Sony Xperia XZ
Now a great and affordable mid-range phone
Put the Xperia range in a lineup and it’s tough to tell them apart. The XZ is slightly more handsome than X Performance, and more chiseled than the Z5. It’s since been surpassed by the XA and XZ2, which means its price has come tumbling down. You get 32GB of storage that can be expanded with a micro SD card and 3GB of RAM - fine for everyday use. The 1080p screen is a delight, and the effect of the overly grey bezel has been dialled back, though in the hand and under a blind test you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the XZ and its predecessor. It’s a touch softer all over, while still retaining a slab-like feel and the body. IP65/68 waterproofing remains.
Sony continues to nail the fingerprint sensor – it’s by far and away the best amongst its peers. Fast, accurate, and (for right-handed users) falls right under the thumb. Great stuff. (Australians should avoid importing this from overseas, as some markets don’t feature the tech thanks to paperwork issues.) And, finally, Sony’s using a type-C connector. Couple that with the clever adaptive battery-charging tech that promises to improve the battery’s lifespan, making the unit last as long in two years’ time as it does from day one, and you have a unit you’d be happy to keep over the course of a standard contract.
Sony’s dedicated camera button brings the camera to life by holding it down, and from sleep it’s on and ready to go in just over two seconds. Laser auto-focussing also embarrasses plenty of other phones, and the XZ is a gun at quickly shifting its focus between objects in the foreground and background. Though newer phones produces crisper, more distinct results in low-light, results in sunlight are strong and clear with great contrast and vibrant colours. Video results draw similar praise, and image stabilisation is impressive.
Verdict: A small evolution rather than revolution, but the design and feel are still enviable. A great mid-range smartphone.