The Sony Xperia line of smartphones have made a name for itself by boasting a powerful and robust family of powerful camera smartphones, and the XZs that was preceded by the Xperia XZ seeks to do the same with its very new MotionEye sensor and its Slo-Mo video modes, which are spectacular. This all-rounded device priced at S$898 is definitely a well-priced flagship that is sure to be welcomed by photography enthusiasts and amateurs alike.
The Xperia XZs is minimalistically-designed smartphone that exudes class and elegance.
It has the same characteristic body of the other Xperia smartphones, being rather squarish in shape. It’s side to side bezels and minimal, but bezels on the top and bottom are still rather significant, making it a “tall” smartphone. Nevertheless, using it single-handedly is easy because difficulties in one-handed navigation often step from having wide screens and reaching the extreme left and right of the screens as opposed to the top and bottom, which can be easily done by shifting our palms.
The right frame of the smartphone holds the fingerprint sensor and the volume button. The former was well-placed but the latter was oddly positioned and it was very tedious to try and adjust the volume when listening to music.
The Xperia XZs has a matte finish on the rear and a glossy finish on the front. The top of the frame holds the 3.5mm headphone jack and the base holds the USB Type C port.
Being IP68 certified, the Xperia XZs is actually waterproof up to 1.5m for 30 minutes, although Sony calls it water-resistant as opposed to waterproof, recommending users not to intentionally dunk it in water.
One thing I really liked about the Xperia XZs is the fact that you don’t need a pin to eject your SIM/MicroSD slot, you can just pull it out with your fingers, which saves a lot of time and effort.
Not following the trend of smartphones that are getting larger and larger, the XZs keeps its 5.2” display, which feels to be optimal for portability and performance. It has a full-HD resolution with TRILUMINOS display, and maximum brightness of 600cd. This has allowed it to perform more than satisfactorily under the harsh sunlight at noon, and its dynamic contrast enhancer technology definitely makes a noticeable difference in delivering stellar colour contrast.
Minimum brightness is also decent, it’s not exceptionally low, but it still makes bedtime reading not too much of a strain on our eyes.
Although the device uses a Snapdragon 820 processor, which is last year’s chipset, it actually performs superbly, perhaps even better than those utilising a Snapdragon 821 processor. In my experience, I experienced nearly zero lags, and it was even faster than devices like the HTC U Ultra. Controls were very fluid and the entire experience felt awesome.
Antutu benchmarks confirmed my feel of the smartphone, giving it a score of 130,712, which means the device is certainly a top-tier smartphone when it comes to processing speed.
Graphics performance was stellar as well, lags whilst playing 3D games was nearly absent too, although the phone did heat up a little more than I liked. 3DMark gave the phone a score of 2334, making it one of the best phones in the market for gaming too.
The Xperia user interface doesn’t have too many fancy features or gestures like other UIs, which may be disappointing, but it’s clean and free of bloatware for those who just need a simple user-friendly interface.
Xperia’s line of smartphones never disappoint when it comes to camera quality, and the new and improved XZs manages to impress once again. It has a new 19MP Motion Eye memory-stacked sensor and a wide angle 8MP front shooter which perform fantastically under all conditions. Photos came off really crisp and clear, and colour reproduction was great. The only time when I noticed a washed out look was when shots were taken in environments that are heavily-lit by white fluorescent lights.
The video capabilities of the Xperia XZ was pretty good too. It records in 4K, but that’s not the XZs’ selling point. It comes with a slow-motion mode that defies all smartphone engineering, creating ultra-fluid slo-mo videos, which were once only possible on DSLRs and other pro-shooters. Watch it for yourself here.
Music recording is also fairly decent using the video function as you can see.
Although the Xperia XZs holds a smaller than average 2,900mAh battery, it actually does quite well in real-life performance. I never had a significant battery issue using it, often running an entire work day from 8am to 8pm without having to recharge it. I suspect its battery management software works really well.
Not only does it come with QuickCharge 3.0, but also Qnovo charging management that smart-charges your smartphone by reducing current at the last few percentages so as to prolong your battery life.
I have never praised an Xperia smartphone much before, primarily due to the fact that they don’t usually pack mind-blowing features at an affordable price, but the XZs is perhaps the best Xperia device I have ever used. It’s all-rounded power capabilities, fantastic camera and video technology and decent price makes it one of the more remarkable flagships of 2017.