The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is one of the Japanese tech giant’s entries into the high-end segment. It sports a stunning 4K display, a Snapdragon 835, and a camera that’s not only touted to offer great photos, but specializes in video recording as well.

I wanted to find out why this phone was dubbed as best new smartphone at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Berlin, so I took it for a spin with our own tests, and here’s what I think.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-Core Processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 64 GB of Internal Storage Expandable via MicroSD Card
  • 5.5-inch 4K Triluminos Display with HDR, Gorilla Glass 5
  • 19MP Motion Eye Rear Camera, 1/2.3″ Exmor RS, f/2.0, SteadyShot, Anti-Distortion shutter, Predictive Capture, 4K Video Recording, 720p at 960fps Slow Motion
  • 13MP Front Camera, 1/3.06″ Exmor RS, f/2.4
  • 1Gbps LTE
  • USB Type-C
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 3,230mAh Battery
  • Quick Charge 3.0, Qnovo Adaptive Charging
  • Fingerprint Sensor (Market Dependent)
  • High Resolution Audio
  • IP68 Waterproofing

Design and Build Quality

The first thing that we noticed with the XZ Premium isn’t exactly the screen, but rather, the amount of bezel on the top and bottom sections.

xzpunit 17 640x311 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

They’re ridiculously huge, and somehow ruins the look. Now, for the top, they probably had to squeeze in some components for the camera, so ok, that’s given. But the bottom feels like a plain waste of space, which could’ve given this phone a bigger screen, and do justice to that 4K resolution.

xzpunit 8 640x353 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

Apart from that, the phone looks absolutely gorgeous. The glass construction fits in very well with the minimalist approach that Sony takes in its phones. There’s a catch though: You’ll have to be careful when holding the phone, as it the glass surface is quite slippery. Of course, you can always use a case with it for better grip. It accidentally slipped our hands during our review period.

xzpunit 2 640x311 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

The right side of the device houses the volume rocker and power button, which also serves as a fingerprint sensor. The left side on the other hand, is where you’ll find the microSD card and SIM card slot. I’m worried that the cover might come loose over time, hopefully not.

xzpunit 13 640x311 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

One of the nice things about this phone is that it has something you’ll rarely find in other brands, a dedicated camera button.

xzpunit 1 640x311 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

Sony is known to be an expert in display technology, and the XZ Premium’s 5.5-inch 4K display is a dream come true for media consumption: Photos and videos look vibrant, clear, and lifelike. There’s a very subtle difference when you place it side by side with a 2K display, but hardly noticeable.

While having a display of this quality is great and all, the relatively small screen size isn’t exactly the best way to maximize it.

Performance

The XZ Premium handles daily tasks such as email, social media, music, videos, like a knife cutting through butter. The Snapdragon 835 showed it prowess as the phone was able to handle the resource intensive game NBA 2K17 at high setting without any issues.

xzpsys 36 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets xzpsys 17 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

Asphalt 8 also ran smoothly as silk with no hints of lag or stutters. The device did get a bit warm, but barely noticeable.

Camera

xzp cam 31 Custom 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets xzp cam 36 Custom 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets xzp cam 35 Custom 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets xzp cam 34 Custom 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it GetsThe 19MP rear camera takes photos with an astonishing level of detail complimented with a good balance of sharpness, depth, and color. There are instances wherein the background becomes a bit too grainy for my taste, but the quality of focused areas, especially in macro shots is just amazing.

xzp cam 38 Custom 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

xzp cam 39 Custom 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

Low light shots are also impressive, color accuracy and detail remain on point, while only showing minimal graininess.

xzp cam 40 Custom 640x360 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

There’s no hint of over-processing in selfies. Details are quite good, and color accuracy is also on point. Shots were less grainy compared to the rear cam.

Super Slow Motion recording was a really fun experience. What you do is take a video like you normally would, and you can then tap a dedicated button on-screen to trigger the slow motion effect.

You can make multiple slow motion shots in one videos, but you can’t make an entire video slow motion, which was what I thought it could do.

Software

Xperia UI, Sony’s take on Android is one that doesn’t veer too much away from stock, and has managed to stay relatively simple. Each icon, each menu is straightforward and easy to understand. It also doesn’t try to push features that you won’t need. You can personalize the device to an ample extent.

The Camera app gives you a few modes to play with. You have 4K recording, AR mode for placing dinosaurs on your table, and of course, Pro mode for tweaking individual elements of each shot that you take.

Overall, Xperia UI is well-optimized, and runs smoothly in most aspects. Sony is also one of the few OEMs that ensures frequent updates to their devices.

Battery

xzpunit 9 640x311 - Sony Xperia XZ Premium Review: Premium as it Gets

By playing a video on loop at 50% brightness and 80% volume, the Xperia XZ Premium managed to yield around 10 hours of up time in our test. That means it should last at least a whole day of light to moderate usage.

Verdict

In many ways, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium does deserve the title it got from MWC. It’s got great build quality, excellent performance, and a very capable camera that’s probably one of the better ones i’ve recently tested.

Xperia UI is clean, straightforward and is one of the simplest takes on Android, which works well by the way. Battery life is great as well.

On the flip side, the display does look great in 4K, but i feel like it’s kind of a waste given the phone’s screen size, it just wasn’t necessary. Speaking of, those big bezels could’ve been a few more millimeters worth of screen.

The Super Slow Motion video recording is a nice to have, but could’ve been better if you could perhaps take longer sections, or even take an entire video in slow motion.

If you could forego the design “mishap,” the Sony Xperia XZ Premium should be on your list if you’re looking for a smartphone on the high-end of the spectrum.

The Good

  • Build Quality
  • Gaming Performance
  • Camera Performance
  • Great Battery Life
  • Vibrant Display

The Not So Good

  • Top and bottom bezels are way too big
  • Back panel is a smudge magnet and is quite slippery
  • Slow motion feature can be improved

Leave a comment

Author

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

Write A Comment

Tokyo Game Show Special Coverage

Tokyo Game Show 2018

41711344 10155988194573337 3113579199126831104 o - We are going to Tokyo Game Show 2018

Witness this year’s biggest gaming convention in Asia, the Tokyo Game Show 2018. This September 19, our team will fly to Tokyo, Japan, to be part to TGS 2018. Special thanks to our brand partners Huawei Mobile, PLDT Home, Smart Communications and Cherry Mobile for making this coverage possible.

The Gadget Pilipinas Team was given access to a press briefing with Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director from From Software and a bit of hands-on gameplay. Here’s our take on the hands-on gameplay and the insights from the press interview. We also  figured a listicle is in order to rundown why this game will match the hype surrounding it.

Here’s our Top 5 reasons why “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is to die for.

1) The game is Tenchu-inspired

sk8lqukaqalhq2mrzkqd 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forIf you’ve played any of the Tenchu games in previous game consoles, you know that the use of the grappling hook to set-up a one-slash-stealth kills from above is a hallmark of the series. Zipping to rooftops and treetops will be the go-to move in this game to get rid of sentries. And yes, those ever-so glorious decapitations and dismemberments with the stealth kill are present.

2) Casual or hardcore can play

sn1rmqcvrwomyuttaoyq 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forFrom Software is notorious for challenging games and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is no exception. However, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director of From Software, revealed that he himself is a casual gamer and has made it clear that the game should be accessible to beginners and experienced players alike.

3) Upgradeable prosthetic arm

jjn6e6ivua5u142iukql 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat prosthetic arm that Sekiro has isn’t just for looks. It can launch a grappling hook and is upgradeable too. No details were revealed but its good to know that a skill-tree based system is in place. Think Horizon Zero Dawn or Spiderman on the way skill and gadgets are upgraded. Tech upgrades set in feudal Japan? What’s not to like?

4) Play the style that suits you

jo1pi5md3myj0pxynz9p 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forStealth like Tenchu or head-on like Dark Souls? It’s up to you. What’s clear is that you can’t use stealth for the whole campaign since the game wasn’t designed that way. Stealth can be used to thin enemy numbers and to preserve your health before confronting the big boss. The mix of stealth and hack and slash is always a good mix to change-up the pace and should suit any gameplay style.

5) Single-player only campaign can last 20 to 30 hours 

ocxemodvr6oa72argpyo 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat’s the length of the campaign as per Miyazaki. The game is focused-solely on the single-player experience. No more wayward players who can just jump-in and help or derail your campaign. From Software also focused on the story-telling. Given that no resources were spent in developing the multiplayer aspect, expect the campaign to take it up a notch.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be released on March 22, 2019 on PC, Xbox One and the Playstation 4.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

Leave a comment

Heads-up, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) players. The PES game you’re playing on your phone is going to get a major upgrade.

For starters, the visuals will get a major overhaul and will be using Unreal Engine 4 – the same graphics engine used in triple A games for consoles and PCs. With the use of Unreal Engine 4, PES will be inching closer to how it looks versus its console port. It

Next, over 3,000 new animations, improved player AI with every playstyle accounted for, and realistic ball movements has been optimized for fans to enjoy the ultimate soccer game.

And lastly, 10 new league licenses from Europe, South America and Asia have been added, including Japan’s J. League.

The best part? Despite these updates,  Winning Eleven 2019 is still free-to-play (with in-game purchases).

PES 2019 promises to give a life-like behavior of the beautiful game and should take competitive mobile sports gaming to new heights.

Screen Shot 2018 09 21 at 1.16.38 AM 640x327 - TGS 2018: PES mobile game to be updated to "Winning Eleven 2019" this December!

More about the game and new features, here.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Get the tech trends in Philippines pushed to you!