Sony Xperia XZ preview: First look


One way or another, the Xperia Z-series lives on after all. The Xperia Z5 was the last of the old lineage, but tradition (and likely marketing) dictates that the ultimate Sony smartphone must have a Z in its name. There goes the Sony Xperia XZ – handing the proverbial relay race baton from the Z series to the X series.

Sony Xperia XZ Preview

A string of letters doesn’t make or break a phone, so we won’t dwell on it too much, unless you want to go cabalistic looking for proof that the XZ is a Z6 in disguise. Z6-ZsiX-ZX-XZ. No? We thought so.

Anyway, beyond the model designation, the Sony Xperia XZ is a true flagship with everything you would expect in 2016. OK, almost everything. 3GB of RAM is so last year and the absence of a QHD screen is something the competition will most certainly use against Sony.

Turn a blind eye to these two though and the Xperia XZ ticks all the boxes: a Snapdragon 820 chip, a 23MP primary camera with all kinds of autofocus and 4K video capture (finally!), a 13MP front-facer, expandable storage, stereo speakers, fingerprint sensor (but still not in the US), a USB-C port, IP68 rating, what are we missing? Ah, all this is packed into a beautiful body made from a mix of glass, polycarbonate and ALKALEIDO, or as we regular people call it – aluminum alloy though alkaleido has this special ring to it that makes it sound exclusively Japanese and esoteric even.

Sony Xperia XZ at a glance
5.2″ 1080p IPS display, 424ppi
Snapdragon 820 chipset: quad-core (2×2.15 + 2×1.6 GHz) Kryo processor, Adreno 530 GPU, 3GB RAM
Up to 32GB of built-in storage, expandable via the microSD card slot by up to 200GB
IP65/IP68 certified – dust and water proof up to 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
23MP Sony IMX300 camera, 24mm-equiv. f/2.0 lens, laser-assisted and phase-detection autofocus, SteadyShot,5-axis optical image stabilization, LED flash, dedicated hardware shutter key
2160p video recording, SteadyShot
13MP selfie camera with noise reduction, SteadyShot
Stereo speakers
2,900mAh battery
Qualcomm Quick charge certified, smart charging at night
USB Type-C port
Fingerprint sensor in the side-mounted power button

We got our hands on an Xperia XZ unit for testing, but it turned out its not running final software. Hence, we’ll be treating this as a detailed preview, rather than a full-blown review. Once the commercial software version is out, we’ll be sure to do the full routine, complete with benchmarks, battery test, comparative camera tests, the lot.

What’s not going to change with a software update, by definition, is the hardware. That’s what we’ll be starting with on the following page.