Test of the Sony Xperia XZ: back from the dead

every six months, Sony presents a new high-end smartphone – this fall, it’s the Xperia XZ. In our test, he finds himself in the face of fierce rivals, because Google and Samsung offer strong competitors at the same time. In our detailed review, we seek not only to know if Sony was able to revive the Z range, but also to know if he became a worthy successor to the X Performance.


Sony Xperia XZ – Release Date and price

the Sony Xperia XZ was presented in Berlin at IFA 2016. It is now readily available on the market. Sony has set the official selling price to 699 euros but you can already find it cheaper on various websites. Sony proposed in three colours: black mineral, Platinum and blue forest.

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The colours of Sony. © AndroidPIT


Sony Xperia XZ – Design and finish

with the Xperia XZ, Sony obviously changes its design. Upper and lower faces are two flat when the side edges are completely rounded. These different components fit almost seamlessly – but the Xperia XZ isn’t a monobloc case.

The front face is dominated not only by the screen, but also by the Sony logo at the top and the stereo speakers. The empty boxes diagonally above and below the screen are large enough. The headphone jack is at the top, and downstairs there is a standard C Type USB port.

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here’s the Xperia XZ seen from the front. 
to AndroidPIT

the ‘Xperia’ letters are engraved on the metal at the rear back. The main camera is located in the upper left corner and does not protrude over the surface and the XZ can rest flat on a table without wavering.

The Xperia XZ is large enough. It can still be used one-handed, but someone with small hands may have to grab it with both hands.

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Buttons require a certain habit of manipulation. © AndroidPIT

as always with Sony, the fingerprint reader is located in the side power button. Press it and the lock screen disappears to the left, leaving room for the home screen. In our test, the sensor responded fairly reliably but it happened that several attempts are needed before the fingerprint is recognized.

The layout of the separate camera button and volume buttons takes some time to adapt: they are located exactly at the place where a right-handed person would probably hold the XZ, either in the lower right corner. It did not touch problem during our tests, but according to our verdict, the volume control remains relatively uncomfortable.


Sony Xperia XZ – screen

Sony has equipped the Xperia XZ to a 5.2-inch Full-HD definition screen. It is unlikely that someone misses the Quad HD – except the perhaps addicts at VR. However, these users are more easily on the Samsung smartphones or certified Daydream. Sony in this area remaining very limited supply.

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the XZ screen is very good.
to AndroidPIT

in our test, the screen of the XZ showed very good: White appears white very precisely, but appear slightly yellow when compared directly to the Galaxy S7 . The XZ is doing well with blacks – but after further inspection, the background light is visible. Technically, it is difficult to avoid and also it is not disturbing. Surprisingly, the XZ has a completely red image more powerful than the amoled of the Galaxy S7. There is less difference of display for the other basic colors – Blue and green.

overall, the XZ Xperia screen is very good and is aligned in direct competition with the Galaxy S7

overall, the XZ Xperia screen is very good and is aligned in direct competition with the Galaxy S7. The maximum brightness of the XZ is powerful enough to ensure good readability, even in daylight.

In the settings of the screen, an option to adjust the display of colors based on your own needs. A ‘gloves mode’ is also present and offers improved sensitivity, which can be useful in winter.


Sony Xperia XZ – software Interface

since the appearance of Nougat 7.0 Android, Sony can no longer claim the latest Android version pre-installed on their devices. The Sony Xperia XZ uses Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. In all cases, an update to Android Nougat 7.0 should be available in October. Sony told us that the code source Nougat had arrived too late in the development phase.

After installing all the updates that are available on our test unit, we had – to mid – a smartphone with a patch of security from July 1, 2016; While, for example, Galaxy S7 (which the last update had arrived) was released October 1. Here, we can therefore ensure that Sony would offer a maintenance more frequent of its software.

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The Xperia XZ rotates with a patch of obsolete security. © AndroidPIT

as usual with Sony, the appearance of the user interface is built with attention; the system settings, in particular, have a very distinctive look, with icons. Otherwise, the home screen and the drawer of applications have been preserved. Visually, the notifications bar is similar to stock Android. In l themes Xperia, Sony offers packages that allow you to change the navigation bar and the wallpaper in the home screen.

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the drawer of applications can be customized. 
to AndroidPIT

a feature of Sony software is worth noting: If nano-SIM card drawer left the XZ, the smartphone will restart alone. This occurs whenever a SIM card or a memory card is inserted or not. In the worst case, you can pull the empty tray and restart again because the smartphone must adjust to a new SIM card. Many other smartphones on the market have shown that there is another way to handle this problem.


Sony Xperia XZ – performance

for a smartphone high end in autumn 2016, Xperia XZ contains some components that are not quite at the level. the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 is completely in the nails but the 3 GB of memory.

the XZ won’t cause you any problems

comparison: Samsung Galaxy S7 (and S7 edge), the LG V20, the Google Pixel – have all 4 GB of memory. You can argue that a smartphone needs 4 GB of RAM. But compared to the Galaxy overloaded S7, value added is quite visible. the XZ has approximately 760 MB free when the S7 1.4 GB. Thus, Galaxy S7 can maintain more data available in its RAM and has even more resources available. Finally, if you have not installed 200 applications, the XZ will cause you no problem.

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Sony Xperia XZ: good daily performance with long load times. © AndroidPIT

the XZ has to a storage internal 32 GB. It can be increased using a microSD card. The internal storage performance is mediocre. The PCMark benchmark test gives a result of 2602. In comparison: the Google Pixel received a score of 4860. The measured values are felt in daily use. Applications start pretty quickly, but their updates take more time. That also applies to the load during the Games time. Here, the XZ marks a real difference with the Galaxy S7.

With pure graphic performance, the Xperia XZ has no weakness. Games run with maximum details and without jerks. Riptide GP: Renegade, for example, runs smoothly even in situations choppy with multiple opponents.

The results of the comparison are at the level expected for a device running Snapdragon 820.

  • Geekbench 4.0 single-core: 1571

  • Geekbench 4.0 Multi-Core: 3809

  • memory PCMark: 2602

  • 3DMark Slingshot OpenGL 3.0: 2768

  • 3DMark Slingshot OpenGL 3.1: 2155


Sony Xperia XZ – sound quality

the Sony Xperia XZ has stereo speakers on its front. Music fans can expect the risk to cover outputs audio passed out. However, the sound quality is poor. The Xperia XZ lack of bass and for listening at high volume, the sound is tinny and slightly distorted.

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the drawer handset SIM card and memory card.
to AndroidPIT

phone calls receive HD Voice sound. No voice over 4G, alas, although our test SIM card was compatible.


Sony Xperia XZ – camera

the main camera offers a resolution of 23 megapixels with Sony goes against the trend towards lower resolution image sensors. But perhaps this is not such bad news because some functions allow the camera to provide high-quality images. The autofocus works by anticipating the movement of the subject, which should facilitate the sharpness of focus when shooting a moving subject. In addition, electronic image stabilization ensures less shaky video taken. The video recording is possible in 4K.

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the camera application offers strange presets. © AndroidPIT

many functions of the camera are familiar from previous generations of smartphones Xperia. Sony has integrated an additional sensor of ambient light. It measures the temperature of the color of the incoming light, thus offering a better adjustment of the white balance. This function looks very useful, but proved to be almost imperceptible during our test.

Selfies addicts will be delighted by the camera front of 13 megapixels, or half the level of the main cameras. The focal length is 22 mm (equivalent to a 35 mm) – what is supposed to do a wide angle. In fact, taken with Xperia XZ selfies seem really good.

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the camera takes pictures convaicantes. © AndroidPIT

in the detailed test, the camera of Xperia XZ has been good enough but also introduced a few pitfalls. They hide in the application: initially, the resolution was set at 8 megapixels (compared to 23 possible megapixels) in our test device. Only a careful review of the parameters shown in. Sony explains that this parameter is used to enable the use of digital zoom 5 x.

Once this obstacle is overcome, the XZ takes really good and detailed pictures in the so-called “Superior auto. The wide-angle lens has a slight distortion on the edges, which, depending on the subject, can be annoying. Compared to the Galaxy S7, the colors are less salient, which isn’t necessarily a problem. In our comparative photos, the XZ is better than Galaxy S7 for some details, but the S7 offers visibly more beautiful renderings of heaven in landscape pictures. For photos of close subjects, there is almost no noticeable difference between the XZ and the S7, but automatic exposure settings are different between the two devices. Not much to see so in photos test, apart from improving the detection of white values.

In lighting conditions suboptimal, the XZ arrived last in our comparison with the Nexus 5 X , Google Pixel and the Galaxy S7. However, there is some positive points that make the XZ a well-equipped device – particularly for items in red in the image. The competitors offer more details in most other areas, while the XZ softens and filters these details in the image.

In the manual mode of the camera application, the exposure settings can be set manually. However, and this is not easy to know, the ISO value is not adjustable via these controls but more deeply in the menu. Therefore, setting the parameters is possible only to a certain extent.


Sony Xperia XZ – autonomy

how long takes the 2900 mAh – without loading battery, of course? In heavy use, the XZ is indistinguishable from high range competitors: the fall of the battery capacity is so fast that one can almost see it fall. In daily moderate use, however, the duration of battery life seemed good enough, especially if you use the battery saving mode.

Our battery comparison, PCMark, gives a rather mediocre note of 4 hours and 47 minutes for the display to full brightness and enabled mobile phone interface (so), under intensive operating conditions. It’s almost an hour less than the Google Pixel. PCMark simulates the typical daily tasks and measure passing time until the battery drops from 80 to 20 percent.

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USB Type-C with Quick load. 
to AndroidPIT

the XZ Xperia supports the Quick Charge 3.0 module and uses the optimization of Qnovo battery. This allows the Xperia XZ to stay charged. For example, the software gradually learns the habits of the user. If it determines that the smartphone is always connected to the charging cable night, Qnovo ensures that the XZ is charged at 90 percent on the night. Then, just before the usual time at which the smartphone is disconnected from the charger, the additional 10 percent are added to the battery. This feature allows to extend the battery life without affecting its performance during our tests.

Sony Xperia XZ – specifications

    • model:

    • not available

    • size:

    • 146 x 72 x 8.1 mm

    • battery capacity:

    • 2900 mAh

    • screen size:

    • 5.2 inches

    • screen technology :

    • LCD

    • screen:

    • 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppp)

    • front camera:

    • 13 megapixel

    • rear cameras:

    • 23 megapixel

    • User Interface:

    • Xperia UI

    • internal memory:

    • 32 GB

    • removable memory :

    • microSD

    • Chipset:

    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

    • maximum clock frequency:

    • 2.15 GHz

    • connectivity:

    • HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2

first verdict

the Sony Xperia XZ seems in the right line of previous Sony Xperia : good processing capability, fast processors and a good screen without QHD. The new of the XZ is a matter of taste. Personally, I appreciate it. The duration of a heavy-duty battery life is average; otherwise, the Xperia XZ mastered the standard tasks of all smartphones.

it works well to meet the mandatory requirements typical, but this obvious weaknesses for the most acrobatic uses: the camera takes correct images without being superior. Sony can compete to the S7 Galaxy or even Google Pixel . In some cases, manual mode can provide better results, but Auto mode is obviously worse if compared to the competitors.

in view of the minimum physical improvements of the XZ, the question is how Sony wants to propose strong arguments to purchase for its new high-end in autumn smartphone 2016

two at least of the software functions are noted: why the XZ restarts when the SIM card drawer is removed? And why the main camera is so bad set by default? Questions I’ve asked a few colleagues and here is the reply I got: it’s like Sony works today. Maybe it’s true, but I’m not convinced: at the end of the day, this response evacuates some simply painful problems.

Sony has positioned the Xperia XZ as a successor to the X Performance. An amazing product policy because they apply both to the same target group and they came out only a few months apart, which certainly does not for the pleasure of the customer, even if a path to upgrade is probably not the goal of Sony. In view of the minimum physical improvements of the XZ, the question arises how Sony wants to propose strong arguments to purchase for its new high-end in autumn 2016 smartphone.

in general, the XZ Xperia will not disappoint its buyers. However, if we look at the current smartphone market, the Xperia XZ is insufficient to compete.


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