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Sony Xperia XZ review: Premium style at an affordable price

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The Xperia XZ is Sony’s best phone to date, and an attractively priced competitor in the premium space as well.

5.2 inches

Display size

1080 x 1920px

32GB, 64GB

Internal storage

23 MP

Rear camera

2,900 mAh

Battery size

Finder rated as Average vs similar phones

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Details

Display

Display Size
5.2 inches
Resolution
1080 x 1920px

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
23MP
Video recording
4K
Front camera megapixels
13MP
Front camera aperture size
f/2.0

Physical Dimensions

Dimensions
146mm x 72mm x 8.1mm
Weight
161g

Connectivity

NFC
Yes
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n
Network category speed
Category 9

Power, storage and battery

Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM
3GB
Operating system
Android 7
Internal storage
32GB, 64GB
External storage support
Up to 256GB
Battery capacity
2,900mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Water resistance rating
IP68
Wireless charging
No
Launch price (RRP)$0
Sony Xperia XZ

Strengths

  • 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?

Design

  • Smooth and sleek design
  • IP65/68 water resistance
XperiaXZ_Side_450

Camera

  • 23MP rear camera
  • 13MP selfie camera
  • 4K video recording

Performance

  • Snapdragon 820 processor delivers decent but not great performance

Battery

  • 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

Verdict

  • A slick design and an attractive price tag make the Xperia XZ one of Sony's best smartphones yet.
XperiaXZ_Back_450

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.

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Sony Xperia XZ specs

Display

Display Size
5.2 inches
Resolution
1080 x 1920px

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
23MP
Video recording
4K
Front camera megapixels
13MP
Front camera aperture size
f/2.0

Physical Dimensions

Dimensions
146mm x 72mm x 8.1mm
Weight
161g

Connectivity

NFC
Yes
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n
Network category speed
Category 9

Power, storage and battery

Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM
3GB
Operating system
Android 7
Internal storage
32GB, 64GB
External storage support
Up to 256GB
Battery capacity
2,900mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Water resistance rating
IP68
Wireless charging
No

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