Sony Xperia XZ Premium review: A premium device that puts Sony back in the game

 
Steve Hogarty
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Sony Xperia XZ Premium
5.0

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium looks like the futuristic phone your younger self imagined you’d be using in the year 2017. It’s huge and silver (well, at least the silver version is) and resembles something an alien might insert into a glowing slot to power up his or her spaceship.

While other phones try to hide theirs, it unashamedly flaunts its two thick bezels above and below the screen. It’s curved and neatly symmetrical on both sides, but has sharp, uncompromising edges on its flattened top and bottom that scream “very serious business”. You can also use the back of it to apply lipstick and fix your hair.

The XZ Premium is Sony’s top-of-the-line, expensive super-phone for Very Discerning People. At £649 it’s competing against high-end champions like Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the iPhone 7 and Google’s Pixel, though it’s got the specs to match the asking price – the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and the most up to date version of Android means its just as fast and responsive as an S8.

Unique to the Xperia XZ Premium is the ultra high-definition 4K HDR screen, the highest resolution found on any phone. It’s a bonkers display that packs in an almost unnecessary level of detail for a 5.5-inch screen (802 pixels per inch versus Apple’s 401 and Samsung's 570) though you’ll struggle to find much to actually do with it right now. Ultra HD video content is still thin on the ground. And quite why you’d choose to watch super high-resolution video in the palm of your hand rather than on a television is a mystery.

There’s a clever battery manager built-in to stretch the juice out as long as possible in circumstances when you’re far from a socket, or absolutely committed to looking at Kevin Spacey’s face in incredible detail for hours on end

The 19MP camera is another record breaker, with a super slow motion mode capable of filming at 960 frames per second. It’s a technological marvel and an astonishing feat of engineering, though something of a novelty once you get it home. It’s the kind of feature that at first appears useful but soon makes you realise how rarely you do anything remotely worth committing to film – much less anything worth slowing down by a factor of 32.

The battery life is admirable for a phone with such an energy-sapping display, and a full charge will happily see you through to bedtime if you’re not caning House of Cards in 4K. In either case there’s a clever battery manager built-in to stretch the juice out as long as possible in circumstances when you’re far from a socket, or absolutely committed to looking at Kevin Spacey’s face in incredible detail for hours on end.

The stylish, mirror-slick Xperia XZ Premium exudes sophistication, and valiantly defies the homogeny of plain black-slab design. A premium device that puts Sony back in the game.

£649, sonymobile.com

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