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Sony Xperia XZs: One for the creators – The Unbiased Review

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Sony Corporation is known for many things and one of them is Imaging. At Sony, imaging is in its DNA! Be it the word Handycam which is synonymous to camcorders or the following image terminologies that Sony has built over the years:

The list is practically endless but if you are keen or knowing more about Sony trademarks then you can read about them here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sony_trademarks

No wonder, almost 50% smartphone makers in the world use a Sony Image sensor on their smartphones. Be it the Apple iPhone’s or the Samsung Galaxy S flagship series they all rely on the Sony Exmor sensors. Here is a quick look on some of the Sony Image sensors that are being used by smartphone makers –

Smartphones with IMX230 Exmor RS lens modelSmartphones with IMX230 Exmor RS lens model

Smartphones with IMX258 lens model Smartphones with IMX258 lens model

Smartphones with IMX386 lens model

And, that is the reason that Sony has been able to launch many world’s first imaging technologies. Including the most recent, Xperia XZs which can capture at 960 frames per second Super slow motion videos. Being the leaders of smartphone imaging they have an upper hand and the right to reserve some level of their sensor technology exclusively for us in their own cameras. And the Xperia XZ Premium and XZs are living proof of that.

I’ve been using the Sony Xperia XZs for almost a month now and all I can say is it’s a blessing for content creators like me. The XZs offers the following benefits over any other smartphone in the world –

  • 1/ 2.3” Exmor RS™ World’s first mobile memory stacked sensor
  • 960 fps Super slow motion video recording
  • Pixel Pitch 1.22μm
  • 25 mm wide Sony’s award-winning G Lens F2.0
  • Predictive Capture
  • Triple image sensing technology
  • 19MP Motion Eye™ camera
  • Predictive Hybrid Autofocus
  • Exmor™ RS sensor
  • SteadyShot™ with 5-axis image stabilisation
  • Anti-distortion shutter
  • BIONZ™ for mobile image-processing engine
  • 8x Digital Zoom
  • Low-light photo: ISO12800 /4000 (Video)

Here is a quick look at what I’m talking about –

And that’s just its camera capabilities, here is the full spec sheet for your reference –

GENERAL
Release date February 2017
Form factor Touchscreen
Dimensions (mm) 146.00 x 72.00 x 8.10
Weight (g) 161.00
Battery capacity (mAh) 2900
Removable battery No
Colours Ice Blue, Silver, Black
SAR value NA
DISPLAY
Screen size (inches) 5.20
Touchscreen Yes
Resolution 1080×1920 pixels
HARDWARE
Processor 1.6GHz quad-core
Processor make Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM 4GB
Internal storage 64GB
Expandable storage Yes
Expandable storage type microSD
Expandable storage up to (GB) 256
CAMERA
Rear camera 19-megapixel
Flash Yes
Front camera 13-megapixel
SOFTWARE
Operating System Android 7.1.1
Skin Yes
CONNECTIVITY
Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi standards supported 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
GPS Yes
Bluetooth Yes, v 4.20
NFC Yes
Infrared No
USB OTG Yes
Headphones 3.5mm
FM No
Number of SIMs 2
SIM 1
SIM Type Nano-SIM
GSM/CDMA GSM
3G Yes
4G/ LTE Yes
Supports 4G in India (Band 40) Yes
SIM 2
SIM Type Nano-SIM
GSM/CDMA GSM
3G Yes
4G/ LTE Yes
Supports 4G in India (Band 40) Yes
SENSORS
Compass/ Magnetometer Yes
Proximity sensor Yes
Accelerometer Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes
Gyroscope Yes
Barometer No
Temperature sensor No

To give you more insight on what content creators like me can do on the Xperia XZs, here is a sample video –

Now that we have reviewed the camera bit of the device first, let’s check out other things –

IN THE BOX

In the box, you get the

  • Sony Xperia XZs Mobile
  • USB Type-C cable
  • 3.5mm Earphones
  • Power Adapter
  • Warranty and User Manual
  • SIM Ejector Pin

SONY XPERIA XZs

DESIGN AND DISPLAY

  • ALKALEIDO™ material back
  • IP65/68 rated
  • 5.2″ 1080p LCD Display with 424 PPI
  • TRILUMINOS and X-Reality
  • Dynamic Contrast Enhancer

The design of Xperia XZs follows the same design principles that Sony has been following since the Z1, though they made a few tweaks in the last generation and called it the Loop design. Though the loop design definitely makes it one of the most handy flagship but it does look archaic in 2017. Especially, when you place it next to the LG G6 or the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Like its predecessors, the XZs too comes with a glass up front, a metal plate with exclusive ALKALEIDO™ material on the back and plastic on the sides. The power button with an integrated fingerprint scanner, volume rocker, and a dedicated shutter camera shutter button are all found on the right side, on the left is the SIM tray with MicroSD card slot. The headphone jack and USB Type-C port are at the top and bottom respectively.

The XZs is IP65/68 rated construction means that certain amount of rain and dust won’t damage your phone.

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Moving on the Display of the device, Sony smartphones have always had the best of display technology. Be it the World’s first smartphone with 4K Display or the TRILUMINOS tech from its TV’s. On the XZs, you get a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display and 1080P resolution with X-Reality that reproduces missing pixels and enhances colour and texture, so even low-quality videos look rich and vibrant.

It also offers Dynamic Contrast that automatically adjusts contrast settings to your environment, so colours are always clear and defined.

Thanks to all the proprietary engineering, the screen is vibrant and sharp, has excellent viewing angles, colour reproduction is good and isn’t too oversaturated.

HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • Adreno 530 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB Internal Storage
  • Expandable storage up to 256GB
  • 2,900 mAh battery with Smart Stamina (supports fast charging)

A flagship in 2017 with not the latest and fastest chipset puts it under pressure compared to the likes of Galaxy S8 and soon to be launched smartphones like OnePlus 5, Moto Z (2017) etc. It’s not that Snapdragon 820 is less capable or falters under pressure but it’s a year behind at the launch. The phone being a successor of XZ offers the same specs, the only bump being the RAM from 3GB to 4GB. Hence, it doesn’t really feel like a lot better, the experience does get smoother due to the extra RAM but not something you will notice easily.

I wish Sony had added more Battery, RAM and the latest processor to make it a worthy upgrade from XZ. On its own, the phone performs great in every aspect be it opening apps, browsing, or playing games, and multi-tasking and having more apps running.

Sony-Xperia-XZs battery

Here are the various Benchmark Test results –

Sony XZs Benchmark Tests

SOFTWARE

  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • Sony’s UI on top

The biggest USP of this device is that it has Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box. Though the device has Sony’s homegrown UI overlay, it’s an AOSP device so you can install stock Android on it.

Here is the link for that – https://developer.sonymobile.com/open-devices/list-of-devices-and-resources/

Sony has a very unique and easy user interface, and it follows in XZs. Sony features custom app for Music player, Photo Gallery app, a built-in theme engine, custom launcher, wallpapers, and Settings menu. You also get Google Assistant out of the box.

Sony-Xperia-XZs-UI Sony-Xperia-XZs multitasking Sony-Xperia-XZs multitasking

Though the UI is clean and fast but bloatware is not welcome. Why 3rd party apps like Amazon Shopping and AVG? Why, Sony?

CAMERA

  • 19 MP Motion Eye camera with LED flash
  • Supports slo-mo video recording up to 960fps
  • 16MP selfie camera with LED and screen flash
  • SteadyShot™ with 5-axis image stabilisation

We did elaborate about the camera in the beginning of this review. But here are some sample photos to showcase it –

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

Sony Xperia XZs Camera Samples

THE UNBIASED VERDICT

I know a lot of Sony Xperia smartphone users who will only buy a Sony device. In my own family, one of my cousins has bought only Sony smartphones from the time of Sony Ericson T68. I’m sure most of you won’t even remember that device, but it was one of the first devices to get a modular camera accessory called CommuniCam.

Sony Ericsson T68 with CommuniCam
And, now he is waiting for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium to launch in India next month. This is the kind of followership Sony has for its devices. Similarly, the XZs has its own niche and USP being the only smartphone in the world that can capture slow motion videos as 960fps.

Pros:

  • 960 fps slow motion video
  • Solid build quality
  • Comfortable in-hand feel
  • Clean UI with Android Nougat
  • Hi-Res audio support
  • Vibrant display

Cons:

  • Not the latest chipset on a flagship device
  • Old archaic design, 2017 is about bezel-less displays

If you own its predecessor the Xperia XZ then you can skip the XZs unless and until you need to capture slo-mo videos and wait for the upcoming XZ Premium. At around this price(50K), you can consider the following devices –

SONY XPERIA XZs

So that was our in-depth look at the Sony Xperia XZs! What are your thoughts about the device or this review? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet to us @theunbiasedblog

Sony Xperia XZs: One for the creators - The Unbiased Review

  • DESIGN AND DISPLAY 8
  • HARDWARE 8
  • SOFTWARE 8.5
  • CAMERA 9
  • PERFORMANCE 8
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0
    Your Rating:
Summary

I've been using the Sony Xperia XZs for almost a month now and all I can say is it's a blessing for content creators like me.

8.3 Creators Go Get It!

Social Media Evangelist | Gadget Guru | Model | Photographer | Ex- BlackBerry Boy – Now iOS | WP8 | Droid. Founder and Chief at ‘The Unbiased Blog’. I breathe in WiFi zone, prefer LTE over LIT. Ex MSFT, MCP, A+ and coder. I like news to be served to me on twitter.

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