Sony Xperia XZ Premium Hands On Impressions

Xperia XZ Premium -10We saw it first at MWC in Barcelona and now Sony has finally launched the Xperia XZ Premium in India. The first Snapdragon 835 powered phone in the country is also the world’s first with a 4K HDR screen. Let’s take a closer look.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium specifications

  • 5.5-inch (3840 x 2160 pixels) 4K HDR TRILUMINOS Display with X-Reality, sRGB 138% and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
  • Octa-Core Snapdragon 835 processor with Adreno 540 GPU
  • 4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 256GB with microSD card
  • Android 7.1 (Nougat)
  • Hybird Dual SIM (nano + nano/microSD)
  • Water Resistant (IP65/IP68)
  • 19MP rear camera with Exmos RS sensor, 1/2.3″ sensor, f/2.0 lens, Predictive capture, 5-axis stabilizatio, 4K video recording, 960fps slow-motion video
  • 13MP front-facing camera with 1/3″ Exmor RS sensor, 22mm wide-angle f/2.0 lens, 1080p video recording
  • DSEE HX, LDAC, Digital Noise Cancelling
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Dimensions: 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm; Weight: 195 grams
  • 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz) MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/ GLONASS, NFC, USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 3230mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

The Xperia XZ Premium continues the same design language that Sony has been using for a couple of years now but brings a number of enhancements that really improve the experience. The curved edges and chamfered edges add to the visual appeal of the handset that looks minimalistic and has a certain bauhaus charm to it.

Up front is a 5.5 inch display that is one of the key USPs of the design. This is the world’s first 4K HDR panel on a smartphone. Now some of you might remember that Sony introduced a 4K panel a couple of years ago and we’ve seen a HDR panel too but this 4K HDR 10 capable panel is a combination unique to the XZ Premium so far. The screen looks tack sharp as you’d expect and the colour rendition is great albeit a smidgen over saturated. The ultra glossy front however causes a lot of glare and makes things a little hard to see in bright sunlight. Up above the screen is the 13MP front facing camera with f2.0 aperture while at the bottom you’ll notice on-screen controls.

Moving over to the side, in quick succession lie the volume rocker, power button which doubles up as a fingerprint reader as well as the camera key. All three offer good enough feedback and it is certainly nice to see a physical camera key here. Over on the opposite side, lies the hybrid SIM slot that can accommodate two nano SIM cards or a single card plus a memory card for storage expansion. Like previous Sony devices, removing the tray automatically restarts the device, a typical example of Sony’s over engineering to make sure that you don’t break stuff.

The Xperia XZ Premium is an IP68 capable waterproof smartphone with an exposed Type C port at the bottom and a 3.5mm jack on the top.

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 Turning the phone over you’ll notice a mirror finish back that is extremely glossy, slippery and generally a gigantic pain to keep clean. Minimal Xperia branding lies in the centre while towards the top you’ll observe the 19MP Motion Eye Camera alongside the RGB-IC sensor, laser autofocus and LED flash. The camera module is similar to what we saw on the XZs and is capable of capturing 720p 960 frames per second video. It achieves this by having dedicated memory on the sensor which acts like a buffer. Xperia XZ Premium -9

Technically impressive, the results can be quite impressive when shot in daylight though you probably won’t get very good footage indoors & in low light. The camera module is impressive and takes good shots as you’d expect from a phone of its calibre. We’ll explore this more in the full review though.

Internally, the phone is powered by the Snapdragon 835 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage of which about 15GB is used up at launch. The software is Android 7.1 and predictably the performance is blazing fast. Other niceties brought on via Qualcomm’s new chipset includes 1Gbps LTE connectivity though that is dependent on the network. The phone has a 3230 mah battery, supports Quick Charge 3.0 as well Qnovo Adaptive charging that optimises the phone battery and enhances charge cycles.

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Sony’s Android skin is one of the better options on the market and is mostly clean and bereft of extraneous additions. There’s not much that has changed here and you get a whole host of built-in features like a robust video editor, powerful widgets and Sony’s great music and video apps. Priced at Rs. 59,990, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is about as expensive as any other flagship but it takes a different approach. While others are focussed on pushing the boundaries of display technology through non-existent bezels, Sony has worked on improving the quality itself and as more content adopts the HDR 10 standard, you’ll find a lot more use for it. Additionally, enhancements to the camera technology too are nothing to scoff. We feel that the Xperia XZ Premium is a pretty competitive flagship and worth looking at if you’re in the market for one.

Author: Dhruv Bhutani

Your friendly neighborhood techie. Currently using a Pixel 2 XL. Catch him on Twitter (@DhruvBhutani) / Facebook .