The flagship Sony Xperia XZ, released late 2016, brings a fresh feel to the existing Xperia range. Sony have stayed true to the slab styled Xperia with a combination of the all metal back, plastic sides and a glass front. The tapered sides, known as the Loop design, bring much needed comfortable feel to the new Xperia ZX. The build quality is flawless: one handed use is more than possible with a 5.2 inch display. The Xperia ZX comes in ‘forest blue’, silver and black which we found rather glossy leaving a string a finger prints behind. Unlike the Sony Xperia Compact; the XZ is IP68 certified (dust and water resistant) which will allow you to dunk your phone in water – if that’s your idea of fun!

New vs Old Features
The headphone jack has survived another round of Sony devices and features high res audio such as FLAC, however the ZX sports the USB C port for Quick Charge 3.0 and faster data transfers.
The dedicated camera button is much appreciated and works like a charm as a finger print scanner, but it’s worth mentioning that the US version of the Sony Xperia ZX will not feature the finger print scanner. The stereo front facing speakers are spectacular for day to day use, but lack the thumping bass notes the iPhone 7 or Nexus 6P manage to produce.

What’s the XZ equipped with?
Sony have made a rather bold decision, following the Sony Xperia Z5 4K screen, to reduce the ZX IPS LCD panel to the common 1080p resolution. The screen is vibrant and bright enough for outdoors and the reduction in pixels provide for better battery life and increased performance.
Under the hood the XZ is rocking the Snapdragon 820 and 3GB RAM as opposed to the more common 4GB we’ve become accustomed to from Android devices. Never fear, while we tested the gameplay we found that the XZ operated smoothly, without dropping frames, and never overheated.

The experience?
If you’re a fan of stock Android; you’re going to enjoy the XZ more than any other Sony Xperia ever before. Sony have reduced the amount of bloatware preinstalled and included Google Now to the home screen while staying true to the Sony Xperia functionality such as the battery saving Sony Stamina and Ultra Stamina. Our team managed to enjoy the XZ with casual gaming and occasional social media for a full 12 hour stretch before having to make use of the Quick Charge 3.0 to rejuvenate the 2900 mAH battery.

(iPhone 7 reference)

What about the camera?
Sony is well-known for their camera sensors, but have never managed to get it right on their own devices. The XZ features the 23 megapixel rear camera with 5 axis image stabilisation, laser auto focus and colour sensor which produce vibrant, life-like, photographs. The 5 axis stabilisation is not always on, but rather only kicks in when you’re taking close-up photographs or the camera is in Macro mode. The front facing camera is where the XZ differs from the X compact; instead of the 5 mega pixel camera in the Compact the XZ boasts an incredible 13 mega pixel selfie camera which produces better colour and detail than ever before. The camera features all the fun features you can expect such as -however the HDR mode is still hidden in the camera settings. The predictive hybrid autofocus allows the video mode to track moving subjects as long as they are not moving too fast. In low light the 23 mega pixel camera produces a fair amount of detail with little noise, however the highlights were blooming a bit too much.

The images below show the XZ camera detail in low light:

What is the Sony Xperia XZ going to cost me?
At the price of R11 999 (Takealot) this is no impulse purchase and must be compared alongside devices such as the Google Pixel, Samsung S7 Edge and iPhone 7.

Conclusion
While we’re not convinced, we’re happy to say this is the most impressive device the Sony Xperia range has produced and will not disappoint with a refreshed look, feel, and impressive performance. For those interested; the Sony Xperia XZ scored 1579 on single core and 3716 on multi core Geekbench 4 test.

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