There are phones that shine.
There are phones that shine more.
There are phones that shine a lot.
And then there is the Xperia XZ Premium.
Blame it on the “timeless design with reflective surface” (we are quoting the press release, folks) if you wish, but there’s no getting away from Sony’s latest flagship without a slightly glazed look in your eyes. For, this phone shines (in a manner reminiscent of the back of the early iPod Touch, only more so). With a vengeance. Sony calls this a “glass loop surface” with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the back and the front. And well, let us tell you something – the Xperia XZ Premium does look like a sheet of mirror with a display in front and a camera behind. In fact, the first thing you will see on the phone is likely to be yourself – being reflected on that surface!
Whatever you accuse Sony of (and the accusations will come thick and fast the moment its price tag of Rs 61,990 is mentioned, we warn you), you cannot accuse the company of getting the name of this phone wrong. The latest Sony flagship does not whisper “Premium” subtly in your ear – it flashes it right in your face. So much so that you even forget those rather large bezels – so 2012 – around the display, which make the phone rather large (156 mm long is much more than the S8 which has a larger display) and the rather hefty 195 grams weight. The mirror finish, the chamfered finishes at the top and the base (the sides are rounded) – they all pretty much scream “premium.”
Actually, so does the hardware – the phone comes with a 5.5-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, giving it a pixel density of a staggering 807 dpi, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage (expandable to 256 GB using a memory card), a 19.0-megapixel rear camera (with support for 960 fps super slow motion video), a 13.0-megapixel front facing camera, 3230 mAh battery with support for QuickCharge 3.0, 4G, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi…oh and one more thing – the device is the first in India to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, which is pretty much the cat’s whiskers when it comes to flagships these days. All this in that shiny frame that is water and dust resistant and is one of the few to sport a fingerprint scanner on the side (we love that in the Nextbit Robin and the Xperia flagships). Running on top of this is Android 7.1.
But if its specs and frame are spectacular, the Xperia XZ might just find itself being pushed into a corner by its (oh, the irony) premium price tag. At Rs 61,990, it is more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Google Pixel, the LG G6 and pretty much most of the Android brigade (including by all accounts the phone everyone is looking out for right now – the OnePlus 5). Yes, it brings a very powerful camera with a number of tricks, the highest resolution display in tech town, allied with the most powerful processor around, but then there are some who will look at the slightly boxy design and hefty price tag as yet another blast from Sony’s golden past which does not fit into the modern era.
Truth be told, we cannot help but feel attracted to the Xperia XZ Premium. The phone is an out and out head turner, and that hardware is superb. Yes, some of the design elements seem a little dated – we would have preferred a more compact and lighter device – but looking at its spec sheet and the pricing of some of its competitors, the Xperia XZ Premium does not seem as extravagant an offering as some would have us believe. Yes, those seeking “value for money” might find it too expensive but then that is an accusation that has been leveled at the likes of the Galaxy S8, the Pixel and of course, the iPhone 7. Those worthies were largely able to tide over it on dint of a blend of design and performance. Can the Xperia XZ Premium do so as well? Stay tuned for our review.