Is the Sony Xperia XZ Premium worth the RM100 premium over the Galaxy S8?

Posted:  May 25, 2017   By:    40 comments   


The flagship smartphone gave every Sony Mobile fan a shiver of excitement has finally landed on our shores and it only took them a couple of months. On paper, it has all the flagship-level specifications one would need to compete with the very best, which is a good thing.

But, is the Sony Xperia XZ Premium really worth RM100 more than what is arguably the best Android smartphone in the market right now? Well, I try to find out.

The first thing you would notice is the XZ Premium’s size. Sure, its screen is only 5.5 inches, but the phone’s footprint is absolutely massive. I guess that’s what a big chin, big forehead and big side bezels will do to a device.

But what a screen that is. Unlike any other phone in the market right now, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium has 4K Triluminos panel that is also HDR capable. It’s a shame that it spends most of its time in 1080p but that’s necessary to manage battery life and performance resources. There is no denying that it’s an impressive feat, though, and the screen looks really good with great viewing angles.

What’s more, it’s not like they skimped on the other aspects of the phone either. Its internals are pretty much the best you can get out of a phone as it is powered by a Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It even supports Gigabit LTE with Qualcomm’s X16 LTE modem.

If there was one aspect people could pick on the XZ Premium’s spec sheet it would probably be the battery because it’s only a 3,230 mAh unit. But then again, as phones like the iPhone 7 Plus show, it isn’t about how much you have, it’s about how you use it. Besides, the S8 also only features a 3,000 mAh cell so it’s really on Sony to be as efficient as possible.

The XZ Premium also takes things up a notch or two when it comes to build quality compared to the Xperia XZs. Gone is the iffy metal and in its place, you will find a really nice robust metal frame (brushed at the top and bottom) plus Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back. It’s a premium feel, no doubt, but I definitely don’t fancy the looks. It’s too boxy and squared off.

Like the Z5 Premium, the XZ Premium features Sony’s mirror finish which looks really nice in photos but is absolutely a nightmare of fingerprints and smudges in real life. Sure, this finish was novel and cool back on the Z5, but today we’ve got phones like the Xiaomi Mi 6 and the HTC U11 that employ the same finish (none of which I am a fan of, by the way). I would have loved to see frosted glass or that same brushed metal on the frame extended to the rest of the phone’s body instead.

Much like the XZs, the XZ Premium has Sony’s 19-megapixel 1/2.3″ Exmor RS Motion Eye camera sensor. What makes this special is that it’s a memory stacked sensor (similar to what you’d find on the company’s RX100 V) so it’s capable of incredible feats like 960fps super slow motion video recording.

However, the implementation isn’t very practical as it only records this in short bursts and you have to tap a button to tell the camera to do so. In my experience, it’s very easy to miss critical, fast-moving action that you might want to slow down because of the limits of human reflexes.

Since it’s the same camera as the XZs (and it feels pretty much exactly the same too) you can read my XZs review for more information on this Motion Eye camera.

There are other conveniences like an IP68 water resistance, a dedicated camera shutter button, fast-charging via USB Type-C, a headphone jack, stereo speakers and a fingerprint sensor. However, the fingerprint sensor is, again, in the very unfortunate position at the side of the phone so it’s not the most convenient thing in the world.

As a whole, the XZ Premium definitely lives up to its name. It’s a premium-feeling phone and it has the specs to back it up. But is it worth the RM3,399 price tag? So far, I’m not entirely convinced.

The handset is heavy, big and not super ergonomic thanks to its sharp corners, wide footprint and flat back. It also has a rather dated form-factor — although the mirror finish certainly helps give it a dash of pizzazz — so it doesn’t compare that well to the jaw-dropping Galaxy S8 or, to a lesser extent, the LG G6. It just feels like we’ve seen this look run itself to the ground already.

The biggest edge the XZ Premium has over its competition lies in its 4K screen. Yes, that’s impressive and an incredible technological feat, I won’t deny that much. But unless you’re comparing it side by side, I don’t think you will mind the S8 or G6’s screen because they’re gorgeous displays that are larger (5.8-inch and 5.7-inch respectively) and have HDR capabilities too.

So I guess that brings us back again to the central theme of the XZ Premium: Is it worth RM100 more than the Galaxy S8? Right now, I don’t think so. In fact, I might argue that it also isn’t worth RM400 more than the LG G6. For a phone whose tagline reads “everything becomes wow”, wow is exactly the thing the XZ Premium hasn’t done for me yet. Here’s to hoping that will change when I get the chance to give it a full review.

What do you guys think of the XZ Premium? Let me know in the comments below.


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40 Comments for Is the Sony Xperia XZ Premium worth the RM100 premium over the Galaxy S8?

Andrekua

What RM100 above S8? I bought mine on Qoo10 for RM2785 last week and this week it went further down at RM2700.

If you want to stand out, then you’ll go with the Sony because not many will but it for the price tag.

    stanum

    bro, as a journalist, they have to compare RRP vs RRP. not the cheapest unofficial price in the market vs RRP..

    Oh Seriously

    stand out by buying a SONY?
    im sure people will be amazed seeing u carry the latest SONY!
    amazed at how stupid u really are to spend good money on such a device.
    its as dead as its form factor.
    u for one surely dont know wat ur talking abt.

      syer1n

      Dude, that’s sarcasm obviously. “If you want to stand out, then you’ll go with the Sony because NOT MANY WILL BUY IT IT FOR THE PRICE TAG”

      There you go. Highlighted the punchline where you should be laughing to.
      You’re welcome.

      KakiSkodeng

      sound like jealousy..

      Chen

      Sarcasm or not, buying brands that are not flooding the crowd is standing out. No matter the price

mutusamy

no chance la

Gamerlite

If this is xz compact premium 4.6inch price under 2k I buy. By the way every flagship this year are overpriced. Waiting for mi6 around rm1.8k.

HP. enthusiast

It is the similar with other manufacturers, weak ringgit is one of the factor.

Side Fingerprint sensor is still better than weird position of S8 placement on the rear. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 might implement far more better option to embedding fingerprint sensor on display.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is the main factor why this flagship is so expensive besides IPS display cost. If Sony using OLED 4k HDR display which could emitting sounds from display, we could hardly imagine the price.

Camera is the next thing causing Sony charging us more as this technology is still new.

If only incoming Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for international version having Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or newer, I will be much interested than Exynos. Although both almost on par with each other.

stanum

the price is 1 factor.

another factor I don't understand is, why spend most of the time on full HD? Sony should set it to spend most of the time on 2KD WQHD, to make it on par as other flagship!

No point having 4K capable screen when most of the time it only shows you lower res than other 2K screen phone.

    YKK

    It is, because “It’s a Sony”.

    Specs matters whether they are useful or practical. When they are spreader out on tables for comparison, they make some standout.

    There are always *1 …*9 fine prints to clear things up.

    GameSky

    Spend most of the time on 2k/4k reso surely will tax the battery, lol.

Fucukyongtaufoo

Spend the money buy 4k tv more syiok

Oh Seriously

SONY only wants to play YugiOh
spreading all the specs on the table.
wonder how it will stack up with S8 and G6
try trumping 7S Plus…..

kanazai2001

….?
y spend most of the time in FHD but not 2K….
coz obvious to save batt life
AND…
there is no such thing as 2K reso standard in tv reso…
tv reso has HD 720p (1,280×720), Full HD 1080p (1,920×1,080) and Ultra HD (3,840×2,160)…

large forehead and chin (with no capacitive buttons) are practical…
good to hold in horizontal position (for game or video/movie) and good for answering phone (ear is not touching the screen to avoid accidentally activate some functions)…

3.5mm jack is a bonus since a lot of manufacturers are cancelling it… T_T

cam… great hardware but pix is not as gd as other as taken with other old sony cam module (suggest to fire the DSP software/algorithm engineers)…

battery capacity…
surprise… it is larger than other flagship…
unsurprise… it is TOO small!!!
BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!!!

price TAG… take my money with conditions:
it is still on sales AFTER 2 years with lower price tag… LOL

conclusion… buy mi max 2… XD

    Oh Seriously

    go suck up China phones!
    u talk so much $%!#^#$!

    ein

    U totally forgot one of the most important things for a smartphone that most people dont notice. Software/OS and updates.

mahalsangat

the finger print scanner in an unfortunate position? I would have expected that comment to be against the s8, since there is always a chance you will dirty the lense when trying to reach for the scanner.

many reputable sites are actually in favour of that position for the Sony. But off course their reviewers are also more reputable.

also just looking at the hardware side of things may not be enough? software is a big part of a handphone experience. I personally would pay that 100rm just to have the Samsung knox, so would alot of companies that give phone to its employees.

100rm is never the discussion here. it is too small a difference to decide a rm3k product. which ever product you like or end up buying, is not going to be down to that 100rm. is the wrong angle for the comparison.

    Z5 to S8

    S8 user here. I own a Xperia Z5 before and I can confirm s8 fingerprint is much better than Sony. The side originally is a good idea but it is not reliable at all. On the table you still need to hold it because you cannot unlock with one finger. Only works well with right hand thumb. Other finger harder. S8 fingerprint location not perfect but it works more reliable than Sony.

    Front sensor > Back sensor > Side sensor

      SoftbankSucks

      XZ & iPhone 6 user here. Finger print at the side on XZ works well with my left index finger, and experience-wise not much different than the the sensor located at the front on iPhone.

      Regarding holding the phone from the table, you still need to do so on S8 right? Else you can't look at the screen without flipping it ^^

lookdeeper

you have to look deeper and not just the RM 100 difference which only a jester or retarded person will.

This review is not comparing Apple to Apple or orange or whatever floats your boat
had galaxy s8 have 4k display DO you THINK it would be the same current RRP price ?
granted i believe samsung has more features in it's phone than sony has … Had i wanted a phone without stylus i will consider both seriously.

But i am a stylus person … awaiting NOTE 8 or better yet NOTE 7 (if price is right)

Zaki

Wow. Sounds like bias preview to me. Side fingerprint scanner is more practical than the one implemented in s8. Large bezel (just like iphone) but with stereo speakers and larger front camera.

    buffalobreeder

    This. Can’t really understand all the hate that has been thrown on Sony. Sure, the XZP could have been priced much more aggressively on the wake of other flagships. But a smartphone is much more than its hardware specs alone.

    And since we’re comparing XZP with S8, consider the fact that the S8 has started to rear it’s ugly head after about a month or so of release.
    1. Reddish tint issue on certain screens
    2. Not fast charging when the screen is on
    3. UFS 2.0 vs UFS 2.1 (using different hardware for different devices, not unlike Huawei P10)
    4. Face unlock that can be easily duped (even the iris scanner is susceptible, with an effort)
    5. That fingerprint scanner. Nuff said.

    And we haven’t even touched on the software side of the S8..

      LOL

      Then you wonder why more people buying S8 even after Note7 kaboom but Sony nobody wants to buy. Every tech site already reported S8 problems but you know they will sell 1000x more than Sony.

        Chen

        Because people who buy them are retards? Sorry, used bad word cos Oh Seriously did that too. I also dedicate this comment to stupid commenters here.

        Chen

        Because people who buy them are s*u*i*? Sorry, used bad word cos Oh Seriously did that too. I also dedicate this comment to stupid commenters here.

        buffalobreeder

        Because Samsung is such an aggressive advert and marketing behemoth that Sony simply couldn’t find room to compete in that front. For better or worse, to many people Android = Samsung. their presence are everywhere.

        Sony doesn’t sell in a millions does not mean that their products are bad..

          jason

          well said! i bought myself a XZP, loving the phone! It has great build quality, bloat software is minimal and the screen is fabulous.

        kvsual

        S8+ is a super beast! love it after using for 1 month ! <3

      sleepyhit

      3. UFS 2.0 vs UFS 2.1 (using different hardware for different devices, not unlike Huawei P10)

      Huawei P10, p10plus, mate9 and mate 9 pro also use different CONFIGURATION RAM DDR3 OR DDR4, STORAGE EVEN WORST EMMC 5.1, UFS2.0 AND UFS 2.1.
      Do some homework. All the smartphone maker is same situation even LG G6.

The Only

"I might argue that it also isn’t worth RM400 more than the LG G6"
IS IT BECAUSE OF THAT BIG BEZEL DESIGN!!?
SD821 VS SD835
SD835 WIN!!
THIS PAGE SOUNDS LIKE BIAS!!

AMG

The Sony design team should be fired! What a hideous phone with that huge bezels. No wow factor at all. Who cares about 4K screen. At this size no one can tell a difference in resolution. Sony's market share in the mobile phones is proof that they are a dying brand. Even their TVs are losing share to the Koreans.

hamtarox

noob review.. super bias…side finger print sensor i feel is the best i can unlock with any of my hands with o without picking up the phone …for me.. either u put finger print sensor on front home screen or bottom of camera lens…s8 finger print sensor totally put in a wrong place.

    Z5 to S8

    No you can’t unlock with one finger. Clearly talking nonsense. You just keep pushing your phone away.

      hamtarox

      ok.still need thumb to to hold..but way better than put it behind and still cant denied this review is not proffesional at all. both phone have pro n cons but not farking bias review like this…else how xzp get best phone award 2017?

ein

All the phone companies with the best OS (HTC, Sony) are unfortunately dying. China brands like Huawei with horrible Emui are rising instead. Sigh..

    seriously....

    dude, they are all having the same OS!
    Google Android!
    all the have original is their skins.
    and by the way, Apple has the best OS.
    not HTC nor SONY.

kvsual

4K is good! but 4K in a super small screen is pathetic seriously.
The bezel looks too thick what happened to their hardware designer.

Yea rather get a UHD 4K TV instead. no point to watch 4K video or photos on a small screen.
https://youtu.be/noCqmD-VfM0

    Hp. enthusiast

    I don’t know that we could call people by carrying 4k TV all along the road while enjoying 4k contents at any place with Internet coverage we might go.

    Not practical at all. 2k is now replaced by 4k and even 8k with a larger wide screen such like Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (maybe). FHD will stay for a better battery consumption, the phone could change between different resolution automatically for this.

    Don’t compare apple with orange please.

Hau

This article is not professional at all. It’s a completely bias article. Don’t post this if you have not even use the device yet. Waterproof phones are not necessary back few years ago. But now every phone is following this tech. So please accept the 4k tech as it will be a hit in a few years. You guys are just not ready for this tech.