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Xperia XZ marks the spot


Easy to use: Sony's flagship phone is a fuss-free 5.2in model with a long battery life. — Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Easy to use: Sony's flagship phone is a fuss-free 5.2in model with a long battery life. — Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Sony’s latest flagship phone is a breeze to use.

SELFIES have never been my forte, but during a visit to the Borobudur temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, I couldn’t help but take many photos of myself.


Use it for selfies, or use it to take photos of others. No matter what you do, do not miss out on some amazing photographs courtesy of Sony Xperia XZ.
The Xperia XZ's camera works well in low light.

Perhaps it’s the illusion that I am finally the tiny one in a photograph – there is no way one can ­overshadow the majestic 8th ­century Buddhist temple – or maybe because the sky was bright and the lighting was perfect, but one thing is for sure, I had never taken as many selfies in my life as I did with my Sony Xperia XZ that day. (True story.)

Lights, camera, action

The Xperia XZ comes with a 23-megapixel main camera with predictive autofocus technology that allows you to keep the subject in focus and capture shots without any blurring.

It also works well in low light, so users don’t have to scramble to focus when taking photos in less than ideal lighting.


The Sony Xperia XZ comes with a 23-megapixel rear camera that takes pretty impressive photographs.
The Sony Xperia XZ comes with a 23-megapixel rear camera that takes pretty impressive photographs.

Selfie fiends will appreciate the 13-megapixel front camera with the wide angle lens – that means you can cram as many things into the screen without having to stretch your arms beyond recognition for that perfect selfie.

However, the front camera is not as capable in low light conditions as the main camera. The physical camera button on the phone is a welcomed return, and the 4K video quality is also an added bonus.


The 13-megapixel front camera would surely be a hit among selfie fiends.
The 13-megapixel front camera would surely be a hit among selfie fiends.

The works

Now we all know that Sony has ditched its Z range, and a new life is breathed into its line of smartphones with the X series. Its latest flagship, the XZ, however is a little mix of both. Some members of the tech media even refer to the XZ as the Xperia Z6 that never happened.

Take, for example, its look. At a glance, it is similar to its predecessors, but if you inspect it closely, the edges fold into gently rounded curves that give a comfortable grip to the phone. The back panel is made of Sony’s trademarked Alkaleido metal, adding shine and brightness to the finish, and tough enough to warrant usage without a protective case.


The Sony Xperia XZ is light, user-friendly and more importantly, quite uncomplicated.
The back panel is made of Sony’s trademarked Alkaleido metal, adding shine and brightness to the finish, and tough enough to warrant usage without a protective case.

However, do note that it doesn’t have the reinforced corners from the Xperia Z5 – designed to absorb the impact if the phone is dropped.

The Xperia XZ is IP68 water and dust resistant, so you don’t have to worry about the occasional rain or even taking the phone with you for a shower. However Sony strongly advises users to not put the device completely underwater, or expose it to seawater, salt water, chlorinated water, or liquids such as drinks.

It also notes that the Xperia XZ’s capless USB-C port must be completely dry before charging the phone.

Getting up to speed

The Sony Xperia XZ runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 ­processor that gives an overall smooth operation for daily tasks. Apps and games load quickly on the phone and though I am not much of a gamer, even I could tell that the phone is an excellent ­platform for my Wheel Of Fortune and other random word games. The graphics were clear and the phone didn’t experience any ­lagging.

With 64GB of internal storage, users can download quite a ­number of apps and games. The return of PS4 Remote Play is also a lauded move, and streaming from the console to the phone is supported by the Gamepad accessory. The 5.2in screen gives highly detailed images, though it may be a tad too big for those with smaller hands.


Sony’s flagship phone, the Xperia XZ, is a fuss-free 5.2in model with a long battery life. — Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
Right-handed users will love the volume, power and camera buttons lined up on the right side of the phone.

Speaking of hands, right-handed users will love the volume, power and camera buttons lined up on the right side of the phone. The power button comes with a built-in fingerprint scanner, perfectly positioned for your thumb when unlocking the device. The speed at which the scanner works and unlocks your phone is pretty epic.

I also registered my right index finger into the memory to unlock the phone when it is placed on a table face up. Left-handed users will find this a little irritating, but it is nothing that cannot be solved by registering different fingers that work best for them.

If the fingerprint sensor is not your thing, you can still use a screenlock pattern or password to protect your phone.

From Sony with love

The Sony Xperia XZ comes with a few pre-installed apps like PlayStation, TrackID, Sketch, Movie Creator, Xperia Lounge and Lifelog.

I love Sketch which feeds the inner artist in me. All I have to do is doodle my heart out and suddenly it’s a masterpiece worth putting up on Facebook or Instagram.


The power button also acts as a fingerprint scanner, which is perfectly positioned for your thumb when unlocking the device.
The power button also acts as a fingerprint scanner, which is perfectly positioned for your thumb when unlocking the device.

For news lovers, Xperia Lounge is an easy way to get in touch with the world without even taking your eyes off the smartphone. Similar to Flipboard, the Xperia Lounge connects you to articles and videos related to topics of your choice.

Now the last thing you should worry about when having fun online is the battery life. The Sony Xperia line is known for its ­battery life. The XZ comes with a 2,900mAh battery, and I actually went up to over a day without ­having to charge the phone, with moderate use of social media and occasional gaming.

The bottom line

The Android user interface is absolutely idiot-proof and it wouldn’t take much time or effort for first-time users to get used to the phone.

Try as I might, I ­cannot find anything that I dislike about the phone, save for one niggling detail – the SIM card slot on the top left side of the phone that is too easy to open.

My curious friends kept ­“opening” the cover to see what was inside – without realising that the SIM card(s) get pulled out as a result – and the phone restarted every time it happened.

By the way, the SIM card tray is actually a hybrid one that accepts either two nano SIM cards, or one nano SIM card with a microSD card.

Other than that, it’s really fun using the Sony Xperia XZ. Good cameras, a good battery life and it is absolutely fuss-free – just how I like everything to be.

Pros: Good front and back cameras; long battery life; sleek design; speedy fingerprint sensor.

Cons: Slightly big for smaller hands; doesn’t have the reinforced corners from the Xperia Z5.

Xperia XZ
(Sony)
Android smartphone
NETWORK: 4G
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android Marshmallow
DISPLAY: 5.2in Full HD 1080p
CAMERA: 23-megapixel rear camera; 13-megapixel front camera
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.2 WiFi
PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
MEMORY: 64GB internal storage, 3GB RAM
BATTERY: 2,900mAh
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 72 x 8.1 x 146mm
WEIGHT: 161g
PRICE: RM2,699
RATING: 4 stars
Review unit courtesy of Sony Malaysia Sdn Bhd, 1300-88-1233

   

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