Sony Xperia™ XZ Premium and XZ1 Premium’s camera, which can record videos at up to 960 fps that means four times as slow as the iPhone’s 240 fps. I really mesmerized by the videos, but they still didn’t give explanation for the whooping $800 that Sony is charging for that handset. So when I heard that the company is about to launch the same camera features at more-affordable Xperia XZ1, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, Sony revealed the XZ1’s price to be $700, most of that interest evaporated.
Which means you’ll only saving $100 with the XZ1, which has 5.2-inch screen only which is smaller than XZ Premium’s 5.5-inch panel. To be frank, the XZ1 is impressive in its own right. Like the Premium, XZ1 used the same display technology in its Bravia TVs. While the Premium goes up to 4K, the XZ1 sports a full HD. Both Sony Xperia’s support HDR content, and will play HDR video on Netflix and Amazon.
I was more hooked on the XZ1’s camera, though. It comes up with the latest generation of Sony’s “Motion Eye” camera technology, which reserves a 1GB memory-stacked camera that the company says is five times faster than rival smartphones at processing images. That means you can shoot more photos in rapid series before running into delay. In addition, the same 960 fps video-recording capability in Sony Xperia™ XZ Premium, the XZ1 can also creates a realistic 3D scans of objects in less than a minute.
It’s all done through a new 3D Creator tool that uses Sony’s algorithms to capture high-quality scan system. You can pick from four modes to create 3D picture: Head, Face, Food and Freeform. It has onscreen instructions that tell you to move around your focused object while aiming the phone at their head, and once you’ve collected information, the phone will start combine the scan together. The process took just about a minute, and the ensuing 3D image was surprisingly smooth and detailed, considering it had been created with a 19-megapixel Smartphone camera.
You can also share these scans with your friends on messenger apps as 3D stickers, use them as avatars, animated wallpaper or send them to 3D-printers. Sony is also about to partnerships with popular 3D-printing services to make that process more efficient, but for now you’ll likely have to export the file and bring it to a printer yourself.
Sony XZ1’s 3D-scanning feature is an amazing trick which is something that you are likely to use every day. You’ll experience a new Autofocus burst tool which is more valuable. It’s an improved version of Sony’s existing predictive hybrid autofocus, which is debuted in the Xperia X last year. In XZ1, pictures you shoot in burst mode at 10 fps should remain in focus, even at full 19-Mega pixel resolution.
When you’re framing up your photo with the XZ1, it will constantly detect smiles or sudden motion and save all those shots. After that, when you press the shutter button, the phone will capture the image at the moment you tap the screen, but also moments that it saved in the second before you hit the trigger. After that, it will show you up to four options, and you can pick your favourite from those options.
The aim of this feature is that making photo-worthy moments that pass you by as you are getting ready to take the shot. It’s a similar concept taken from the iPhone’s Live Photos, except Apple records a brief video and offers more frames for you to choose after taking the shot. Predictive motion or smile capture can help you save moments. Even, if you didn’t hit the button at the exact time mysterious smile or luckily coincidence happened. The trouble is, with the early XZ1 is unpredictable and hard to understand.
Speaking of pointless complication, the XZ1’s 960 fps slow-motion video recording is just as difficult to manage as on the XZ Premium. You’ll have to enable slow-mo mode, hit record, then press the trigger button to start recording. As you’re filming, then you have to tap a dedicated onscreen key to save the next three seconds in slow-mo. You can use this constantly while you’re recording, but you’ll have to be able to think likely when you want to slow down the clip as you’re shooting to get the exact video footage you want too. Which is usually only happens with planned or staged shoots.
The XZ1’s rear camera still takes snappy, vibrant pictures. Sony’s XZ1 13-MP front camera also takes spiky selfies, and Sony ultimately added display flash features that touch up your screen to brighten up portraits in the dark. That’s a nice addition, even if it arrives years after other smartphones.
One more feature that Sony has been delayed in implementing on the Xperia’s line is a fingerprint sensor, and the XZ1 also lacks one. You’ll still have to enter PIN or a swipe pattern to unlock your phone. The XZ1 will be the first Sony smartphone to have ships with latest Android 8.0 Oreo, though, so maybe that will cover up for the inconvenience of a missing fingerprint scanner.
The XZ1 built with same Snapdragon 835 processor as the Sony Xperia™ XZ Premium, so you can anticipate to top-of-the-line performance and VOLTE network where (or when) they’re available. The new handset has a smaller 2,700mAh battery which is smaller than the XZ Premium’s 3,230mAh phone. The new XZ1 is designed IP68 for water, scratch-resistance, and sport distinctive a boxy all-metal design.
If you want to experience new Xperia but prefer either a smaller or larger screen, Sony also unveiled the XZ1 Compact and XA1 Plus. It is less-premium version of the XZ1 that will cost $600 when it arrives in October. It has HDR 4.6-inch display, which is tiny as today’s Smartphone’s standards. Some people appreciate the smaller size, but its 720p resolution is ridiculously underwhelming for the price. The most important thing is XZ1 Compact will also run Android Oreo when it ships, and sports an 8-megapixel front camera with a wide 120-degree field of view so you can take selfies that include more friends. Otherwise, the Compact’s front camera offers the same bells and whistles as the regular XZ1’s which is powered by the same CPU.
On the other hand, the XA1 Plus is a mid-tier phone that will cost which is around $380 via Amazon when it ships in October. Sony most likely gains exposure in that lower price handset because it opted for a less-popular MediaTek processor instead of a Qualcomm Snapdragon component. If you’re willing to take a chance on a less-known processor, you may find the XA1 Plus is a great deal. Its 5.5-inch screen has a 1080p resolution, and its battery is a munificent 3,430mAh. You’ll also get a sharper 23-MP rear camera, although it won’t have all the features from the XZ line.
Ultimately, Sony’s new XZ1 phones suffer from a flaw that has overwhelmed the company’s premium handsets for years: They are simply most expensive for their offerings according to Smartphone. Sony seems to keep thinking it can demand the higher prices that Samsung and Apple ask for their flagships. But Sony doesn’t have the Smartphone whack and the huge legions of fans that Sammy Apple do, and the Xperias, series aren’t quite as advanced as the latest Galaxies and iPhones. They don’t even have fingerprint sensors, which are by now so late they might as well not show up while under $100 phones offers in their Smartphone. The latest Sony flagships either already have, or are expected to support, iris and voice recognition tools.
Since I’ve only tested a pre-production version of the XZ1, it’s possible the finished device that retails September 19 may feel refined and competent enough to justify its price. For now, though, I sincerely hope Sony rethinks the way it prices its products.