all of these features will take up the rear camera. On the front of the phones lies the same selfie camera as that of the Xperia XZ – a capable 13MP shooter. It is good that Sony kept the most important aspect of the phones a standard feature across its two different models. The most interesting part about the rear cameras is their ability to take super slow motion 960 fps videos at 720p. Perhaps not with each other, but with the competition right now, these cameras will probably give them a run for their money.
Currently, availability for the XZs has only been announced, with the phone hitting retailers on April 5, 2017. It will start with a price of $700. Both phones will come with in-built storage of 64GB and will be expandable. The Xperia XZ Premium will be available in late Spring, with no specified price announced just yet. Considering that the $700 price tag of the XZs is pretty steep, it is easily up to par on pricing with the rest of the flagships out there, although it does not have enough muscle to back its asking price. The XZ Premium will definitely cost more than the XZs, but how much more is up to speculation.
Sony has started to make good phones again, but its steep price tags might prevent them from becoming runaway hits.