Xperia XZ1: Has Sony finally made a good-value flagship smartphone?

Posted:  September 16, 2017   By:    8 comments   


Intro

I don’t think you need me to tell you that Sony’s smartphones, as of late, are not what you’d call….value for money. In fact, I may have strongly suggested in the past that a lot of their devices are grossly overpriced for the features they offer. So, with every new Sony flagship smartphone, I always have my fingers crossed that they will finally come to their senses.

Well, it’s that time of the year again and we’ve got Sony’s second big flagship smartphone launch in Malaysia. This time, the company has pushed out a phone that looks nearly identical to its predecessor, is priced roughly the same, but has a brand new “first in the world” camera feature.

At this point, you might be wondering “now where have I heard this before?” and you wouldn’t be the only one. But this time, I think things aren’t that simple.

Sony’s new phone is called the Xperia XZ1. This time it’s a proper flagship and not another XZs. In fact, it actually feels like a combination of the XZ Premium and the XZs.

Inside, you’ve got a Snapdragon 835 octa-core 10nm processor mated to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which is about the same kind of hardware you’d find in the XZ Premium from earlier this year. Though, you do get Android Oreo out of the box and that’s great. However, battery capacity takes a hit, going down to 2,700 mAh (down from both XZs and XZ Premium) and you only get a 5.2-inch Full HD panel. However, Sony says that this time the panel supports HDR which is a nice touch.

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Accompanying the handset’s new HDR display are a pair of front facing stereo speakers. On the XZs, I found that the stereo speakers weren’t loud enough but it seems Sony may have just fixed that with the XZ1 as I could hear it pretty clearly even on the noisy demo floor.

As you can probably tell from the photos, if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s the way Sony designs their smartphones. To the layman, it’s almost indistinguishable from the phones it succeeds. Sony is trying to turn it into a positive thing by giving it fancy names like “Loop Surface” and calling it a “Timeless Design”, but I’m not convinced.

I’d tell you that the phone looks really dated and that bezels that thick have no place on a 2017 flagship, but at this point it’s like beating a dead horse. At least it has phones like the HTC U11, Xiaomi Mi 6, OnePlus 5 and Nokia 8 to keep it company in this regard.

Still, I can appreciate several design choices Sony has made that makes the XZ1 one of the more satisfying Sony phones I have had the chance to hold. The first is the choice to opt for full-metal body where its entire back plate and the sides are milled from a single block of aluminium then anodised into a gorgeous matte finish. This sheds the cheap-ish feeling you get from the XZs and the seamless sides really go a long way in making this phone feel good in the hand.

The second design choice is to launch with a matte black colour option that I think looks very sexy. In a world full of shiny reflective phones, it’s nice to have a handset that almost seems to absorb light. Unfortunately, it also seems to absorb fingerprints and the unit I had was almost impossible to wipe down. That said, it does have IP68 water resistance so you can just run it under the tap when it gets a little too disgusting. I do that all the time with Samsung’s shiny flagships.

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Android, Mobile Devices, Mobile OS, Sony
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8 Comments for Xperia XZ1: Has Sony finally made a good-value flagship smartphone?

Peter

What Sony should have done is trim down the bezels, give the ‘regular’ version a 5.5 inch screen and the premium version 5.7-6 inch screen. A beautiful phone but compared to other flagships not worth the money.

LYC

Agree. The XZ1 bezels are too big for flagships coming out at latter half of 2017 since bezelless phone has already becoming a trend by now.

    Abdulghuyup

    Outdated screen!

    Jack

    Sony can make bezelless screen if they wanted but no still stubborn af. This xz1 would appeal better than op5 and u11 had it come with XA1 plus screen.

CompactNotSE

If sony make a xa1 compact with the price under rm1300 i’ll buy. Just dont need a hard to carry big phone. Got a tab at home and stll using z1 compact, got a 5inch and a 5.5inch cheap china phone not using at home. Now wait the x compact to drop price around 1k.

HP. Enthusiast

I’m more interested in their Xperia XZ1 Compact than XZ1 since Apple iPhone 8 is not that impressive upgrade over iPhone 7. They should increase their IP rating such like iPhone X. The feeling is like Apple has poking my eyes with chilli this time with iPhone 8.

I still remember how much I hate Xperia X Compact, a ‘bastard child’ that Sony has produced before. It’s feeling similar like that with iPhone 8.

Better to get XZ Premium than XZ1 if you want to get bigger screen phone. Sony mid ranger XA1 Plus is quite interesting because they have embedded fingerprint sensor on their mid range offering, but still the phone is lacking in many factors comparing to rivals. Knowing Sony, they simply don’t care about being two steps backwards than their rivals as long as they are giving all the ‘honey’ to their most premium phone.

Bring Xperia XZ1 Compact out into Malaysia soon please. Price it correctly and I can’t wait to abuse your warranty regarding water resistant ‘protocol’.

SONYdead

"I'm more interested in their Xperia XZ1 Compact than XZ1 since Apple iPhone 8 is not that impressive upgrade over iPhone 7."
u serious???
Rory was talking about beating a dead horse….
i guess people that still have the "hard on" for SONY are the horses Rory just mentioned!
useless reviewing SONY man…..

    HP. Enthusiast

    Please find for us; a human kind, here a compact phone with flagship specifications other than Apple iPhone 7/8 and Sony Xperia X/XZ1 Compact? Then you can show off with your ignorance again.