Sony’s new Xperia XZ is one of the only phones to be launched at Mobile World Congress 2017 which has the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, which is expected to be at the heart of every noteworthy flagship smartphone this year. That being said, this is also a phone which insists on reusing Sony’s aged omni-balanced design language which is gargantuan and seriously as a millennial would put it, “it’s fat as f*ck.”
While doing so, it also manages a minute camera bump on the back. Officially, at 7.9mm, this phone is thicker than literally every other flagship that’s worth its salt.
Now, an admission, I didn’t actually hold the phone in the hand, but I saw it from a close enough distance to make out how thick it was and it was very thick, which doesn’t bode well for a company that’s been struggling in the mobile phone space and also has struggled to have a smash hit with Android as its operating system of choice over the last 6 years.
Compounding the issue is the fact, this is the first phone in the world which has a 4K HDR display. For the same, it has also partnered with Amazon’s prime video service which will be a source for 4K HDR content. But this brings us to a bigger problem. The screen will guzzle the battery of the device and how. A couple of years ago, Sony made the same mistake by adding a 4K resolution screen and this one takes that problem to another level. It can be argued this would make for a compelling VR experience, but the battery will go for a toss. And it is not like it has the largest battery around with it measuring in a 3,250mAh.
The finish of the phone too resembles the chrome finish that we saw before in 2016’s Xperia Z5 Premium which is to say it will catch smudges very quickly and it will not be like the piano black of an iPhone 7, but something rather very loud; in other words, very un-Sony-like.
What’s worse is that this phone isn’t going to be launched till the end of spring so, it is a couple of months away. By that time Samsung will be out with the Galaxy S8 and it will be literally leaving Sony zero to no wiggle room to compete in the market.
But there is innovation here. While some of the new features aren’t practical and largely gimmicky there is no doubt that Sony has poured in a lot of innovation in the product. The memory stacked 19-megapixel camera is a great example. Sony makes the best image sensors and its new Exmor RS sensor has a lower resolution than the previous model but at the same time, it has 19 percent larger pixels.
It can also shoot slow motion video at 960 frames per second at 720p. The Bionz image processing engine has been updated and it can detect motion in a better way and also aggressively reduces noise.
The fact that Sony was able to cram in a 4k HDR screen in a mobile form factor is an incredible engineering feat. There is no doubt this will be a good display, but the question is that is it practical?
Sony’s partnership with Amazon is also sensible for one as Amazon does have a lot of content to offer. It remains to be seen if this will come to India, but let’s keep our fingers crossed.