Sony Xperia XZ review: Premium style at an affordable price
The Xperia XZ is Sony’s best phone to date, and an attractively priced competitor in the premium space as well.
1080 x 1920px
Finder rated as Average vs similar phones
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
- Great design
- Good battery life
- Aggressive price point
- Water resistance
- Fast, crisp focus for photos
Could be better
- Decent, but not great performance
- No Forest Blue on contract
- Plastic SIM/microSD card tray
- USB C still isn't widespread
Sony’s X series strategy has been a curious one to say the least. The X series phones were announced at Mobile World Congress in the same timeframe as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and LG’s G5, but with availability tracked for some months after the conference. When the XA, X and X Performance arrived, only the Xperia XA really stood out as a solid budget/mid-range competitor, with both the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance leaving us wanting just a little more in the premium spaces they occupied.
It didn’t take Sony long to add more to the X series with the Xperia X Compact (yet to launch in Australia) and the Xperia XZ, designated as the new flagship of the line. In a year that’s seen some seriously impressive premium handsets, will the third time be the charm for Sony?
- Smooth and sleek design
- IP65/68 water resistance
- 23MP rear camera
- 13MP selfie camera
- 4K video recording
- Snapdragon 820 processor delivers decent but not great performance
- A 2,900mAh battery keeps the Xperia XZ chugging through a full day of use
- USB-C fast-charging gets you back in action quickly
- A slick design and an attractive price tag make the Xperia XZ one of Sony's best smartphones yet.
The Xperia XZ is easily the best overall smartphone Sony produced in 2016, and that $999 price point is quite aggressive in comparative terms.
That being said, it still somewhat feels to us like Sony’s got all the parts to make a really killer smartphone but something’s holding them back. 2015's Xperia Z5 Premium had a 4K display, but Sony’s stuck with just 1080P for the supposedly superior XZ. Battery life is decent given its frame size, but there are alternatives that seem to eke out just a little more, and the same is true for the common processor architecture. Possibly Sony’s aware of this and that’s why it’s priced the Xperia XZ the way it has. The design is lush and the essential experience is very good indeed, and that’s a good argument for any premium handset really.
Your alternatives in this space and under the $1000 price point will all tend to be slightly older handsets that have now seen price reductions, such as LG’s modular G5, the HTC 10 or the newer Motorola Moto Z.
Pricing and availability
The Xperia XZ launched at $999 outright, which is both below that psychological $1000 price barrier, but also markedly cheaper than most other premium handsets right now. Given the fierce battles in the Android space on pricing, we'd expect even better bargains to emerge.
Compare SIM-only mobile plans
Sony Xperia XZ specs
Power, storage and battery
Latest mobile phone news
Motorola's first 5G-capable handset for Australia aims high with a funky curved design, but its limitations in other areas leave us wanting. Read more…
The Telstra Essential Smart 2 is almost insanely cheap, and that's the point. Read more…
How plans from the big telcos compare right now. Read more…
How will customer options and pricing be affected? Read more…
$5 for unlimited data for 24 hours, so what's the catch? Read more…
The Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite promises a lot with its 5,000mAh battery, but it can't quite live up to those promises. Read more…