The Xperia XZ1 is very familiar. Features the same rectangular and square design that Sony has been using for years. The design of the XZ1 is a small update, with the endless loop design that Sony implemented last year and rounded the sides to give a slightly more rounded appearance. This loop design now extends to the top and bottom of the phone. As a result, the phone can no longer remain vertically on a flat surface.
Sony is certainly trying to update the look of the phone, but the design is becoming obsolete. This problem is exacerbated by the exciting designs of phones that we currently see in people like LG, Samsung, Xiaomi and Apple. Along with the competition, the XZ1 just does not look like a flagship product in 2017.
The frames of the XZ1 are quite thick, but especially at the top and bottom. Sony makes good use of it, including the front stereo speakers, but Pixel 2 has shown that it does not need large panels for the front speakers. Apart from any utility, they are not too beautiful either. However, the quality of construction in the XZ1 is undoubtedly a high level. The all-metal design is rugged, durable and does not attract fingerprints, although it is not the most comfortable phone to hold.
The Sony Xperia XZ1’s screen is another feature you would not expect to see in a flagship Android car in 2017. You get a 5-inch Gorilla Glass screen with 5.2 inches and 1080p. With this size, the screen is clear, the text is easy to read and the images are represented with a high level of detail.
However, for the same price, and in some cases less, you can take a flagship smartphone with a competing QHD screen, providing even more detail, color and direct access to your eyes. Considering that Sony has already put a 4K screen on the Xperia XZ Premium, the decision to return to 1080p on the XZ1 is even more disconcerting.
However, all is not bad news since Sony has added HDR support to the XZ1’s display, which means you can enjoy brighter, brighter, more powerful images of compatible services like YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix. . Videos with HDR support are impressive on the XZ1 screen and provide a nice viewing experience. Thick bevels above and below the screen are also useful here because they allow you to put your thumbs without covering anything on the screen.
In terms of hardware, the XZ1 has a lot to offer. For starters, the phone comes with 64GB of internal storage and supports the extension of the microSD card up to an additional 256GB. Like many Sony phones in previous years, the XZ1 is IP68 certified, which means the phone can survive immersion in water, occasional leaks or rain.
Audiophiles will love what the XZ1 can do. The phone has a headset, so you do not need an adapter for your favorite pair of wired headphones. The two front speakers of the XZ1 are a feature that fades in the current scene of smartphones, but they are great to watch here.
This time, Sony has implemented a “SmartAmp” which supposedly provides a 50% higher sound pressure and less degradation of speakers over time. The speakers sound extremely well, with excellent clarity and no signs of distortion, even at maximum volume, but sound a little louder than previous Sony models. Even the old Nexus 6P seems considerably stronger.
Fortunately, Sony makes up for a more impressive listening experience. If you come from older Sony phones, you will already be used to the many audio features that come with XZ1, which supports many high-resolution audio codecs such as LPCM, FLAC, ALAC, and DSD.
These options mean that you will not be affected by the low-loss audio formats used by Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music. However, even if you prefer to stream your music, which many of us do, the XZ1 is compatible with Sony’s DSEE HX technology, which will enhance its lossy audio formats and provide something closer to high-resolution sound. The Sony LDAC codec is also compatible with Google Oreo for Android.
Other features available on the XZ1 are AptX HD audio and Bluetooth 5. A feature you will not find in XZ1 yet (at least if you’re in the US). It’s a fingerprint sensor, which is pretty disappointing.
On the plus side, the XZ1 runs Android Oreo, on the downside, the user interface still seems a little barebones. Customizing Android is a painful point for me. I would rather have an Android stock rather than a very personalized look that does not look good or that is awkward. The skin of Samsung phones, for example, is very heavy. The skin used by Xiaomi is very light and eliminates important features. For some reason, the XZ1 skin looks like a simplified Android stock experience, if that’s possible. Almost everything is concise, simple and annoying. It’s almost as if Sony did not intend to enjoy this big screen. Why would the default wallpaper be awkward and the user interface would have shades of gray? Fortunately, some customization is possible.
Another problem with the user interface is sensitivity to rotation. It is very sensitive. If I hold the phone with one hand and raise my hand to slide the notification center, the phone tilts slightly. With XZ1, the complete user interface becomes a landscape. No other phone I’ve used does. I know that some phones are slow to answer a connected phone;
Yet another issue I faced was with Netflix playback. The phone simply refused to play any HD Netflix clip for more than a few minutes before crashing. Why? I don’t know. I tried everything from reinstalling the app to formatting the phone to no avail. Hopefully, it’s a software issue that’s since been resolved by an update. These irritants aside, the software of the XZ1 is fine and responds fast to input.
Inside, the specifications do not depart happily from most of the other flagships we see in 2017. The XZ1 is equipped with the Qualcomm 835 Snapdragon processor and the usual 4 GB of RAM. The phone has high level specifications and is shown, works great in all aspects. Applications are quick to start. To slide and to move is smooth and pleasant. The tactile response is excellent.
Heavier tasks, such as multitasking and popular graphic games such as Need For Speed: No Limits or the Marvel Champions Contest, were no problem for the XZ1. They worked very well without any breaks or fallen frames. Later in the software, we get more information about the software, but Sony still does a great job of keeping the experience light, which helps a lot with the good overall performance of the phone.
I was expecting a lot from Sony’s two front speakers and, for the most part, the phone was about to meet those expectations. The speakers are widely spaced, which allows a remarkable stereo effect, but they are not as powerful as those of the little iPhone 8. Everything else on the phone was great. Web browsing, Google Now, multitasking, etc. It worked as well as I expected any major Android device to work.
On paper, the XZ1’s battery is just as disappointing. It has a battery of 2700 mAh, relatively small compared to other heads competing with more than 3000 mAh. However, it is still very good for a typical use. I had more than 4 hours of screen time when I used it for more common tasks such as email checking, social networking, text messaging, and light web browsing on YouTube.
Large amounts of games or the use of Sony’s new 3D Creator application can significantly reduce the battery life of the phone. Using 3D Creator for extended periods of time can also warm the phone. It may be necessary to charge the XZ1 at least once at noon for some experienced users. The XZ1 incorporates a fast charge with Quick Charge 3.0 from Qualcomm, so it’s not too complicated.
We would be forgiven for waiting for Sony to set the quality standard of the camera in the space of the smartphone. After all, Sony sells its camera sensors around the world, including Google and its epic Pixel 2. Sony also sells its sensors to giants of photography like Nikon and produces at the same time the best mirrorless cameras on the market. .
On paper, the front camera of the XZ1 is more powerful than the rear camera of the Pixel 2 and the three cameras of the iPhone X. You get a rear sensor of 19 MP and a front sensor of 13 MP. Cameras can record 4K video, record slow motion video at an incredible 960 fps, and come with many manual control options. He even has a dedicated camera button.
In practice, however, none of this contributes to an outstanding photo experience. The 19 MP and 13 MP sensors are associated with f / 2.0 lenses: in low light and in successful internal photography, video stabilization only works well in 1080p at 30 fps, which makes its 4K features redundant and 960 fps slow only to be captured for a second at 720p. In any case, the performance of the still image is worse. Even in daylight, Sony’s image processing algorithms scramble the details, leaving everything in paint. In low light conditions, this effect worsens.
3D scanner and AR
The phone has a kind of 3D scanner, where you can use the rear camera with other sensors to create a 3D map of any object, including the face or food of another person. The scanned object can be printed in 3D. Unfortunately, this feature is more fun than useful. It’s not like they’re 3D printers, and scanning could certainly be more detailed. The scanning process is painstaking and slow, but the results are not worth it.
The effects of RA are as random as the application of the 3D scanner. The individual camera at the back is not very effective at accurately detecting surfaces and objects. It’s close but not close enough. We have seen much better implementations of Google and Apple.