Coming soon: Sony Xperia XZ
Sony Xperia XZ: Does Sony’s latest flagship deliver on its promise?
Monch Lopez (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – We’ve seen the new Sony Xperia XZ up close at IFA 2016 in Berlin, where it was first revealed in September. Since then, the Android flagship has made its way to the US, Europe, India, Japan, and other parts of the world. And now, it’s making its way to the Philippines in time for the holidays.

The Xperia XZ, Sony says, combines the best technologies of Sony’s Xperia X and Z range of premium devices, particularly in the camera department, where it hopes to stand out. According to Sony, consumers want a great camera on their phone so the Japanese tech firm set out to deliver what they want by jamming as much tech as possible into a moderately sized and angular device that’s a joy to hold.

It’s also great that most of the exterior makes use of “alkaleido” metal, which gives the phone a shiny-but-not-too-shiny surface. In the hand, it feels a tad slippery, though, so we think it’s best to pair it with a durable aftermarket case.

There’s a fingerprint scanner embedded right into the physical home button on the righthand side of the body. The placement may be ideal for the majority because the button sits where the thumb of a right-handed person would naturally land. Sorry, left-handed folks. Mobile photographers, meanwhile, will appreciate the convenience of the hardware shutter key on the side.

And this being a proper Sony flagship model, the phone is IP68-rated, so prolonged exposure to liquids shouldn’t be a problem. But do keep in mind that Sony’s fine print says not to dunk the XZ in water and not to expose it to pool or salt water.

As for the engine room, expect to see a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor paired with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (for the version that will be sold in the Philippines). And while it’s unfortunate that Sony didn’t bump up the memory of its latest top-end handset – it hasn’t since the days of the Xperia Z2 – the XZ never felt sluggish while we went about poking the interface.

Sony has opted for the USB-C standard for the XZ, as well as a 2,900mAh battery with adaptive, fast-charging technology, which the company claims will prolong the life of the battery – and by extension, the phone.

Still, the biggest attraction by far is the 23-megapixel rear camera on the XZ. It comprises three key elements: an image sensor for capturing fast-moving subjects; lasers for measuring distance and improving autofocus speeds; and an RGBC sensor for true-to-life colors. The XZ is also capable of shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second, except without the benefits of optical image stabilization.

In our brief time with a test unit, we found the main camera to be a solid performer, though we prefer the color reproduction of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and iPhone 7 Plus. The 13-megapixel selfie camera takes great selfies and has a wide-angle lens to fit more people in one shot.

In the Philippines, the XZ will be offered in all three color options – blue, black and silver – for P37,990 ($790) and will be available starting Nov. 18.

As a quick aside: Don’t hold your breath for an Xperia X Compact release locally; Sony won’t be bringing it to the Philippines this year or anytime soon. We’re told the market goes for bigger phones, as opposed to smaller ones that cost just as much.

SONY XPERIA XZ
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