Sony Xperia XZ first impressions: Camera is the USP, but at a high price

Sony Xperia XZ which comes with 23MP rear camera and will cost more than Rs 50,000. Here's our first impression.

Written by Hansa Verma | Updated: October 4, 2016 4:38 pm
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The Indian smartphone market has seen quite a few launches recently with camera being the major focus point. The latest to join the list of premium smartphones with a focus on camera is the Sony Xperia XZ which has a 23MP rear camera with triple image sensing technology and 5-axis stabilization for shooting steady videos. It has a 13MP camera on the front.

Sony says this 5-axis stabilization is the first in any smartphone. Other specifications of Xperia XZ include Snapdragon 820 processor, Android Marshmallow, 3GB RAM, 2,900 mAh battery, IP68 rating. We spent a little more than a day with Xperia XZ clicking pictures and testing the device. Here’s our first impression of the phone.

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Design and Display

Sony Xperia X series has a standard rectangular design, and Xperia XZ is no different. It has a sturdy built and does not feel too heavy. Power, volume and camera buttons are on the right with SIM slot placed at the left. The camera lens with image sensor and flash is placed neatly on the left side.

Sony has introduced a new Loop design which is supposed to make it easier for users to hold the smartphone, and I had no issues there. In terms of design, it has a metal back and uniform platinum colour both at the front and the back.

I quite liked the display on Sony Xperia XZ. It is sharp and vivid with great viewing angles in bright sunlight. It comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display, which produces good colours and is comfortable to look at. The power button in Xperia XZ doubles up as a fingerprint scanner, which I found really quick.

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Processor, battery and memory

Sony Xperia XZ comes with Snapdragon 820 processor and 3GB RAM and 64GB internal memory (expandable up to 200GB). As far as basic things like opening multiple apps and watching videos go, I didn’t encounter lags there so far. However, the device heats up pretty quickly; especially within 15 minutes of using the camera and shooting 4K videos. Sony is planning to fix that with an update, but we’re not sure how fast will it be rolled out.

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My initial experience with the battery hasn’t been very good. Just within 1 hour of using the camera on Xperia XZ, the battery levels fell down from 50 per cent to 30 per cent. This is when I didn’t put a SIM on the device and wasn’t using WiFi or making calls on it. But we’ll have more on that in our review soon. Also, this one comes with a USB Type-C slot for charging so make sure you always have a Type-C cable around.

Also read: Sony Xperia XZ with 23MP rear camera launched: Price, specifications and features

Camera

Now, let us come to the highlight of Xperia XZ – camera. The smartphone is capable of clicking some stunning shots in bright outdoors. The pictures come out to be sharp and colour reproduction in most cases was accurate. The low-light performance is decent as well. However, I had a hard time focusing on objects especially in low-light settings, which tends to make pictures look blurry at times. Zooming in really affects the picture quality for worse.

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But my bigger here is the heating issue which generally starts after using 15-20 minutes of using the camera. Plus, Sony’s technology makes apps (including camera) that consume a lot of battery shut down when the device reaches a certain temperature level to avoid damage to the smartphone. The camera app also shuts down when your phone’s juice comes down to 15 per cent.

The 5-axis video stabilization technology is new and I tried my hands on it, trying to shoot videos from a shaky boat. And I was quite impressed with its performance. It has always been hard for me to keep my hands steady while shooting, but this technology does minimise shakes to a great extent.

OS

Sony Xperia XZ comes with Android Marshmallow OS, which comes with permissions, battery doze and other features. However, Sony promises Xperia XZ will get Android Nougat update in a month or so.

Conclusion

Sony Xperia XZ comes across as a pretty good device in the premium segment, but the competition is tough if you consider the LG G5 or Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. While Sony Xperia XZ is priced at Rs 51,990; LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge come at Rs 52,990 and Rs 50,900 respectively. Then there’s iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus which is launching in the market soon. Sony’s smartphone has a lot to offer on the camera, but winning in the premium segment won’t be easy.

Disclaimer: Sony has reached out to us to inform that this is a production unit and not a commercial unit.

Disclaimer: The correspondent is in Udaipur at the invite of Sony India, which is paying for travel and accommodation. 

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