Review: Sony Xperia XZ1 SmartphoneNovember 14, 2017
On 19th September 2017: Sony Mobile Communications (Middle East) launched the Sony Xperia Z1 and Sony Xperia XA1 Plus for the Middle East.
Sony Mobile gave me the Sony Xperia XZ1 for review and this is the first mobile which I have tested for almost a month as I loved the smartphone size, finish and features and also had some issues while testing the review unit.
Let us talk about some of the features of Sony Xperia XZ1 Smartphone
a) The shape of the Sony Xperia XZ1 stands out different from all the other competitor mobile, it is straight simple rectangle shape smartphone.
b) The favourite is the super slow motion feature (960FPS).
c) It has a new smile predictive capture feature.
d) Autofocus burst function for camera capture.
e) The 3D creator feature, where you can scan person head with Sony Xperia XZ1 smartphone and create animated characters and also create a video with surrounding with help of AI.
f) It has got Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset and runs Android™ 8.0 Oreo.
Sony Xperia XZ1 Smartphone Body and Display
The XZ1 looks almost identical to XZ smartphone boxy design but has the rounded design from the XZ Premium which gives the phone a more comfortable grip. It is a full solid metal body and thanks to a sleek matte finish on the back, the phone is less of a fingerprint magnet.
With a dimension of 148 x 73.4 x 7.4 mm and weighing 155gm with 5.2” Full HD display (IPS LCD with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with Sony’s TRILUMINOS technology. It is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It has the Volume rockers on the right-hand side with the power button which is also doubled for the fingerprint sensor and below we have the camera click button which is a unique design of Sony XZ series design.
The left-hand side of the bezel has the Dual SIM card tray which is different from all the competitors which do not require SIM card pin to open. The tray can be opened with a sharp fingernail or even with a sharp object and has two different slots, one which comes out with the tray and other SIM slot is separate to be removed once the flimsy tray is opened. It is quite delicate and needs to take precaution to not to break it while removing the tray.
On the top has the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you won’t need any adapters for your favourite pair of wired headphones and on the bottom has the USB Type- C charging port. It has got mics on the top and bottom of the bezel and speakers on the top and bottom of the screen.
Sony Xperia XZ1 is IP68 certified (dust/waterproof over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes).
Sony has implemented a “SmartAmp” that supposedly provides 50 per cent more sound pressure and less speaker degradation over time. The speakers sound extremely good with excellent clarity and no signs of distortion even at max volume, but they only sound marginally louder over previous Sony flagships. Sony Xperia XZ1, which supports a variety of Hi-Res audio codecs such as LPCM, FLAC, ALAC, and DSD. These options mean you won’t be stuck with the more lossy audio formats used by Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music. However, even if you prefer to stream your music, which many of us do, the XZ1 supports Sony’s DSEE HX technology, which will upscale your lossy audio formats and give you something a little closer to Hi-Res sound. The LDAC codec Sony gifted to Google for Android Oreo is also supported. Other features that can be found on board the XZ1 are supported for AptX HD audio and Bluetooth 5. Support for HDR content is one of the Sony Xperia XZ1’s highlights. If you have an Amazon Prime Video or Netflix account, you can stream HDR movies and see it on your XZ1. Support for YouTube’s HDR videos is not present at this time.
Camera of Sony Xperia XZ1
Sony Xperia XZ1 has a 19 MP Exmor RS sensor with 5-axis image stabilization, 4K video recording, and slow-motion video at 960 frames per second that were first introduced earlier this year with the Xperia XZs.
Xperia XZ1 combines Sony’s ground-breaking Motion-Eye™ camera. The camera detects automatically when the camera senses motion during the picture taking process, such as a car moving or a person running. If the camera detects this it will take three photos before the actual photo is taken, giving you four photos in total (the fourth one being the one you took). You can then review them all and pick which one looks best (or just keep them all). It can also capture unexpected emotions such as a person smiling.
The predictive motion capture capabilities work quite well. I was very impressed with the results and when you pair it with the camera’s predictive hybrid auto-focus capabilities you can capture moving subjects rather easily with little to no motion blur.
The biggest standout feature to the XZ1’s camera is the new 3D Creator app that lets you create 3D scans of people’s faces, food, and other random objects. Currently, not everyone will find this feature useful but having 3D-scanning capabilities on a mobile phone is undeniably impressive. Sony is working hard to give this technology a variety of use cases beyond creating your own 3D GIFs and stickers.
Creating a 3D scan is rather simple. You first select whether you want to scan a face, a head, food, or perform a free form scan if the object doesn’t fall into any of those categories. You switch on the 3S scan mode and go around the subject if it is a human head. The 3D creator requires a well in the well lite area and does not perform well in dark or low light conditions.
Once you’ve completed your scan(s) you can back them up so you never lose them, or you can use the scans as live wallpaper and print them off if you have a 3D printer. If you don’t have a 3D printer you can order a print of your 3D scan through Shapeways and Sculpteo, with whom Sony has partnered (Need to check delivery in UAE). In future maybe you may be able to add your own avatar in the 3D gaming.
Other than the tricks and features of the camera, people would want to click a good rich photograph from the smartphone. With 19MP primary camera, in well-lit scenarios colour reproduction is pleasant without being overly vibrant. There is plenty of sharpness to be had but the camera struggles with dynamic range. Shadows are crushed in virtually every situation causing a lot of detail to be lost and it only gets worse in low light (noise can be seen).
Without optical image stabilization, photos don’t always come out with tack sharp focus (So had to click the screen to focus a get the sharper image). Sony’s image processing appears to overly process images in low light which only accentuates the noise.
The front facing camera is a 13 MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture. This allows for some high-resolution selfies and it’s a wide angle lens so fitting more of the background or other people into the frame isn’t an issue. But again need to click the screen to get proper focus and colour balance and brightness. (Please note: the photographs are clicked with manual control on lighting.)
Sony Xperia XZ1 for Videography
With the 19MP primary camera, Sony Xperia XZ1 can record videos – 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps, 720p@960fps.
One of the best features of the Sony XperiaXZ1 smartphone is the super slow-motion capture at 960fps and in the below video recorded of the water fountain at the entrance of Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Downtown, Dubai. The super slow motion 960fps capture looks beautiful in a proper lit area or during the day as the noise level is less. You can be capturing good quality video at night with manually adjusting the brightness and focusing the lens but up to a certain level.
As for the Selfies with 13mp camera video was average and again was with the issue of the noise level but with lit up area video quality was good. Sometimes had to control the brightness level with adjusting with clicking on the screen to focus and control the brightness.
Sony Xperia XZ1 Software and Hardware
Sony’s biggest advantage right now with the XZ1 is with its software. It’s the first Android phone to ship with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Of course, means you get all of the improvements of the Oreo update such as new visual tweaks, notification dots, a revamped settings menu, native picture-in-picture, adaptive icons, new auto-fill APIs, and much more. Sony Xperia XZ1 has in is the so-called Glove Mode, which – you guessed it – lets you use the screen while wearing gloves. One thing that’s missing – a blue light filter for night-time use with less eye strain.
The Xperia XZ1 has a number of apps pre-installed, which was not interesting for me, like AVG, along with apps for Amazon and Sony’s own apps for music and video.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 comes with 64G ROM and 4GB RAM and powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. It has Dual SIM Card tray and one can be used for expandable memory with microSD up to 256 GB. It has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC. Sensors Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, compass, colour spectrum. Non-removable Li-Ion 2700 mAh battery with fast battery charging (Quick Charge 3.0)
Pricing & Color:
Xperia XZ1 is officially priced at AED 2,199 but you can check the online prices for better current offers. Colours available are Moonlit Blue, Venus Pink, Warm Silver, and classic Black