- Super slow-motion video capture
- Excellent detail and color reproduction in photos
- Bright and sharp screen
- Good performance
- No fingerprint sensor for US phones
- Almost same phone as Xperia XZ
- Large bezels above and below screen
After less than six months, Sony has unveiled the upgrade to their 2016 flagship phone - the Xperia XZs. When compared to its predecessor, there are only a few upgrades. Is it enough to excite reviewers?
Let’s see what they have to say!
Those hoping for a new design from the XZs will be disappointed. The XZs features the same loop design of the predecessor complete with rounded sides that taper to the front and back. Critics found this design comfortable in their hands. It also is IP68 certified, making it dust- and water-resistant.
Besides this, it comes with the same metal plate back, plastic sides and glass front. For those looking for thin bezels, look elsewhere as this has a large top and bottom bezel when compared to other flagship phones.
Another annoying issue is the fingerprint sensor. For international versions, the scanner is on the power button. Many experts found the placement awkward. If you live in the US, you won’t have a fingerprint scanner at all.
The 5.2-inch 1920-by-1080 display is unchanged as well from its predecessor, which isn’t a bad thing. Reviewers were pleased with the good viewing angles, color reproduction, contrast and overall sharpness. While not the brightest smartphone on the market, they had no issues viewing the phone outdoors on a sunny day.
The differences show up in performance. The Xperia XZs comes equipped with the same 1.6GHz quad-core processor and graphics processor as its predecessor. It does, however, get a RAM boost—up to 4GB.
Although the processor isn’t top-of-the-line, critics were happy to note it still hummed along well during day-to-day and more intensive tasks. They didn't notice sluggishness or lag. Though when compared side-by-side with its competitors it is slightly slower.
Battery-life was neither good nor bad. Reviewers could get around a full day’s worth of life with moderate usage. With that said, Phone Arena adds, “… if you play a lot of heavy games, or rely on your navigation a lot, you might want to keep a USB-C cable close by for emergency charging.”
While Sony has gone for minor changes in most departments, they saved the major upgrade for the 19MP main camera. Sony makes use of its latest smartphone sensor, which comes with 1GB of its own DRAM.
What does this mean? It can shoot super-slow motion videos at 960 fps. There are two super slow-motion modes—regular and one-shot. Regular allows you to shoot normal video, but with a click of a button, you can switch to slow-motion in the middle. The second records a short 960 fps video.
If you’re not into taking videos, that’s okay. Reviewers were pleased with the overall picture quality as well. Highlights include lots of detail, excellent color reproduction and little noise in good and low light conditions thanks to its 5-axis stabilization.
While a solid phone, critics have a hard time recommending the Xperia XZs over its predecessor due to the minor upgrades. Gadgets 360 states, “Sony needed a more drastic hardware change compared to its previous flagship, and the Xperia XZs doesn’t deliver that.” Android Authority agrees stating, “The Xperia XZs is not worth an upgrade from its predecessor, and if you are in the market for a new phone, there are quite a few options out there that undercut [it]… If you want a real upgrade… you are better off waiting for the more powerful Xperia XZ Premium.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Robin Sinha, Gadgets Now
Sony is unlike any other smartphone making company. The handset it manufactures is aimed for a completely different audience, not the masses. If you are one of those who is looking for high-end specifications based on the price tag, this handset is not for you.
- Cameron Faulkner, TechRadar
Sony’s slo-mo focused phone impresses with its camera trick, but this phone is too expensive for being a mostly iterative experiment.
- Kunal Khullar, tech2
I mentioned before that I love Sony smartphones. I still do, they have a certain place in my heart. But the past few flagships devices from the company have not been up to the mark and not been able to justify the price. The Xperia XZs is a minor update from the XZ and frankly it doesn’t make...
- Damian M., PhoneArena
The Xperia XZs is a solid device, don't get us wrong. But it's still too similar to its predecessor, the XZ. Everything, from the design, through the hardware and software, could have benefited from some more revisions. What was changed, though, is pretty good. Of course, we're talking about th...
- Rohan Pal, The Mobile Indian
Overall, the Xperia XZs has its hits and misses as it carries an identical look coupled with some flawed camera functionality and an older processor. At the end, it is all about the camera, but one does not buy a smartphone just for the camera that to a flawed one, as they require a complete package...
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sony Xperia XZs user manual here.
Sony backs up the Xperia XZs with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Xperia XZs has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sony support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sony's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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Manuals / User Guides
- Sony Xperia XZs Manual (PDF)
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