Close your eyes and imagine a smartphone so advanced it captures movements faster than your brain can even process them. It can then play those movements back to you in slow motion at a world-first 960 frames per second. Now toss in unparalleled 4K HDR display, lightning fast download speeds, a slew of intelligent features and a sleek, sturdy “loop” design. Open your eyes…and behold the Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone.
The latest from Sony’s Xperia range is all about video and picture quality in every sense of the concept. Taking a few cues from their own Z5 Premium–which marked the world’s first 4K smartphone upon its debut in 2015–Sony’s new mobile device cranks up the innovation factor in true, stunning style. Indeed, it could be argued that entailed in Sony’s latest effort is a veritable obsession with sophisticated picture and video technology. It’s no wonder that the XZ Premium was honoured as “Best New Smartphone” at MWC 2017.
Sony was kind enough to lend us an Xperia XZ Premium smartphone and we took it for a spin at Sydney’s Luna Park. Needless to say, the gadget is everything Sony is claiming it to be. Let’s start with the tight and unified design itself. Available in colours like Chrome (via limited retailers) and Deep Sea Black, the phone touts a near monolithic presence and sees Sony expanding beautifully upon its previous aesthetic.
Thanks to the use of reinforced Corning Gorilla Glass 5 along with metal and plastic at the outer perimeter, the device is painstakingly durable, and both dust and water proof to the tune of IP-68. On the side panel is a home button that utilises fingerprint sensor technology of the utmost accuracy. Elsewhere on the sides are a 3.5mm audio jack, a camera shutter button, two SIM card slots and a micro-SD slot concealed by a protective flap. Charge the phone or transfer data via a USB Type-C port. Turn the phone around and a distinct mirrored effect greets you from the back. Sleek, indeed!
As mentioned, where the Xperia XZ Premium really takes off is in the image and video department. A 19MP high-resolution sensor ensures the image quality doesn’t waver in the face of low-light conditions. Meanwhile, advanced Motion Eye and Predictive Capture technology not only captures details at unprecedented speeds, but also automatically buffers moving images before you even press a button. Motion Eye is in fact so sophisticated it’s able to capture images the human eye can’t even see. To prove those images actually exist, one can employ Super slow motion video playback. It’s a world first at 960 frames per second, which also makes it four times slower than the competition. Another world first on the XZ Premium is 4K HDR 10-ready 5.5” display, the same kind of resolution you’ll find on a premium Sony Bravia TV. Pair that with a download speed of 1Gbps and your mobile movies have simply never looked better or streamed so seamlessly.
Given the XZ Premium’s emphasis on motion capture and pixel power we figured Sydney’s Luna Park was the perfect place to take it for a test drive (or walk, rather). After all, the park is quite simply a non-stop hub of activity and motion. As men on a mission, we took pictures and videos of people whipping around on the various rides. We recorded the fire twirlers and jugglers. We recorded the line for the bathroom. That last one didn’t make the final cut for obvious reasons, but nevertheless we caught it all.
Overall, the smartphone’s picture and video playback was simply remarkable even at normal speeds. There was basically no visual distortion and the resolution was beyond reproach. Furthermore, image quality was superb even in poorly lit conditions. We tested out the Super slow motion feature and our jaws dropped and essentially stayed there. You could make out every spare kinetic detail with exceptional clarity. Everything from the expressions on people’s faces as they soared through the air on rides like the Whirly Wheel, to the flexing of arm muscles as a juggler added yet one more bowling pin to his substantial load, was presented with immaculate clarity and precision.
Rounding out the Sony Xperia XZ Premium’s many charms are things like rapid file transfer speeds by way of a USB 3.1 connection, high-res audio playback and compatibility with peripheral devices like PS4. In other words: yeah, Sony’s new phone has pretty much everything covered. It’s durable, expedient, optimal and innovative. To call it a winner is basically an understatement. For its pixel power and motion capture ability alone, the Xperia XZ Premium is an absolute champion.