The word overkill doesn’t seem to be in Sony’s vocabulary.
A year and a half after introducing the Xperia Z5 Premium, the world’s first and only smartphone with a 4K display, Sony’s now one-upped itself with the Xperia XZ Premium, the world’s first phone with a 4K HDR screen.
The display’s not the only thing that’s bonkers on the Xperia XZ Premium. The phone’s camera is also the world’s first to be capable of recording slow motion video at a ridiculous 960 frames per second.
By “normal” standards, the Xperia XZ Premium’s 5.5-inch 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR screen is totally unnecessary, but I guess when you’re Sony and you have so little of the mobile pie, you’ve got to aim for the stratosphere or throw in the towel.
A 4K screen on a phone would make sense for VR, but Sony doesn’t even have a mobile VR headset so it’s kind of a moot point.
Still, the screen looks great. Most people won’t be able to see the difference between a 4K screen and a Quad HD screen (2,560 x 1,440) unless they squint really hard and press their face up against the XZ Premium, though. And even then, it might be impossible to appreciate the extra resolution.
With HDR content, however, you should be able to see some immediate differences, namely higher contrast and a wider range of colors. Of course, you’ll still need to have HDR content to watch on it in the first place — something that’s still not common these days.
That said, the Xperia XZ Premium is still a worthy contender in the premium phone space. Besides the tack sharp screen, the phone’s got the latest and greatest specs, including Android 7.1 Nougat, Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card up to 256GB), and a 3,230 mAh battery.
The water and dust-proof IP68-rated metal body’s as sleek as Sony’s previous phones, but it’s also as prone to greasy fingerprints as well.
Sony’s also given the camera its biggest upgrade in ages. The 19-megapixel “Motion Eye” camera on the back has a “Predictive Capture” mode that starts snapping pictures before you’ve even hit the shutter, improvements to its “Predictive Autofocus” which anticipates where to focus on next, lens distortion corrections, and the aforementioned 960 fps super slow motion video capture (below). The front camera remains at 13 megapixels — same as on the Xperia XZ.
Now for some sorta bad news. The Xperia XZ Premium has a fingerprint sensor embedded in its power button on the side, but it’s only activated on the international version. For reasons Sony didn’t want to elaborate on, the U.S. version’s fingerprint sensor is disabled once again. It’s really unbelievable.
I’ve been saying the same thing for the last two years and I’ll say it again: It’s not acceptable for a premium phone to not have a working fingerprint sensor when even budget phones like the Moto G4 and G4 Plus have one. In 2017, a fingerprint sensor is a must-have, not a nice option.
Sony hasn’t announced pricing for the XZ Premium, but since it’s a premium phone, you can probably expect it to cost a pretty penny.
Sony also announced the Xperia XZs ($700), Xperia XA 1 ($300) and Xperia XA Ultra (pricing TBA). The phones aren’t as powerful as the XZ Premium, but all three also run Android Nougat and their lower price points should appeal to consumers who don’t want to pay top dollar.
Notable specs for the XZs include a 5.2-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32/64GB of storage (expandable via microSD card up to 256GB), 2900 mAh battery and the the XZ Premium’s 19-megapixel camera with 960 fps slow motion capture.
As for the XA 1, you’re looking at a 5-inch HD screen, MediaTek helio P20 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (expandable via microSD card up to 256GB), 2300 mAh battery, 23-megapixel back camera, and 8-megapixel selfie camera.
The XA 1 Ultra has a, you’re looking at a 6-inch full HD screen, MediaTek helio P20 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 32/64GB of storage (expandable via microSD card up to 256GB), 2700 mAh battery, 23-megapixel back camera, and 16-megapixel front-facing camera.