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The fact that Sony has struggled with its smartphone business is an open secret. Sony has always made smartphones with strong cameras, unique industrial designs, and vivid displays – but success, especially when it comes to sales, has always eluded them. Here between the Sony Xperia XZ1 – their most successful smartphone till date. With the XZ1, not only has Sony delivered what appears to be a high-power phone, but the company has also set for once the reasonable and realistic price.
For $700 (250,000 Naira) there is a lot to offer here – a stellar camera with astute idle and predictive capture hints, the latest version of Android out of the box, powerful specs, IP68 dust and water resistance, Bluetooth 5.0 and even 3D image scanning. The list of features is incredibly complete.
Xperia XZ1 Features
Xperia XZ1: Slender design
What is missing? A design without glasses. Yes, the Sony Xperia XZ1 still has large top and bottom glasses that just look a little dated. I would not have bothered the glasses a lot if the front stereo speakers were worth the sacrifice – but they are not. They are crisp and clear but are just not strong enough. The Pixel 2 in comparison has much better stereo speakers – louder and warmer. Even the only speaker on the Nokia 8 is stronger.
The fingerprint sensor is also not found on the front fascia, but on the power button mounted on the side. The sensor itself is a bit erratic – it’s pretty fast when it works, but many times I ended up having to try a second time or reposition my finger.
Passing bezels, the design is not bad in itself. In fact, it is the most refined iteration of the Sony design introduced with the Xperia Z in 2013. The old three-piece construction found on the Xperia XZ and XZs has been replaced by a new two-piece unibody metal configuration on the XZ1 – and it looks and feels very premium.
The Xperia XZ1 also feels incredibly lightweight and compact – so the first time I picked it up, I seriously doubted the build quality of the phone. However, Sony has to be hired for the construction of an extremely slim and slender phone that feels remarkably solid in hand. Regarding build quality, there is not much to blame the XZ1 – it is almost as sturdy as the Nokia 6 tank-shaped. And it’s a great eulogy.
The Xperia XZ1 impresses with its matte design, elegant matte back, subtle and sleek antenna lines that curve on the sides of the phones, curved edges that make it easy to touch, and a deliciously-worked power button. As a fingerprint sensor, all breathe the class. We can not deny the fact that the XZ1 looks chic, understated and elegant. If only the glasses had a light diet and the design was a bit new.
A living display without a few pixels
The 5.2-inch LCD on board the Xperia XZ1 is exceptionally punchy and vivid. Sony’s proprietary technologies such as X-reality unit and TRILUMINIOUS seem to be doing their behind-the-scenes work. The screen is bright enough to be used comfortably in the sunlight and dim enough to use a breeze at night.
Where the device weakens a bit is when it comes to resolution – Full HD just does not seem to cut it in today’s QuadHD world. Especially when the Nokia 8 brings with it a dense Quad HD screen at only Rs 36,999. The display of the XZ1 is quite neat for everyday use, but the extra pixels are missed while watching the media content on Netflix or Prime Video.
The screen also comes with HDR support and 138 percent sRGB coverage and is covered by Gorilla Glass 5 for protection against scratches and nicks. A screen protector is still recommended though – my examination unit has developed two or three light scratches and a broad gauge with a few weeks of nominal to reasonably heavy use.
Breezy performance, miserable battery life
The Xperia XZ1 is designed to be a flagship product of 2017 and comes with the power plant specifications associated with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, Adreno 540 GPU, 4GB RAM and 64GB fast UFS internal storage. Be extended via a microSD card.
All this is powered by a relatively small 2,700mAh battery which is the most significant Achilles heel of the smartphone. Smart technologies such as Quick Charge 3.0 and Qnovo Adaptive are not enough to compensate for the poor battery life. Expect the XZ1 to drop the ghost around 7 pm-8pm at night, even with minimal use.
On an absolute basis.Even with light to moderate use, the smartphone has never delivered more than one day of battery life during my three weeks of use. Use the phone very strongly, and you will find yourself looking for a charger in the evening. With the competition offering more than a day of battery life quickly, the XZ1 does not meet the expectations of this department.
The best thing about the XZ1 is its camera – the 19MP “Motion Eye” sensor to be precise. Sony has refined the configuration we have seen on the Xperia XZ and Xperia XZ Premium, and the result is simply excellent. Yes, the ability to shoot at 960 fps in a smartphone is incredibly cool and a remarkable achievement in engineering, but that’s not what makes this camera great.
It’s also not the sophisticated predictive motion capture that begins to stamp images as soon as the phone has a motion detector. What makes the XZ1’s primary camera so stellar is simply the fact that it shoots high-quality images in almost any lighting condition.
Yes, autofocus is a bit wobbly in low light, and Sony’s auto mode still produces a little too soft images sometimes, but overall, the XZ1 has the best rear camera found on a Sony smartphone to date. The photos have a vast dynamic range, bright colors, and impressive details. In case of low light, the amount of light that the smartphone manages to attract is commendable, even if the noise does not add to it.
During my three weeks of use, the Xperia XZ1’s 13MP wide-angle front-end sensor came to the rescue many times when the world’s iPhones simply failed to clutter everyone in one go. The quality itself is quite good although the images tend to be sometimes too saturated.
Should you buy the Xperia XZ1?
Well, we can not deny the fact that the Xperia XZ1 is the best smartphone that Sony has made to date. It may not have a crazy 4K screen like the Xperia XZ Premium, but it comes with fast, fluid software, sleek, slim design, stellar cameras, and a decent, if not a first-class screen. The fact that its price is reasonable and realistic at Rs 45,000 helps the case of phones.
- Stellar camera
- Slender design
- Android 8.0 Oreo
- Good performance
- Poor battery life
- Antenna problems
- Bezel waste of space
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