Friday, 23 June 2017 13:38

Sony launches the Xperia XZ Premium – as good as it gets (first look)

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Sony has launched its uber flagship Xperia XZ Premium and it has as much new tech packed into the 5.5” glass slab as any other to date.

This $1099 smartphone has the 2017 tech goodies – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 5.5” 4K Triluminous, 16:9 screen, Cat 16 gigabit LTE, USB 3.1, Gorilla Glass 5, IP68, 19MP triple image motion eye sensor, Hi-Res audio, a 3.5mm audio jack and Nougat 7.1.

“Xperia XZ Premium is our most technologically capable smartphone ever and we’re thrilled that the product will be ranged across all Australian carriers, major retailer JB Hi-Fi, as well as direct through Sony,” said John Featherstone, managing director of Sony Mobile Oceania.

“Perfectly suited to the Australian way of life and our love of photography, the new Motion Eye camera technology has once again proven that Sony Mobile is at the forefront of smartphone technology. From 960fps Super slow-motion playback, Predictive capture, to 4K HDR display; we are proud to introduce many world’s first hero features. With the Xperia XZ Premium, we offer our users a truly unique and personalised experience like no other," he added.

Sony appears to have come up with an outright winner at a price that is attractive – especially as the Apple and Samsung flagships cost about 35%-50% more and offer, in reality, no more.

However, the 68.4% screen to body ratio caused by the huge top and bottom bezels lessens the visual appeal over phones that are achieving 75% or more. To its credit it follows the Sony visual style cues well.

Sony XZ motion eye

As this is really just a very preliminary first look I have put the specifications and comments in a table. iTWire will be reviewing this very soon.

 

Sony XZ Premium

 

Models

8141 Single SIM/dedicated microSD 8141

8142 Dual SIM, second slot doubles as microSD

Telcos are demanding single SIM models

Screen

5.46”, 4K, 3840 x 2160, 807ppi, IPS, TriLuminous colour, HDR10, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back

Sony uses the best quality IPS LED screen and HDR10 movie support is great. However, AMOLED is fast becoming mandatory on a flagship class device. Note: defaults to HD when not playing 4K content.

No mention of VR.

STBR

68.4% screen to body ratio.

Manifested by larger top and bottom bezels and the soft keys still eat into the screen area.

IP rating

IP68

6 = No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.

8 = The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water up to 1.5m for 30 minutes

Matches Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Plus and LG G6. 

Processor

Qualcomm 835, eight-core (4x2.45 GHz Kryo & 4x1.9 GHz Kryo) and Adreno 540 GPU

The best you can get. In independent tests, it was amongst the fastest flagships so far generally coming just under the Samsung GS8 Exynos chip.

RAM

Storage

microSD

4GB

64GB

To 256GB, OTG to 2TB external devices

As expected

Camera

Rear

19MP 1/2.3” IMX400 ExmorRS mobile

25mm focal length, f/2.0 Sony G lens

“Motion Eye” predictive capture

1.22 µm pixels and ISO 12800

HDR, 960fps upper slow-mo

Steady Shot (gyro 5-axis)

Predictive phase detection and laser autofocus

4K at 30fps recording

Single LED flash

On paper, this is a winner. While the pixels are larger they are not up to the 1.4 µm of Samsung’s GS8 and the f/2.0 lens is behind its f/1.7. Google Pixel has the class leading camera at 1.5 µm!

Not sure if Steady Shot is optical or electronic image stabilisation – suspect the latter and it works only to HD level.

Camera

Front

13MP, 1/3.06” ExmorRS

22mm, f/2.0 wide-angle lens

1.12 µm pixel, ISO 6400

Autofocus

Steady Shot

1080p @30fps video record

Looks good but no mention of screen fill flash

LTE/Bands

Cat 16 (1Gbps/150Mbps) – bands not specified.

3x carrier aggregation.

Assume that it will be a world modem with at least 20 bands.

Comms

Wi-Fi AC dual band 2x2 MU-MIMO

Wi-Di and DLNA

Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX

NFC

GPS

PS4 connect

All flagship class.

Other

Fingerprint in right side power button

USB 3.1 Gen 1

USB-C 3.1 gen 1 means up to 5Gbps data transfer. No MHL video output – casting only

Sound

High-Resolution Audio (LPCM, FLAC, ALAC, DSD)

Clear Audio+ with stereo front facing speakers

3.5mm combo jack

Stereo mics and digital noise cancelling

Nice to see lossless Hi-Res as well as lossy and the 3.5mm jack – a must.

Battery

3230mAh

Qnovo adaptive charging

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (standard 5V/1.5A charger supplied – you have to buy Quick Charge)

In other Sony X series the battery lasts all day and when Qnovo and Stamina mode kicks in (adaptive) it may get considerably longer use

OS

Android 7.1

Latest and Sony’s skinning is light.

Size

Weight

156 x 77 x 7.9 mm

191g

This is a big phone. By comparison the Samsung 5.8” S8 is 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm x 155g.

Colours

Luminous Chrome and Deep Sea Black

Depends on Single and Dual sim and retailer.

 

Carriers  / Retailers

Pricing

Availability

Colour

Optus

$90/month ($85 My Plan Plus with $5 monthly device repayments) Total min. cost over 24 months $2160

Online and in-store 23 June

Deep Sea Black

Virgin Mobile

$63/month ($13 handset on Virgin Mobile’s $50 Postpaid phone plan, min total cost $1,512 over 24 months)

Online and in-store 23 June

Deep Sea Black

Vodafone

$0 upfront on $80 MyMix Red Data plan. Over 24 months

(Total min cost $1920). ^

Online and in-store 23 June

Deep Sea Black

JB Hi-Fi

$1099 RRP

Pre-order 23 June

In-store 4 July

Luminous Chrome and Deep Sea Black

Sony

$1099 RRP

Online 23 June

In-kiosk 23 June

Luminous Chrome and Deep Sea Black

Telstra

TBA

TBA

TBA

 

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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