Sony took to the Mobile World Congress 2017 to unveil its new Xperia XZ Premium and it might well be the 4K powerhouse the smartphone world needed.
The company may not have boasted much innovation with its 2016 lineup of smartphones, but the latest Sony Xperia XZ Premium more than makes up for it, scoring a number of impressive firsts to shake up the scene.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium: 4K HDR Smartphone
The new Sony Xperia XZ Premium is the world's first smartphone to boast a 4K HDR display, which means a 3,840 x 2,160 High Dynamic Range resolution. 4K HDR is the hottest combination for TVs, and Sony managed to pack the technology into the 5.5-inch display of a mobile device, which is quite impressive.
Sony had already launched a 4K smartphone back in 2015 when it introduced the Xperia Z5 Premium, but it still displayed most content in 1080p and many felt that it failed to live up to the hype. With the new Xperia XZ Premium, however, Sony has teamed up with Amazon for 4K HDR content from Amazon Prime Video and the HDR detail works wonders for color reproduction. Compared to the Xperia Z5 Premium, the Xperia XZ Premium delivers warmer and more natural colors, more faithful to reality.
Under The Hood
Under the hood, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium packs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 top-of-the-line processor backed by 4 GB of RAM, but with a caveat. While it's true that the Xperia XZ Premium packs the latest and greatest SoC while others are still relying on the older Snapdragon 820 or 821 chips, the new Sony flagship won't hit the market until late spring. This means that if Samsung steps up its game, it could beat Sony to the punch and bring its Snapdragon 835-powered Galaxy S8 flagship to market first.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Camera
With the new Xperia XZ Premium, Sony introduces a new camera system called Motion Eye, which essentially integrates fast memory straight into the camera stack. This marks another first for smartphones, as the Motion Eye camera allows the Xperia XZ Premium to capture super-slow motion video at 720p with 960 frames per second.
The embedded memory not only allows the camera to capture details that happen in the blink of an eye, but it also enables the handset to start buffering shots as soon as there's the slightest motion in the frame. This should translate to virtually no lag upon pressing the camera button, as the camera would just capture the image it was already buffering.
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium also borrows the triple-sensor autofocus system of the Xperia XZ, sporting laser AF, an updated Exmor RS image sensor and an RGBC infrared sensor to adjust the white balance on the spot. The upgraded image sensor now features 19 percent larger pixels, but it also reduces the resolution from 23 megapixels to 19 megapixels. Sony also says that it upgraded the Bionz image processing engine to enhance motion detection and noise reduction.
Sony touts that its Xperia XZ Premium is its most ground-breaking smartphone to date, "with a camera so advanced that it captures motion that the human eye can't see."
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Design
When it comes to design, the Xperia XZ Premium doesn't stray from the Xperia form factor and it looks and feels stylish, but with a potential catch. Sony offers the device in Luminous Chrome and Deepsea Black avatars, both of which are extremely glossy and look like a huge fingerprint magnet.
Otherwise, the smartphone looks stylish with its metal antennas at the top and bottom and Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both the front and rear covers. That said, some might have preferred a metal rear casing rather than glass, but alas.
Highlight features of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium include IP65 and IP68 rating for high water resistance, microSD support for additional storage, a fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button on the side, and a 3,230 mAh battery to keep it all up and running.
The main selling points of the smartphone, however, lie in the display, processor and camera departments. The specs spell a winning combo for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, but it remains to be seen whether the pricing makes it or breaks it. Sony has yet to announce any pricing details for the handset, but we'll keep you updated as soon as we learn more.
In the meantime, check out the videos below or head over to Sony's blog to learn more about its MWC 2017 announcements.