Smartphones Sony are developing according to their own laws and we are tired of thinking – why the company is so conservative in design, and the flagships receive, at first glance, a minimum of innovations. But if criticism does not bring results, then criticize bored. Therefore, we will say at once – XZ1 was not an ideal device, but in the review we will try to talk more about positive moments and differences from past models, rather than concentrating on “minuses”. Let’s get started.
Design and usability
If you look at XZ1 in a flash, you can say that the device is similar to all the flagships that Sony has been doing the last couple of years. However, by the standards of the company, changes the car and a small cart.
You should start with the materials of the case. We are waiting for traditional metal “back” and glass front panel. The colors of the case are new, and the processing of metal seems to be different from previous models.
The back is smooth matte and goes into rounded sides, and at the ends there are plastic “plugs”. The usual rectangular shape is preserved, but the device is quite convenient – it can not be said that the faces cut into the palm of their hand and this creates discomfort, the slipperiness of the hull is also on the average level.
The company as originally designed plastic inserts for the operation of wireless modules. There are small strips on the top right, left below and top on the sides, a solution “not like everyone else” and it does not attract unnecessary attention.
In terms of the location of the elements, there is also progress – the volume key is still small, but it is finally located above the power key. You do not need to arched your finger unnaturally, but the camera button remains in place.
The fingerprint scanner is combined with the power key and the entire structure is slightly recessed into the side face. Another solution from the series “not like everyone else.” To activate the scanner, you must first click on the button and in most cases recognition occurs at the same time.
I can not say that it is more convenient for the scanner to be under the screen or on the back, first of all because of the unusual nature of the solution, but to use it normally, plus there is no dilemma – how to unlock the smartphone when it is on the table, in your pocket or somehow. With this arrangement, the sensor is always available, you just need to save fingerprints of index and thumb.
I do not even want to scold the color of the case. Yes, let it be called Venus Pink, but in reality the shade is not as pink as in the photos – almost unisex. Pink Xiaomi Mi A1 is times pinker and less beautiful than Venus Pink in XZ1.
The only “but” by which it is impossible to pass is the complete absence of a sense of novelty. In the market there are more and more smartphones in the “frameless” design and if yesterday you “held the screen”, the frames of the XZ1 leave the impression that you are looking at the embrasure – by modern standards the size of the case does not correspond to the diagonal of the screen.
The device will be able to please the materials, there will be a feeling of a new smartphone, but there is no need to expect new experience of use, except in the speed of work.
The smartphone has an IPS screen with a diagonal of 5.2 inches with Full HD resolution. It is covered by a protective glass Gorilla Glass 5 with a good oleophobic coating. The brightness varies from 6 to 535 cd / m², the measured contrast is 1 to 994.
The past generations of Xperia flagships were quite “cold” screens, but in XZ1 the problem was finally decided – the temperature was normal. Like on many other smartphones, color rendering is customizable. There is a “Professional mode” with almost perfect calibration and calm colors, there is a “Standard” with a more saturated color rendition.
“Limit brightness mode” differs unnecessarily saturated picture, comparable to AMOLED. There is a manual adjustment of the white balance and the ability to increase the sensor sensitivity for glove control.
Profile “Marginal brightness mode”
Hardware platform and software
Most of Sony’s flagships use the most current at the time of the release of “iron” and XZ1 was no exception. Snapdragon 835, 4/64 GB of memory, a slot MicroSD, NFC, USB 3.1, Bluetooth c AptX and so on. Perhaps, the set is not the maximum, but it is quite sufficient.
Accordingly, the device works quickly, when using there is not even a minimal hint of performance problems. Its role in this is played both by the firm fast animation of the shell, and Android 8.0.
In fact, Sony was the first to market smartphones running Oreo – other flagships go to the market with Android 7.1 on board and at best will receive an update in the late 17 or early 18 years. The company’s branded shell is close to the stock Android, but the design is more like the previous versions of the system.
The OS version is up-to-date, but there were not any glitches – in our sample the SmartLock function did not work, at some point the weather widget disappeared from the desktop and it was not added back. Sony still restarts when you open the SIM tray. Holders are small, therefore, during the replacement of the SIM or memory card, the device can easily be reset two times – first when the tray is opened, and then also when closing.
One of the nice features of XZ1 – stereo speakers, as in the past flagship Xperia. Let them not too loud, but watching the video with them is still more pleasant. In terms of quality and volume, the device plays Pixel 2 XL and iPhone 8 Plus, although otherwise the device sounds no worse than competitors.
The sound in the headphones is perceived as high-quality, at the level of other flagships. But it should be taken into account that it seems that Sony uses a non-standard pinout of the connector, because my three-button headset did not work normally (keys and microphone). In terms of telephone conversations, there are no surprises – a conversational speaker with a good margin of loudness, there were no problems with hearing. Vibration is weak, it is not always felt.
The smartphone received a main camera at 19 megapixels (f / 2.0) and a front module with a resolution of 13 megapixels (f / 2.0). Both sensors are equipped with electronic stabilization. Probably, it is worth starting with a description of the unique chips of cameras.
The company used a special sensor with built-in memory, which allows you to shoot video at a frame rate of 960fps. It sounds cool – none of the competitors did not even dream about it, even the majority of professional cameras can not shoot at this frame rate. Official videos on the topic also look impressive.
In practice, everything is not so simple. You can only take a constant shot at 120 fps (HD), and to get 960fps you use a separate mode – the device shoots HD-video and at the right time you have to press the dedicated “slowdown” button, in the general video series is built somewhere half a second slow motion. If you have guessed the moment of pressing – you will get an interesting result. Do not guess – try again.
With repetitive actions, this effect is quite easy to get, but it’s difficult to get into the moment of jumping, hitting, falling or something else.
Another unique feature of the model is the application for 3D scanning. It allows you to create a model of the face, head or arbitrary object, print the model on the printer or send it to one of the printing services.
With the shooting under natural light, the device does a good job, but the frames made even in well-lit rooms may already have questions about the accuracy of color reproduction, focusing.
The built-in battery Xperia XZ1 has a small capacity – only 2700 mAh. Nevertheless, he has no obvious problems with autonomy. In my case, the smartphone worked an average day, showing 6-7 hours of the active screen.