Sony Xperia XZs review: Premium yes, but old problems remainhttps://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-reviews/sony-xperia-xzs-review-review-price-specifications-features-4628994/

Sony Xperia XZs review: Premium yes, but old problems remain

Sony Xperia XZs falls in the premium budget segment as it costs Rs 49,990. We used the Xperia XZs for nearly two weeks and here is our full review.

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Sony Xperia XZs has a solid build and premium feel, which I liked. It was easy to hold thanks to the Loop design and wasn’t slippery.

Sony, keeping in mind its target audience – the high end segment – has launched the Sony Xperia XZs. The smartphone is identical to the Xperia XZ in terms of look and feel, which was unveiled about six months ago. The highlight of the Xperia XZs is its super slow-motion video camera that can record videos at 960 fps.

Sony Xperia XZs

Sony Xperia XZs is a toned down version of the original Xperia XZ. It features the same Loop design and fingerprint scanner is embedded in the power button. Camera on XZs is what has changed. It has a super slow motion mode that can shoot videos at 960 fps.

Sony Xperia XZs falls in the premium budget segment as it costs Rs 49,990. However, when compared to smartphones like the OnePlus 3T, which starts at Rs 29,999; the Xperia XZs lags in quite a few things like processor, front camera and battery. We used Sony Xperia XZs for nearly two weeks and here is our full review:

Specifications: 5.2-inch Full HD display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor | 4GB RAM+64GB storage| 19MP rear camera + 13MP front camera | 2900 mAh battery | Android 7.1 Nougat

Price: Rs 49,990

What’s good?

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Sony Xperia XZs has a solid build and premium feel, which I liked. It was easy to hold thanks to the Loop design and wasn’t slippery. It fit perfectly into my hands. The Xperia XZs has a square design, something we’ve seen in Sony Xperia series smartphones previously as well. It does look different from other phones, but in a good way and that’s a positive in a market where each phone looks like a clone of the other.

Sony Xperia XZs has a likable design with power button, volume rocker keys and camera shutter button on the right. I faced issues reaching volume rocker keys, which are located down below. We’re so used to volume buttons being place in the middle that adjusting to this design might take some time.

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Son Xperia XZs supports Type-C charging (the port is at the bottom) and there’s a 3.5 mm headset jack at the top.

The SIM tray is on the left. To put in a SIM, you don’t need a pin to open the SIM tray, which I found convenient. I don’t always have a pin lying around, and the functionality sure saved me some time. Overall, the Xperia XZs has a minimalistic design, one that screams premium from every angle. It supports Type-C charging (the port is at the bottom) and there’s a 3.5 mm headset jack at the top.

The display is sharp and vivid. Visibility in bright sunlight wasn’t an issue and icons appear crisp. I enjoyed playing games and watching videos thanks to great colour reproduction. It feels just about right at 5.2-inches as it is neither too big nor too small and easy to use with one hand. The fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the device, which is great.

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The display is sharp and vivid. Visibility in bright sunlight wasn’t an issue and icons appear crisp. I enjoyed playing games and watching videos thanks to great colour reproduction.

Sony Xperia XZs has a great camera, one that can click some really stunning shots, both in daylight and dim light. The pictures are sharp and detailed, while colour reproduction is very close to real. The Superior auto mode is capable enough to adjust to surroundings and capture good shots but there’s a Manual mode as well for those who are particular about white balance, shutter speed, etc.

The super-slow motion, true to its name, can really slow down subject in a video. There’s a small icon, right besides the video recording button in the camera app for super slow motion. To shoot videos in slow motion, start with shooting normal video of a moving object and press the slow motion icon to capture specific moments in super slow motion.

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Camera sample from Sony Xperia XZs. (Image resized for web)
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Camera sample from Sony Xperia XZs. (Image resized for web)
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Camera sample from Sony Xperia XZs. (Image resized for web)

In my case, I shot videos of a moving fan, fluttering leaf and flag and the overall effect is quite something. I could actually see details like screw placement on a fan or dirt on the leaf in super slow motion videos. However, the videos weren’t quite sharp themselves, and there was a weird hazy layer each time I tried shooting with super slow motion mode.

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Camera sample from Sony Xperia XZs. (Image resized for web)
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Camera sample from AR mode of Sony Xperia XZs. (Image resized for web)

There are other fun modes for camera like AR effects, which can superimpose pictures of say dinosaur, fish etc on real life background setting, Creative effect, Panorama and Sound photo.

The front camera is impressive as well, capable of taking photos that will delight selfie lovers. Even without any effects, the Xperia XZs front camera can deliver good colours and accurate details

Sony Xperia XZs is fast and can handle multitasking quite well. It was easy to transition between multiple tabs and apps opened quickly on the device.The XZs can run graphics heavy games such as Asphalt-8, without giving a reason to complain. Despite, having 8-10 apps open at any given time, the Xperia XZs performed performed smoothly on most occasions.

What’s not good?

Sony Xperia XZs will easily last for a day on moderate to heavy usage, but that’s it. This is a disappointment given big battery is increasingly becoming a norm thanks to a growing number of apps and data consumption. I had to charge the Xperia XZs everyday after I got back home from office. It takes two and a half hours to get fully charged from 2 per cent battery. I mostly used the phone to watch videos on Netflix, browse Facebook and the Internet, click pictures and make videos; apart from making calls.

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Heating issues are worse with the camera, especially when you go into the AR mode. After a while, you’ll get a message saying the phone needs time to cool down and some of camera’s functionalities will be suspended until then.

It looks like heating issue has now become synonymous with Xperia series and Xperia XZs is no exception. On many occasions, the phone became so hot that I was afraid it to use it. (Side note: kept thinking about Note 7) Heating issues are worse with the camera, especially when you go into the AR mode. After a while, you’ll get a message saying the phone needs time to cool down and some of camera’s functionalities will be suspended until then. Now you wouldn’t want that on a Rs 50,000 phone, would you? And this has been an issue since the time of the Sony Xperia Z2.

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The stereo speakers in the Xperia XZs are at the top and bottom on the front. Frankly, the sound quality isn’t great even at high volumes.

Each time I took out the SIM tray or put in a SIM, the Xperia XZs started to reboot automatically which I found a bit irritating.

The stereo speakers in the Xperia XZs are at the top and bottom on the front. Frankly, the sound quality isn’t great even at high volumes. The same goes for headphones as well.

Verdict

Sony Xperia XZs has a great camera, premium design and vivid display. Performance isn’t a problem either. However, I feel the Rs 50,000 price-tag is a little too much for a phone that heats up quickly, and is still far from perfect. Plus the outdated 820 processor makes the price tag even more expensive.

Plus Sony’s flagship will face tough competition when you consider options like the recently launch LG G6, which has a 821 processor, dual rear camera setup, and bigger 3,300mAh battery. Or if your are more generous with your budget the Galaxy S8 is an option.

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For those with a less flexible budget, the OnePlus 3T becomes an automatic option thanks to the its mid-range pricing and high-end specs. For me, the biggest letdown with the Xperia XZs was the continue heating issue, which makes competing in the premium category much harder.