Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium – The 4K HDR Phone

The Good: Super 4K HDR display, great lowlight videos, good camera, decent battery life | The Bad: Bulky and hard to grip, fingerprint sensor placement not practical, expensive

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium - The 4K HDR Phone

Having launched its Xperia XZ Premium last year as a sort of test bed for several new technologies, including that super slow motion camera and a 4K HDR display, this year, in another first, Sony is bringing a dual-camera array to its latest premium flagship – the Xperia XZ2 Premium.

From a specs perspective, the phone is not much different from the other flagship devices released in 2018, including Sony’s own Xperia XZ2 series, launched recently.

So, what is it that makes it a $1,000 smartphone?

Let’s find out!

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa-core processor, 64GB of Universal Flash Storage with 6GB of RAM, microSD card support, Dual SIM and a 3,540mAh battery make up the internal specs of the new XZ2 Premium, which is almost as good as it gets.

While its predecessor from last year was rather big and blocky, this year’s Premium flagship adopts the new Ambient Flow design language that Sony introduced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), earlier this year.

While Sony is using the new design feature on its entire XZ2 family, it has modified it, somewhat, to complement the Xperia XZ2 Premium’s unique specs.

While the curved glass back is the same we saw on the XZ2 earlier this year, the dual-camera module, this time around, makes it come away looking a little bit less refined, but that’s purely subjective.

The bulging glass-back design has an inherent problem, though; it makes the phone quite a slippery affair to handle, as even the slightest of movement or vibration causes it to slip off any surface it’s placed on.

It’s pretty slippery in the hand, too, making it a little difficult to grip, with the substantial bulk of the phone only compounding the problem.

One thing’s for sure, though; while you can choose to ignore the unimpressive aesthetics of the phone in exchange for all the other goodness it has to offer, it will take a lot to look the other way when it comes to the safety of a $1,000 device – especially, when there are several Android devices out there that can give you the same specs and features – at a lower price, too – albeit not the mind-blowing 4K HDR video quality the` latest Sony flagship boasts.

As mentioned earlier, the phone is chunkier and weightier than its non-premium version, the Xperia XZ2.

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Weighing in at 235g, this is the heaviest flagship smartphone we’ve seen from any manufacturer in recent memory, making it rather awkward to carry in your pocket.

Sony has persisted with the same set of buttons on the right side of the device, including a power button, a volume rocker, and a dedicated camera shutter button, with a USB Type C port on the bottom.

While the side bezels are nice and thin, the top and bottom ones make for rather large borders for the display panel, which is mainly due the 16:9 aspect ratio of the 5.8-inch 4K screen on the Xperia XZ2 Premium; unlike the taller narrower 18:9 aspect ratio panels the rest of the XZ2 family sports.

Many may question the Japanese electronic giant’s wisdom for this dated screen, when almost all of the 2018 phones are 18:9 – even taller in some cases – not to mention the almost non-existent bezels.

The logic behind the strange decision was, probably, to offer a phone with a superior cinematic experience – even if it called for compromises on the current smartphone trends.

When you consider the fact that 18:9 aspect ratio screens, typically have to cut off content in order to provide full-screen viewing or put black bars on the sides, the dated screen might start making a little more sense to you.

Another justification for those big bezels on the top and bottom is the phone’s front-facing stereo setup, which might be the best yet the company has put on a smartphone.

There is no denying the fact that the Xperia XZ2 Premium is all about 4K HDR, as is evident from its awesome video quality – from color accuracy to details in the imagery that other screens are not equipped to show.

Speaking of audio, the 3.5mm headphone jack is still missing from the phone, which is kind of disappointing, considering the phone’s brilliant sound quality and, of course, it’s $1,000 price point.

However, Sony is, somewhat, making up for this by including the $279 Xperia ear duo earbuds in the box at no additional cost, unless the $1,000 price tag on the phone includes the cost of this Sony generosity.

To sum it up, the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium is not too different from its cheaper cousin, the XZ2, with that same blistering fast performance, although multi-tasking on the Premium version is noticeably better.

The software features also remain unchanged, with the phone still running Android 8.0 Oreo, rather than an 8.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium specs

  • Body: Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 5 back and front; IP65/68; 158 x 80 x 11.9mm, 236g; Chrome Black and Chrome Silver color schemes.
  • Screen: 5.8-inch IPS LCD, 16:9, 3840x2160px,765ppi, HDR.
  • Rear Dual– Camera: Primary 19MP, 1/2.3″ sensor, 1,22µm pixel size; f/1.8 aperture, 25mm equivalent lens | Secondary 12MP black &white, 1/2.3″ sensor, 1.55µm pixel size; f/1.6 aperture lens
  • Video Recording: 4K video recording @30fps, HDR video up to 4K, 1080p @60fps, 1080p@960fps, Steady Shot image stabilization; stereo audio recording; predictive capture; ISO up to 12,800 for video
  • Front Camera: 13MP, 1/3.06″ sensor; f/1.8 aperture, 22mm equivalent lens; 1080p video
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Kryo 385 (8x custom Cortex-A75 @ up to 2.8GHz), Adreno 630GPU
  • Memory: 6GB RAM, 64GB UFS + microSD (up to 400GB)
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Battery: 3540mAh; Quick Charge 3.0, USB Power Delivery, Wireless Charge (QI); Qnovo adaptive charging
  • Audio: Dynamic vibration system, High-res audio, DSEE HX, LDAC, Stereo speakers with S-Force surround, aptX HD audio
  • Misc: Fingerprint sensor on the back, 3D creator scan with back and front cameras, SDR to HDR video upconversion

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