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Hands-on: Sony Xperia XZ Premium at MWC 2017

By Patrick Alcantara & Liu Hongzuo - 28 Feb 2017

Hands-on: Sony Xperia XZ Premium at MWC 2017 - Page 1

We've had the opportunity to try out the Sony Xperia XZ Premium at MWC 2017, which led to some insights in the new features and hardware that were covered in our earlier piece here.

Heavy-hitting hardware

In a nutshell, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is an exciting reveal as it's one of the first phones to carry the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. Previously, it was believed that Samsung hoarded the Snapdragon 835 chips for their next flagship phone, yet it was Sony (out of all possible smartphone makers) to be the next in line with this SoC that's capable of 1Gbps downlink speeds.

Besides the timely performance advantage, the Xperia XZ Premium packs two more highlights. First, it's the 4K HDR display at 2160 x 3840 pixels resolution (801ppi). According to Sony, the technology was adopted from their Bravia television sets, but it's modified to accommodate the mobile platform. Sony Mobile is working with Amazon Prime Video to bring compatible content to the device. To ensure that Amazon's 4K HDR content reproduction and delivery would be seamless, Sony engineers went to Seattle to work with Amazon, on-site.

The other highlight is the revamped camera system, which now features Motion Eye, a super slow-motion video capture compromises of footage shot at 960 FPS at 720p resolution. We will deconstruct this after we touch on the phone's aesthetic.

Users who are familiar with the chrome-colored Xperia Z5 Premium would find the new Xperia XZ Premium phones familiar. This 2017 flagship is available in Luminous Chrome and Deepsea Black options. The metallic Chrome variant felt expensive and foreboding, while the Deepsea Black was elegant yet distant. The enigmatic appeal of the phone was undermined by how easily and quickly it greases up from fingerprints.

The 5.5-inch device measures 156 x 77 x 7.9mm, with the fingerprint sensor built into its power button (like its predecessors). However, the similarities stop there, as Sony compared the new phone's performance and capabilities against the 2016 flagship, Xperia XZ, instead. For instance, water-resistance is rated at IP65/68, and that's identical to the Xperia XZ's rating (the rating's clarification can be found in the previous flagship's review article).

Unfortunately, only the single-SIM variant was available at the show floor.

According to Sony, the Xperia XZ Premium phones coming to Singapore will be the dual-SIM variants in 4G/3G configuration. You can forgo having a second SIM for a MicroSD card, even though the phone already comes with UFS 3.0 internal storage rated at 64GB. The phone uses a USB Type-C socket configured with USB Gen 3.1 transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps. It will also have 4GB RAM.

The next page talks about the Xperia XZ Premium's camera prowess.