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Sony Xperia XZ review

Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016 - 10:27 am

The Sony Xperia XZ may be the brand's fourth flagship in the last two years, but it's been a whole year since it released the Xperia Z5 to critical acclaim at IFA 2015.

It's the best of the best of Sony's mobile tech in one full package. It features all the highlights of Sony phones we've seen the past, put into a melting pot and blended to create something familiar, yet different.

Key features

  • Return of the useful water-resistant design
  • Great fingerprint scanner, but not for every market
  • Play PS4 games on your Xperia XZ screen

Like Samsung's, and now Apple's, flagship handsets, the Xperia XZ is water-resistant. That means you'll be able to take your phone into the shower without having to worry about the internals getting frazzled from water seeping in, or get away with dropping it in the sink.


This is a feature Sony has had on its flagship line for quite some time now. The Xperia XZ is IP68 water- and dust-resistant, so you can safely immerse it up to depths of one meter, although Sony advises against keeping it submerged for long periods of time.

Dust-resistance, meanwhile, ensures that if you take your phone to the beach sand isn't going to get jammed in the sockets and ports.

This is impressive, considering that both the 3.5mm headphone jack and the USB-C slot at the bottom of the phone are open; despite it being a feature of Sony flagship phones for quite some time, the waterproof design is still something worth shouting about.

For most markets, Sony has included a fingerprint scanner on the side of the phone to make easy to unlock, yet secure. However, buyers in the US don't get the scanner.

The fingerprint scanner works quickly as soon as you hit the button. The position can be a little irritating if your phone is sat on a desk and you just want to turn it on though.

For those situations you can just use the on screen unlock pattern or pin, so it's not a major issue.

In terms of resolution, unlike competition from Samsung and HTC, the Xperia XZ is still only Full HD.

The screen is bright and looks good though - it's not 2K, but that's likely not a deal breaker or a reason to not buy the Xperia XZ.

PS4 Remote Play is a big bonus if you're into your gaming too. If you have Sony's home gaming console you'll be able to play games on your Xperia XZ over the same Wi-Fi network your console is on – handy if someone else is watching the TV.

Design

  • New high-end material on the back
  • Fits comfortably in the hand
  • No durable corners as on the Xperia Z5 range

     If you've used a Sony phone before, you'll recognize much of the design language that you'll find on the Xperia XZ.

    There's a new kind of metal material on the back of the phone, which Sony calls ALKALEIDO, although you won't notice anything radically different about it – to the touch it feels much the same as the metal on previous Sony handsets.

    It does feel premium, though, and it looks better than the glass on early Xperia Z-line handsets. But be warned: it may be a new kind of material, but the Xperia XZ will still pick up your greasy fingerprints.

The boxy design is still here, but it comes with slightly rounded-off edges, which enable the phone to sit in your hand comfortably. Out of all the Sony phones we've reviewed that feature a 5-inch-plus screen, this one feels the easiest to hold.

he top and bottom edges of the phone are flattened off, giving the Xperia XZ a look you won't find on other flagships. It reminds us of the Obi Worldphone MV1, but it's done with a high-end, premium feel which the Obi didn't have. Apart from enabling you to stand your phone up, though, this doesn't really offer much.

On the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack (take note if you're a disgruntled iPhone fan) – it's in a good place for plugging in headphones when your phone's in your pocket.

There's a USB-C slot on the bottom of the phone, while on the left-hand side is the slot for the microSD and SIM cards.

In short, the Xperia XZ is the best-looking phone the company has created, and the most comfortable to hold 



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